We are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2020 Dorothy Seymour Mills Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by SABR’s Women in Baseball Committee. Each of these finalists has made important contributions promoting the participation of women in baseball, on the field and off.
The winner of the 2020 award will be announced during the SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference on Saturday, September 12, 2020, following the Negro Leagues Centennial Celebration at 5:00 p.m. EDT. All baseball fans are welcome to register for the three-day virtual Zoom conference.
Here are the finalists for the 2020 award:
- Amanda Clement was born on March 20, 1888, in Hudson, Dakota Territory, a year before South Dakota became a state. In 1904 she became the first woman paid to umpire a game when the expected umpire did not show up. Clement umpired for six years, traveling all over the Midwest, umpiring about 50 games a year. She earned anywhere from $15 to $25 a game, saving money to put herself through college. She was praised for her knowledge of the game and her fairness in making calls. Promoters also realized she could bring in the crowds and fans came to see her games. Her reputation even spread to President Teddy Roosevelt, who told her he had heard of her when they got to meet. In recognition of her athletic accomplishments, Clement was elected to the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 1964. In 2014 she was inducted into the Yankton College Alumni Hall of Fame. A children’s book, Umpire in a Skirt: The Amanda Clement Story (2010), by Marilyn Kratz, tells her incredible story for all of us to enjoy and be inspired by.
- Effa Manley was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, making her the first and still only woman elected to the Hall. She was the owner of the Newark Eagles, who won the 1946 Negro League World Series. Effa and her husband Abe created a championship team while she also served the league and was committed to social justice. Her role as co-owner of the Eagles included handling contracts and travel schedules for the Eagles, as well as promoting the team. From 1935 until she sold the team in 1948, Manley worked tirelessly to make the Eagles a team to beat as well as an integral part of the Newark community. During her tenure, seven future Hall of Famers played for the Eagles. Manley used her position as owner to promote and support a wide range of social justice efforts, including the “Don’t buy where you can’t work” campaign as well as anti-lynching days at the ballpark and benefit games during World War II. She also pushed for recognition of the Negro Leagues by Major League Baseball and was successful in receiving compensation for the Cleveland Indians’ signing of Larry Doby. After she sold the Eagles, Manley moved to California and co-wrote a book about her experiences.
- Justine Siegal continues to promote and advocate for women’s participation in baseball every day. She is the founder of Baseball For All, a nonprofit organization that has made it possible for thousands of girls from all over the world to play baseball with and against each other. She earned her Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology, giving her another tool to use in working with all players. She has coached at the collegiate level, pitched batting practice for several Major League Baseball teams, served as a coach for the Brockton Rox, and as an instructional coach for the Oakland A’s. (She donated her jersey to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.) She also worked with Team Israel during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. She has played a major role in helping with MLB’s Trailblazer Series and Breakthrough Series, giving additional opportunities for young women to learn and play together. As her nomination letter stated, “Under Justine’s visionary and tireless stewardship, girls baseball has taken a thousand giant leaps forward.”
- Claire Smith was the 68th winner of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award and the first woman ever to win this prestigious honor when selected in 2017. The award is presented annually to a sportswriter for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. Smith covered the New York Yankees for the Hartford Courant from 1983 to 1987, before moving on to the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She has worked as a coordinating editor for ESPN since 2007. In 2018 A League of Her Own, a nine-minute documentary telling the story of the Smith’s career, was one of 19 films screened at the Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual Film Festival. She has also received the Sam Lacy-Wendell Smith Award from the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland (2013), the Sam Lacy Award at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame (2010), the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association of Women in Sports Media (2000), and Sports Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists (1997).
- Janet Marie Smith is the Senior Vice President of Planning and Development for the Los Angeles Dodgers, where since 2012 she has overseen the improvement/ expansion projects at Dodger Stadium and Campo Las Palmas, the club’s home in the Dominican Republic, which under Smith’s direction, underwent a major renovation to make it one of the best Latin American facilities in baseball. She is well-known in baseball for her work on Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which set the standard for a new wave of ballparks after its opening in 1992. Smith worked for the Orioles from 1989-94 as Vice President of Planning and Development during the design and construction of the park. She later rejoined the club from 2009-12 to direct renovations and expansion of the Orioles’ spring training facility in Sarasota, Florida, and upgrades to Camden Yards. From 2002-09, she served as Senior Vice President of Planning and Development for the Boston Red Sox, overseeing the preservation and expansion of Fenway Park. She was president of Turner Sports and Entertainment Development and Vice President of Planning and Development for the Atlanta Braves from 1994-2000, when she helped transform the 1996 Olympic Stadium into Turner Field and she oversaw the development of Philips Arena, then home to the NBA’s Hawks and NHL’s Thrashers. She was elected to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020.
- Marcenia Lyle “Toni” Stone was one of just three women to play in the Negro Leagues. In 1953 and ’54, she played second base for the Indianapolis Clowns and Kansas City Monarchs. She hit .243 for the Clowns in 50 games in 1953 before her contract was sold to the Monarchs for the 1954 season. Before helping to break the gender barrier in the Negro Leagues, Stone was a three-sport athlete in baseball, tennis, and track and field for Humbert High School. She also pitched for the Twin City Colored Giants and then moved to San Francisco, where she played ball with the barnstorming San Francisco Sea Lions. She had a short stint with the New Orleans Black Pelicans before joining the Negro Southern League and playing three seasons with the all-male New Orleans Creoles. Stone worked as a nurse when her playing career ended and has received numerous honors, including having a field named in her honor in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1997.
In 2017 SABR’s Women in Baseball Committee established the Dorothy Seymour Mills Lifetime Achievement Award — “The Dorothy” — named in honor of Dorothy Seymour Mills and her lifetime of contributions to promoting women’s baseball.
Eligible candidates for the Dorothy Seymour Mills Lifetime Achievement Award include any person with a sustained involvement in women’s baseball or any woman with a longtime involvement in baseball in any fashion — player, umpire, writer, executive, team owner, scout, etc. Candidates do not have to be living; it can be awarded posthumously. Self-nominations are accepted.
To learn more about the legendary baseball historian Dorothy Seymour Mills, click here.
Originally published: September 2, 2020. Last Updated: September 2, 2020.