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Women's baseball is played in several countries. The strongest and most organized women's baseball leagues are in the United States, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Cuba, Hong Kong, and Canada. Those countries have national governing bodies that support girls' and women's baseball programs. Other countries/regions that currently have organized women's baseball are France, Croatia, the Netherlands, India, Korea, Venezuela, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Pakistan. There also is a handful of women playing baseball in Vietnam currently on the Fishanu team at Hanoi University and on the Hanoi Baseball Club.
Important events and milestones in women's baseball:
1875 — The first women's baseball game for which fans were charged and women players were paid was played between the Blondes and the Brunettes in Springfield, Illinois on 11 September
1876 — The Resolutes, modeled after the Vassar College team, developed their own version of uniforms which included long-sleeved shirts with frilled high necklines, embroidered belts, wide floor-length skirts, high button shoes and broad striped caps
1880 — A Smith College team was disbanded after disapproving mothers complained about the children playing the sport, saying it was not appropriate for women to play
1890s to 1935 — Women's "Bloomer Girls" clubs barnstormed U.S. and played men’s town, semi-pro, and minor league teams; Bloomer teams had an average of 3 males on them; Rogers Hornsby and Smokey Joe Wood got their starts with Bloomer Girls teams, dressed as women
1900s — Bloomer Girls introduced night baseball games
1908 — The famed song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" was inspired by and written about a young girl's love of the game
1920s — Philadelphia had factory teams for women, women’s leagues, and the Philadelphia Bobbies for non-working women
1920s — Mary O’Gara took Philadelphia Bobbies to Japan to play men's teams
1928 — Lizzie Murphy became the first woman to play for a major league team in an exhibition game; she also became the first person, of either gender, to play for both the American League and National League in All-Star games
1930s — The "Bold Years" for women's baseball; women baseball players toured internationally, played junior baseball, and signed minor league contracts
1934 — Olympic hero Babe Didrikson pitched exhibition games for the Athletics, Cardinals, and Indians
1944 — Dottie Wiltse pitched for the AAGPBL up until she was 6 months pregnant
1946 — Edith Houghton became the first woman to scout for the major leagues
1946 — Sophie Kurys set the stolen base record for the AAGPBL with 201 stolen bases in 203 attempts; this record continues to be unequalled in baseball history, as Rickey Henderson is second in stolen bases with 130 (1982)
1948 — The Junior Belles became more popular, as more girls tried out for the teams; other AAGPBL teams, such as the Lassies and the Comets, began to sponsor girls’ junior baseball teams
1948 — After 5 years of playing, the AAGBL (also known as the AAGPBL) starts throwing pitches overhand instead of underhand
1950 — Racine Belles and Junior Belles folded due to lack of money
1952 — 23 June, organized baseball banned women from the minor leagues; the ban technically is still in effect but is likely unenforceable due to anti-discrimination laws.
1955 — Bill Allington formed two women's teams called Allington's All-Stars which barnstormed the U.S. playing men's town and semi-pro teams, like the Bloomer Girls did; lasted until 1957
1969 — Bernice Gera became the first woman to sign a professional umpire contract
1974 — Girls won the right to play baseball in Little League Baseball through Title IX when Janine Cinseruli (at age 10) won her court battle in Massachusetts
1976 — Christine Wren umpired in Class A Northwest League (minor leagues)
1988 — American Women's Baseball Association (AWBA) founded in Chicago; first organized women's league since AAGPBL (1943–1954)
1989 — Following the death of Bart Giamatti, Pam Postema was released from umpiring in the minor leagues, concluding a 13-year career in the minors
1990s — American Women's Baseball League (AWBL; also known as American Women's Baseball, AWB) was founded by Jim Glennie in an effort to unite women's baseball teams and leagues around the country and to provide support to them
1995 — WNABA had 100 affiliated women's baseball teams in 16 states in the U.S.
1995 — Ila Borders became the first woman to pitch and win a complete collegiate baseball game; Ila also was the first woman to win a collegiate baseball scholarship
1998 — Ila Borders became the first woman to win a men's pro game while pitching for the Duluth Dukes independent minor league team
1998 — After beginning its second season, the Ladies League Baseball expanded to 6 teams and went nationwide, but folds shortly after "due to lack of attendance"
1999–2007 — Ria Cortesio umpires professional baseball, moving up to Double A
2000 — The American Women's Baseball League (AWBL) took women’s baseball team to Japan to play Team Energen, the Japanese women’s national team
2001 — The first Women's World Series (WWS) was played at the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; countries that participated included the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and Japan — the U.S. won the gold medal
2003 — Pawtucket Slaterettes all-girls' baseball league celebrated its 30th season of all-girls' baseball
2003 — Women's baseball became an official sport (39th) of the AAU; this marked the first time in United States history that a U.S. national organization began sanctioning and supporting women’s baseball
2004 — The first-ever Women's Baseball World Cup was played in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; the event was sanctioned by the International Baseball Association and Federation (IBAF) and was hosted by Baseball Canada
2004 — USA Baseball sanctioned the first official national women's baseball team; the team competed in the 2004 WWS (in Japan) and in the 2004 Women's World Cup of Baseball
2004 — John Kovach, manager of the South Bend Blue Sox Women's Baseball Club, director of the Great Lakes Women's Baseball League, and AAU Women's Baseball Youth Baseball Chair, worked out a proposal with Little League, Inc. to use the Michiana Girls’ Baseball League as a model league to develop girls’ Little League baseball programs around the country; Although Little League started a boy’s softball program in 2000 because 500 boys were playing in Little League softball leagues around the U.S., the organization has not started a girls’ baseball program despite the thousands of girls playing baseball in Little League baseball leagues across the United States.
