Little League Girls Day
annually on November 7th
Little League Girls Day marks the anniversary of the date in 1973 when New Jersey became the first state to allow girls to play Little League baseball. In 1972, eleven-year-old Marcia Pepe of Hoboken, New Jersey, had played three games for her Little League team, the Young Democrats, when the national Little League organization ordered her team to remove her or lose their charter. After she was removed, her story gained attention, and the National Organization for Women soon contacted her parents asking them if they could bring a lawsuit. The organization brought a suit on behalf of girls ages 8 to 12.
Sylvia Pressler, a hearing officer of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, ruled on November 7, 1973, that the prohibition of females in Little League violated state and federal anti-discrimination laws. "The institution of Little League is as American as the hotdog and apple pie. There is no reason why that part of Americana should be withheld from girls," Pressler said. By the time the ruling was made, Pepe was 13 and too old to play Little League, but her case would soon change everything.
The Little League Federal Charter had read: "Girls are not eligible under any conditions." But following the New Jersey ruling, the charter was amended so that girls everywhere could play Little League Baseball, and Little League Softball was created, specifically for girls. Almost 300,000 girls signed up for softball in 1974, and one of every 57 Little League players were girls that year. Millions of girls have played Little League since, with about one in seven players being females today. Some have even played in the Little League Baseball World Series.
How to Observe Little League Girls Day
A few ways to celebrate the day include:
- Attend the next Little League World Series.
- Encourage young girls in your life to play Little League baseball or softball, and help sign up those who want to do so.
- Play baseball or softball with a young girl.
- Visit the World of Little League Museum.
- Watch the video of Makers: Women Who Make America about Maria Pepe.
- Explore the Girls with Game Initiative.
- Learn about the girls who have played in the Little League Baseball World Series.