Epstein: The stop-and-start history of women’s baseball

From Daniel R. Epstein at The Hardball Times on August 12, 2019:

Most of us will never understand how difficult it is to be the first. Handling the pressure of trying something no one has done before, or at least in a way that’s never been done before, can be more daunting than the task itself. It can turn even a strong, independent person into goo. Every first is a miracle of talent, ingenuity, and sheer will.

Ila Borders has been the first many times. As a left-handed pitcher, she became the first woman to receive a college baseball scholarship, playing for Southern California College (now Vanguard University) from 1994-96 and Whittier College in 1997. She then became the first woman in living memory to sign a professional baseball contract with a men’s team, with the St. Paul Saints in 1997. She would pitch professionally for four independent league teams through 2000.

Before any of that, she’d already experienced some relatively challenging firsts. No one in her area had ever seen a girl try to play baseball with boys.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-stop-and-start-history-of-womens-baseball/

Originally published: August 13, 2019. Last Updated: August 13, 2019.