Baseball isn’t just for guys, and the International Women’s Baseball Center plans to make that clear at their 2014 Women’s Baseball Symposium. The event, to be held at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory on Saturday, Aug. 30, will feature panel sessions with prominent women in the baseball field, as well as a special autograph session.
The day will be highlighted by a special panel featuring former players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, as the women’s baseball pioneers of the 1940s reach out to the women’s baseball pioneers of today to make women’s baseball heard, preserved and promoted. The panel will discuss the history of women in baseball, while encouraging local young women to get involved in the sport.
The public is invited to attend this free event. Women and girls who attend the Women’s Baseball Symposium in their team uniform for little league, baseball, softball, or any sport they play will also receive free admission to the museum that day.
“We are delighted to host this event featuring some of the women who are true trailblazers in the field of baseball,” said Anne Jewell, Executive Director of LSMF. “Many baseball fans, and guests to our museum, are women, and we’d love to see more women continue to ramp up their involvement with the game.”
The event begins at 10 a.m. with a welcome and introduction by the International Women’s Baseball Center in the museum’s Pee Wee Reese Gallery. University of Kentucky graduate and current Marshall University professor Dr. Kat Williams will deliver the keynote address.
A panel on the future of women’s baseball will begin in the gallery at 10:30 a.m., featuring umpire Perry Barber and University of Louisville sports administration professor Dr. Mary Hums. The International Women’s Baseball Center wants to encourage women to “Step Up To The Sport,” and embrace baseball as their own.
Following a lunch break at 11:30 a.m., the group will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. for the panel on the history of women’s baseball. The panel will feature Maybelle Blair (Peoria Redwings) and Kate Horstman (Fort Wayne Daisies and Kenosha Comets). Blair and Horstman will be joined by Kent State University professor Dr. Leslie Heaphy, who is an expert on the Negro leagues and the females that played in them.
The day will end with an autograph session in the main museum from 2:30-3:30 p.m., featuring the AAGPBL players and Barber.
Barber, a New York debutante, became fascinated with baseball after studying the sport to compete on quiz shows. Following the suggestion of her mother to become an umpire, Barber started off on a long road that included umpire school in Florida with her twin sister and lots of Little League games before finally moving up to college, Minor League games, and even Major League exhibitions during Spring Training. She faced many challenges throughout her journey, including hostility from fellow umpires, players, coaches, and fans. Despite the rough times, she went on to enjoy a decades-long career as an umpire.
The museum will also feature a special display with bats signed by A League of Their Own director Penny Marshall and star Geena Davis, as well as a bat signed by the all-female Colorado Silver Bullets who played professionally from 1994-1997.
An itinerary for the day is:
- 10 a.m. – Welcome, introduction, keynote speaker
- 10:30 a.m. – Panel on the future of women in baseball
- 11:30 a.m. – Break for lunch
- 1:30 p.m. – Panel on the history of women’s baseball
- 2:30 p.m. — Autograph session in the main museum