The Physical Obstacle for Women in Baseball

While it probably won't be Jennie Finch, hopefully a woman will break into the majors someday (via Jim).

While it probably won’t be Jennie Finch, hopefully a woman will break into the majors someday (via Jim).

My wife is pregnant. Friends ask me, “Do you want a boy or girl?”

I answer, “It doesn’t matter. The child’s playing baseball either way.”

This is a joke, of course. I can no more force my child to enjoy baseball than my own artist father could convince me to prefer painting over mathematics. But there is a kernel of truth in there. I want all my future children to pursue athletics, especially baseball. And I do not want a matter of gender disqualifying them from the sports they like.

When I say, “I hope women will one day play in the majors,” I don’t say this with a passing fancy. I hope women play in the majors because, yes, I think it would be fun, but also I think it would be right.

Half of baseball fans are women. And they’re not there just to ogle Joey Votto‘s biscuits (and suggesting as much is offensive, so stop it, MLB apparel companies). This sport has a history of female athletes that predates the NBA and the Union of European Football Associations. Women love this sport; it is as much theirs as it is men’s.

In 2011, I wrote an article for FanGraphs suggesting that female athletes could be an untapped resource for baseball talent. To the delight of my family, the very first response to the article was an all-caps: “NOPE.”

I was less delighted by the blunt response and by the fact the proposal engendered over 300 comments of debate. I would much have preferred the idea of women in baseball had met a resounding “Huzzah!” as baseball fans around the world recognized that our fine sport is in a unique position to accommodate the athletic talents of both genders.

I realize now that I will need more work, more evidence, to convince not only the open minds out there, but myself. I had enough smart minds disagree with me that I recognized I needed to study the issue more fully.

The Matter of Testosterone

Let’s begin with what we widely believe: Men are predisposed towards greater physical ability than women. Male basketball teams shoot the ball further and dunk the ball more frequently; male golfers hit the ball further; male sprinters and long distance runners finish the races faster and hold the fastest records; male swimmers do the same. Beg for equality as much as I may, genetics (namely, the distribution of testosterone) favors the male athlete.

It is this greater muscle mass [resulting from testosterone differences] that most researchers agree gives men a distinct advantage in many sports. On average, women are about 66% as strong as men according to [Dr. Carol Christensen], with the greatest disparity being in upper-body strength (56%).

This is what primarily rules out contact sports like football, boxing and wrestling from head-to-head competition between the sexes. And even as women continue to improve their training techniques and times in other sports, there are indications that they may have done all they can to erase the inherent physiological differences between the sexes.

The Wall Street Journal, 2012

But this is what is so great about baseball. As Greg Simons noted in December, baseball is about specialization; players do not need the same athletic talents to produce the same results:

While many pitchers fit the mold of the 6-foot-4, 220-pound flame-throwing beast, there are numerous exceptions. Bartolo Colon and David Wells have succeeded despite having the physiques of couch potatoes. Tim Collins has been getting people out as a member of the Royals bullpen for the last three seasons in spite of his listed size of 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds.

So here was my theory: Female athletes do not need to be better than the best male athletes to be viable major league candidates. They need to be better than the 25th man; they need to outplay Nick Green, not Mike Trout.

This is all thought experiment, though. The most legitimate pro female league in the world, the Japanese Women’s Baseball League (JWBL), draws from a shallow talent pool. So throwing these female players against a male baseball team would not produce much useful information. They might be around the talent level of a high school team, but the female pros have unequal physical maturity.

We do have players like Eri Yoshida, Ila Borders and Tiffany Brooks, women who have played in traditionally male independent leagues, but the sample is too limited–and perhaps more of an indication about the population of female baseball players. Many potential baseball players get syphoned into softball–whether they want to or not. So we have to look elsewhere around the world of sports for analogies, instructive examples from obliquely similar sports.

The Athletic Gap in Other Sports

I run 5Ks. Running is a sport I like and one that has direct tie-ins to baseball. According Justine Siegal, founder and head of Baseball for All, running may be the biggest physical hurdle preventing women from reaching the majors as position players.

Most players don’t get looked at if they can’t run. So that would count out most women from the beginning.

When she told me this, I was surprised. When I run 5Ks, I usually finish in the top 30 or so, and recently even finished third–though I think that was an event for kids, so imagine something like this. Anyway, there is almost always an overlap in the top group of runners. The top 20 runners have two or three women sprinkled in, or at least so it seems. Fourth place in the kids event was a female athlete.

This, I hoped, would further illustrate my point. I am not saying the average female athlete can compete in the majors; I am saying a superior, unheralded female athlete will. So I looked at track results from the 2012-13 NCAA indoor field and track season. These are finely-tuned male and female athletes competing in a sport with as few external factors as we can get in athletic competitions. Considering there are 750 players in the major leagues at any given time (and +two players for every doubleheader), surely among the top 500 male sprinters or 5K runners we’ll find a few female runners:

NCAA Running Results

Wow. What a blow to my hopes. The best female time in the 60 meter dash, Aurieyall Scott’s 7.13, is still worse than the 500th male time, a 16-way tie at 7.02. Sure, some amateur female runners may finish well in my local 5K, but that appears to be a comment on the population of amateur talent, not the nearness of physical ability between the genders.

In fact, Olympic results across a variety of physical sports suggest the talent gap is about 10 percent:

A stabilization of the gender gap in world records is observed after 1983, at a mean difference of 10.0% ± 2.94 between men and women for all events. The gender gap ranges from 5.5% (800-m freestyle, swimming) to 18.8% (long jump). The mean gap is 10.7% for running performances, 17.5% for jumps, 8.9% for swimming races, 7.0% for speed skating and 8.7% in cycling. The top ten performers’ analysis reveals a similar gender gap trend with a stabilization in 1982 at 11.7%, despite the large growth in participation of women from eastern and western countries that coincided with later-published evidence of state-institutionalized or individual doping.

Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, “Women and Men in Sport Performance”

This general rule of 10 percent makes sense with what Justine Siegal told me, that 82 mph is the hardest fastball she has seen from a female pitcher, about 10 percent slower than the average major league fastball.

But running–though it is a component of baseball–is still unlike the whole of baseball. It is part skill, yes, and part mental (with regard to pacing and such), but it is largely physical. That’s why I chose to look at running, because it represents raw athletic ability more than technique.

We could perhaps move a step closer to baseball on the spectrum of talent and skill by looking at tennis. There we have the famous Battle of the Sexes–all, like, six of them–in which only once has female won (the famous Billy Jean King). And that victory now has a fresh haze of game-fixing controversy around it, deserved or not.

Tennis requires a more multi-faceted athlete than a baseball player. You cannot survive as a great server only. You still need a forehand and backhand and other tennis-type words. But in baseball, a player–Mariano Rivera–can throw one pitch and make a career of it. Darwin Barney and Neifi Perez can/could play defense well enough to keep them in the majors despite their ability to do little else.

There is a talent base that presumably could be more instructive about female baseball talents. The thriving softball culture in the U.S. does give us a solid glance at some elements of hitting ability.

Softball Talent in a Baseball Universe

This video makes several interesting points–some obvious, some more intriguing–about the differences between softball and baseball pitching. The key differences, for the present moment, are the angles (softballs literally rise; baseballs necessarily fall) and the reaction time (softball hitters have about 20 percent less time to react to a pitch).

