Monday, June 25, 2007

Girls of Summer -- Answers

by Unknown

Here are the answers to last Thursday's Girls of Summer quiz. If you want to take the quiz before you see the answers, stop reading here! (Sorry, I don't know how to do the "below the fold" thing.)

Sources: my main source is the Exploratorium's exhibit on the science of baseball, which includes a section on the girls of summer. Other sources include the AAGPBL site and the Baseball Almanac.

1) How many years did women play professional baseball in the US?
Answer: b, 60-65 years. Women first played professional ball in 1875 -- before they could vote or own property in their own names after marriage. The Bloomer Girls teams, many of which were integrated by sex, played until 1934.

Wrigley founded the All-American Girls Softball League in 1943. League play morphed into baseball some time around 1953 or 1954, depending on which criterion you use to define real baseball. The Colorado Silver Bullets, a women's professional team, operated from 1994-1997 until Coors pulled the plug.

2) Who was the first woman to play baseball under a contract in the men's minor leagues?
Answer: a, Lizzie Arlington. She pitched one game for Reading against Allentown in 1898. She was later hired to play in exhibition games in the Atlantic league.

3) Which female pitcher struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gherig, back-to-back, in an exhibition game in her rookie year?
Answer: a (corrected thanks to Ken), Jackie Mitchell, who at age 17 played for the Chattanooga Lookouts, a farm team for the Yankees. She had one pitch, a sinker. In her rookie season in 1931, the Yankees came to town on their way back from spring training. She faced three batters: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Tony Lazzeri. Babe Ruth got caught looking; Lou Gehrig swung at three sinkers in a row. She then walked Tony Lazzeri, and the manager pulled her from the game.

Neither the Babe nor Gerhig were terribly pleased at being struck out by a girl. A few days later, baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis voided Mitchell's contract. Mitchell later signed on with a men's barnstorming team, but didn't like the circus elements of the trade (e.g., riding a donkey through an inning).

4) In which decade was a woman first paid to umpire a pro or semi-pro baseball game?
Answer: b, 1900s. Amanda Clement umpired semi-pro games in the Midwest between 1904-1910. She used her earnings ($15-25 a game) to pay for college.

5) In what year did a male player argue that women shouldn't be in baseball because God created women to be feminine and submissive to men.
Answer: Perry nailed this one. Bob Knepper of the Astros purportedly had this to say after pitching a game that Pam Postema umped:
I just don’t think a woman should be an umpire. There are certain things a woman shouldn’t be and an umpire is one of them. It’s a physical thing. God created women to be feminine. I don’t think they should be competing with men. It has nothing to do with her ability. I don’t think women should be in any position of leadership. I don’t think they should be presidents or politicians. I think women were created not in an inferior position, but in a role of submission to men. You can be a woman umpire if you want, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. You can be a homosexual if you want, but that doesn’t mean that’s right either.

Virtually the same reasoning was used when Landis voided Mitchell's contract with the Yankees in 1931, and also when George Trautman voided Eleanor Engle's two-day-old contract with a Senator's farm team in 1952 and banned women from the MLB minors.

6) Who replaced Hank Aaron at second base for the Indianapolis Clowns?
Answer: b, Toni Stone, an African American woman, played from 1949-1954. Ineligible for the AAGPBL because of her race, she played on otherwise all-male black teams, mostly in the Negro League. She signed on with the Clowns in 1953 after Aaron left for the Braves. When she left the Clowns, she was replaced by another woman, Connie Morgan.

7) Who holds the record for the most stolen bases in a season in professional ball?
Answer: c, Sophie Kurys, who played for the Racine Belles from 1943-1950. In 1946, she stole 201 bases out of 203 tries. Lou Brock's long-time record was 118 bases; Ricky Henderson's is 130.

8) Who was the first person to play on All-Star teams for both the AL and the NL and in the Negro League?
Answer: a, Lizzie Murphy. Murphy played in the American League All-Star game in 1922 and the National League All-Star game in 1928. This is a bit of a trick question, in that both were before the modern era of inter-league All-Star play.

In 1928, Lizzie Murphy played one game at first base for the Cleveland Colored Giants. During the game, she got a hit off Satchel Paige, much to the latter's embarrassment. (Toni Stone also got a hit off Satchel Paige.)

Murphy's career lasted 17 years. At the peak of her popularity, the Queen of Baseball could make as much as $50 per game selling cards of herself.

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minor correction: Jackie Mitchell was answer (a) for #3. (I wish the answer had been [b], for obvious reasons.)
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