Two perfect games this season, and a 65 mph knuckleball that makes batters cry (literally). At 13 years old Chelsea Baker is indisputably the best Little League baseball pitcher in the US. That’s right, baseball. Chelsea is the only girl on a boys team, and she has dominated for the last four years: her Little League teams have lost only 8 of their 105 games over that time.
Surprisingly—or perhaps unsurprisingly—she often hears that she should being playing softball instead, and that she can’t keep playing with the boys for much longer. To Chelsea’s credit, however, she’s motivated by the criticism, noting that she uses it to place her next pitch where she wants it. She's also said that “. . . they say stuff like that because they are jealous.” Her parents also stand behind her, with Chelsea’s mother being quoted as saying “at some point, maybe she might have to go play softball, but right now as good as she is doing and she is able to keep up … and that is her goal, I am going to stand behind her and let her continue playing baseball as long as possible.” Chelsea, on the other hand, is more straightforward: “I don’t like to play softball.” You can read the ESPN article and watch a video on Chelsea here.
And though a few opposing batters have gone back to the dugout in tears and nearly all of them in shock, some batters are impressed by her pitches, complimenting both her signature knuckleball (taught to her by her coach, former Houston Astros pitcher Joe Niekro) and her fastball.
It’s important to note, however, that Chelsea isn’t the first female to be successful in baseball. In 1990, Jodi Haller was the first woman to pitch in a university baseball game. In 1994, Ila Borders was the first woman to receive scholarship money to play baseball at the university level. Eri Yoshida was drafted at 18 years old, the first female to be drafted by a Japanese professional team. And in 1993, Karey Schueler was drafted by the Chicago White Sox, the first woman to be drafted by a Major League Baseball team. Perhaps Chelsea Baker will join this list in a few more years.
Girl Museum Inc.