This is wild. A 17 year old girl named Jackie Mitchell rocked baseball in the 1930s. Mitchell was one of the first female baseball players in history. Her father began teaching her to play baseball as soon as she could hold a ball. She happened to be neighbors with MLB Hall of Famer Dazzy Vance who continued to teach her how to pitch. He taught her what became her signature pitch; a devastating sinker.
When she was 17, she began touring around with different teams and making a name for herself. At one point she even struck out 9 batters in a row! The owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts, Joe Engle, spotted her in 1931 and signed her to a contract to play for the New York Yankee’s AA minor league baseball club, Lookouts.
It was with this team that she faced some of the greatest players. She was put in a game to pitch with her first batter being Babe Ruth himself. She threw a high ball first, but the next two Ruth swung and missed. He didn’t even nick the ball. She then threw her sinker and he struck out, pissed.
Lou Gehrig strode onto the field next and she threw him three consecutive sinkers and he too struck out. She ruffled too many feathers and within a couple days of that game, her contract was voided and she wasn’t allowed to play ball anymore.
- There Once was a 17 Year Old Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig Back to Back (todayifoundout.com)
- Conn. Family Selling Lou Gehrig’s Home Run Ball (connecticut.cbslocal.com)
- Things I’ve Learned from Ken Burns Baseball (foraslanandvolstate.wordpress.com)