Mills: My favorite player, Justine Siegal

From SABR member Dorothy Seymour Mills at The National Pastime Museum on December 9, 2013, on fellow SABR member Justine Siegal:

Justine Siegal wanted to play baseball for as long as she can remember. “It’s in my blood,” she says. Justine grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, so “I wanted to be Orel Hershiser.” 

From the age of 5, Justine was playing on boys’ teams and knew she was a good player, although at 13 she was told by a coach that he didn’t want her on his team because he thought girls shouldn’t play baseball. She expected to play at the high school level, but the administration at the private Hawken School said she couldn’t try out.

So Siegal transferred to Brewster Academy, where she got to play third base and pitch — the only girl permanently on the team. One spring when she attended a baseball camp to improve her skills, who should appear to play against the camp team but the Hawken School team. Justine got her revenge. She pitched well against Hawken, and when she returned there for her senior year, the school permitted her try out for the team, and she made it.

Fans heckled Siegal for being a female; she heard a lot of sexual remarks. How did she handle that? At first she was “terrible” at taking it. “I played like the weight of the world was on my shoulders,” she said. But soon she was able to disregard insults. She teaches young women, “You have to be able to hear those words and then ignore them and continue your game.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: December 9, 2013. Last Updated: December 9, 2013.