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Breaking Barriers: Women in Pros


jaybird2001wi

Since I am beginning to take a liking to the Force daughters (Ashley, Brittany and Courtney) whom are making waves in the NHRA and with the recent victory of Danica Patrick in Indy Racing, I have often wondered if it would ever be possible for a woman to break into a male dominated Major League Baseball or National Hockey League.
It'll likely never happen in the NFL, unless she were to be a kicker (a la Katie Hnida), but with the locker room atmosphere in professional sports being brash, it would take a lot for a professional sports circuit to allow a female into the locker room.
When I was a kid, I played for a Youth baseball league in Racine, and there were a few girls in the league that was more boy-oriented. I also did some sports reporting for the Beloit paper in college and discovered there were a few girls on the majority of the Madison high school hockey teams.
Baseball did have a women's pioneer, Ila Borders, for awhile but she never made it out of Independent League Baseball and as mentioned above, Hnida was the subject of harrassment among other things when she was a kicker for the NCAA Colorado Buffaloes. The Hnida case is likely one of the few reasons Gary Barnett was fired from the University of Colorado and it drew a lawsuit from Hnida.
The NBA has a female counterpart, so that will never happen now.
Auto Racing is probably the most welcoming of all sports these days when it comes to open doors for women drivers. Patrick, the Force daughters, Sarah Fisher and others have had some success in the auto racing world. But welcoming is a generous word given the scrutiny that Patrick faced when she first began her Indy Racing Career, with male drivers stating she had an unfair advantage due to her lower weight and body mass, allowing her vehicle to weigh less and create more speed on the track.
What does everyone think?

Given the professional sports circuits that don't have a female equivalent or professional counterpart, which sport will most likely be the first to break the gender barrier? (Moderators, if you can, you can make this into a poll of some sort)

A. Major League Baseball
B. National Football League
C. National Hockey League

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I really can't see any of them but if I had to guess it would be the NFL as a kicker. Next would be the NHL as a goalie only. The speed of men's hockey is just so much faster than women's hockey that I couldn't see a woman forward keeping up with the speed. Last would be MLB. I just couldn't see what position would be played. Not enough speed on the pitches to be a pitcher yet not strong enough with the bat to get any playing time.
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I can't imagine they'd be able to throw nearly as hard as the major league pitchers do. I'm also not really sure if women would have the power to get any at bats in the majors either. I suppose maybe a kicker in the NFL would be the most likely, and I"m not really sure about hockey either.
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None of the above.

 

"I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That's what kind of man I am. You're just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It's science."

 

In all seriousness though, the female human does not possess the strength, speed, size and agility (most importantly the combination of those aspects) to be able to compete with elite, male, professional athletes. This is not a misogynistic opinion, to steal from above, "it's science." Motor racing is altogether different, while you do need some strength to do it, it's more hand-eye coordination and endurance, which are pieces of the athletic puzzle, but not the whole thing.

 

Edit: grammar

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During one oversold game at Crosley field in the 30's, fans had to stand in roped off areas in foul territory. During one AB or between an inning or something, a woman ran onto the field and asked to throw a pitch. For some reason they let her (it didn't count of course), and she's regarded jokingly as the first female to play major league baseball, IIRC.
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There was already a female goalie for the Lightning, I know the name but have no idea how to spell it. She played in a few preseason games.

 

Basketball- No way

 

Football- No way

 

Baseball - Maybe as a junk baller pitcher.

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if i had to pick one (otherwise i'd say none), i'd actually vote NBA. i'd figure eventually there's going to be one woman who just starts destroying the WNBA and wants to try men's pro. i'd imagine she'd have to be roughly 7'5", and the experiment would go something like the Manute Bol one did.

 

NHL--possibly as a goalie, but any other position it's not just speed, but she'd get checked so much and so hard that i don't see a woman being able to stand up to that.

 

boy, all this talk about a woman not having any power to play baseball at a professional level and i keep thinking of Gwynn and laughing. dang, now he's going to show up at my place and beat me up, isn't he.

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Obviously, the first one will be as a specialist of some sort; loogy, goalie, kicker. Manon Rheaume was the female goalie, and she was good, but widely considered too small to be effective in the NHL.

 

I would guess loogy would be as possible as anything, as a gal that can throw 70 mph and get lefties out need not be built like Jennie Finch...though that would be a dandy bonus.

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