Edith Houghton, 100, rare woman among baseball scouts

From Paul Vitello at the New York Times on February 15, 2013:

The Philadelphia Phillies were perennial cellar-dwellers in 1946 when Edith Houghton, a slim, dark-haired young woman in her 30s, walked into the team office without an appointment and talked her way into an unlikely job. She became one of the first women — and to this day one of the only women — to scout for a major league baseball team.

Houghton, who died on Feb. 2 in Sarasota, Fla., at 100, liked to say that she was the first woman hired as a major league scout on her own. Her one known predecessor, Bessie Largent, had worked for many years in tandem with her husband, Roy, as a scout for the Chicago White Sox. But as Houghton pointed out to interviewers, although she never made a fuss about it, she worked solo for the Phillies from 1946 to 1951.

There are different accounts about why Houghton got the job. Some say she bowled over the Phillies’ president, Robert Carpenter, with an uncanny grasp of the game. Others mention the scrapbook she brought along, bulging with newspaper clippings documenting her impressive career as a player in the 1920s and ’30s on the women’s national baseball circuit known as the Bloomer Girls league.

Philadelphia sportswriters, bitter at the team’s decade-long swoon at or near the bottom of the standings, said the Phillies had hired her simply because they had nothing to lose.

But that she got the job at all constitutes one of the most unusual accomplishments by any woman in American sports.

Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/16/sports/baseball/edith-houghton-rarity-as-baseball-scout-dies-at-100.html

Related link: Read the SABR biography of Roy and Bessie Largent, written by Jim Sandoval

Originally published: February 17, 2013. Last Updated: February 17, 2013.