From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on March 28, 2014:
Baseball began in England before the 1740s as a game for young people, and it was played by girls as commonly as it was by boys; often the two played together. Writing in 1798 the novelist Jane Austen—in Northanger Abbey, published posthumously two decades later—has her heroine, Catherine Morland, say that she prefers cricket and baseball to reading—“at least books of information.”
In the United States, beginning in the 1860s, women formed baseball clubs of their own at the Seven Sister colleges of the Northeast. Two nines competed in 1869, at Peterboro, New York, an upstate village some seventy-five miles from Seneca Falls where the women’s suffrage movement was born. The contest was reported in a New York newspaper called Day’s Doings, a sensationalist sex-story journal self-avowedly devoted to “current events of romance, police reports, important trials, and sporting news.” Unsurprisingly, the Police Gazette and the Sporting Times depicted the young baseballists as strumpets.
The following years provided a rich alternative on-field history through novelty nines, barnstorming clubs, and active amateur play.
Read the full article here: http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2014/03/28/picture-portfolio-no-3-women-in-baseball/
Originally published: March 28, 2014. Last Updated: March 28, 2014.