Granted, softball bats are metal and therefore lighter–I believe–and possess larger barrels, all for aiming at a much larger target. So even though softball hitters have less time to react, they are still trying to make an easier connection. But that did not stop Jennie Finch from striking out Albert Pujols, Mike Piazza and Marcus Giles in a 2004 All-Star event, an event I witnessed with my tender TV-watching teenage eyes, an event that may have, some ambling decade ago, seeded this very article.

And it was not the only time Finch showed the surprising oomph of softball pitching. She also managed to K minor leaguer Bryan Byrne, and this footage we still can see.

No disrespect to Byrne, who had five great minor league seasons and one bad one, but it is a bummer to see Finch working against only a minor leaguer in this video, especially considering Byrne had not yet reached Double-A when this was filmed.

The Professional Opinions

I spoke with a major league scout about female baseball players, and he thinks we already have seen the approximate height of female baseball.

As far as women in baseball, I think Yoshida is probably the closest thing that’s ever gonna happen. I hate to be pessimistic, but there are so many things that would have to go right for a woman to make MLB, like obvious velocity or a wicked trick pitch like a knuckleball or some speed demon that could bunt or something.

And the outlook grows dimmer when we consider that, for every female pitcher or position player in high school stuck at an 80-mph fastball ceiling or a 30-grade power ceiling, there are just as many male high school players, a population of players who have, for decades, filled the independent leagues or quit the sport after high school.

What does Yoshida have that Joe High Schooler doesn’t? That is the question we have to ask. She has a commitment to a trick pitch, if we may call the hallowed knuckleball that, but otherwise has no discrete advantage over male peers.

I polled 14 writers at The Hardball Times and our sister site FanGraphs. Seven of my colleagues felt that women would likely never reach the majors, even assuming an absence of prejudice or bias. Two writers were unsure, and the five remaining–myself included–believed women would eventually break into the major leagues.

Brad Johnson then offered an excellent perspective:

I think it just depends on the time horizon you set. I’m not confident we’ll see one within our lifetimes, but I think technology and changing perceptions will eventually allow it to happen. Assuming the world doesn’t implode first.

Which brings forward a great point: the changing universe of sports technology and medicine. A hundred years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have players throwing 100 mph regularly. It would have been impossible to rip a tendon from somewhere else in the body and stuff it into a pitcher’s elbow and keep his career alive.

Sports technology is changing. Baseball is changing. Both are moving targets. The ancient farmer, I’ve heard it said, never asked for a tractor. He asked for a stronger mule. We cannot anticipate what is coming next and how it will obliterate the old ways.

A New Dawn for Specialization

The story of Jackie Mitchell is an important one. She was a sidearm lefty who famously struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig during an exhibition game in 1931–the veritable heights of both men’s careers. The game may have been either farce or fact; it’s hard to say. John Thorne, whom I respect with every ounce of Super Respect I own, claims the event was more vaudeville than authentic.

Conversely, Tim Wiles at the Hall of Fame, says (rightly) that Ruth was also a strikeout king, and he facing a soft-tossing lefty with a hard sinker. As a lefty himself and having just seen a more traditional pitcher, it is not inconceivable that Ruth would have struggled against Mitchell. In the same way, we have found teams struggle to regain their rhythm after facing the Knuckleball Prince, R.A. Dickey.

The game is changing, and so is the means of preparing for it and healing from it. Although it is unlikely female athletes will ever find a workaround for the 10 percent testosterone gap–or, rather, find a workaround that male athletes themselves can’t also utilize–other factors could render the issue moot anyway.

Smaller stadiums may mean a female hitter–smashing a ball 10 percent shallower than her male counterparts–could develop into a legitimate home run hitter. Perhaps lowering the mound or narrowing the strike zone will suddenly render a hitherto unnoticed advantage to shorter position players.

Or maybe, just maybe, a girl is going to force her way onto a roster like a baseball breaking through a chain link fence. Maybe Chelsea Baker will take her continued high school success (19 IP, 9 K, 3 BB, and a 0.74 ERA on the muscled back of Joe Niekro’s non-twirler) into the collegiate sphere. Maybe Yoshida, still just 22 years old, will find her strike zone as a member of the Ishikawa Million Stars (where she is a teammate of Charles Nading and Derrick Loop, and a student of Shinji Mori). Perhaps outfielder Iori Miura will someday manage to translate her 2013 success–a .407/.515/.536 slash and 27 of 30 stolen bases–from the JWBL to an independent league with greater pitching talent. She already has nine doubles, six steals and a 1.815 OPS in 36 plate appearances this JWBL season.

The great frustration of this idea, this adventurous notions of baseball for everyone, is that it’s just an idea right now. Yoshida is bouncing around unheard-of independent teams, Baker is still a universe away from the minor leagues; and Miura is a name you have read for the first time today.

All our projections and all our estimations of female baseball abilities mean nothing every time a high school coach takes a chance on an aspiring female athlete. When a girl steps into a batter’s box, all that will matter is the game and what she does with the next pitch. Until then, we can estimate that the road is difficult, but it is not impossible. It can’t be.

As Justine Siegal told me: “If Tim Wakefield can pitch with a 72 mph fastball, then anything is possible.”

J.P. Howell has an 86-mph fastball and a seven-figure salary. Mark Buehrle has clocked around an 84 mph fastball these last few years, and he and his near-60 RA9 wins (and counting) may just saunter on down to Cooperstown if he ever decides to retire. Also: Jamie Moyer. Q.E.D.

Can a woman make it to the majors? Yes. Too much about this game is changing in unpredictable ways for us to ever close a door like that. Will she look like that typical male baseball player? No. She will not hit homers. She will not throw 100 mph. Not unless something big changes.

Is she playing right now? Is the first female major league player out there somewhere? I don’t know. Maybe she is playing softball. Maybe she is not born yet. Maybe she is named Eri, Chelsea or Iori.

Either way, I will be rooting for her.

References & Resources

  • A big thanks to Justine Siegal, Brad Johnson, Greg Simmons, and the MLB insiders who entertained my questions on this topic.
  • “Women and Men in Sport Performance: The Gender Gap has not Evolved Since 1983,” by Valérie Thibault, et al., in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine
  • “Taking Aim at an Old Debate: Can Female Athletes Compete Against Men? In Shooting, Yes—But Not in the Olympics,” by Mark Yost in The Wall Street Journal
  • “Chelsea Baker proves talent trumps gender on baseball diamond,” by Kelly Parsons in the Tampa Bay Times

Further Reading

  • “Gender Differences in Sport Injury Risk and Types of Injuries: A Retrospective Twelve-Month Study on Cross-Country Skiers, Swimmers, Long-Distance Runners and Soccer Players,” by Leena Ristolainen, et al., in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine
  • “Age-Associated Changes In Vo2 and Power Output – A Cross-Sectional Study of Endurance Trained New Zealand Cyclists,” by Stephen J. Brown, Helen J. Ryan and Julie A. Brown in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine
  • “‘…If I Had a Choice, I Would….’ A Feminist Poststructuralist Perspective on Girls in Physical Education,” by Laura Azzaritoa, Melinda A. Solmonb and Louis Harrison Jr. in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
  • “Family Socialization, Gender, and Sport Motivation and Involvement,” by Jennifer A. Fredricks and Jacquelynne S. Eccles in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology
  • “Ng Disappointed at Lack of Women in MLB,” by Alex Remington at FanGraphs
  • “Women Are Coming to Baseball, Like It or Not,” by Alex Remington at FanGraphs


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Bradley writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @BradleyWoodrum.
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Elias
Guest
Elias

YES!

