Giaimo: America’s first woman sports writer broke glass ceilings without a bat

From Cara Giaimo at Atlas Obscura on June 17, 2016:

On May 21, 1890, as she did on most spring days, Ella Black put on a hat, grabbed her press credentials, and headed out to the ballpark to do her job. That day, she was in New York, ready to watch the Pittsburgh Alleghenys face off against the Brooklyn Bridegrooms at Washington Park. When she reached the gate, she opened her pocketbook, pulled out her press card, and handed it to the ticket-taker.

The surprised man took her identification. He looked at her, read the name more closely, and then looked up again. “Well, well,” he said. “I’ve heard of you often, but I always thought you were a man. But you really are a woman!”

Ella Black got that a lot. As the world’s first nationally circulated female baseball writer, she was privy to plenty of double takes, obstacles, and confused men. Despite this, throughout 1890, she penned dozens of articles for Sporting Life, proving that a self-described “petticoated enthusiast” could chase stories and swap stats with the best of them. She covered bullpen politics, gave a voice to female fan culture, and sparred with male readers—and then, as suddenly a home run over the back fence, she disappeared. A century later, baseball historians are still trying to figure out exactly who she was.

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Originally published: June 17, 2016. Last Updated: June 17, 2016.