For a while we didn't realize the significance of this Obak card, but now we do:
dear card blog people, it takes a village.
Why are Ruth and Gehrig posing with Jackie?
In any event, striking out Ruth and Gehrig did not work in Jackie’s favor; a few days after the game, baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis voided Mitchell's contract, claiming that baseball was "too strenuous" for women.
This all happened in 1931--you know, waaaaaay back when girls did not play professional baseball. Oh wait! Girls still do not play professional baseball.
Until 1937, Jackie barnstormed with male and female teams and pitched for a while with the House of David team that traveled the nation. Jackie stopped in 1937 at the age of 23, and surprisingly did not even come out of retirement for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She went to work in her father's optometry office and played now and again with local teams.
She lived in the Chattanooga area for the rest of her life, and threw out the first pitch at a Lookouts' game in 1982. Jackie passed away in 1987 at the age of 73, and will always be known as the girl who struck out two legendary baseball players.
An interesting sidenote is that Jackie was taught to pitch by her father and by one-time neighbor Dazzy Vance, the Brooklyn Dodger.
Lineup for Yesterday
V is for Vance,
The Dodgers' own Dazzy;
None of his rivals
Could throw as fast as he.
Dazzy didn't mind giving Jackie pitching pointers when she was eight years old. Perhaps his influence helped Mitchell develop her odd, well-controlled, tough-to-hit side-armed delivery.
The Chattanooga Lookouts (named after Lookout Mountain) are still a minor league team that plays in the Southern League and is a Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Our local Isotopes are the Triple-A affiliate). Other notable Lookouts: Harmon Killebrew, Ferguson Jenkins, Alvin Davis, Austin Kearns, Trevor Hoffman, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey, and Edwin Encarnacion.
If you have kids who may be interested in Jackie's story, another good place to start is Jean Patrick's site, which includes a wealth of history and background.
And hey. Perhaps Topps should do one of its Heritage sets about Title IX, passed by Congress in the summer of 1972, paving the way for expanded opportunities for women in fields such as higher education and sports. Specifically, Title IX banned sex discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. And the number of women participating in intercollegiate athletics has more than quadrupled, while the percentage of girls engaging in athletics in general has vastly increased.
Perhaps Jackie would be pleased.