Mo'ne Davis

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Mo'ne Davis
Mo'ne Davis (15948839942).jpg
Mo'ne Davis at the 2014 National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony
Personal information
Full name Mo'ne Ikea Davis
Nickname(s) Mo
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Born (2001-06-24) June 24, 2001 (age 16)[1]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m) (2014)[2]
Weight 111 lb (50 kg) (2014)[1]
Other interests Basketball, Soccer
Website http://www.andersonmonarchs.org/mone.php and http://www.taneybaseball.com
Sport
Country United States
Sport Baseball
Position Pitcher
League Little League
Club Anderson Monarchs and Taney Youth Baseball Association
Updated on August 27, 2014.

Mo'ne Ikea Davis (born June 24, 2001)[3] is an American former Little League Baseball pitcher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was one of two girls who played in the 2014 Little League World Series and was the first girl to earn a win and to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history. She was the 18th girl overall to play, the sixth to get a hit, and the first African-American girl to play in the Little League World Series. She was also the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a Little League player.

Early life[edit]

Davis is the daughter of Lamar Davis and Lakeisha McLean.[4] She has lived with her mother and stepfather, Mark Williams, since the age of six.[5]

In 2008, Steve Bandura, who is program director for Marian Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia, observed Davis playing football with her cousins and older brother. He noticed that "she was throwing this football in perfect spirals, effortless and running these tough kids down and tackling them."[6] Bandura asked her if she would like to come to a basketball practice. When she came to practice, Bandura asked her to watch the practice, but she wanted to participate. Bandura told The Philadelphia Tribune that "Her eyes were just glued on the drill and, when it came time for her turn, she went through it like she has been doing it a thousand times. I just knew right then."[6] According to The Philadelphia Tribune, Davis became Bandura's best basketball player and the only girl on the team. She also began playing and excelling at baseball and soccer.[6][7]

Bandura, together with other sponsors, helped Davis transfer to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, which is a private girls' school.[6] Her mother, Lakeisha McLean, told The Philadelphia Tribune that she was unaware that her daughter was so athletic.[6] In 2011, she was a point guard in basketball, a pitcher, shortstop, and third baseman in baseball, but she revealed that she started pitching when she was a substitute from outfielder, and mid-fielder for soccer.[6]

As of August 2014, while notable as a Little League pitcher, she considers basketball her primary sport.[8] She aspires to become a WNBA player, and has expressed desire to play college basketball for the UConn Huskies of the University of Connecticut, despite not being formally recruited, and follow in the footsteps of Maya Moore, a UConn alumna who went on to play in WNBA.[9][10]

In 2015, she released a memoir, written with Hilary Beard, Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name.[11][12] That year she also teamed up with the brand M4D3 (Make A Difference Everyday) to design a line of sneakers for girls, with some of the proceeds going toward the Plan International’s Because I Am A Girl initiative, which has the goal of helping to lift four million girls in the developing world out of poverty.[11]

Pitching[edit]

At age 13, Davis threw a 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) fastball, while the average velocity in her age class was 63 miles per hour (101 km/h) to 73 miles per hour (117 km/h) range.[13][14] According to Will Femia, a 71 miles per hour (114 km/h) pitch (which was clocked during her August 15, 2014 game) is equivalent in reaction time at the plate for a batter to a 93 miles per hour (150 km/h) pitch on a full sized diamond.[15][16][17][18][19] She also threw a curve ball that gave "opposing hitters fits".[20][21]

Davis relied more on the precise mechanics of pitching rather than strength.[2] According to John Brenkus of ESPN, Davis had a wind up and release point that never varied by more than 3 degrees.[2] Although her arm was 15% shorter than a major league pitcher's arm, she was able to deliver balls at over 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), due to the efficiency of the kinetic linking of her body parts. Her pitching was compared to the throwing motion of major league pitcher Jonathan Papelbon.[2] At the end of her throwing motion, her arm was moving forward at peak angular velocity of 2500˚/sec, which was over 80% of the peak angular velocity (3000˚/sec) of typical major league pitchers.[2]

