Woman banned from little league in 1950’s gets honored

YUBA CITY, Cal. (KOVR) — Kathryn Johnston’s first love has always been baseball, “I love baseball because my dad did…I loved any sport but baseball was my favorite.”

When she got a chance to try out for the King Dairies as a 12-year-old, she jumped at the opportunity. Kathryn says she was willing to do anything to pass as a boy in order to make the team, “My mom cut my hair off…What I had left I tucked into one of my brother’s baseball caps.”

But with the braids gone, she needed a new name. Kathryn wouldn’t work. “I said to my mom what am I going to call myself? Kay doesn’t sound like a boy’s name. She said you are always reading little comics books, why don’t you just take the name Tubby”

Tubby made the team and became one of the best players on the field. She batted third in the lineup and played first base for the dairies. But being out there wasn’t a big statement by Kathryn, she says she wanted to be out there because of just how much she loved baseball. “I wasn’t going out to be a beacon for girl’s rights. I was going out because I loved the game.”

But little league officials were determined to bench Tubby Johnston for good. “No girls under any circumstances will ever play little league baseball. So I can remember, when my dad came home he said now look what you’ve done, because of you girls can’t play.”

The rule would stand for two decades before being overturned by the courts. Now 64 years later, Kay is going back to the league that squashed her baseball dream. Kay is practicing for that first pitch in the backyard of her Yuba City home. She says she’s determined to show them she still has it after all these years.

Kay threw out that first pitch in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on Monday.

Copyright 2014 KOVR via CNN

Script modified for this website

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