Baseball discussion shines light on women
By Chelsea Reese
The Women on the Diamond discussion advocated equality among men and women baseball players, Monday, March 7, as well as enlighten 20 students on the history of women’s baseball.
“I don’t want people to walk away thinking, ‘well, women played baseball for 12 years but there was nothing before and there’s nothing after,” said Jackie Stroud, a lecturer of history at CSU-Pueblo and discussion leader. “That’s silent history. I want to make noise about history.”
This was the first Women on the Diamond discussion and everyone was encouraged to attend. The idea originated from a previous discussion on Jackie Robinson, and from Stroud’s interest to include a discussion of this nature with her women’s studies class, which accounted for most of the attendance at the discussion.
“When you do a presentation like this, you want it to be all encompassing,” Stroud said. “You want at least the majority of people in the room to hear something that means something to them.”
Stroud decided to focus on three women from baseball’s history, whom she thought were incredible, she said. Featured in her discussion were the brief histories of Effa Manley, Edith Houghton and Toni Stone.
“These women loved baseball. They didn’t do this because they were women, they did this because they wanted to play ball,” Stroud said. “These women lived amazing lives.”
Stroud also incorporated video clips and a brief history on the Rockford Peaches, the women’s baseball team that inspired the movie “A League of Their Own,” a movie Stroud loves, she said.
“That shouldn’t be the only movie on women and baseball,” Stroud said. “I need to encourage some of you to be interested enough in your own sex to either want to make films about women, write stories about women. Be involved with women because no one else is going to do it for us.”
Stroud went to the Rawlings Library to prepare for this discussion, she said. She found three books on women and baseball, compared to 12 shelves of books she found on men and sports.
“I saw seven books on Peyton Manning. OK, seven books on one guy and I got three books on a whole world of women? I don’t know what we are doing,” Stroud said.
Stroud wanted to make the point, during the discussion, that baseball is for everyone, not just men, she said.
“It’s in our genes,” Stroud said. “Put a ball in a kids hand and do you know what they do? They throw it.”
This discussion was also a tool to encourage women at CSU-Pueblo to follow their dreams, Stroud said.
“You want them to know that nothing is impossible,” she said. “I want women, especially in this school, I want them to learn to be bold and body and tenacious. I don’t want them to hold back their dreams and the things they love because somebody tells them they’re a girl.”
Stroud would love to do another Women on the Diamond discussion next year, and years after, she said.
“I could go through these books and just pick three people out every year, from now until I retire. I wouldn’t even scratch the surface of these women,” Stroud said. “Absolutely, I’d do it again.”