Maria Pepe (born 1960) is best known for being one of the first girls to play Little League baseball. In 1972, at age 12, she pitched three Little League games for a Young Democrats team in Hoboken, New Jersey.
This was the same team which her friends from the neighborhood had joined, so she joined as well, after having been invited to play by Little League coach Jim Farina. Pepe was asked to leave the team after the Little League "threatened to revoke Hoboken's charter." The refusal to allow Pepe to play attracted the attention of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
A court case began on Pepe's behalf, which was supported by NOW. Ultimately the New Jersey Superior Court decided that Little League must allow girls to try out. As a result, the Little League organization began a program specifically for girls starting in 1974.
In 2004, she lent her glove and hat to the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. On August 20, 2004 she was also honored by Little League Baseball by being asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the 2004 Little League World Series in South Williamsport.
- "Greatest U.S. women's sports moments". ESPN. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- Spiegel, Jan Ellen (June 24, 2009). "The Woman Who Changed the Face of Little League Baseball". AARP Bulletin Today. AARP. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- "Little League World Series Opening Ceremony to Mark 30th Anniversary of Decision Allowing Girls to Play". August 9, 2004. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- S.F.L. (Fall–Winter 1998). "Alumni Profile: Maria Pepe". FDU Magazine. Fairleigh Dickinson University. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- "Maria Pepe sees fruits of playing in 1971". The Associated Press and ESPN. July 8, 2005. Retrieved 2009-09-15.