We are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021 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 2021 award will be announced during the SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference on Saturday, September 11, following the unveiling of the International Women’s Baseball pylon at 5:30 p.m. EDT. All baseball fans are welcome to register for the three-day virtual Zoom conference. Click here to sign up.
Here are the finalists for the 2021 award:
- Justine Siegal continues to promote and advocate for women’s participation in baseball regularly. 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. In 2021 she began promotion of an ongoing effort to provide opportunities for college baseball for women.
- 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 got her start covering sports in the 1970s while she was a student at Temple University. 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 worked as a coordinating editor for ESPN from 2007 to 2020. In 2018 A League of Her Own, a nine-minute documentary telling the story of 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 Executive 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. In 2020 she oversaw renovations that included a new center field plaza as well as new escalators and elevators. 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. She helped transform the 1996 Olympic Stadium into Turner Field and oversaw 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 three women to play in the Negro Leagues in the 1950s. 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 after which she retired. 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.
Other nominees included: Ila Borders, Amanda Clement, Edith Houghton, Margaret Nabel, Kim Ng, Ayami Sato, and Connie Wisniewski.
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 7, 2021. Last Updated: September 7, 2021.