Alta Weiss

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Alta Weiss
Alta Weiss.jpg
Pitcher
Born: (1890-02-09)February 9, 1890
Berlin, Holmes County, Ohio
Died: February 12, 1964(1964-02-12) (aged 74)
Ragersville, Ohio
Batted: Threw: right
Professional debut
1907 for the Vermilion Independents
Last professional appearance
1922[1] for the Weiss All Stars
Teams

Alta Weiss Hisrich (February 9, 1890 – February 12, 1964), born Alta Weiss, was an American minor league baseball pitcher from Ohio who drew large crowds to exhibition games at minor league and major league venues in the US states of Ohio and Kentucky. She was an early semiprofessional female baseball player who went on to become a physician.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1890 in Berlin, Holmes County, Ohio, she was the daughter of Dr. George and Lucinda Zehnder Weiss.[1][2] When she was five years old the family moved to Ragersville.[1][3]

Weiss began to pitch for boys' baseball teams at the age of 14. At 17, she joined a men's semiprofessional team, the nearby Vermilion Independents. 1200 people turned out to see her make her debut: she gave up only four hits and a single run in five innings. Soon, special trains were being run out from Cleveland, Ohio whenever she pitched. When she appeared in the Cleveland Naps' League Park, more than 3,000 people paid their way in to see her.[4]

"I found that you can't play ball in skirts, I tried. I wore a skirt over my bloomers – and nearly broke my neck. Finally I was forced to discard it, and now I always wear bloomers.- but made so wide that the fullness gives a skirtlike effect," she told reporters.

Later career[edit]

Her baseball skills were good enough to put her through medical school at the Starling Medical College, where she was the only female to graduate with the class of 1914.[1][2] Even after she began to practice as a physician in Norwalk, she continued to play off and on into the 1920s.[2][5]

Weiss died in 1964 in Ragersville, Ohio, just three days after her 74th birthday.

Honors[edit]

A picture-story book for children Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings, by Deborah Hopkinson, with illustrations by Terry Widener, was published in 2003 (ISBN 0-689-83300-8).[6][7] On October 20, 2004 she was inducted into the Ragersville Hall of Fame.[1] Her uniform was sent to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York for exhibition in a Women's baseball exhibit that opened in 2005.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Eberle, Maxine Renner (October 20, 2004). "Ragersville Hall of Fame to induct Alta Weiss as first female semi-pro baseball player". Retrieved September 26, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "You Cant Play Ball In A Skirt: The Alta Weiss Story". Ragersville Historical Society. February 3, 2009. Retrieved September 26, 2009. 
  3. ^ Ragersville, in Tuscarawas County, is south-southeast of Sugarcreek, Ohio and east-northeast of Baltic.
  4. ^ "Miss Alta Weiss of the Weiss All-Stars of Cleveland, Ohio". Retrieved September 26, 2009. 
  5. ^ Ward, Geoffrey C.; Ken Burns. Baseball An Illustrated History. ISBN 0-679-76541-7. 
  6. ^ Hopkinson, Deborah. "Deborah Hopkinson – Girl Wonder". Retrieved September 28, 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ The book was awarded a Jan Addams honor award for illustration in 2004. See "Jane Addams Peace Association – Previous Winners of the Jane Addams Children's Book Awards Listed by Year". Retrieved September 27, 2009.