Imagine, if you will, an 11-year old who loves everything about the game of baseball- the precision, the raised red stitching, the stats, the cards, the names and the history- and imagine her showing up for a summer recreational league and being told by the coach, who hasn't even seen her play, that she should have come to the earlier tryout for 6-9 year olds. Imagine her being insulted as only a young person can be, not yet hardened to life's disappointments, and then imagine her coming back the next day anyhow and making the 11-12 year old team anyhow and letting the 4-week season become her whole life, anyhow.
And then imagine that same girl, twenty years later, seeing the Colorado Silver Bullets take the field at Fenway Park against a men's team, and even though they only play seven innings and even though they lose and even though, by this time, life's indignities and disappointments have knocked more frequently at the door to her heart, imagine her flinging the doors wide open.
Colorado Silver Bullets
The Colorado Silver Bullets were a professional women’s baseball team, sponsored by the Coors Brewing Company, that traveled the country playing men’s all-star amateur and semi-pro teams between 1994 and 1997. The coaches were all former Major Leaguers, including manager Phil Niekro, a Hall of Fame pitcher. Most of the players were top college softball players. Many had played some baseball, but most had been excluded from playing past the age of 12.
The Silver Bullets broke a lot of new ground and have been recognized by Cooperstown. In 1996, four players hit homeruns and Pam Davis pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Australian men’s Olympic team in a guest appearance with the AA Jacksonville Suns. In 1997, three players hit over .300 and the team dramatically won their final game to finish with a record of 23-22, chalking up their first winning season.
Although the Colorado Silver Bullets lost their sponsorship at the end of their 1997 season, they were a catalyst and a point of convergence for young girls and women who dreamed of playing baseball. Today there are women’s amateur baseball leagues across the country and since 2004 USA Baseball has fielded a national women’s team that plays other women's teams at an international level, including the Women's Baseball World Cup. Baseball for All is an organization that provides opportunities for girls to play baseball against other girls all across the country. And in Rhode Island, the Pawtucket Slaterettes have been giving girls a chance to learn and play hardball against other girls since 1973.
I photographed numerous games on the East Coast and two spring training camps over the course of four years so if you don't see what you're looking for, please get in touch.
The Boston Slammers are an all-girls travel baseball team, made up of girls, ages 9-18, from the Boston area and beyond. They are the first generation of girls to grow up playing baseball with other girls. I started photographing them at the end of their 2019 season and then Covid-19 cancelled their 2020 season. I'm really looking forward to spending more time with them in 2021.
New Jersey Diamonds
The Ladies Pro Baseball League was an attempt to expand on a West Coast amateur league that boasted some of the toughest competition in the country. With three teams on the West Coast and three teams on the East Coast, tryouts and training camps were held for each team in the spring of 1998. The New Jersey Diamonds were one of those teams. Two weeks into their season, however, the league abruptly folded because of financial difficulties and the league's president was eventually sentenced to thirty months in prison for defrauding investors, mail fraud and tax evasion.