My hometown paper, the Los Angeles Times, doesn’t do a particularly good job covering women’s sports, but today there was an interesting post in an on-going series about sports legends. Author Brian Cronin takes a look at Jackie Mitchell, a female pitcher who struck out baseball greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back-to-back nearly 80 years ago.
I’d heard of Mitchell before and had always been intrigued by what a pioneer she was. With baseball season practically upon us, it’s great to revisit her story.
On March 28, 1931, the then 17-year-old Mitchell signed a contract to ptich for the Chattanooga Lookouts, a Class AA minor league team. Five days later, on April 2, 1931, in front of 4,000 fans, she struck out two of the greatest hitters in baseball history.
As a young girl, Mitchell lived in Memphis, Tennessee where her next-door neighbor was minor league ballplayer Charles “Dazzy” Vance. Dazzy (who would later play for the Brooklyn Dodgers) taught her how to throw