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Women's Baseball Teams of the 1800s That You Never Knew About

This week, we're celebrating women's firsts in sports with #MajorLeagueWomen who are changing the game.

While women have been dominating the sports world this summer, the first league of women baseball players appeared as early as the 19th century, Smithsonian Magazine reports.

Amateur women's baseball teams were prevalent as early as 1866, and were known as "Bloomer Girls" for their Turkish-style trousers they wore during games. Amelia Bloomer designed and wore loose-fitting pants as they made sports more practical for female athletes. 

The first two teams were established in 1866 with the Laurel Base Ball Club and the Abenakis at Vassar Female College, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Just one year later in 1867, the first African-American women's team played in Philadelphia.

Because there was no league, and the Bloomer Girls teams rarely played each other, the women's teams typically challenged local men's teams, and recruited team members from women across other sports.

Swimmer and diver Ida Schnall joined baseball after the U.S Olympic committee barred women from the 1912 Stockholm games. 

Eventually, the teams died out as more young men moved to the minor and major league teams, with the exception of a handful of women who received similar contracts.

The Bloomer Girls era came to an end about 1913, but their legacy has inspired generations of young women to pursue sports typically dominated by men. 

Watch Maria Pepe's video above to learn more about how she defied stereotypes in the game of baseball. 

NEXT: Women's Sports Firsts »

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Women in Sports: Playing with the Boys

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Photo Credit: Transcendental Graphics via Getty Images