Little League World Series[edit]

Background[edit]

In 1972, Maria Pepe was the first girl to start in Little League games, but she was removed when opposing teams demanded her removal. The National Organization for Women filed suit for Pepe, and in 1973 Judge Sylvia Pressler ruled that "The institution of Little League is as American as the hot dog and apple pie. There is no reason why that part of Americana should be withheld from girls." Although the ruling came too late for Pepe to play, since she had turned 14, the ruling made it possible for Davis and other girls to play Little League baseball.[22]

Davis was the fourth American girl and 18th overall to play in the Little League World Series, out of almost 9,000 participants since the tournament began in 1947. The 2014 Little League World Series was also the first in which two girls participated.[23] Davis was also the sixth girl to get a hit in Little League World Series history.[24]

On August 10, 2014, Davis pitched a three-hit 8–0 shutout over Newark National Little League of Delaware to get into the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Little League World series.[20][25]

First win for a girl[edit]

On August 15, 2014, Davis was the first girl in Little League World Series history to pitch a winning game for the Taney Dragons and earned the win,[23] and she was also the first girl to pitch a shutout in Little League postseason history.[13][26] She led her team to a 4–0 victory over Nashville. She pitched six innings, struck out eight batters, and gave up two infield hits. By the fifth inning, the Nashville pitcher had reached the 85-pitch limit in Little League baseball, but Davis had only thrown 44 pitches.[23] In the sixth inning, she struck out the first two batters, and the third batter was at the full count when she struck him out.[13] After the game, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett predicted that some day she would play in professional baseball.[13][24][27][28]

Television ratings[edit]

ESPN's broadcast of the semifinals game in which Davis played on August 20, 2014 brought a 3.4 overnight rating, which is currently an all-time high for Little League on ESPN.[29]

Media and celebrity[edit]

After pitching the first shutout in postseason Little League history, she received congratulatory Twitter messages from Mike Trout, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Durant, and requests for interviews by television hosts such as Jimmy Fallon.[13][27] Rachel Maddow said that Davis was the "best new thing in the world".[15] She also was praised by Ellen DeGeneres, Billie Jean King, and Michelle Obama.[19] Davis told ESPN "I never thought at the age of 13 I'd be a role model. I always wanted to be a role model, but being a baseball role model is really cool."[27][30]

She appeared on the August 25, 2014 Sports Illustrated front cover,[31] which made her the first Little League baseball player to appear on the front cover of a top US sports magazine as a Little League player.[32] Asked about appearing on cover of Sports Illustrated, Davis said "I don't know. Kind of surprised, but I mean, it was fun."[33]

In 2014, Paul Graziano, who had been the Little League World Series press box announcer for the last 34 years, stated that he had never seen the level of excitement as early in the tournament and that this was partly due to the presence of Davis. The crowds cheered every time Davis pitches or was at bat, and she received standing ovations as she was pitching her shut-out win on August 15, 2014.[34]

On August 19, 2014, Mark Hyman, assistant professor of sports management at George Washington University, told The New York Times that "She's the most talked-about baseball player on earth right now".[33] According to The New York Times, Davis increased the ratings of ABC and ESPN and, as of August 19, Davis had appeared on the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer for five straight days.[33]

Josh Peter, writing for USA Today, raised concern about the merchandising and marketing surrounding Davis' celebrity.[35] For example, on August 20, 2014, a baseball appeared on eBay, and the auction price was up to $510,[36] along with approximately 40 other items supposedly autographed by Davis.[35] However, it was not just the autograph seekers who created problems for Davis. According to Peter, two companies were selling unauthorized Mo'ne jerseys.[35]

In September 2014, Davis donated her jersey to the Baseball Hall of Fame. She was accompanied by teammates from the Anderson Monarchs. Mamie Johnson, one of the three women to play in Negro league baseball was present at the event.[37]