Tracy
Guest
Tracy
The first female payer will be a Moyer-Burle type with pin point control. She will not have an overpowering fastball of cource , but will be able to locate it inside outside and all six quadrant of the strike zone. She will have great movement on her fastballs which will include a four seamer , two seamer and a cutter. She will have a great circle change and curve ball. Changing speeds will be key. Finally she probally will be a tall strong woman with big hands. You need big hands to throw a change-up. We need a womens baseball… Read more »
Dave P
Guest
Dave P

six quadrants?

Positive Drinking
Guest
Positive Drinking

Great article! I completely agree. Very well researched and written.

The Stranger
Guest
The Stranger
Jamie Moyer might be the best comp for a potential female major-leaguer. The problem is, a woman with a low-80s fastball, 4-5 good pitches, and great command would be the female equivalent of Pedro Martinez or Sandy Koufax – a generational talent who’s elite in every facet of pitching. That woman will definitely come along someday, and she might be out there now. But when you think about the pool of millions of boys who grow up playing baseball, and the fact that out of all those millions of young players we only get a guy like that every 20… Read more »
Believer
Guest
Believer
I believe it will happen. We’ll see some girl out of high school with a mid-eighties fastball and pin-point command. She will most likely go to an independent league first, and be lights out. Then, a major league team will sign her to a minor league contract. It will probably be more of publicity stunt at first, but if she performs the team will give her a shot. As covered in the article, players that pitch in the eighties have found success in the show before. It’s not likely, but it is definitely possible. The biggest obstacle for her won’t… Read more »
CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

The problem is Jamie Moyer didn’t get drafted as a low-80’s throwing lefty. He threw in the low 90s and had his velocity decrease with injuries and age.

We are to the point now where if you don;t throw 90+, you don;t get scouted. Mark Buehrle is likely the last of his kind.

Charityslave
Guest
Charityslave

It will happen, and she will be a knuckler and it will be awesome.

Cam Winston
Guest
Cam Winston
Lotta physiology to overcome. And saying the possibility that “some” female with an 82 MPH fastball “might” break some team’s roster is too narrow an argument, IMO. That female would also have to be able to have muscle recovery on par with any other MLB pitcher so that she could go out there & pitch again, just like a man. What makes muscles recover? Well, there’s a reason athletes take steroids, and it’s not because taking testosterone or other synthetic substances instantly make one’s muscles bigger…it’s because it makes the athlete recover faster & the rebuilding process is where the… Read more »
RadBravita
Guest
RadBravita
As far as hand/eye coordination and quickness on her feet: a woman can field a position just as well as an any MLB player right now. Your argument holds no factual logic. There are plenty of poor defensive 3B out there who hit for average and a woman could the same thing. Comparing women and men in Olympic events in strength is not only illogical when it comes to baseball, it doesn’t require the same skills. Baseball players come in varying degrees of strength, speed, height, weight, and overall skill that I could see in female form if and only… Read more »
BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

RadBravita is operating on a level of delusion that I’m not sure how to even respond to.

If there were women capable of being major leaguers, there would be women in MLB. Open tryouts are held every year. There is no evil coalition of men conspiring to keep women out of MLB. You’re off the deep end.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

Saying a woman “could” is misleading.

Could a woman throw 82 mph and have enough pinpoint control to make it to MLB?

Sure.

Is is likely? Heck no. Even a male throwing 82mph with pinpoint control is likely to go undrafted in today’s game.

———————————————–

Could a male player hit 100 home runs and steal 100 bases? Sure, it could happen.

This word “could” is misleading, because almost anything imaginable “could” happen.

hopbitters
Guest
hopbitters
While I would like to see it happen, I think it would be extremely difficult for a woman to compete successfully at the major league level without having gone through the previous levels (minors, college, high school, little league, etc.) competing as an equal. Major league success isn’t just about physical talent and drive. Playing against the best softball players isn’t the same. Playing against men in practice isn’t the same. You have to have the experience of playing real games with and against the best players at each level. So, by my way of thinking, it isn’t a matter… Read more »
RadBravita
Guest
RadBravita

Yes. It has to happen from the men coaching and women need to keep pushing for playing time.

MLB should and needs to acknowledge that it’s not just a “man’s” game.

carl
Guest
carl

great article. I think there is also a touch of discrimination when it comes to gender and baseball that starts at a young age. most girls know or are told there’s no pathway to the the pros and they do not pursue it seriously, whereas boys with promise will join travelling leagues etc.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

I’m guessing boys that want to play softball are encouraged not to.

A father
Guest
A father
The problem I see with this is not talent but motivation. Why in the world would the young woman we are positing — one of the most phenomenal female athletes we’ve ever seen — choose to be, at best, a mediocre baseball player rather than using her athletic talents to be a famous and rich star at softball, track and field, etc.? I actually think there are quite a few women who, if they chose to focus all energies in that direction, could get to the level of a good high school or college or minor league player, with the… Read more »
hopbitters
Guest
hopbitters

Because they love the game?

And even a scrub major leaguer would be party to plenty of fame and endorsements.

EB
Guest
EB
This is the problem I see. “they need to outplay Nick Green, not Mike Trout” Well here’s the thing–Nick Green wants to be Nick Green because that’s the very highest level he can attain. If he was gifted enough to have the choice of being the 25th man on a baseball team or the #1 guy on an NFL team, I’m pretty sure he would take the NFL gig. But he doesn’t have that option; his actual choices are to be the 25th man, or go sell insurance. Our hypothetical super-woman has the choice of either being the 25th man… Read more »
RadBravita
Guest
RadBravita

Because men like you continue to discount women’s place in major league baseball, along with a majority of other professional sports.

Roberta K
Guest
Roberta K

Well, when you compare the salaries, endorsement deals, etc. between the back of the bench baseball player and the elite softball player, the choice would be obvious. You don’t see professional softball every Sunday night on ESPN, there’s no Softball Network the way you have MLB Network. And the first woman professional baseball player would probably get a ton of endorsement opportunities, hopefully for more than just feminine hygiene products.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Actually, imagine a woman actually made it to the majors. Who would get more publicity/endorsements? Gold medalist of an olympic event that happens every four years or being the only woman in the majors? If some girl could break in, she would be very very wealthy and well known whether or not she’s a particularly amazing player

Rodger
Guest
Rodger

“…she would be very very wealthy and well known whether or not she’s a particularly amazing player.”

For example, Danica Patrick, in racing.

LHPSU
Guest
LHPSU
I would like to see women baseball leagues, whether amateur or professional. But women in MLB is another issue altogether. The locker-room is a significant part in professional sports where a lot of crucial communication takes place, and unless there is a massive change in our culture, a woman will be excluded from it. So is physical contact, players giving teammates high-fives, hugs, leaning on each other, friendly butt slaps – with women, this creates the issue of either potential accusations of harassment, or a problem with exclusion as male player treat female teammates more cautiously than they treat male… Read more »
Anon21
Guest
Anon21

No offense, but this sounds a lot like the “gay panic” rationalizations that homophobes deployed to forestall open acceptance of gays in the military. Millions of dollars are at stake for the players individually, and with that in mind, I think they would be expected to act and would act professionally towards their female teammate.

hopbitters
Guest
hopbitters

Nothing engenders acceptance like success. See the ’71 Pirates. And while we’re on the subject, some openly gay players in MLB wouldn’t hurt the cause.

