FanDuel - WFBC

May 20, 2005

She struck out everybody: Eleven-year-old Katie Brownell, the only girl on her Little League team, pitched a perfect game by striking out every opposing player, yielding no more than two balls to any batter. And she's batting .714.

posted by kirkaracha to baseball at 02:46 AM - 41 comments

Fun story -- especially that incredible photo making her look like Nolan Ryan getting ready to deliver some 96 mile per hour chin music. But I suspect that perfect games in Little League are fairly commonplace when a player is physically ahead of his (or this case her) peers. The girl's a 5-foot-8 11 year old!

posted by rcade at 06:57 AM on May 20

Still - not every physically advanced player gets to strike everyone out on a given day. That's fucking awesome.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:13 AM on May 20

Is there something wrong with the girls sofball team?

posted by volfire at 08:28 AM on May 20

5 foot 8!?

posted by StarFucker at 08:28 AM on May 20

Girls at this age are generally more advanced physically than boys. My daughter was a collegiant softball player and at the age of 11 her 12 & under softball team easily beat a boys 16 & Under team. Granted her team was a top 20 national team but still until about 16 the physical difference make a huge effect. This girl sounds very talented. I'd love to see her playing softball which to me is a much exciting and challenging game. Good luck to her whatever she does.

posted by scottypup at 08:29 AM on May 20

Did you mean to say "a much more exciting and challenging game," scottypup, or did you mean to say "a very exciting and challenging game"? Because I would have to strongly disagree with the first statement, as a matter of personal taste.

posted by Amateur at 09:02 AM on May 20

Here's a topic for discussion: what's to prevent an exceptional woman from becoming a professional baseball player? Pitching (in particular) seems like a position where the physical disadvatages might not be insurmountable. There are planty of men pitching in the pros who only throw in the 80s, relying on their control for success. Aren't there any women who could do that? Or: even better, teach her how to throw the knuckleball. I'm going to go home and talk to the wife about my new training plan for our four-month-old daughter...

posted by Amateur at 09:02 AM on May 20

As long as the Yankees lost, I'm happy.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:20 AM on May 20

Don't forget to teach her how to wear a cup. It might be a little embarrasing for her in the locker room with all the guys around. I would'nt recommend dropping the soap either.

posted by volfire at 09:20 AM on May 20

5-foot-8 ... amazing! And while there are quite a few no-hitters thrown in Little League and even high school, but a perfect game is rare simply because very few young pitchers have the control to keep from walking someone. Amateur, I've always wondered the same thing. There's absolutely NO reason a woman couldn't become an incredible knuckleball pitcher. I don't think I know of a female who can fire the 95-mph cheese, but hell, neither can Tim Wakefield. Another possibility is a Herb Washington situation, where a top female sprinter could become a pinch runner. I don't mean to limit it to this -- I'm pretty damned sure some of the top female softball players could be major-league outfielders, given their ability to place the ball and having strong arms. I'd like to see a woman get the chance soon.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:27 AM on May 20

what's to prevent an exceptional woman from becoming a professional baseball player? you mean like ila borders? (scroll down about half way)

posted by goddam at 09:30 AM on May 20

Did'nt Madonna and Rosie O'donnel make a movie about this? I don't think that made it either.

posted by volfire at 09:55 AM on May 20

Rosie O'donnel was had an unfair advantage.

posted by mayerkyl at 10:09 AM on May 20

I agree that is quite an achievement, and as someone else said, "a fun story." However, I was annoyed to see it reported last night on the NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams and his crew of bozo reporters regularly sweep huge stories under the rug or ignore them completely, but they cover this trivial "feel-good" story. It's not a wonder that the world mocks the priorities and distractions of the U.S. news media. This is the sort of story that belongs in Sports Illustrated's weekly "Faces in the Crowd" section in the front of the magazine. They report 5-6 of these stories about amateur athletes and high-schoolers every week.

posted by the red terror at 10:16 AM on May 20

subtract "was" from above.

posted by mayerkyl at 10:16 AM on May 20

goddam, I appreciate the education. Thank you.

