the NFL, MLB and women

Hello Everyone,

Has a woman ever tried out for a spot on a MLB or NFL team? I don’t recall ever hearing of one being on a pro team and I’m not even sure if these leagues would even entertain the idea of a lady in their ranks. But, especially in baseball I could see a woman being good enough to be pro. My wife is very athletic, lettering in several college sports. She hits a baseball a good or better than most men I’ve played with. So, can a woman have a shot at being in the big leagues or are women “banned” no matter their ability?

But can your wife hit as well as an MLB player? I could see a women perhaps being good enough for the minor leagues, but remember that very few men ever make is to the big leagues.

I doubt that even an outstanding woman would be as good as the guys that are trying out for the big leagues…

The NFL has open tryouts, separate from the usual college\combine\draft system. This is one way that European soccer players, for instance, sometimes become NFL kickers or punters. Women are allowed to try out, and a very few have. None of them were good enough. Just being able to kick isn’t enough, there are other strength and speed requirements.

And frankly, many people thought they were only doing it for the publicity, fully expecting to go back to whatever women’s sport they played before.

Now that I’ve looked it up: only one woman, Lauren Silberman, has tried out for the NFL, and she did rather poorly.

Hitting major league pitching is among the hardest single achievements in all of sports. To give an idea of how hard, Ted Williams was the last man to over .400 (40%) in a single season and that was in 1941. Even Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth , arguably the two bets players in the history of the game, never hit .400.

A woman could probably be a good professional infielder and (possibly) a decent outfielder. But their lack of upper body strength and their having too much connective tissue would make the overwhelming majority of them (even great athletes) poor hitters, weak pitchers and slow base runners.

They could try out.
However, like most men, they probably wouldn’t make it.

A lot of posters here have touted the way European Football (ie Soccer) gets players, but I have yet to see a World Cup team that has a female player aside from the’Womens World Cup’.

There’s no chance a biological woman could make the bigs for sports like baseball and football.

They can barely even compete in golf.

In the sad final years of the Negro Leagues three women (two infielders and a pitcher) played for several teams.

Carey Schuler was the 1208th overall pick when drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1993. The fact that she was the daughter of the White Sox’s general manager is probably relevant.

There are a handful of women who played baseball prior to 1900 and a smaller handful who’ve played in independent or low-minor leagues, but none had careers of note.

There’s been women in men’s ice hockey before, maybe two three all time, but it happens.

Men and women compete head to head in the equestrian disciplines at the Summer Olympics.

Moderator Action

Since this concerns sports, let’s punt it over to the Game Room.

Moving thread from General Questions to The Game Room.

And women haven’t had much luck in becoming umpires, either. At least one woman umpired a major league spring training game, but that’s about it. (I can’t determine whether it was one or two women from the linked article.) And there have been a handful with short careers in the minors. The umpiring schools say they don’t discriminate, but women are just not applying.

Ila Borders was perhaps the most successful female pitcher in a men’s league, playing a couple of seasons in the independent Northern League, but her career was less than spectacular.

It’s not impossible that a woman could be a control or knuckleball pitcher, especially in a league with a designated hitter, but it would still be a long shot.

Women have had more luck officiating football - there are multiple women doing D1 college football, one of them is a serious NFL prospect and has worked the preseason. A different woman was one of the replacement officials. The NBA has multiple female referees (although I think they’re very rare in men’s college ball - they generally come up via the WNBA and D-League).

I know there was a flap about a female knuckleballer (possibly Japanese?) who’s come to spring training a few times. I think something like that is the only real shot of getting a woman on a MLB team: good at a rare skill that isn’t reliant only on dominant physical ability (and doesn’t mind being a bit of a stunt).


Meaning that horses respond equally well to men and women riders, and not much else.

But not, interestingly enough, in curling for the winter olympics.
Nor the target shooting events in the summer olympics, as I recall.

No, not now at 46, but in her prime I have a feeling she wouldn’t have fared too bad. She was a hell of a hitter in college. But I really wasn’t posing the question “Is my wife good enough for MBL”. My thought is that she’s really good, but I bet there are a hundred or even thousands of women out there even better. I would think that there are a few women softball/baseball players in this country that could make it to The Show. My question is there not even one in the US good enough or are women not welcomed in the big leagues.

As far as football, my guess that outside of kicker, there really isn’t a readable position for a female. The men in that sport are just to big. While there are some moose of a woman out there, even the biggest I’ve seen couldn’t hope to match a NFL player. However, baseball doesn’t have the physical contact that football does, so I would think there is at least one lady out there with the skills to make it.

What level of college ball did she play, who was she hitting against, and how old was she when she had her best seasons?

The answer is “yes.” MLB will be very skeptical of any woman who claims to be a good ballplayer, and it would be a long, uphill climb. However, in all likelihood no women are good enough.

It is extremely difficult to overstate how elite the top professional sports leagues are. I assure you I have played with dozens of men who are way, way better ballplayers than your wife who are not and never were even close to being major league quality ballplayers. It isn’t good enough to be really good in college; a player, realistically, has to be the best hitter on his (or her) team, and it has to be a team in a solid conference, for them to be an actual MLB prospect.

For a woman to make it in the major leagues would not only require that she play top-level baseball against boys/men basically from Little League on, but would require overcoming a massive, massive natural deficit in physical strength. A solid female athlete of fairly good size - say 5’10" and 170 muscular pounds, which would be about the size of Hayley Wickenheiser, the greatest woman hockey player of all time and an elite softball player as well - would be one of the weakest players in professional baseball. That can be overcome, as baseball has had lots of small guys make it (David Eckstein was a small player of little strength) but we’re talking about a player who’s not going to have home run power and so will have to be either extremely fast or be one of the most accomplished contact hitters in the world.

It’s a hell of a mountain to get over, and your main barrier is practice. Baseball is not a sport you are born knowing, it’s a sport you have to learn, and to be a major leaguer requires thousands of at bats, innings, and fielding chances against the very best competition you can face.

Speaking hypothetically, I could envision a woman (possibly with a volleyball or basketball type physique) being a competent quarterback, where the main prerequisites seem to be a) work ethic, b) fast processing of lots of information, and c) being tall.

I could see a woman playing like a Chad Pennington.

There was a top woman college basketball player named Ann Meyer who had a tryout with the Indiana Pacers in 1980. From what I heard, she was outclassed by her male counterparts. Just not on their level

As long as we’re adding other professional sports to the discussion, Manon Rhéaume played professional ice hockey at the level just below NHL for several years, and even appeared in exhibition games for the Tampa Bay Lightning.