Maybelle Blair, Baseball Player & Advocate | MAKERS Profile
MAYBELLE BLAIR: I'm 95 and as long as I'm on this side of the grass, I want to keep trying to spread the word to let us play our baseball.
All I ever do was baseball. My mother loved to play. My father loved to play. Baseball was our life. I grew up in California. All we had was corn fields, bean fields-- Fact, I can remember when we made our old baseball field because there wasn't any baseball fields for us to play in.
So my brother would get the old model of T Ford, put a box spring mattress on it. And I would sit on the back of it. And I was the anchor, so we could drag the field. There was nothing like it.
So the Bob Fellers, the Joe DiMaggio's, the Hank Greenberg's-- they all had to go and join the service I was out playing the softball at a league. And the scout came out and says, hey Maybelle, how would you like to play professional baseball? Are you out of your mind? There's no professional baseball for women. Yes, there is.
I introduced the scout to my mother. He says, Well, Mrs. Blair, don't you understand? We're going to pay her $55 a week. My mother looked at my father and says, George, you go crank up the car and I'm going to pack her suitcase and she's on the next train.
Going into the locker room and there my dress was. I put on my cleats. Then I went out. And I started walking and I heard that beautiful music, clickety clack, clickety clack. And off to the field and I says, Maybelle, you're a professional baseball player. And that was the most wonderful feeling I have ever had in my life.
- All these girls are going to be in the league?
- You wish.
- You do wish.
- They're going to have four teams, 16 girls to a team.
- That's right.
- 64 girls.
- You know, they got over 100 girls here. So some of you are going to have to go home.
- Yeah. Sorry about that.
- Ah Doris.
- Those people are jerks.
- What do you mean, some of us?
- Do it.
MAYBELLE BLAIR: When a league of their own came out, it was absolutely wonderful. Before that, nobody ever realized that we ever played baseball. And helped open up Title IX. It gave women a chance to show that we do have abilities other-- staying home and having babies.
I was in the closet for 95 years. And it was time for me to come out and let the world know that I was gay. I can feel the blood rushing from my head clear down to my toes. And then, I thought, Oh Maybelle, what did you do? What's your family going to say? Oh, my God, are they going to disown you?
I said to myself, Maybelle, here's your opportunity to tell people and little girls and little boys, it's OK to be gay. To be yourself. To be able to live your life and don't go through the struggles that I had. And the phone started ringing and it was my family.
And it just broke my heart you know, that they said Aunt Maybelle, we realize you got to live your life. And we love you for what you are and not your sexuality. I want to inspire everybody. If everybody were themselves, there's no telling how high they could go.