LHPSU
Guest
LHPSU
With gays, the typical practice is still that they use the same bathrooms and changing rooms as anyone else in everyday life. We have not developed segregated bathrooms and changing rooms for gays, or at least have not put them into widespread use. This is not the case for male/female, and this a thing that is highly relevant for professional athletics. And in the case of the military and gays, you are taking norms that are already accepted in society, and trying to change a more conservative military to accept such norms. If you want to apply this analogy, society… Read more »
CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
“Gay men are not women and should not be treated as such, and gay men do not view heterosexual men the exact same way that women do.” I’m pretty sure research shows that men are not really capable of being “just friends” with women, and that the only thing stopping them from being “partners” is the opportunity. On the other hand, women were able to be friends with a male and generally had no idea what the male was really thinking. I’m not sure I would make the statement that a gay man doesn’t look at a heterosexual man differently… Read more »
RadBravita
Guest
RadBravita

Discrimination much?

Your comment has no significant bearing on a professional atmosphere whatsoever.
Typical male chauvinistic remark.

RadBravita
Guest

My reply was to LHPSU by the way.

Susan P.
Guest
Susan P.

I’ve always suspected that the best way for a woman to break into the majors would be as a shortstop or second baseman–positions where agility and skill play a larger role than size and brute strength. It worked for Toni Stone and Connie Morgan (and Mamie Johnson, who switched between pitcher and second). At any rate, thanks for your article and your research.

stank asten
Guest
stank asten

There’s no ‘allegation’ needed to show that the King-Riggs match was rigged. The rules were changed to heavily favor King, and King was in the prime of her career while Riggs was well past retired. BJK was a great athlete and an ambassador of the game, but she never beat a male tennis player on equal terms.

Anon21
Guest
Anon21

“The rules were changed to heavily favor King”

[citation needed]

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.
Anon21: “The rules were changed to heavily favor King” Urban legend. Riggs vs. King was straight tennis. It may be confused with the Connors/Navratilova rules were changed to heavily favor the female (and Connors still won). There was a huge age difference. King was 29 and still in her prime (she won Wimbledon that year) and Riggs was 55. As to the idea that the fix was in, there have been revelations recently to that effect, though Riggs denied it at the time. Riggs did play especially poorly and he was a well known tennis hustler, so the idea that… Read more »
Eric
Guest
Eric
Maybe this can give you a bit more optimism Bradley, in response to your quote, “Considering there are 750 players in the major leagues at any given time (and +two players for every doubleheader), surely among the top 500 male sprinters or 5K runners we’ll find a few female runners:” In MLB for 2013 Bradley, don’t know if you know this, but there were 1,304 players that had at least one plate appearance, a third of an inning in the field, or threw at least one pitch to a batter, So this might make your odds better towards your assumptions.… Read more »
Cam Winston
Guest
Cam Winston

I’m pretty sure the rules won’t let them release the ball underhanded while their anchor foot is 2 to 4 feet in front of the mound, as is often the case with fast pitch softball players. They jump forward, land, then release well in front of the mound (watch the video in the Finch link, for example). Pretty sure that’d be a no-no in MLB.

Eric
Guest
Eric
Tim Lincecum’s anchor foot is so far off the rubber when he pitches, its not funny. Regardless, my point was, even if a female had to throw from 60.5 feet away, she could still throw underhand and will a smaller ball that would probably give her more velocity. You know what they say about assumptions, but I think its a reasonable assumption that its an easier adjustment to learn to be able to plant the anchor foot by the pitching rubber when you throw, a lot easier than the adjustment of throwing overhand, since a woman that has pitched all… Read more »
Matthew Murphy
Member

I believe this is true. Apparently the fastest softball pitch recorded is 77mph. It would be interesting to see if this would change with a baseball on a mound, the baseball might make it easier to throw a little bit harder. I feel like a softball pitcher throwing in the mid-70s could have some success against major league batters, but I doubt that it would be sustainable.
The forward spin on the underhand throw should, in theory, make it move like a curveball.

Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.

It is legal to throw underhand in the major leagues, though I’m pretty sure that the standard softball pitch would be illegal. When the Silver Bullets were playing I saw them on TV and there was one pitcher that threw similarly though not the same as a softball pitcher.

Tim
Guest
Tim

It also helps that the vast majority of the fastest males are playing football. Apart from speed specialists, baseball isn’t picking players from the top of the heap there. (Whereas there’s not a lot for a woman who is just really fast to do. Sure you can be an Olympic runner, but that hasn’t stopped men from also playing baseball.)

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger
“Half of all baseball fans are women” This just isn’t true. I’m sorry. I don’t care if half of the people who actually attend games are women. I don’t care if they can claim half of merchandise sales are to women. I ESPECIALLY don’t care if Hello Kitty is doing an MLB partnership. They say that half of video game players are women, too. Well, ya know… I spent 120 hours playing Mass Effect and my girlfriend plays Bejeweled on her iPhone. Guess what? We both count exactly the same on the survey! Yes, I know that there are hardcore… Read more »
RadBravita
Guest

You are obviously not well read enough to understand studies and/or research.
I have been a baseball fan (female) for over 20 years and my daughter, several of her friends(female) are Mass Effect players (also computer programmers as well), and also they (females) make up a large portion of the attendance at events such as Dragon Con, PAX, RTX and others.
Like it or not, you can’t claim total control over “men’s” activities any longer. Please climb out from under your chauvinistic rock.

Dorsey
Guest
Dorsey

You start off with a personal attack, saying he doesn’t understand “studies and/or research”, then you spend the next paragraph justifying it with anecdotal statements about the personal experiences of yourself and your family.

I can’t tell if you’re trolling or just stupid.

james wilson
Guest
james wilson
It’s not even close, but hope springs infernal in the breast of the beta male. There are, at least, six major levels of baseball for each player to pass through on the way to the lowest order or professional ball, where there are five more. Women are capable of being extraordinarily competitive, which all successful baseball players are, but to their credit, after bumping up against men in this sport, they know they do not belong. This is a thing most guys have to face themselves sooner or later, but the women get it right away because they have better… Read more »
Anon21
Guest
Anon21

beta male

Hello! Go back to your PUA wasteland, you flaming pile of garbage. Nobody in the normal world wants to hear what you think about anything.

james wilson
Guest
james wilson

Women do not respect white knights, betaboy, and they also have a better understanding of their physical limitations than you do. Anyone who played baseball at a high level understands limitations, his own. The only people who wear the preposterous idea that women can play with men are betaboy non players who didn’t make the second cut in little league.

