Thompson: Amateur women’s baseball teams existed as early as 1866

From Helen Thompson at Smithsonian Magazine on June 9, 2015:

It was the bottom of the 9th. Bases loaded. Full count. One run separated the two teams. Around 1,500 spectators filled the stands of the Lenox Oval in uptown New York City, and on this particular, Sunday, they were no doubt on the edge of their seats. The pitcher began her wind up — and a cop walked onto the field to hand the third baseman a subpoena.

That’s how a scrimmage game between the “Reds” and the “Blues” ended, according to an account in the New York Tribune. The game, which took place May 25, 1913, is one of the few publicized outings of New York’s female Giants. Historians don’t seem to know much about this short-lived, unofficial female counterpart to the popular men’s baseball team of the time, Greg Young and Tom Meyers write for their popular New York City history blog/podcast, The Bowery Boys

Amateur girls baseball teams date to as early at 1866, long before candy honcho Phil Wrigley launched the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (dramatized by A League of Their Own) in the 1940s. Dubbed “Bloomer Girls” for the baggy Turkish-style trousers they’d wear during games, these teams became particularly popular in the late 1890s and early 1900s. They typically challenged local men’s teams to games.

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Originally published: June 10, 2015. Last Updated: June 10, 2015.