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There have been many diaries on Daily Kos discussing the struggles of women to obtain equal pay and equal representation in a host of occupations formerly dominated by men.  Other diaries have focused on women breaking through the "glass ceiling" that has kept so many from reaching the highest levels of corporate America and government.  

But there are some professions where women aren't just underrepresented and underpaid.  They are completely shut out.  That's how it is with our national pastime-  baseball, particularly Major League Baseball and its minor league affiliates.  As I type this, in the year 2012, there are precisely zero women playing major league baseball.  There are zero women coaching major league baseball, or managing or serving as general managers.  Even in the "official" minor leagues, among the thousands and thousands of players from Triple-A to "Rookie Ball", it's easy to count the number of female players:  that number is Zero.  No woman has even been signed to a major-league affiliated minor league team since 1952, when Major League Baseball banned all teams from signing female players.

It seems astonishing that in the year 2012, as we find women heading several Fortune 500 companies and holding some of the most powerful positions in government, that a major employer (major league baseball) would ban individuals from obtaining jobs because of their gender.  Honestly, the ban is almost certainly unenforceable because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination based on "sex" for employers with more than 15 employees, but it is unclear whether the ban has ever been overturned.  

Regardless of whether this deplorable ban has been "officially" overturned, the effect remains the same:  there are no women playing baseball in the established major leagues and their farm systems.  

Women who dream of someday leading the Cubs to a world series victory must instead look to the independent leagues, where they will make less money, receive less press coverage, and have even less chance of obtaining their big league goals.

But that hasn't stopped Eri Yoshida, who now plays for the North American Baseball League's Na Koa Ikaika Maui, based in Maui, Hawaii.  Yoshida is a 5-2, 20 year old knuckleball throwing sensation, and as of today, is the only women playing professional baseball in an otherwise all-male baseball league.  After a 2009 debut in Japanese independent leagues (at age 17), she burst on the scene in 2010 with the Golden Baseball League's Chico Outlaws.  While she struggled with her control in 2010, in 2011 she altered her delivery from "sidearm" to "three-quarters" and her control significantly improved.  Moving to Na Koa Ikaika Maui in 2011, she became the first woman in 13 years to win a game in an otherwise all-male league.  This year, she is back with Na Koa Ikaika Maui and pitching even better:  last night, she got the win, going almost 8 innings, while giving up only 2 runs and 4 hits.  To learn more about Eri Yoshida, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/... and make sure to check out this YouTube video.

So why doesn't some enterprising major league team sign Ms. Yoshida, and give her a chance in the minors?  We don't know if she has the stuff to make the majors, but she is only 20, and has plenty of time to hone her skills.  And why aren't other women able to break into baseball, in the "official" minor leagues, and work their way to the major leagues?  The times are changing, but we have to make sure major league baseball, with its deplorable record of hiring women for any key jobs (from general managers to umpires to players) changes with them.

I welcome your comments on this neglected issue, and please vote in the poll below.

Poll

What year will the first woman play major league baseball?

28%15 votes
15%8 votes
11%6 votes
15%8 votes
30%16 votes

| 53 votes | Vote | Results

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