60 Years After the Yankees Told Her the Dugout Was No Place for a Girl, She Threw Out the First Pitch

Gwen for the win! Kathy Willens/AP

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Beyond Paul O’Neill hitting two home runs for a sick kid at Kramer’s (maybe) behest, I don’t have great feelings about the Yankees. They’re easy villains, I’m not from New York, and I never liked A-Rod. But! Last week, they did something so thoroughly incredible that even the most strident Yankees haters will have to deeply appreciate it.

The story goes like this: Gwen Goldman was 10 years old when she wrote to the Yankees asking to be a bat girl. The letter they wrote back is pretty heinous, though not surprising given that it was, well, 1961: “While we agree with you that girls are certainly as capable as boys, and no doubt would be an attractive addition on the playing field, I am sure you can understand that in a game dominated by men a young lady such as yourself would feel left out of place in a dugout.”

Exactly 60 years later (to the month!)—through a decades-long marriage, the raising of two daughters, the spoiling of two grandkids—Gwen still has that letter. It’s become something like family lore. I know this because my friend Abby is Gwen’s younger daughter, and told me as much recently: “It was all just known, part of the family’s storybook,” she texted me. “I don’t remember my mom first telling me because it was something that was totally woven into the seams of our family. Playing softball with my mom and my papa, going to baseball games, mom’s dream of being a bat girl and my papa telling her to write and ask. And The Letter—that was hung in our basement bathroom!”

So Abby had the idea, without her mom’s knowledge, to write another letter to the Yankees, asking them to rectify this wrong.

Then, finally, they actually did. Last week, Abby and her family tricked Gwen onto a Zoom. Instead of a video feed celebrating the end of her grandson’s school year, squares popped up with Yankees GM Brian Cashman and star pitcher Gerrit Cole. Cashman read Gwen the new letter the organization had just sent: “Some dreams take longer than they should to be realized, but a goal attained should not dim with the passage of time.”

Yesterday was Gwen’s big day. 

 

The icing on the cake: Not only did Gwen get to be a bat girl, but she threw out the first damn pitch, looking like a total pro in that uniform.

More than an attractive addition, I’d say?

This all melted even my cynical, hardened heart. If you don’t tear up…I truly give up on humanity.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate