Announcing finalists for 2023 Dorothy Seymour Mills Lifetime Achievement Award

SEPTEMBER 8, 2023 — We are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2023 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 2023 award will be announced during the SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference on September 29-October 1. All baseball fans are welcome to register for the virtual Zoom conference. Click here to sign up.

Here are the finalists for the 2023 award:

  • Maybelle Blair pitched for the Peoria Redwings of the AAGBPL in 1948. Her love of baseball and softball developed early when she convinced the girls in her fifth-grade class to create a softball team with her so she could play. She kept score for her brothers’ games and shagged fly balls for them. After her year in the AAGBPL, Blair went on to play softball for the Chicago Cardinals and then the New Orleans Jacks. Beyond the diamond, Blair had a 37-year career with Northrup-Grumman, being one of only three female transportation executives. After the AAGPBL players association was created in 1982, she was a member of the board, helping the organization grow and representing them at many events incuding All Star fan fests and other MLB events. In 2014 Blair was one of the founding members of the IWBC, served on the board, and continues today as an emeritus board member. Blair is a long-time supporter of Baseball for All, and makes regular appearances at tournaments across the country, including the Baseball for All Nationals and MLB’s Traiblazer and GRIT series. She recently served as an inspiration and advisor for the Amazon television series A League of Their Own. At 96 she continues to inspire and support every opportunity for girls and women to be able to be a part of baseball.
  • Julie Croteau ( Croteau made her college baseball debut in 1989, playing first base for St. Mary’s College, becoming one of the first women ever to play on a men’s college team. She started early, playing T-ball and Little League Baseball at a time when few girls were playing. After playing Babe Ruth Baseball, she tried out for her high school baseball team and was not accepted. With her parents’ support, she sued to get the chance to play but ultimately lost the suit. She tried out and made the Fredericksburg Giants in 1988. After playing three years at St. Mary’s, she interned at the Women’s Sports Foundation and was an extra in the 1992 film A League of their Own. She joined the Colorado Silver Bullets in their inaugural season in 1993, playing first base. Her baseball glove is on permanent display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. She later worked for Major League Baseball and currently directs strategic communications for the Stanford Cancer Institute.
  • Lizzie Murphy (NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY)Lizzie Murphy, born Mary Elizabeth Murphy, played baseball professionally throughout New England for over 18 years, mostly on men’s barnstorming teams. One of her most memorable achievements came in 1922 when she played at Fenway Park with a group of Major League All-Stars against the Boston Red Sox in a benefit game. This appearance made her the first and currently only woman to have such an honor in a big-league park. She developed such a reputation that she became known as the “Queen of Baseball.” Her primary position was first base, though she also pitched occasionally. Beginning around 1914, reporters regularly singled her out for her excellent fielding, good footwork, and solid bat. Many times throughout her long career, hers was the only name used to advertise the club she was playing on, attesting to her drawing power with the fans.
  • Maud Nelson (SABR-Rucker Archive)Maud Nelson, born Clementina Brida, played, managed, owned, and promoted women’s baseball from the late 19th century through the 1920s. She pitched and played third base for the Boston Bloomer Girls, Chicago Bloomer Girls, and the Star Bloomers of Indianapolis before joining a men’s team, the Cherokee Indian baseball club. Beginning in 1911 she became manager and scout for the Western Bloomer Girls, which she and her husband also owned. Though she stopped playing regularly around 1922, she continued to manage and promote women’s teams into the early 1930s. Her contributions to the game were recognized in 2001 with her election to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Nelson’s long and illustrious career has led some researchers to push for her election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Ashley Stephenson played for Team Canada in every Women’s Baseball World Cup from 2004 through 2018, helping lead the Canadians to four bronze and two silver medals in six appearances. She earned two MVP awards in 2005 and 2008 and was named to the all-star team at third base during the 2008 International Baseball Federation World Cup tournament. In 2011 her accomplishments were recognized when she was awarded Baseball Canada’s Jimmy Rattlesnake Award; the award was renamed in her honor in 2018. She was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015 as an academy instructor and by the minor-league Vancouver Canadians as a coach in 2023.
  • Toni Stone (NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY)Marcenia Lyle “Toni” Stone was one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues in the 1950s, including Connie Morgan and Mamie Johnson. Signed in 1953 and ’54, she played second base for the Indianapolis Clowns and Kansas City Monarchs. Stone 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 breaking 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.

Previous award winners were Justine Siegal (2022); Claire Smith (2021); Effa Manley (2020); Rachel Robinson (2019); and Perry Barber (2018).

To learn more about the legendary baseball historian Dorothy Seymour Mills, click here.

Originally published: September 7, 2023. Last Updated: September 8, 2023.