Announcing finalists for inaugural Dorothy Seymour Mills Lifetime Achievement Award
We are pleased to announce the finalists for the inaugural 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.
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. Here are the finalists for the 2018 award:
- Perry Barber has been a professional umpire since 1981, umpiring more than 6,300 games to date. She and her twin sister attended umpire school when women were not wanted and her perseverance paid off with her graduation. Barber has umpired at all levels of the game, including Major League Baseball’s spring training. Her umpiring has taken her around the world to places such as Japan, Guam, Hong Kong, and the Caribbean. In addition to her own umpiring, Barber has been a tireless advocate for giving other women opportunities to play and umpire. Whenever possible she hires other female umpires for the tournaments she has been involved in, such as Baseball for All Nationals and the Boston Red Sox women’s fantasy baseball camp. One of the young women she brought in to umpire, Emma Charlesworth-Seiler, is now working as an instructor at umpire school and became only the eighth woman to umpire in professionally affiliated baseball. Barber also conducts umpire clinics, speaks about umpiring and women’s baseball, and serves as a board member for the International Women’s Baseball Center and an advisor for Baseball for All.
- Edith Houghton (1912-2013) played baseball at a young age growing up in Philadelphia and later became a professional scout for the Phillies from 1946-51. Her father, a semi-professional baseball player, started teaching her the game and she showed great ability and skill early on. Houghton became the starting shortstop for the Philadelphia Bobbies at the age of 10. The Bobbies played other “bloomer girl” teams in the 1920s. One of the team’s great adventures was a two-month trip to play baseball in Japan. Upon her return, Houghton went on to play for the New York Bloomer Girls for six years before joining the Hollywood Stars. During World War II she joined the WAVES and continued to play baseball. Her background made her an excellent judge of natural ability and she signed 16 players as a Phillies scout, though none made the major leagues. Houghton lived to be 100, passing away in Florida just a few years ago.
- Ashley Stephenson has been a longtime player and leader on the Canadian Women’s National Team (14 years), as well as working for Baseball Canada and the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy as an instructor. She has played in all seven World Cups since 2004. She was her team’s MVP in 2005 and 2008. In 2011 and 2016 Stephenson won the Jimmy Rattlesnake Award, honoring a member of the women’s national team for their on-field accomplishments, as well as their leadership and team spirit. In addition to her playing and coaching, Stephenson is a high school teacher and has brought her coaching and leadership skills to her school. She has coached a boys’ team as well as hosting leadership and coaching clinics at the school for boys and girls. Her athletic accomplishments have resulted in her election to the Laurier University Hall of Fame as well as being chosen as a member of the International All-Star team for the World Cup. In 2013, Stephenson became the athletic director at a unique sports high school in Burlington, Ontario. She has also served as an instructor at baseball clinics all over Canada and continues to play for the National team.
- Justine Siegal has been a player and advocate for women’s participation in baseball since she was a teenager. Growing up playing the game, Siegal ran into discrimination early but used that as her motivation to never give in and help others to achieve their dreams as well. She has achieved a variety of impressive firsts in her career while also earning her Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology. 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.) At age 23, she founded the nonprofit organization Baseball for All, which continues to provide endless opportunities for women and girls to play baseball all over the world. She also created the Sparks, an all-girls team which has competed in tournaments all over the world. Siegal is a highly sought after motivational speaker and advocate for all young people getting opportunities to be involved in baseball. Baseball for All not only offers playing opportunities but has advocated for girls all over when they have been denied the opportunity to play. Siegal has also been involved with the U.S. Women’s National Team, creating a national tournament for girls baseball. She continues to play, coach and advocate for women and girls in 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: January 22, 2018. Last Updated: January 22, 2018.