Miami Presents: Women’s collegiate baseball in Ohio in the early 20th century

Join Dr. Callie Batts Maddox, Miami assistant professor of Sports Leadership and Management, as she presents the story that led to the 2018 Doug Pappas Award from the Society for American Baseball Research for the best oral research presentation. “The best spirits and most hearty good will”: Women’s collegiate baseball in Ohio in the early twentieth century In the 1918 edition of Recensio, the Miami University yearbook, the profile for senior Hazel Bay notes her love of baseball, remarking that in the spring “she confines her entire attention to the all-engrossing sport of baseball, and believe us she can play that game”. She was not the only female student at Miami to play baseball, as the university had a robust women’s program since 1912 featuring teams grouped by class standing that played both indoor and outdoor baseball. Across town, the women of Oxford Female College and Western College for Women also played ball, making Oxford a hub of women’s collegiate baseball in the early twentieth century. Across the state of Ohio, many colleges and universities organized women’s baseball teams as part of broader physical education programs and athletic associations that sought to provide opportunities for fitness, play, and socialization for female students. Large and small schools alike undertook these efforts, from Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati to Oberlin College and Antioch. By highlighting the history of women’s collegiate baseball in Ohio, this presentation aims to deepen our understanding of baseball history and challenge the current gendered divisions that erase women from the narrative of our national pastime. Callie Batts Maddox is an assistant professor in the Sport Leadership and Management Department. Her teaching and research focus on the critical socio-cultural study of sport and physical activity, and her interests include women’s baseball, embodiment, and the globalization of sport.