History! Meet the Woman Who Started for an NY Pro Baseball Team
This wasn't the first time Kelsie Whitmore had stepped onto a professional baseball diamond.
Between 2016 and 2017, she had played in 17 games with the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association, an independent baseball league based out of California. She had 30 combined at-bats, and had one hit and one run scored in each of her two seasons.
Despite her "career games played" column reading 17, her "games started" column still read 0. That was until Sunday afternoon, however, when she added to both of those columns, and made history in Staten Island, New York.
Kelsie Whitmore Becomes the First Woman to Start a Pro Baseball Game
At 23 years, and 330 days old, Kelsie Whitmore became the first woman ever to start a game for a baseball team in an MLB partner league. It was the Staten Island FerryHawks, members of the Atlantic League, who penciled Whitmore into left field on the depth chart, and the No. 9 position in the batting lineup.
Then, just after 4 P.M. EST, Whitmore and the FerryHawks took to the field against the Gastonia Honey Hunters.
Whitmore went on record a few putouts in the outfield, catching fly balls hit in her direction at CaroMont Health Park.
She had three total at-bats in the game, going 0-for-2 at the plate, but reaching base after being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning, according to a story done on Whitmore by The New York Post. She had played in one previous game for the FerryHawks this season, entering as a pinch-runner earlier in the season.
This time, instead of being the pinch-runner, it was Whitmore, the starter, being subbed out late in the game.
Outside of the action on the field, Whitmore is an ambassador for the game of baseball, and could be seen signing autographs and taking pictures with fans of all ages, and genders, throughout the ballpark. She spoke to the media following the game, and had this to say about her starting debut:
“I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given. This one, by far, I’m really looking forward to, because it’s next level for me." - Kelsie Whitmore from The NY Post
According to Whitmore, this won't be the last you'll see of her, if things continue to go according to plan:
“Eventually, I want to play in affiliated ball. I want to make this game my career, my living, and just, you know, be a part of it as much as I can.” - Kelsie Whitmore from The NY Post
I grew up with a younger sister who played sports all throughout grade school. As a student journalist in college, I cut my teeth covering women's hockey, and still do to this day. I hope for a day where stories like that of Kelsie Whitmore are still special, but not out-of-the-ordinary.
In the mean time, however, what Kelsie Whitmore accomplished is remarkable, and the trail that she is blazing for young women to follow is an important one, to say the least.