McDaniel: “Foul Balls” and a woman’s view

From Rachael McDaniel at The Hardball Times on September 28, 2017:

In late February of 2017, I pulled an old-looking blue book out of the baseball shelf at my university library. It had no jacket, no design on the cover. The only information it offered me was the author’s last name, GORDON, and the book’s title: FOUL BALLS.


Out of all the baseball books I’d found and read at my various nearby libraries, quite literally the only ones I’d found written by women were histories of women playing baseball–about the All-American Girls’ Baseball League–and more often, about softball. While these books were important, and while I had read them with fascination, they were narrations of worlds I couldn’t relate to. The AAGBL folded in the ’50s, having existed for only a decade, and I still resented the way softball had been presented as my only option when I was a kid. As far as I knew, women hadn’t formed any part of the legacy of baseball writing that had made me fall so much more deeply in love with the game.

This, though–this was different. This was a book about the big leagues, the world of baseball with which I was familiar and which I loved–about my own favorite team, no less–and it was written by a woman. Not one of the venerable white-haired baseball men who had written so many of my favorite books, but someone whose presence with the team was regularly questioned, who could be mistaken for a mother, who was, in her own words, “a socialist, feminist hedonist with roots in the sixties, a woman who had marched against the bomb, done drugs, and never, ever even wanted to date the head jock at school.”

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Originally published: September 28, 2017. Last Updated: September 28, 2017.