posted by Amateur at 10:30 AM on May 20

Ive seen some amazing girl ball players and see no reason why some of them couldnt play for the Royals, Ha Ha

posted by Tigersfan at 10:31 AM on May 20

There was a woman pitcher in the Indepedent Northern league for a couple of years--I was trying to remember her name and look something up--I think here last name was Borders??

posted by daddisamm at 10:56 AM on May 20

daddisamm, look up.

posted by goddam at 11:03 AM on May 20

Amateur I personally think softball is a much more exciting game. But then i was in it at the top levels for 10 years as a coach so I'm slightly biased. :)

posted by scottypup at 11:14 AM on May 20

wow how did I miss that. ; I was too busy looking for thisthis"> It must have been that exra pain pill I took this am! ;-) She Played for a while with the Sioux Falls Caneries, She certainly wasnt the type to give up-no matter the odds!

posted by daddisamm at 11:15 AM on May 20

YES There is volfire something wrong with her sofball team.1.they dont play baseball,2.they pitch under hand,and3.they are missing the "T" in softball.GOOD for her,hope she plays on her highschool team,maybe even college ball.She should stick with baseball and not settle for softball.

posted by HOE.O.K. at 12:14 PM on May 20

She should stick with baseball and not settle for softball. What you said. She's playing the game that she wants to play, and more power to her. The answer to Amateur's question ("what's to prevent an exceptional woman from becoming a professional baseball player?") is simple: lack of development. For many years, girls were banned from the youth, high school and college levels of the sport; now, while the formal bans are generally gone (after much pushing and shoving), there's still the "boys play baseball, girls play softball" pressure/assumption that keeps girls a pretty small minority in the levels where players develop the fundamental skills of the game. It all follows from that, I think: take some athletic 18-year-old man who has never played baseball, and he's not going to make the cut either. Now, as to why that all can't change...well, I think we see some of the answer to that in the comments in this thread. Some people still don't want to see it happen, and will make things as unpleasant as they can for anyone who crosses the line. It's a shame, because softball, to me, almost seems designed to make girls and women look unathletic. The ball is big and clumsy, the players wear shorts...the fact that there are many softball teams and players who manage to turn this sport into something exciting is a tribute to them, but if they played with a hardball and wore long pants so that they didn't rip the skin off their legs every time they slid, it would be much more exciting, I think. And it would be baseball.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:11 PM on May 20

Is she planning on wrestling boys in the future?

posted by panteeze at 01:18 PM on May 20

Ila Borders was brought into the Northern League(St.. Pual Saints)by Mike Veeks, the Barnum and Baily family of baseball. They are, and his dad was a promotional guru - she was nothing more than an attraction. She bounced around the Nothern League as other teams tried to sttract some female fans to their league. Her record and ERA was not that good. Her fastball was low 80's - she went on to pitch with a female baseball team - Siver streaks i believe. Its cool that the girl can pitch, but if they have softball available to her - isnt this undoing what title IX was supposed to? Or is it just that team - trying "to win at all costs"?

posted by springdawg6 at 01:37 PM on May 20

I was annoyed to see it reported last night on the NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams and his crew of bozo reporters regularly sweep huge stories under the rug or ignore them completely, but they cover this trivial "feel-good" story I couldn't agree with you more...CNN just aired this story and didn't even mention the strikeouts! At least get the story right!

posted by stofer71 at 01:43 PM on May 20

So now every ball field has to have four locker rooms?

posted by volfire at 02:39 PM on May 20

And by the way HOE.OK, I''ll bet she even could'nt hit a fast pitch throw UNDER HAND by a girl softball pitcher.

posted by volfire at 02:42 PM on May 20

And by the way HOE.OK, I''ll bet she even could'nt hit a fast pitch throw UNDER HAND by a girl softball pitcher. At that age, I'd be willing to bet that the kids throw the ball harder overhand than they would underhand, so yes, I'll bet she could hit an underhand pitch from a female pitcher. I don't know if they have 11 year-old girls learning the mechanics of that hop-step pitch you see the Olympic women use... - Is there something wrong with the girls sofball team? - Don't forget to teach her how to wear a cup. It might be a little embarrasing for her in the locker room with all the guys around. I would'nt recommend dropping the soap either. - So now every ball field has to have four locker rooms? Wow, volfire, you seem to have a serious problem with integrated sports.

