Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Jackson Baseball, ca. 1920-32
The 1920s were a period of expansion and excitement for women's baseball nationally as well as at Tufts. Teams of 'Bloomer Girls' barnstormed across the country, challenging local and minor league men's teams to contests, which they invariably won. The women were highly successful and laid the groundwork for the All-American Girls Baseball League during World War II.As successful as the 'bloomer girls' were, so were the Jackson women. The Tufts Weekly, among others, boasted that the Jackson gals could play ball just as well as the men.
The first organized baseball games played by Jackson women occurred during spring field days beginning around 1914 up through 1923.1923 also saw the first inter-house games between the separate dormitories (and the Off-Hill girls) on campus. Graves House, captained by Roselyn Bray, won a thrilling 13-8 victory over the Off-Hill girls to capture the inter-house title.
Alongside the inter-house games began a new tradition - the pitting of classes against the other. In May 1928 the sophomores put together an eleven run first inning on their way to beating up on the poor freshmen.
The next year, Tufts organized its first girl's varsity, losing two games to Pembroke. The team would last only four years and compete solely against Pembroke, for no other schools in the area supported a women's baseball team. In the final game, the Jackson nine defeated their rivals in a closely contested battle, 27-26.Mirroring the demise of the bloomer girls, women's baseball at Tufts disappeared during the middle 1930's as popular sentiment shifted towards disapproval of women in baseball.
Presumably, one area of concern lay with a suggestive practice adopted by the Jackson women. Rather than place a standing catcher well behind the batter, the Jackson catcher squatted, as the men did, directly behind home plate. This provocative posture apparently did not sit well with contemporaries. Though evidence is lacking, it appears that the Jackson players were among the first to adopt the posture.
Sources: TW; http://www.exploratorium.edu/baseball/girls
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