Curves Were Too Much For Them
novella by Andy Broome
is Jackie Mitchell?
from chapter five of Her Curves
Were Too Much For Them
The town of Fall
River, Massachusetts may best be known for accused axe murderer Lizzie
but this town south of Boston is the birthplace of another
famous woman, a
woman famous not because of murder, but because of Murderers Row.
Thursday August 29th, 1912, Dr. Joseph
and Virne Wall Mitchell gave birth to a tiny three and a half-pound
baby girl named Virne Beatrice Mitchell. “Jack” or “Jackie” as she
would be called was as
frail as a dozen eggs. Jackie was a weak little
doctor told her mother that exercise and activity were required to
little Jackie. From the time she could walk, Dr. Joe was chasing Jackie
the yard and playing ball.
accomplished something most men never could. She struck out the mighty
Babe Ruth and the Iron Horse Lou Gehrig and she did it before she was
old enough to vote.
When Jackie signed her professional baseball contract, she became only
the second woman in history to have ever done so. The signing was a
celebration in true Engel style. The signing was covered not only by
the press but broadcasted live over the radio.
Jackie's first opponent was to be the mighy New York
Yankees. The Yankees would stop in Chattanooga as they worked their way
from Florida to New York. Some said it was fitting that such a "stunt"
would take place on April 1st, April Fool's Day.
As if it was a sign from the heavens that Jackie's big day was more
than a stunt, the game was postponed due to rain.
The next day, April 2nd, the clouds parted and the sun dried the field.
Before a croud of 4,000 including friends, family and cameras from all
over the country, young Jackie suited up to play with the Chattanooga
Just before the game, Joe Engel intorduced Jackie to her
two main rivals, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
Do you think Jackie was just a little nervous? If she was, she didn't
let the cameras see it.
In the first enning, with a man on and Babe Ruth next up to bat,
manager Niehoff proceeded to the mound to pull Lookouts pitcher Clyde
Barfoot. This was highly unusual but the plan was already in place.
Jackie would go in and face the next two batters, Babe Ruth and Lou
To find out what happens next, read Her Curves
Were Too Much for Them by Andy Broome.
Have a question about Jackie? Look here!
Author Andy Broome is a life long
baseball card collector and Chattanooga Lookouts fan.
Andy is the Senior Vintage Card
Expert and Grader with Beckett Grading Services in Dallas, TX.
His articles and cartoons can be
found in the monthly Beckett Media publications (www.Beckett.com)
He has been featured on Fox Sports
"Amazing Sports Stories" and has worked with the PBS series "Antiques
The photo above shows Andy holding
the "most expensive baseball card in the World," a copy of the rare
1909 T206 Honus Wagner. This copy sold in May 2008 for a record-setting
content is © 2009 Andy Broome including all images unless otherwise
credited and all text and excerpts from books or manuscripts. Nothing
may be copied or used without written consent.