As we bid farewell to March, with its blustery winds, spring training and beautiful hills of Texas bluebonnets, we also want to pay tribute to the fact March celebrates Women’s History Month. So, before this month ends, let’s take a look at some possibly-overlooked women who have shaped our world and tip our ball caps to their accomplishments!
You’ll notice we mentioned spring training and the reference to ball caps, which leads us to a name that may be unfamiliar to anyone who’s not a big-time, big-league baseball fan: Edith Houghton.
This woman, who reached the 100-year-old landmark in 2012, sadly left us in early 2013...just shy of her 101st birthday. But, in her 100 years, Edith certainly made her mark on the world of baseball! As a 10-year-old girl, Edith Houghton’s talents on the baseball diamond had already been discovered and her star began to rise as a PROFESSIONAL PLAYER on the Philadelphia Bobbies all-girls team. Mind you, this was in 1922…WELL before the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League featured in the movie “A League Of Their Own.” As starting shortstop for her team, she traveled extensively – even playing against men’s college teams and touring in Japan, earning the team the then-hefty price of $800 per game in that country! Today, the uniform she wore in those Japanese games resides in Coopertown, in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
She went on to play for other pre-War women’s professional teams, including the New York Bloomer Girls and the Hollywood Girls, who demonstrated their baseball prowess against local men’s teams across the country. Interestingly enough, at the time the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was formed during World War II, Edith did not play for the organization, choosing instead to enlist in the U.S. Navy WAVES!
However, her talents did see some action while in the Navy, as she played for the WAVES baseball teams. While the history of the AAGPBL now has entered the public consciousness – thanks to their exhibit in Cooperstown and the Geena Davis/Tom Hanks movie – very little seems to be known today about the WAVES' baseball legacy.
So far, we have to admit Edith Houghton’s accomplishments definitely deserve notice…however, this is where her story REALLY gets interesting! Upon returning from the war, at the age of 35 she yearned to make her career in the sport she so dearly loved. Yet, we all know that prospects for women in baseball began to dim after the war, when the returning veterans once again took their place on the fields.
Undaunted, Edith approached Bob Carpenter, then-owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, about becoming a professional scout for the team. While this may have been unconventional for the era, the information about players and teams she had carefully compiled during her travels left no doubt she had the right stuff!
For the record books, at this moment Edith Houghton became the first woman professional scout for Major League Baseball and earned a permanent place in baseball history. She successfully continued in this role from 1946 until 1952, taking only one break to once-again serve in the military during the Korean War.
We know…what on earth does this have to do with Dentistry?! Be patient – it’s coming! Thanks to pioneering women like Edith Houghton – and some trailblazers in the Dental profession – today, women can follow their dreams wherever they may lead. At Best Choice Dental, we proudly have women in our Dental practice, offering gentle, compassionate oral hygiene and personalized care to our patients…INCLUDING any little girls who may one day grow up to be Dentists, too! Visit us again for our next post, for a glimpse into the role women have played in Dental history and some of the paths they have opened for female Dentists – past, present and FUTURE!