Update #2 (6:19 PM EDT):
Update (5:50 PM EDT): As noted by reader Alex on Twitter, Eri Yoshida pitched in the Golden and North American Leagues from 2010-12, so Whitmore is not the first woman to play pro baseball nor are the Stompers the first co-ed baseball team as claimed in the Stompers’ press release. Still, it’s very cool.
The Sonoma Stompers, an independent league team in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, announced the signing of 17-year-old pitcher/outfielder Kelsie Whitmore on Wednesday. The Stompers will be the first co-ed professional baseball team since the 1950’s in the Negro Leagues.
The Stompers are also expected to sign Stacy Piagno, 25, who is a pitcher/infielder, the club announced earlier this week. Both Whitmore and Piagno will play for Team USA in the Women’s Baseball World Cup, held in South Korea this September.
Kudos to the Stompers for helping pave the way for more inclusivity in baseball. Despite the retrograde whining from sexist men, there’s no reason a talented woman can’t compete in pro ball with the guys. And kudos to Whitmore and Piagno as well, for being the face of women’s inclusion in baseball. Hopefully, Whitmore and Piagno inspire many more women and female-identifying people to play sports and fight for inclusion.
If the Stompers sound familiar, it’s because they made headlines in April for letting Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus and Ben Lindbergh of FiveThirtyEight run the ballclub last year, which they chronicled in a book called The Only Rule Is It Has to Work. The Stompers also have Sean Conroy, who last year became the first openly gay player in professional baseball.