Photo via: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post
On Tuesday, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, who broke the glass ceiling as the first woman to pitch in the Negro Leagues, passed away. She was 82 years old.
Despite being rejected by the then all-white All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in her teens because of the color of her skin, Johnson went on to try out for the men’s Negro League. She not only made the team, but she became the first woman pitcher and one of three women to play in the Negro Leagues.
Photo via: NoirTech Research
“If I had played with white girls, I would have just been another player, but now I am somebody who has done something that no other woman has done,” Johnson said.
The South Carolina native played for the Indianapolis Clowns for three seasons, from 1953-1955. During that time, Johnson won 33 games, lost 8 and maintained a batting average of .262.
“She was something for our family to look up to,” said Johnson’s cousin Dawn Everett. “Not too many did something that got that kind of recognition that she did. She made it OK for little girls to want to play a male-dominated sport. She had a dream and it came true.”
Inspiring girls like Mo’ne Davis, the first girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series, Johnson continued to seal her baseball legacy in June of 2008 when she got drafted by the major leagues. She was selected by the Washington Nationals.
Photo via: CNN
“The Washington Nationals are saddened by the passing of DC baseball royalty Mamie Johnson. Her love of the game and pioneering spirit as a member of the Negro League was an inspiration to generations. We were thrilled she was part of Nats history – participating in our inaugural game, meeting our players and lending her name to one of our youth baseball fields. While we will miss her, her trailblazing legacy of competition, grit and risk-taking will not be forgotten.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Rest in power Ms. Johnson.