Plucky
Guest
Plucky
Focusing on pitchers is probably a tougher slog than position players- beyond velocity, height and hand size are a real physical problem. Getting enough movement for an ML-quality pitch involves having big hands and really long fingers. Also, it’s really tough for any pitcher under 6′ to get taken seriously by ML franchises. A position player would be far more likely in my opinion, in part because there are more ways for a position player to help a team win that aren’t contingent on physical size. At the raw physical level, to hit for AVG/OBP what you need is pitch… Read more »
BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

“In terms of reaction times for a hitter, high level softball is pretty close to high level baseball.”

Wait, what? You don’t see the enormous difference between hitting a 77 MPH softball, and hitting a 98 MPH hardball that’s half the size? The gap is gargantuan.

Matthew Murphy
Member

The mound is much closer to home plate in softball than baseball. A low-90s fastball thrown from 60.5′ will reach home plate in about the same time as an upper-60s softball from 46′. Therefore, softball and baseball hitters have about the same time react to the pitch once it is thrown.

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

“In terms of reaction times for a hitter, high level softball is pretty close to high level baseball.”

Wait, what? You don’t see the enormous difference between hitting a 77 MPH softball, and hitting a 98 MPH hardball that’s half the size? The gap is gargantuan.

*

Anon21
Guest
Anon21

Well, read the sentence you’re quoting. The commenter said “reaction times,” not “hand-eye coordination.”

RadBravita
Guest

Go back to your chauvinistic rock, until you learn how to read and comprehend. No one cares what an imbecile like you may come up with.

Mike Harber
Guest
Mike Harber
I recently read a great book called “the Sports Gene” by David Epstein. He devoted a chapter to just this argument, not specifically about baseball but high level athletics in general. While the conclusion ultimately sides with the argument of genetic differences making it incredibly unlikely that women ever catch up to men in the realm of general athleticism, there is a special and noteworthy difference between the sexes when it comes to throwing ability, a natural requirement in baseball. The finding is that in just about every physical and athletic trait, women differ from men by about 10%-15% (running,… Read more »
Paul G.
Guest
Paul G.
The point about the first woman in MLB would be making a lot of money from endorsements, even if she was a scrub, would make the effort more appealing to a female athlete. And it is not like scrubs on the major league level are paid poorly either. But it is still a steep hill to climb as first she would need to accomplish enough on the AAA level that it wouldn’t seem like a cheap stunt, and the team would want to deal with the circus involved. Jackie Robinson caused a circus but Jackie was a really good player… Read more »
RadBravita
Guest
All players have to earn it. Why would a woman be any different? That’s the problem I have with this entire thing. If any woman were playing throughout her youth and into the minors, why would she be any different than a man? You can not discriminate against her because she is female, just as you couldn’t against the first Japanese, Chinese, Latino, etc in the majors. Period. Every player is treated equally, but until males in the majors and the public realize this, it will be an eternity until a woman wants to be put through that kind of… Read more »
Jfree
Guest
Jfree
I really hope some team has the cojones to DRAFT a woman – and keep drafting them. If they make it, great. If they don’t, then draft some more. Theory is all kind of irrelevant. Excuses are irrelevant. Separate league for women is irrelevant (and long-term as destructive to ‘women in MLB’ as Negro leagues were to integration – just delays things). A team has to just go ahead and do it. That is what will shut up the peanut gallery. Of course, MLB teams haven’t even drafted a lefty male for any field position other than 1B/OF for 100… Read more »
BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

Go home, Jfree. You’re drunk.

RadBravita
Guest

Bobby- continue stuffing your pathetic mind with cheeseburgers. That’s all your brain is made of to constantly spout nonsensical discriminatory crap.

Cam Winston
Guest
Cam Winston

// Of course, MLB teams haven’t even drafted a lefty male for any field position other than 1B/OF for 100 years so it’s probably not wise to hold one’s breath waiting for MLB to exhibit ‘courage’. //

I’m sorry, but was that entire post intended to be read as sarcasm? I cannot imagine you were being serious.

I mean, you KNOW why LHers aren’t middle infielders, right? And why women haven’t been drafted, right?

Jfree
Guest
Jfree
I know exactly why lefties haven’t been drafted – and why women haven’t been drafted. It’s the same reason why blacks weren’t drafted for decades. Because MLB is constipated by tradition and excuses and teams are paralyzed into stupidity if they ‘do anything different’. None of this has anything to do with whether some 30th round pick will ‘make it to the majors’. They don’t now – and no one pretends that they are expected to be anything other than org filler. Nor does it have anything to do with ‘cost’ (those late picks cost roughly nothing – and are… Read more »
BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

I’m starting to get the feeling JFree actually doesn’t know why there aren’t lefty infielders.

Jfree: A lefty MI would have to turn across his body to throw to 1st base. Not saying it would be IMPOSSIBLE to have a lefty MI, but you would just be putting them at an automatic disadvantage and therefore severely limiting their chances of making it in MLB.

Jfree
Guest
Jfree
I am very aware that in some situations a lefty MI’s throwing motion is more difficult than a righty’s. In other situations, it is reversed (eg easier for a lefty 2B to throw to a SS covering 2B). And those situations can even be predictable and change during the game – which could create opportunities to manage them and create an advantage. And at the plate, a natural lefty has a pretty significant platoon advantage over both a natural righty and a learned lefty v a right-handed pitcher. Which is all pretty irrelevant until – coaches allow lefties to play… Read more »
RadBravita
Guest

exactly JFree!! Huzzah!!

21_22
Guest
21_22
One of the things thats been said about the differences in reaction times between softball and baseball and the inability for someone like a pujols to hit a softball is that a person doesnt just react to the ball, but to the entire pitching motion. a player’s neuromuscular system has been trained with 1000s of repetitions to specialize at one thing. thus, i have a hard to imagining that a women that spent those 1000s of reps in softball instead of baseball will ever make it in the majors. if there is ever a women in the majors, they likely… Read more »
BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

If you put Albert Pujols in the toughest softball league in the world, he would be hitting around .600 within two weeks. With a shitload of homers and exactly ZERO strikeouts.

If you put the best softball player in the world into MLB, she would almost certainly instantly be the worst player in the major leagues within two weeks.

I want women in MLB. But these are facts.

Carl
Guest
Carl

The averages wont matter, it’s only the elite that count. We need just 1 woman (or Indian give the movie that’s coming out) to make the team, whether as a pitcher or as a slick-fielding, not hit SS. If my now-6 year old daughter is the first, that’s okay. Yours can be the second.

Then, just like the Dodgers dominated at both the gate and the pennant, that team will also reap the rewards.

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

“We just need a slick fielding, no-hit SS to make the team.”

I’m sorry, but WHAT team? Even “NO HIT” shortstops are still expected to hit .200
I don’t care if Sally Baseball was as good a fielder as Ozzie Smith, if she hit .050, she wouldn’t be on a big league club.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Well, you know, other than the Twins.

David P Stokes
Guest
David P Stokes

“I’m sorry, but was that entire post intended to be read as sarcasm? I cannot imagine you were being serious.

I mean, you KNOW why LHers aren’t middle infielders, right? And why women haven’t been drafted, right?”

He doesn’t even seem to know that there wasn’t a draft of amateur baseball talent 100 years ago.

And I have no idea what he meant by the follow-up comment about tight ends not playing football in college.