2006 — Ria Cortesio umpires MLB Futures Game, Home Run Derby in Pittsburgh, PA
2007 — Ria Cortesio umpires MLB Spring Training in AZ, but then is released after 2007 season
2007 — Chicago Pioneers girls' baseball team became the first-ever U.S. Girls' Baseball National Champions after defeating the Pawtucket Slaterettes during the 2007 Women's Baseball National Championship/Girls' Baseball National Championship in Ft. Myers, Florida
2008 — Eri Yoshida, at 16 years old, becomes Japan's first professional female baseball player to play in a men's league by signing a professional contract with the Kobe 9 Cruise of a new Japanese independent league. In April 2010, she signed a contract with the Chico Outlaws and became the first ever to play professionally in two countries.
2009 — Justine Siegal became the first female coach of a men's professional baseball team. In 2011, she was the first woman to throw batting practice to a MLB team, the Cleveland Indians at Spring training. She also threw BP to the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros and New York Mets.
2010 — Tiffany Brooks signs a professional baseball contract with the Big Bend Cowboys of the Continental Baseball League. This makes her the first female baseball player to play in an American men's professional baseball league since Ila Borders, and the first in the 21st Century. A woman professional baseball league opens in Japan.
2011 — The first ever members clubs are announced for Southern Ontario's Woman's Baseball League. Those clubs being located in London, Guelph, St Catharines and Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada. This is the first ever professional league for women, aged 18 and over, in Ontario and will start playing in 2012.
Organized international competition in women's baseball began with the 2001 Women's World Series played in Toronto's Skydome. Women's World Series events were held in 2002 (St. Petersburg, Florida), in 2003 (Gold Coast, Australia), and in 2004 (Uozu-city, Japan). These Women's World Series events were organized by the American Women's Baseball Federation and the Women's Baseball Association of Japan. They paved the way for official International Baseball Federation sanctioned Women's World Cup competitions.
In 2004 five countries competed in the 2004 Women's World Cup in Edmonton, Canada: the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and Taiwan. In 2006 seven countries competed in the 2006 Women's World Cup in Taiwan: Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Hong Kong, Japan and the United States. The United States won the Gold Medal in both events. In 2008 the Women's World Cup was played in Matsuyama, Japan, and featured eight teams from Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, Japan and the United States. Japan won its first Gold Medal.
Additional elite/world-class level international competitions include the Hong Kong, China, Phoenix Cup International Women's Baseball Tournament. Begun in 2008, the annual event held in Kowloon, Hong Kong, China has seen six international teams competing for gold in each of the last two years. The competing country's elite club teams (composed primarily of National Team players) in 2008 were: North Stars (North America), Far East Bloomers (Japan), Vanguard (Taiwan), Sunrise (Korea), Allies (Hong Kong), and Aussie Hearts (Australia). In 2008, Japan faced North America in the Championship Game, with Japan eventually taking Gold and the North American team earning Silver. 2009 saw the return of the Far East Bloomers, Aussie Hearts and the Allies, with new teams competing from North America (Liberty Belles), Taiwan (Kapok Flowers), and Korea (TOP). North America faced Japan again for the Championship, with the Far East Bloomers again emerging with Gold and North America with Silver. Taiwan defeated Korea for the Bronze.
Additional international women's tournaments are being developed for 2010 in Montréal, Québec, Canada and in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
The first Pan American Women's Baseball Championship (I Campeonato Panamericano del Béisbol Femenino) was played in Valencia, Venezuela from 13–20 November 2009. Teams that competed were Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. Women's baseball was added to the Pan American Games in 2015.
Pakistan has had a national women's baseball championship annually since 2005. The 2009 championship was played from 15–17 December 2009 at Kinnaird College, Lahore, Pakistan – under the auspices of Pakistan Federation Baseball
The 2010 Women's Baseball World Cup was an international baseball competition that was held in Venezuela from 12 August – 22 August 2010
There are many organizations around the world that are helping to build baseball opportunities for women. A few within the U.S. are:
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, created during World War II
- North American Women's Baseball League
- American Women's Baseball Federation
- Women's Baseball League
- United States Women's Baseball and
- USA Baseball
- California Women's Baseball League
- Arizona cactus Wrens Women's Baseball Club
- Central Ontario Girls' Baseball League
- Justine Siegal (PDF), Baseball Glory.
- "Breaking down barriers, one pitch at a time", Sports, Yahoo!, 2011-02-21.
- "Baseball Video Highlights & Clips", Siegal moves onto Athletics batting practice (Video), MLB.
- Advocate for Women in Baseball Finally Gets to Be One, The New York Times, Sports, Baseball, Pitcher, 2011-02-22, retrieved 11 October 2013.
- "2011 spring training: Cleveland Indians put first woman on MLB mound — for batting practice", ESPN, Go.
- Dream Comes True For Female Pitcher, NPR, 2011-02-23.
- 日本女子プロ野球機構 Girls Professional Baseball League.
- Woman's Baseball League.
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association
- North American Women's Baseball League
- American Women's Baseball Federation
- Bountiful Basket, Fresh Fruit Bouquet Company, Bountiful Basket Arrangements
- Welcome to USA Baseball: Home of 1988 & 2000 Olympic Gold Medalists
- California Women's Baseball League Home
- Page Title
- Central Ontario Girls Baseball League - Women's / Girls' Baseball in Ontario Canada
Lists of and links to teams and leagues can be found on these and other sites:
- Women's baseball forum
- Women's baseball at DMOZ
- Girls Baseball League Dot Org - related sites, articles and access to a public blog
- Central Ontario Girls Baseball League
- California Women's Baseball League
- Woman's Baseball League