posted by grum@work at 02:59 PM on May 20

I'd love to see how far she goes, and I'd be rooting for her. The amazing thing to me is she never even got to a 3 ball count. I would have loved to seen the game. Was she spot on, or were they swinging at everything? So many questions.

posted by justgary at 03:00 PM on May 20

Yes, actually, I do.

posted by volfire at 03:12 PM on May 20

Volfire: Too bad, because you're on the wrong side of the trend line. Might as well not bother wasting the emotional energy.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:40 PM on May 20

Her 1.67 ERA for Madison in 1999. So she has had some good years... Plus, she's kind of hot in a very Sue Birdish kind of way. Anyway, It was a nice story about Katie, but with Women's Pro sports being what they are in the US, and her being a 5'8" 11 year old.... Time to work on that jumpshot.

posted by LostInDaJungle at 03:56 PM on May 20

springdawg6: Its cool that the girl can pitch, but if they have softball available to her - isnt this undoing what title IX was supposed to? Nope. Title IX has nothing to do with either Little League or professional sports leagues. LostInDaJungle: Anyway, It was a nice story about Katie, but with Women's Pro sports being what they are in the US, and her being a 5'8" 11 year old.... Time to work on that jumpshot. But things change. When Jamila Wideman was a senior in high school, playing for the Amherst Hurricanes, there was no WNBA. When she graduated from college four years later, she was drafted by the LA Sparks.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:06 PM on May 20

I don't know if they have 11 year-old girls learning the mechanics of that hop-step pitch you see the Olympic women use... back when i was that age you would see a couple of girls pitching with a sort of crow hop. i'd say once they hit about 13 you saw it more. it's almost impossible to pitch windmill effectively without a hop of some sort. i wouldn't be surprised though if these days girls are starting to learn those mechanics much earlier. the thing with pitching underhand is that it does a lot less damage on your arm than overhand. it's a more natural movement for the shoulder and elbow. during my freshman year of college our pitcher was able to pitch just about every inning of every game, all of which were double headers, without losing much on her velocity.

posted by goddam at 06:14 PM on May 20

The problem with girls pitching is because girls don't quite have as much strength in the arm muscles/bones/ tendons as guys. Most girls' arms can't sustain the damage done on an arm by n overhead windup throw. For that matter, most guys' arms can't sustain it either, just check out the number of Tommy Johns surgeries being done and also the number of days on the DL spent by major league pitchers. Think how few starting pitchers can go through a 10 year career without some kind of arm injury. As for position players, no one has been looking for them. Maybe in 15 years, when there have been a lot of girls playing high school and lower level college, maybe then. IF there is a gir strong enough to stand the abuse and insults she's going to take for doing it.

posted by Bonkers at 05:49 PM on May 21

Way to goooo girl!! I'm impressed, but I must say this is an empbarrasment for boys everywhere. I would have never let a girl get the best of me, but then again my parents were lobbying to take the competitive nature out of my life. i.e. dodgeball, and smear the queer. The kids are now growing up to be big wimps!!

posted by rockhard10 at 01:32 PM on May 23

smear the queer. I have no idea what "game" that could be, but it might be a good thing if your parents wanted you to stop playing it.

posted by grum@work at 01:45 PM on May 23

according to a college roommate it's a variation of "kill the guy with the ball". i believe it's a midwest thing.

posted by goddam at 02:31 PM on May 23

Bravo to Rambling Rhodes, which has a pretty accurate assessment of both the game and the innocence of those who played it. We had a VERY violent Smear the Queer game just about every day on the playground in grade school. I can remember at least one badly broken leg and several broken noses. Damn, that was fun. We also were told to discontinue the game, but we morphed it into "3-2-1 Contact", which meant if you held the guy for three seconds, he had to throw the ball up in the air, or he could get up and punt it. The skill in the game came in trying to play the bounce off other guy's fingers when the ball came back down, or judging how it would hop when it hit the ground. I think it was excellent training for later on when I kicked and punted in high school.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:43 PM on May 23

We played smear the queer ( we called it "kill the man with the ball") and eventually turned it into 3-2-1 contact as well. I think it was excellent training for later on when I had to run away from angry people who were much larger than me.

posted by Samsonov14 at 04:53 PM on May 23

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