Jackie Mitchell strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

Her story has been told for over 80 years but not everyone knows the whole story. There are bits and pieces that have been passed down and meshed into the story you think you know.

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He curves were too much for them is based on the true story of Jackie Mitchell, the 18 year-old woman that signed a professional baseball contract in 1931. Her first and only appearance on the mound for the Chattanooga Lookouts was against the feared New York Yankees. On April 2nd, 1931 (the game was scheduled for April Fools Day) Jackie and the Lookouts went to battle again the Yankees in Engel Stadium. Jackie went in during the first inning. The first batter she faced was the Mighty Babe Ruth.

Jackie went on to not only strike out Babe Ruth but also Lou Gehrig. A story quickly spread that baseball commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis got word about this unbelievable feat and voided Jackie’s contract immediately and banned all women from organized baseball.  The truth is, it simply did not happen.

Landis knew all about Jackie before April 2nd and women weren’t banned from baseball until many years later.

April 2nd, 1931 wasn’t the end of Jackie’s story, nor was it the beginning. What did happen that led up to this extraordinary and historic baseball event? Was it all a gimmick orchestrated by Lookouts president and the “P.T. Barnum of the Bush Leagues” Joe Engel?

Read Her curves were too much for them to find out more about Jackie and her story.

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Merry Christmas and a baseball pillow

A very merry Christmas to some and a happy Thursday to everyone else.

I’m impossible to buy for and I really hate getting gifts. I love to give but always feel awkward getting gifts.  When family persists, I request commodities such as cologne or something homemade.

I get plenty of things throughout the year and really do not need more things. I think giving to someone in need or to a charity instead of to me is a much better thing to do.

But sometimes I am surprised.

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The origin of this particular gift goes back to late 1950’s minor league baseball.

Farm teams were, depending on the direction you were headed, either one step away or one step down from the big leagues.

The towns were smaller, the crowds were smaller and the money was smaller. The parent big league team would send used uniforms to the farm teams to be recycled. And by recycled, I mean squeeze every bit of life left in some already used and abused uniforms. Sometimes the major league teams letters and emblems would be removed and replaced with the minor league names and logos. Sometimes it was just easier to sew logos right over the existing logos.

Such as the case here. It appears that a Washington Senators uniform had been sent to Chattanooga circa 1956-57 to be reused. A possibly ruined Chattanooga Lookouts uniform had the “CHATTANOOGA” cut from the front flannel and sewed over “WASHINGTON” on the hand me down jersey.

Flash forward decades later and someone buys the the jersey. The new owner carefully removes the two scrap pieces of flannel and are left with 2 items now, a vintage Washington jersey and a couple of scraps of flannel that spell Chattanooga.

I acquired the 2 flaps of flannel because well, Lookouts baseball history, but I had no idea what I would do with them. They were oddly cut and really not usable for anything I could think of at the time. I held onto them until the next time I visited my mother. I figured my mother was the Queen of Crafts and maybe she could figure something out.

I had all but forgotten about the 2 pieces of felt until today, Christmas morning. After watching the kids open gifts, my mother handed me a bag with my name on it. I pulled the tissue paper out and found a pillow. A grey flannel pillow with the 2 scraps of jersey flannel incorporated into the design. My mother had found a way to purpose these partial pieces of history and give them life once again.

I did get the cologne, too.