Pam Postema

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Pam Postema (born April 1954 in Willard, Ohio)[1] was the first female baseball umpire to ever officiate a Major League Baseball spring training game. For her unique contributions to the game, she was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary Shrine of the Eternals in 2000.[2]


Postema first applied to the Al Summers Umpire School in Florida (now the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School,[3]) in 1976. Her first application application was ignored and when she applied for the second time she was rejected until finally they accepted her. Her class was originally 130 but by the end of the season 30 had quit or been asked to leave. Pam, despite making it and graduating with her class, struggled to find a job for three months post-graduation.[4]

Early career[edit]

In 1977, Postema received an offer for a job in the rookie Gulf Coast League. She spent two years there, after which she had two-year stints in both Class A and Double-A, becoming the first woman to umpire at those levels, before being promoted to Triple-A baseball in the Pacific Coast League. During her six years at the Triple-A level, Postema was looked highly upon by many players, although other players objected to the notion of a female umpire.[5]

MLB career[edit]

Although often considered a prospect for major league umpiring, Pam Postema never received the call until in 1988, when Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti offered her a contract to officiate at the MLB level during spring training. Later that year, Giamatti also offered her a chance to umpire at the "Hall of Fame Game" between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves. Both opportunities looked promising, and she hoped to gain a contract into the major league. Unfortunately, Giamatti died soon thereafter in 1989, and Postema never again got the chance to umpire in the major leagues. In December 1989, the Triple-A Alliance cancelled Postema's contract after 13 years of well-regarded experience in the minor leagues. She then filed a sex-discrimination lawsuit at the federal level. She stated, "I believe I belong in the major leagues. If it weren't for the fact that I'm a woman, I would be there right now."[6]

After Baseball[edit]

In 1992, Postema published a book entitled You've Gotta Have Balls to Make It In This League. Following her umpiring career, she worked as a trucker, a factory worker,[7] and later a welder, but quit in order to take care of her father, who was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.[8] On March 29, 2007, Ria Cortesio became the second female umpire to work a Major League spring training game.


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