Jfree
Guest
Jfree
The reality is that lefties were barred from MI and C when the AL and NL merged to form MLB in 1902. They did that in order to ‘allocate’ players by shortcut from the existing ‘farm league’ teams of the NL that were to be raided once by the AL teams before the players could be scouted. No lefty MI/C was signed by a minor league team from that point on – protected from challenge by MLB’s anti-trust exemption. And then perpetuated by the draft once minor leagues became a complete puppet. The only existing lefty C at the MLB… Read more »
Chelsea
Guest
Chelsea

Why are we rooting for a woman to make it? Just because?

Jfree
Guest
Jfree

Personally I don’t much care whether a woman actually ‘makes it’ (presumably to MLB). What I despise however is justifying and defending the hurdles that prevent anyone from even having the opportunity. Which is why my main focus is the draft itself. That is the entry point to professional baseball. That is where MLB teams quite deliberately choose to sign NO ONE (for roughly 20 of their ‘picks’). Where every single MLB team chooses to sign NO ONE 20 times per year – rather than ‘risk’ drafting a woman.

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

Imagine you are a left handed shortstop. A ground ball is hit to the hole between short and third. You range to your right and field the ball cleanly. You now have two choices. You can either do a 270 degree turn and throw to 1st while moving away from 1st base. OR. You can completely stop momentum, turn your back to 3rd and fire to 1st. But will you have enough on the throw to beat the runner in that situation? Probably not, depending on how hard the grounder was.

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger
Mark Buehrle was drafted in the 38th round. Jorge Posada was drafted in the 24th. You’re suggesting that these draft picks are entirely meaningless, but they’re really not. It’s not reasonable to suggest an MLB team waste a draft pick simply because it will make people feel good. Who would they even draft? A softball player? I guess your football analogy is suggesting that an MLB team draft someone who has never played baseball. Which is ridiculous. A Tight End is told “Run here, hit this guy, catch the ball.” and can get by on physicality alone. A baseball player… Read more »
Jfree
Guest
Jfree
Read what I wrote. Teams do not even SIGN many of their draft picks. And in most of those cases, they know ahead of time that they are not going to sign them. They draft that name to ensure that they can blacklist a group of players (still going to college) if any new competitor league decides to recruit from that part of the potential player pool. Part of the draft has nothing to do with baseball at all. It is all about MLB exerting its anti-trust muscle so that owners can get richer from media contracts. And yeah –… Read more »
Tim
Guest
Tim
Mark Buehrle was drafted in the 38th round. Jorge Posada was drafted in the 24th. You’re suggesting that these draft picks are entirely meaningless, but they’re really not. It’s not reasonable to suggest an MLB team waste a draft pick simply because it will make people feel good. Mike Piazza was drafted in the 62nd round just to make people feel good, and it worked out OK. (Unfortunately there isn’t a 62nd round anymore. This would have been a good idea in the unlimited-draft era, now I’m not so sure.) As for who to draft, I’m not sure who’s draft… Read more »
BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

MLB holds open scouting tryouts every year. If Elizabeth Grandslam walked into open tryouts and started lacing doubles all over the outfield, I’m pretty sure people would take notice.

I’m all for encouraging women to play baseball. But until there is a woman who proves she belongs on the diamond, all you’re doing is jerking off.

Tim
Guest
Tim

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but that can be fun.

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

Seems like the best chance is to have a knuckleballer.

Mike
Guest
Mike

The pitch worked only b/c it was the first time the hitters ever saw it. There is a reason there aren’t many submarine style pitchers. It just isn’t a significantly superior way to get hitters out.

Michael
Guest
Michael

Why do we want a woman baseball player? Just for the hell of it?

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

Because 2014 Equality or something. If there is something that only men are doing, it is now necessary for women to do it as well.

sarcasmftw
Guest
sarcasmftw

cause it would be interesting? Cause there’s no reason there shouldn’t be a woman, and given the fullness of time, there will probably be at least one woman with the necessary physical abilities to play MLB at a very high level, and it would be a shame to miss out on her just cause of some silly prejudice.

RadBravita
Guest
No- women have been equal to men a long time before 2014. Nice of you to take notice this late in the game though. Drafting women as position players would be a great start by MLB to give youth leagues and on up to greatly influence young women/girls to play baseball instead of being forced to go the softball route and develop their talent. MLB has the most influence and financial resources to get something like this started/done, however, as long as it is a “boys’ club”, nothing will change. It takes a lot of publicity and positive outcry for… Read more »
watwatwrsrsly
Guest
watwatwrsrsly
Dude, I wrote a comment in the last article about the 10% difference in objective sports like running and moat likely sprinting. It’s a ginormous hurdle; the world’s best female sprinter/distance runner is equivalent to a token ok D1 male athlete. And most evidence shows sports involving the upper body to be even more markedly different between the two sexes. I’m a big advocate for treating women well and for women’s rights. However, I’m extremely objective and also have no horse in this game. I also know more about medicine and human physiology than you have in your right pinky… Read more »
watwatwrsrsly
Guest
watwatwrsrsly

And yes. I’m on a phone so typing quickly yields mistakes in orthography and grammar as can be observed above.

watwatwrsrsly
Guest
watwatwrsrsly

Be aware that Moyer’s pitches have crazy action on them. 84mph is not 84mph is not 84mph. Look at tennis serves: women can approach men in serve speed occasionally but their balls don’t have the topspin or sidespin that heavy male serves do.

Also, if women improve X%, wouldn’t men also imrpove the same X%? Duh
I’m not going to expound anymore because illogical people irk me. Drink the kool aid if you want to though.

RadBravita
Guest
I hear you and I also have advanced degrees in science. Regardless of the 10% increase in strength or speed, there are players in the majors right now that a number of women could compete with, if given the opportunity. I stated above about the number of poor defensive 3B and average offensive players in the game that any number of women could replace. The fastest woman in the world would not have to be on the field to be in the majors. Obviously, the fastest men in the world aren’t, therefore, why is this argument in the article? There… Read more »
Cam Winston
Guest
Cam Winston

// there are players in the majors right now that a number of women could compete with, if given the opportunity. //

Name one. One.

rotobanter
Guest

Harumph

Mitch
Guest
Mitch

With the ever increasing understanding of pitch framing I think catcher may be the real open door for a woman to make it to MLB.

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

Disagree. Another poster cited research earlier that showed throwing strength is the area where women are actually most disadvantaged physically. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it certainly passes the smell test based on my own personal observations. My guess is that a female catcher would get ran on till the cows came home.

I say 2B is the way to go. Either that or LF, but she’d have to be one of the greatest OBP players ever to justify that position.

Tim
Guest
Tim

My guess is that a female catcher would get ran on till the cows came home.

Yet again, that wouldn’t be much of a loss to the Twins.

athlinksresearch
Guest
athlinksresearch
FYI, a lot more girls “race” in local 5K–half marathon races because they like the social aspect. But the average time differential between these female joggers and their sedentary male counterparts is much greater than between olympic female and male athletes. Another factor is, and this is a politically incorrect but true statement, female athletes are much less competitive than male athletes at HS, college, and sub-professional levels. Supporting evidence: difference between professional male and female athletes is 10% in running. Thus, difference between equivalently skilled males and females at HS, college, and sub-professional athletes should be 10% also, correct?… Read more »
Matthew Murphy
Member

If you’re going to try to convince everyone that women are at more than a 10% athletic disadvantage, you’re going to have to do better than claiming that big D1 colleges have “super slow” women on the track team and that your high school only had like 8 girls on the cross country team.

