Oftentimes, television is a medium that can take us away from the doldrums of everyday reality. That’s one of the reasons it is so appealing. However, even the world of fantasy that is enclosed within that bright and colorful escape apparatus takes much of its subject matter from actual events. With Pitch, Fox is simply an extrapolating of what the life of Little League pitching sensation Mo’ne Davis might be 10 years down the line, with lots of hard work.
(Photo Credit: Fox)
It tells the story of Ginny Baker, played by actress Kylie Bunbury, a rookie screwball pitcher attempting to become the first woman to play in a Major League Baseball game.
You might not know it, but the history of professional baseball is filled with women striving to push the barriers. That history goes all the way back to 1920’s, when several women attracted the attention of scouts on the semi-pro circuit and were seriously considered for competition against all-male teams.
The most prominent among these was Lizzie Murphy of the Providence Independents.
(Lizzie Murphy, Photo Credit: National Pastime Museum)
Though she was praised for her fielding expertise, Murphy was never called up to the majors. She had a long career in the semi-pro leagues that lasted from 1918 through 1935. Observers at the time may have watched Murphy’s career and thought it would only be a matter of time before women were allowed to compete against men in Major League Baseball.
However, despite having suited up way back when great granddad was still stuntin’, Lizzie Murphy’s career is likely the most successful baseball career any American woman has ever had.
(Pitcher Eri Yoshida, Photo Credit: Time)
In 2008 16-year-old Eri Yoshida became Japan’s first woman to play in a men’s league when she signed a contract with the Japanese Independent League, and in 2010 she signed on to play with the now defunct Chico Outlaws of the North American League. From an American perspective, Justine Siegal became the first woman coach of a men’s professional baseball team as first base coach for the Brockton Rox.
Additionally, Siegal would be the first woman to throw batting practice to a MLB team. In 2015, she was hired by the Oakland A’s for a brief coaching stint in their instructional league, becoming the first woman to ever coach a major league team.
As Pitch premiered on FOX on September 22, it is highly likely that somewhere, there is a young woman dominating her male baseball peers, be it in high school, recreational or otherwise.
This same woman is likely being overlooked for her gender as well. As we watch the trials and tribulations of young Kylie Bunbury portray Ginny Baker on our television screens, it would be a good idea to remember that a woman playing in the majors isn’t as far fetched as our chauvinism may make it out to be.