Coffey: Mamie ‘Peanut’ Johnson, only female Negro Leagues pitcher, witnesses Mo’ne Davis throw shutout in LLWS

From Wayne Coffey at the New York Daily News on August 15, 2014:

She was sitting in the third row behind home plate, Section 1 of a place called Howard J. Lamade Stadium, one pioneer here to celebrate another. All you had to do was look at Mamie (Peanut) Johnson’s face to know she would not have traded this particular seat, or this particular experience, for anything.

“It’s the greatest gift in God’s green earth to be here,” Johnson said. She paused and looked out at the pitcher’s mound, where a suddenly famous kid from south Philadelphia named Mo’ne Davis was making her warmup pitches for the Taney Dragons before their first game of the Little League World Series. Mamie Johnson’s eyes began to well up. She dabbed at them and smiled, and the smile pretty much lasted all six innings and 70 pitches that Mo’ne Davis threw, in a two-hit, eight-strikeout, 4-0 masterpiece against Nashville — the first shutout by a girl in Little League World Series annals.

“I never, ever thought I would witness this,” Mamie Johnson said.

Mamie Johnson is 78 years old and six decades removed from her three years as the only female pitcher in the history of the Negro Leagues. From 1953 to 1955, she pitched for the Indianapolis Clowns, her teammates including a young shortstop named Henry Aaron. The Clowns found her by chance when she was pitching in a park near her home in northeast Washington, signed her up and paid her $500 a month to barnstorm around the country in Jim Crow America, never eating in a restaurant or staying in a “white” hotel, but hearing plenty of slurs.

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Originally published: August 18, 2014. Last Updated: August 18, 2014.