RadBravita
Guest

@Athlink:
Wrong. you’ve no clue what you’re talking about.

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger
The people arguing that MLB teams should give female softball players a crack at a roster are living on Jupiter. The most reasonable action you could argue would be to get some WNBA players into the NBA. I mean, we’re talking about an already established professional league that exists in coordination with the men’s league. And yet we’re still Decades away from a WNBA player to be able to compete in the NBA, if ever. If Lisa Leslie can’t make the NBA, “Jenny All American Wisconsin Right Fielder” doesn’t have a snowflakes chance in hell of making even a AA… Read more »
Tim
Guest
Tim

Basically everybody in rookie ball has never played baseball at a collegiate level. How come the boys are special?

Cam Winston
Guest
Cam Winston
// Suggesting an MLB affiliate let a woman who’s never played baseball at even a collegiate level on the field is stupid as all get out. // As is the notion that some imaginary woman exists who can throw a fastball not only as hard as Jamie Moyer (at the time, the slowest FB in MLB) but who has his pinpoint control, his mastery of placing any of his four pitches anywhere in the zone he wanted, and at any count. And, that she can chase down bunts down the 3B line as well as outrun batters who bunt down… Read more »
Cam Winston
Guest
Cam Winston

// Basically everybody in rookie ball has never played baseball at a collegiate level. How come the boys are special? //

Other than physical dominance over girls? Other than physical superiority in every possible aspect of the game?

Jfree
Guest
Jfree

Yes – baseball is clearly the sport for only supreme athletes. Finely sculpted machines like – Bartolo Colon.

This tangent of the argument really is funny.

Cam Winston
Guest
Cam Winston

Bartolo Colon is physically dominant, as an MLB pitcher, to any female on planet earth. In pretty much every aspect of pitching, actually. Any and all aspects.

FYI, physical dominance does not equal beauty. That’s remedial stuff, btw.

I’m starting to think Bobby was right, you are drunk.

Dave
Guest
Dave
Bartolo Colon still averages over 90 miles per hour on his fastball -http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfx.aspx?playerid=375&position=P Find a woman who can consistently throw over 90, and I’d believe that she has a chance to be in MLB – subject to sufficient movement and having multiple pitches, because it’s not like every man who can hit over 90 can pitch well enough to be in the majors. Talking about Colon’s body is like looking at Phil Mickelson and assuming that a woman could play golf as well as he can. That’s not the case. In golf – a sport that depends a lot more… Read more »
RadBravita
Guest

Clearly, you are another ignorant discriminatory male who needs more education.

JFree has the right idea.

You need to climb back under the rock with the cheeseburger “brain” until you learn how to have an intelligent conversation without being chauvinistic in every aspect.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Insulting the other posters is not helpful, even when they make terrible points.

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

Everybody relax. This was clearly a Burner Troll account.

Cam Winston
Guest
Cam Winston

Apparently the drinks are free in some parts of the country (or maybe people are posting from Bizarro world, where women are NOT physically inferior vis-a-vis sports and do NOT have less muscle mass than men).

FYI, ladies, men can’t have babies. It’s not offensive to speak factual truths. And that women have less muscle mass is a factual truth. Put down the whiskey.

kilroy69
Guest
kilroy69

The major problem any woman will ever have is changing their eye level on the release point. Unless they played baseball from the start they are going to be used to the release point of a softball pitch that is coming at them up to 103mph. For some woman to overcome these problems would be a modern miricle.

Hamranhansenhansen
Guest
Hamranhansenhansen
The physical obstacle for women in baseball is the men in baseball. If there were really a reason why a woman couldn’t make it in the Major Leagues, then there wouldn’t be so many stupid things said when a man is asked if a woman can make it in the Major Leagues. Women can’t run? WTF? Florence Griffith Joyner can’t get down the line fast enough? You know how slow the typical catcher or pitcher or 1st baseman is? The main obstacle is psychological. Nobody could lift 500 pounds in competitive weightlifting until a coach put 500 pounds on the… Read more »
BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger
There does not exist on Planet Earth a woman who could play herself onto an MLB roster at the present time. All I’m hearing in these comments is that men are holding women back and they could play to if they were given the chance. So, go ahead and tell me EXACTLY which women you think can make it in MLB, and who they are going to replace. I’ll wait. “Any man who says women can’t do this — just ask him to fight a female Marine or police officer, and then take him to a female doctor afterwards to… Read more »
Jfree
Guest
Jfree
There does not exist on Planet Earth a woman who could play herself onto an MLB roster at the present time. All I’m hearing in these comments is that men are holding women back and they could play to if they were given the chance. There does not exist on Earth a man who could play himself onto an MLB roster at the present – unless he is currently playing in AA or AAA right now. And you can take that right down each level to rookie league. And no one on Earth can play at rookie league level unless… Read more »
BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

Oh, and about the 75 gay MLB players. I’m sure there are quite a few closeted players, but just because 1 in 10 men is gay, doesn’t necessarily mean 1 in 10 MLB players is gay. Statistical anomalies exist within highly specialized groups of people.

Tracy
Guest
Tracy

Gays would like you to think 10% is a factual number, but the real number is 2-3%.

watwatwrsrsly
Guest
watwatwrsrsly

The fastest male HS sprinter in each state is faster than the fastest woman ever. In the history of the world. And professional runners are all doping. Look it up.

You’re telling me that physchological factors are greater than physiological ones in baseball. Can’t argue against that. One gold star for illogical comment of the thread.

BobbyCheesburger
Guest
BobbyCheesburger

Come on dude, if we just told girls to *~bELieVe iN TheMSeLvES~* they would be dominating this league.

Vizque?
Guest
Vizque?

“Perhaps outfielder Iori Miura will someday manage to translate her 2013 success–a .407/.515/.536 slash and 27 of 30 stolen bases–from the JWBL to an independent league with greater pitching talent. She already has nine doubles, six steals and a 1.815 OPS in 36 plate appearances this JWBL season.”

Yes, Iori > Yuki Kawabata. Slightly. :/

LongTimeFan
Guest
LongTimeFan
I totally believe that women can and eventually will play in the majors – it’s just a matter of time and opportunity, getting beyond sexism and logistics. There is no one-size-fits-all in baseball, that’s part of the game’s beauty – the vast array of of tools and body types. A 6-foot, 175 lb women with speed, defensive prowess, compact swing, plate discipline who hits to all fields, steals bases and plays with energy and passion, is every bit capable of a successful major league career as her male counterpart. The talent is out there, and the time is now to… Read more »
Cam Winston
Guest
Cam Winston

// A 6-foot, 175 lb women with speed, defensive prowess, compact swing, plate discipline who hits to all fields, steals bases and plays with energy and passion, is every bit capable of a successful major league career as her male counterpart. The talent is out there //

It is?
Do tell. MLB scouts would be interested in cheap signees who can fit the bill.
~3 billion females on earth…please name one who meets that criteria.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Boobs get in the way of how you swing a bat.

