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“Nobody believed that there was a girls’ baseball team. So rather than be embarrassed by talking of something that it seems no one had ever heard of, I never said anything.” —Vivian Kellogg, first baseman, Fort Wayne Daisies


Interviewer: What you did was really extraordinary.

50 hours on the train
just for the try-out.

First Chicago, then
to the South—Pascagoula,

where they talked funny,
cain’t never could!

and where my mother thought
I wouldn’t make it,

and the managers’ big pencils,
and them calling your name.

They called my name.

They knocked me
grounders and flies,

and I was really on
until the dirty bounce

that cut my eye.
Did they really think

I’d leave to get the stitches?
Put a Band-Aid on it, I said.

I came all the way
from Moose Jaw.


Interviewer: Are you a feminist?

When a strawberry’s
sore, it leaks,

but Wrigley said
we’d wear skirts.

That didn’t keep
me from stealing

the pants
off pitchers,

didn’t stop
them from saying

If Sophie’s on first,
she’s on third.

upon strawberry.

At night,
the chaperone

made a donut
affair, laid it

across my thighs,
made sure the puss

didn’t get on my skirt,
‘cause if it did,

it’d stick,
and that was agony.


Men Try to Teach You Things

you already know.

Never take the first pitch.
Never buy a glove too big.

That’s not how I learn.

We had a knothole

who couldn’t pay

for the game
watched us play

through holes
in the fence.

You should’ve seen
them—all tiptoes

til the last
batter swung.

That’s hard work—
always reaching

up to see.
And the funny thing is

it was always them
thanking me.


History’s Only History Written Down

So write this down:

the Savoda sisters
ran like deer—

you can’t imagine
because you weren’t

there. On the night

we played the men,
Freda Savoda said

pretend like you can’t
run, even though you can

because she noticed
the catcher would walk

to the pitcher
then walk slowly back,

like we didn’t have
a chance. But she punished

him for that, took off
like a jack rabbit.

We won that game—

eight thousand
people, standing up,

hooting and hollering,
not for them. 


image: Florida Memory