In October 2014, Davis was named one of "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014" by Time magazine.[38] Also in October, a 16-minute documentary about Davis, entitled I Throw Like a Girl, directed by Spike Lee, and produced by Spike DDB for Chevrolet, was released.[39] On October 25 Davis threw out the ceremonial first pitch of game 4 of the MLB World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco.[40] In addition, Davis was named Sports Illustrated Kids' "SportsKid of the Year" for 2014.[41] and was named one of ESPNW's Impact 25 in 2014.[42]

In March 2015, Bloomsburg University baseball player Joey Casselberry made a crude remark about her on Twitter and was suspended from future play. After he had made a public apology, Davis initiated a plea to the school, requesting that the player be reinstated. Bloomsburg University responded with the statement: "Her request demonstrates the type of person she is, her level of maturity and the empathy that her family and coach teach her. Bloomsburg University stands firm on our decision; however, his consequences will be reviewed as is common in disciplinary actions like this."[43]

Davis was shown in Marie Claire magazine's "The 8 Greatest Moments for Women in Sports".[44]

In July 2015 Davis won the Best Breakthrough Athlete ESPY Award.[45]

Analysis of her broader impact[edit]

In 2014, writing for CNN, Kelly Wallace suggested that Davis' accomplishments will affect both girls and boys, women and men.[32] In Wallace's view, she will inspire girls who want to play baseball in the future. To support this view, Wallace cited the case of Stephanie Tuck, who, as a girl, played on a Little League team. Tuck, recounting the experience of Little league play, said "I was heckled by the dads: 'Get that girl off the field.' I used to literally pray the ball would not come to me in right field, as the pressure was so intense."[32] Wallace also wrote that Davis' play will remove the "specialness" of girls playing at the level of boys. In the future, fans will look at how good a player is, and gender will not be important.[32] For men and boys, Wallace argued that Davis' performance will reduce gender biases about the roles of boys and girls.[32] For example, "Throwing like a girl", according to Wallace, now has a completely different and positive meaning.[32] Melissa Isaacson, writing for ABC News, expressed similar views.[46] Wallace also speculated that the more attention female athletes such as Davis receive from girls, boys, men, and women, the more popular women's sports will become.[32] Finally, Wallace suggested that the tremendous interest that Davis has piqued in the Little League World Series might lead to increased participation of both boys and girls in baseball, which has suffered from major league "performance-enhancing drug scandals".[32]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Longman, Jeré (August 19, 2014). "Sports Illustrated and, Maybe in a Few Years, a Driver’s License". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Brenkus, John (August 18, 2014). "Sport Science: Mo'ne Davis". ESPN. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ Miller, Randy (June 16, 2015). "Mo'ne Davis turning 14 during Civic Rights barnstorming tour with Anderson Monarchs". NJ.com. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Meet the Monarchs: Mo'ne Davis #11". Philadelphia Youth Organization. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ Terruso, Julia (August 20, 2014). "A day in the life of Mo'ne Davis, reluctant cover girl". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Richards, Kimberley (December 14, 2011). "South Philly girl, 10, excels in several sports". The Philadelphia Tribune. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ Breen, Matt; Dribben, Melissa; Inquirer Staff Writers (August 16, 2014). "Taney's Mo'ne Davis handles celebrity in stride". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ Tauber, Michelle (August 17, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis: 5 Things to Know About the History-Making Little League Pitcher". People. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Mo'ne Davis: No recruiting talk". ESPN. September 5, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ Voepel, Mechelle (September 1, 2014). "Future glimpse for Mo'ne Davis?". ESPN. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Erin Clements. "Little League star Mo'ne Davis designs sneaker line to benefit impoverished girls - News". TODAY.com. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  12. ^ Hilary,, Beard,. Remember my name : my story, from first pitch to game changer. ISBN 9780062397522. OCLC 894625294. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Jacobs, Emma (August 16, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis Throws Like A Girl—At 70 MPH". NPR. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  14. ^ CBS News (August 15, 2014). "Girl takes electric fastball to Little League's big show". CBS News. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Femia, Will (August 16, 2014). "How fast is Mo’ne Davis fast?". MSNBC. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  16. ^ Fioriglio, Tony (July 22, 2014). "LITTLE LEAGUE: Taney's Mo'ne Davis showing she can play with the boys". The Times Herald. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  17. ^ Renoble, Ryan (August 10, 2014). "Mo'Ne Davis, One Of Little League's Few Female Players, Just Made The World Series". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  18. ^ NewsOne Staff (August 12, 2014). "Striking Out Six Batters, Mo’Ne Davis Pitches Like A Girl". News One. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Gay, Jason (August 17, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis Is a 70-mph Ace". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Fox News Insider (August 13, 2014). "Girl Beats Boys With Devastating Curveball to Reach Little League World Series". Fox News. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  21. ^ Mcintyre, Jason (August 11, 2014). "Mo'Ne Davis: Femal Pitcher in Little League World Series Has Filthy Curveball, Throws 70 mph Heat". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  22. ^ Hildebrand, James (August 11, 2014). "We Heart: Mo'Ne Davis, Little League Pitcher". Ms. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c Rhoden, William C. (August 15, 2014). "A Mound Becomes a Summit: Mo'ne Davis Dominates at Little League World Series". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b SI Wire (August 15, 2014). "Mo'Ne Davis becomes first girl to throw a shutout in LLWS". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  25. ^ Bieler, Des (August 11, 2014). "Mo’Ne Davis pitches Pennsylvania team into Little League World Series". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  26. ^ Berg, Ted (August 15, 2014). "13-year-old sensation Mo'Ne Davis throws two-hit shutout at Little League World Series". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  27. ^ a b c "A New Reality: How Modest Mo'Ne Davis is adjusting to Fan Frenzy". ESPN. August 15, 2013. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  28. ^ Dodds, Eric (August 15, 2014). "This Has Been the Greatest Start in Little League World Series History". Time. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  29. ^ O'Connell, Michael (August 21, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis Pitches Record Ratings for Little League World Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 22, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  30. ^ Angelo, Megan (August 12, 2014). "Meet Mo'Ne Davis, the Girl Pitching Phenom Who's Tearing It Up at the Little League World Series". Glamour. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  31. ^ Axson, Scooby (August 19, 2014). "Sports Illustrated cover". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h Wallace, Kelly (August 20, 2014). "Baseball sensation Mo'ne Davis' impact on girls and boys". CNN. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b c Longman, Jere (August 19, 2014). "Sports Illustrated and, Maybe in a Few Years, a Driver's License". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  34. ^ McGonigal, John (August 18, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis And Chicago's Jackie Robinson West Are Big Stars At Little League World Series". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  35. ^ a b c Peter, Josh (August 20, 2013). "Mo'ne Davis merchandise means money -- and outrage". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Mo'ne Davis Signed Baseball Snags Big Bid on EBay". NBC News. August 21, 2014. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  37. ^ Associated Press (September 26, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis on HOF: 'Amazing'". ESPN. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  38. ^ Begley, Sarah (October 13, 2014). "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014". Time. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  39. ^ Callahan, Yasha (October 23, 2013). "Watch Spike Lee’s Mo’ne Davis Documentary, I Throw Like a Girl". The Root. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Bryan Stow hollers 'Play Ball!'". ESPN. October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Pitcher Mo'ne Davis Named SI's `Sports Kid of the Year'". Businessweek.com. 
  42. ^ "2014 espnW Impact 25". Espn.go.com. July 16, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  43. ^ Mo'Ne Davis Says Player Who Sent Offensive Tweet Deserves Second Chance, National Public Radio, Eyder Peralta, March 23, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  44. ^ Friedman, Megan. "Historic Moments in Female Sports – Athletic Women". Marieclaire.com. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  45. ^ Ryan Venezia, Sports Producer (October 22, 2012). "Mo’ne Davis wins Best Breakthrough Athlete ESPY". Philly.com. Retrieved July 16, 2015. 
  46. ^ Isaacson, Melissa (August 18, 2014). "Why Mo'ne Davis' Play Matters To Girls". ABC News. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 

External links[edit]