Josephine O'Grady

United States

If a particle of your observations tugs at you a certain way, don't forget to write it down.

Message to Readers

I am a pitcher on the local softball team so I have always looked up to Jackie Mitchell, as both
a woman who played baseball, changing the way many people looked at the sport, and also as
a pitcher with a good amount of strength and determination to follow her dream. Does this piece
make you feel as though you were in the stands when Jackie struck out Babe Ruth? Do you think
the piece is well organized? I would love feedback on this piece, and thank you for taking the time
to read this.

The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth

May 8, 2015

"I don't know what's going to happen if they begin to let women in baseball. Of course, they will never be good. Why? Because they are too delicate. It would kill them to play ball everyday."

These were Babe Ruth's words regarding women playing baseball. And not long after, his team, the New York Yankees, played the Chatanooga Lookouts. And on that day, a female pitcher named Jackie Mitchell stepped up to the mound and struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig with a wicked fastball. The crowd went wild. Soon after, Jackie was pulled from the mound and another pitcher was put in. As she walked away, Jackie waved to the screaming crowd, amazed at what they just saw.

Born, August 29, 1913, Jackie Mitchell has been a role model to women and girls for a long time. She learned the basics of baseball from her father at a young age, and was taught to pitch by her neighbor, Dazzy Vance, a Major League pitcher who would later be initiated into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

At 17, she impressed Joe Engel, the president of the Chatanooga Lookouts, while attending a special softball school in Georgia. Mr Engel offered her a contract to play for the Lookouts for the 1931 season, which Jackie accepted.

"This chance is the answer to a dream. So I have to make it good," said Jackie.

Then, on April 2, 1931, the Lookouts played the Yankees. Together, Ruth and Gehrig stood on the sidelines and watched Jackie warm up.

"She uses an odd, side-armed delivery, and puts both speed and curve on the ball. Her greatest asset, however, is control. She can place the ball where she pleases, and her knack at guessing the weakness of the batter is uncanny," wrote the New York Times about Jackie's pitcing.

When Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate, Jackie got ready. The first pitch was a ball, low and outside. Ruth smirked, stepped out of the box, and gave a practice swing. On the second pitch, Ruth swung and missed. Strike one. Third pitch, strike two. Ruth, annoyed, demanded the umpire to come over and inspect the ball. When the umpire finished the inspection, Jackie threw a pitch that swiftly landed in the outside corner, which the umpire called a strike. Ruth threw his bat, said some disturbing words to the umpire, and stomped into the dugout.

Next up was Lou Gehrig, known my many as the Iron Horse. Jackie struck him out on the first three pitches.


Many people ignored Jackie's outstanding performance and still agreed, like Babe Ruth, that women did not belong on the baseball field. "But," said Scholastic Magazine, "If you tell a girl she can't play baseball, what else will she think she can't do?"

That day, the Lookouts lost to the Yankees. Despite this, nobody forgot Jackie's tenacity and the respect she showed to every batter who walked up to the plate.

The Lookouts certainly didn't. In 1987, Jackie Mitchell was asked to throw the first ceremonial pitch on baseball opening day.


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