Thursday, November 08, 2018

Women of the world unite!

Overlooked No More: Jackie Mitchell, Who Fanned Two of Baseball’s Greats

Mitchell was a 17-year-old pitcher in 1931 when she struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game, but questions about that exploit linger.
The baseball pitcher Jackie Mitchell. She was on the roster of the minor league Chattanooga Lookouts when she faced the Yankees.CreditCreditGeorge Rinhart/Corbis, via Getty Images
Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. With Overlooked, we’re adding the stories of remarkable people whose deaths went unreported in The Times.
By Talya Minsberg
Women have cleared many barriers in sports, but few exploits have been as stunning, and steeped in mystery, as the day Jackie Mitchell struck out two of baseball’s giants, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
It was April 2, 1931, and Mitchell, all of 17, was on the roster of the otherwise all-male Tennessee minor league team the Chattanooga Lookouts, which had signed her to a contract just a week before. The Yankees were in town for an exhibition game as they made their way from spring training in Florida back to New York, and 4,000 people had filled the Lookouts’ stands.
Mitchell took the mound in the first inning, in relief. “The Babe performed his role very ably,” William E. Brandt, a reporter for The New York Times, wrote. “He swung hard at two pitches then demanded that Umpire Owens inspect the ball, just as batters do when utterly baffled by a pitcher’s delivery.”
The third pitch was a strike that left Ruth looking. When the umpire called him out, the Bambino flung his bat away, “registering disgust with his shoulder and chin,” The Times reported. Gehrig took “three hefty swings” and struck out, too.


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