Carl
Guest
Carl

What about as a follow-up the physical attributes that would help a woman playing baseball? Better balance? Great flexibility?

terracool
Guest
terracool
RIght idea, but this column is about the wrong conversation. Why are we talking about what it would take for a woman to play MLB? Why does the article speculate on the acrobatic alignment of this kind of woman and that kind of physique and this exact role in that exact set of circumstances to conclude that there is no reason that women shouldn’t be able to play in MLB. The topic of a lone woman in the MLB should wait another 20-30 years. In the meantime, get rid of the softball industry and let girls start playing baseball from… Read more »
Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Just stop with this. There will not be women in the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, ever. If you’re going to argue for women competing with men, go to volleyball or golf or something. The best female competitor would have hundreds of male counterparts able to outperform her, it’s just never going to happen, stop, so pointless. Hope this article made you feel warm and fuzzy inside, overflowing with optimism.

Dave
Guest
Dave
I wouldn’t count on that happening in golf. On the few occasions that the best women in the world have tried to play PGA events, they haven’t ever made the cut except for Babe Zaharias in 1945 (when the depth of men’s talent on the tour was much lower than today). Michelle Wie played 8 events without making any cuts. Annika Sorenstam – who won 72 tournaments on the women’s tour – missed the cut when she played a PGA event, in large part because she was 84th in driving distance. Best evidence is that a great female golfer would,… Read more »
David Jones
Guest
David Jones

Years ago, someone — it might have been Peter Gammons — predicted that the first female major league player would be a soft-tossing lefty reliever. Maybe this fits into your argument about specialization. Every year teams keep mediocre relievers in their bullpens because of the platoon advantages. Maybe a female lefty with decent stuff could crack the barrier as a LOOGY.

Mike
Guest
Mike
I’d like to see a woman play MLB, as long as she was good enough and not just some publicity stunt. Having said that, I can’t imagine that it will ever happen. I think the author’s use of running to compare men and women in this case is a poor choice. Women’s lower body strength is a lot closer to men’s than their upper body strength. For a pitcher, he mentions some MLB pitchers who throw ~80mph. Even if there’s a woman who can throw that fast, what’s the likelihood that she could throw it with precision and movement ?… Read more »
CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

“A WNBA team vs. an average h.s. boys team. ”

I think the WNBA kills the average HS boys team.

I’m guessing you haven’t watched much HS basketball. The average HS basketball team ain;t much to brag about.

Mike
Guest
Mike
My golf buddy said the same thing as you just did when I presented him with the scenario today. He couldn’t imagine high school boys beating professional women in basketball. Until I presented him with some facts. I went to a relatively small high school of 400 total students. The “average” high school is about twice that size. I watched that team plenty. 4 out of 5 starters could dunk a ball. They ranged from 5’10” to 6’9″. When a woman dunks a basketball, it’s national news. ‘Cause it’s so rare. Half of them also ran on the track team.… Read more »
Andrea
Guest
Andrea

I am a female who loves golf and I played softball for many years and I agree that women are physically challenged in both these sports. Our boobs get in the way of getting a proper handle on things, it’s true.
Enjoyed the article.
Andrea

Dave P
Guest
Dave P

As long as softball is the most popular bat-and-ball game for girls, it won’t happen. The sample size will be too small, as it is now.

IF girls baseball ever supplanted softball, then I’m sure an MLB-quality woman would play in the majors a decade or two later.

Go Nats
Guest
Go Nats

I have read that Woman are more likely to survive disease, are less likely to contract disease, are more likely to survive car accidents, are less likely to be maimed in an accident, and recover from serious injuries quicker, so Woman do have some advantages physically over men. Those advantages lead to woman having a much longer life span, but I am unsure if these abilities would help much in baseball other than perhaps with less decline as they aged or less DL time.

Hurtlocker
Guest
Hurtlocker

I’d love to see it in my lifetime, I just don’t see it happening though. Most MLB players when they were young were the best players in sports against all the other boys. I don’t think there are many girls in HS that are better than all the boys is any given sport.

Alex
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Alex
Why try to compare women’s fastball to men’s hardball? There are men’s fastball leagues out there. Let me tell you, many of the local teams even around where I live in Canada would slaughter the us women’s olympic team, and these are men who are too old, fat, injured, or bad to play baseball at a local level. Besides that, you can’t just cherry pick someone who seems like a good athlete. Greatness emerges from having a huge pool of people and weeding them out survival of the fittest style. So with that said, I could see a knuckleballer from… Read more »
BobbyCheesburger
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BobbyCheesburger

“It would be fun to force MLB teams to field 3 teams…There are lots of fun ideas that would shake things up without destroying what’s been built…”

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━━┻

Jenstrom
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Jenstrom

I called the commissioner’s office several months ago and left a question for Mr. Selig with his assistant. My question was, “What would the commissioner be willing to do to clear the path for women to play in the majors?” I never heard back.

Bradley, perhaps you could call him (212-931-7800) and repeat my question, and get a campaign going to encourage others to do the same.

Kevin
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Kevin

There IS that ‘small’ problem with women, in that they can’t throw due to bone-length ratios, and other factors. Maybe 1B/DH. Now that would be a very tall, strong woman…….

argonbunnies
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argonbunnies
I have no idea what MLB’s rules say about the legality of the softball delivery; from what I know, it should be legal, but I’m no expert. If it were legal, I would love to see Jenny Finch come out of the Mets’ bullpen and blow weird rising pitches by hitters who hadn’t seen her before. (Or, well, I would if Finch hadn’t retired 4 years ago.) It’d be way better than watching some kid who throws 98 with no idea where the ball is going, mixing walks and homers with his strikeouts. I asked a college baseball pitcher about… Read more »
Dave
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Dave
“I’d like to see all those Roy Oswalt types who go undrafted because they’re too short.” I think that most of those guys do get a chance, but wash out in the minors. They’re not often the highest draft picks, because teams do favor taller pitchers. With all the rounds of the MLB draft, and the size of minor league systems, I think that even marginal prospects generally get a chance, however. The fact is just that very few of them perform like Roy Oswalt after getting that chance. The Bradford or Dickey types are a bit different. I suspect… Read more »
Statistics don't lie
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Statistics don't lie
Wow. Congrats on the number of comments! We would all agree that the woman who first merits a spot on an MLB roster will be an unusual physical specimen – in terms of talent and abilities. In terms of the Bell curve normal distribution, she would be on the extreme right end of the curve. She will be as common among women as Nolan Ryan types are among men. Odds are, the only way she will be found is by drastically increasing the female baseball player population. Guesstimations: If you can only draw 1/10 of 1% of the female population… Read more »
Dave
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Dave
“IMO, if a first female MLer is ever found, she will be a “AAAA” utility IF with max 150 ABs in a season over a career – a true 25th person on the roster. I think she will be a LH hitter and play in Ichiro’s style, but would be lucky to have BA of .200 or OPS of .450.” Interesting thought. Aren’t there, though, already male players kicking around most organizations who fit that profile – glove first middle infielders who can’t hit major league pitching and are trying to get the last bench spot with defensive ability, speed,… Read more »
Mike
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Mike
“So here was my theory: Female athletes do not need to be better than the best male athletes to be viable major league candidates. They need to be better than the 25th man; they need to outplay Nick Green, not Mike Trout.” Here is my problem with this statement. As a thought experiment, take the consensus worse player currently on a major league roster. Use what every measurement you prefer to determine he is currently the worst (fWAR, bWAR, VoRP, ect) That player was still likely the best player in his little league, the best player in his high school… Read more »
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