Who says baseball is just for the boys? The New York Mets have had many females influence the franchise over the years.
Penny Marshall, director of the classic film A League of Their Own, passed away on Monday, December 17th. She left behind a great legacy, specifically in the baseball community. Her passing warrants the question: who were the most influential women in baseball history, and for New York Mets fans, who were the most influential women in the team’s history?
A League of Their Own is a comedy that tells the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the first professional women’s league in America, which was founded during World War II. This movie, released in 1992, quickly became synonymous with the game of baseball. It shows that the sport can be loved by men and women alike, and it can be enjoyed at any level. The film is also known for one of the most famous movie quotes: “There’s no crying in baseball.”
Marshall’s contribution to baseball inspired many young athletes, boys, and girls, to play the game they love. She is a significant figure in the history of the sport.
Along with Marshall, there are many women who have had a great impact on the game. For the Mets in particular, many of these women completely changed the franchise.
Joan Whitney Payson
Joan Whitney Payson was instrumental in the birth of the New York Mets. She was a minority shareholder of the New York (baseball) Giants and was opposed to the proposal of moving the team across the country. When the move to San Francisco was approved, she sold her share of the team.
She began to push for a National League to an expansion team in New York and was eventually rewarded with the Mets in 1962.
She was the majority owner of the team from its inception and served as the team president from 1968 until her death in 1975.
Under her presidency, the team won two National League pennants and one World Series title. She successfully brought Willie Mays back to New York in a trade with her former team, and built the 1969 “Miracle Mets.”
She was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in its inaugural year, 1981, and remains the only woman to be inducted.
Payson was obviously one of the most important women in the franchise’s history, and in baseball as a whole. She was the first woman to own a major American sports team without inheriting it, and without her, the New York Mets may not have ever been established as a team.