Babe Ruth's Hall of Fame career was all but over when the Yankee legend joined the Braves in 1935. But Ruth's exploits during the previous 20 seasons meant fans of that generation likely missed out on the real babes of baseball: women. Starting Sept. 1, get to know the females behind this American pastime at the Linedrives and Lipstick: The Untold Story of Women's Baseball exhibition at Ursuline College. It will feature players such as Jackie Mitchell, who struck out Ruth during an exhibition game in 1931. (The Babe led the league with 46 homers year.) Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, the first female pitcher in the Negro Leagues, along with journalist Doris O'Donnell, who was voted out of an all-male press box, will speak about playing ball in a man's world at the Linedrives and Lipstick Scholarship Gala Sept. 16. We asked these ladies about the game.
MAMIE "PEANUT" JOHNSON
On her first baseball: "When I was a child, we made our own baseballs and bats. Ours were made of rocks and tape, and I enjoyed doing that. That's where I learned to play." On going pro: "Baseball means everything to me. The better I got, the more I wanted to play. It kept me in focus of myself." On her teammates: "I was among men of greatness, men of quality. These men knew what it meant to be a gentleman, and I was very grateful to be there."
On baseball: "My family is an all-baseball family. My dad used to take me to League Park, and my brother and I always played baseball and followed the Cleveland Indians, so I've got a lot of heroes." On meeting one such hero: "When we got to Boston, I wanted to meet Ted Williams, him being such a great slugger and what not. So we finally waved him over, ... and we had a really nice conversation." On women in baseball: "This event and these historical honors go to the courageous young women of the past who dared crash the barriers of an all-male national sport."