If a 17-year-old girl from a nothing team had struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig–back to back–during an exhibition game in 1931, don’t you think everyone would know about it?
Yeah, not so much. Because in 1931, striking out two baseball greats in a row apparently got your contract voided for your own “protection”, baseball being “too strenuous” for a woman. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that more people have heard of the fictional Roy Hobbs than Jackie Mitchell. Am I right?
I’d like to get on my soapbox and speak eloquently and scathingly about the unfairness of such things, but my two-year-old was up in the night, and it was my older girls’ first day of school; banal adjectives of outrage just keep floating aimlessly inside my head. I’ll settle instead for encouraging everyone, everywhere to read Marissa Moss’s Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen. It’s a longish picture book, so it’s not a huge time commitment, and these are the kinds of books that need to be read. (Recorded history still needs some balancing, not to mention the fact that reading Jackie aloud to my kiddos kept me on the edge of my seat. That’s more than live baseball has ever managed to do.)
Read it. Heck, buy it–and share it. More people should know Jackie Mitchell’s name.