Baseball’s first female announcers, Betty Caywood and Mary Shane

From Whet Moser at Chicago Magazine on September 26, 2012, with mention of SABR member Peter Morris:

Last night, as often happens when I’m trying to put myself to sleep, I ended up in a deep Wikipedia hole, landing on the page of Suzyn Waldman, the Yankees’ radio broadcaster I listen to sometimes on my tour through MLB radio stations. She’s divisive, but I like her and her Boston accent (which doesn’t help the divisiveness), distinctive in a world of broadcasterly plains. I’d always assumed she was the first female baseball announcer, but it turns out that’s not quite true. She was preceded by two women in the 1960s—hired, naturally, by Charlie Finley and Bill Veeck.

The first was Betty Caywood, a Kansas City native, a former professional dancer and “midwest fashion coordinator for leading dress manufacturers” with a master’s in speech pathology from Northwestern. In the mid-60s, Caywood was the “weather girl” (she was 31, but, you know) for channel 7 in Chicago, when the Trib captured her in the language of the time.


Caywood was followed in 1977 by Mary Shane, the hire of equally adventurous owner Bill Veeck during the glory years of the weird White Sox: uniform shorts, Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Disco Demolition Night. Shane was also an inexperienced broadcaster, but was an entirely different story from Caywood. Her father was a former minor-league pro who coached industrial-league teams as a kid and dreamed of being “the best second-base player in the world,” she told the Tribune. Instead, she studied history and journalism at the University of Wisconsin, teaching high-school history while picking up freelance writing assignments and trying to break into sports journalism.

Read the full article here:

Related link: Read Peter Morris’ SABR biography of Mary Shane at the SABR BioProject

Originally published: September 26, 2012. Last Updated: September 26, 2012.