This article was written by Dusty Baker
This article was published in the The National Pastime: The Future According to Baseball (2021)
Editor’s note: This article is a fictional press release from our special issue of The National Pastime looking ahead to the future of baseball in the 21st century.
(OAKLAND, California)—The Oakland Athletics carved the team’s name into the record books Friday by signing Alejandra Gallardo to a minor league deal. Gallardo, a transgender woman, is the first woman to be drafted by a major league franchise and is also the first openly trans player in MLB-affiliated ball.
Gallardo played softball as a freshman at UCLA, mostly at shortstop. She had then requested a tryout for the baseball team as a pitcher, her position in high school, where she had played on her school’s baseball team. In three seasons as a reliever and spot-starter for the UCLA Bruins, during which she amassed a 3.51 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 75 innings, Gallardo went undrafted.
Gallardo said, “This is a huge day for myself, my family, and the LGBTQ+ community. We have finally made a dent in Major League Baseball that should have been made a long time ago.”
Athletics Owner John Fisher said, “The Oakland Athletics are honored to bring aboard the first transgender woman of our time into our organization. This is something that has been a long time coming. It was truly our mistake that we didn’t think to draft Gallardo initially. However, having the opportunity to pick up her contract and bring her into our organization now is something we couldn’t pass up.”
Commissioner Tony Reagins said, “This is a huge day for the game of baseball. While we have made inroads in bringing women into the game as coaches and front office executives, including the first female head pitching coach in Jennie Finch for the Pirates a year ago, we have been missing the key element of having a female out on the field. This is a huge step in the right direction for our league and I anticipate the first of many to come.”
There has been some backlash surrounding the situation. A player from the Athletics AAA affiliate in Las Vegas where Gallardo will play, spoke under condition of anonymity, telling the San Francisco Chronicle, “Listen, I understand social change. I get it. But what I don’t understand is why are we giving handouts and letting a transgender woman into our locker room just because of her sexual orientation. It does not make sense to me, it never will.”
The mood around the Athletics locker room was much more positive surrounding the signing. Outfielder Kendrick Jackson said, “I’m honored to be a part of an organization that cares the way the Athletics do. This is history and I’m just proud to be here to witness it.”
DUSTY BAKER was born to love the game of baseball after being named after the player and manager. Baker began his journey in the sports world as an Athletic Ambassador for the TCU Football program while he was a student at the university. After his graduation, Baker took over as a Sports Anchor and Reporter for KTAB and KRBC in Abilene, Texas, for three years where he covered the Texas Rangers and the 2020 MLB Postseason. Baker is currently a Sports Anchor and Reporter in San Luis Obispo for KSBY.