Lois: It was popular in North America as early as the mid-1800s. Although men 8)monopolized the game, women were there too, and they played 9)hardball just like the men. In 1866, the Vassar College “Resolutes,” a team of young ladies, 10)frolicked gracefully across the fields in their billowing dresses, and 30 years later women in New Brunswick challenged others to a game of ball. Even your great grandmother might have been a baseball player.
At times a game had to be temporarily suspended because a skirt ripped when a young miss tripped chasing a fly ball. But the clothes were good for one thing; women in the 11)outfield became experts at trapping baseballs in their skirts.
The first professional women baseball players were “The Bloomer Girls” in the 1890s. They were famous because they travelled from city to city in North America on barnstorming tours. Their promoters, whose other jobs were sometimes 12)horseshoeing or saloon-keeping, 13)cashed in on the 14)novelty of women playing baseball against men. Games were also mixed. 15)Hall of Fame great 16)Rogers Hornsby once played as a “Bloomer Girl.” They were popular until the late 1920s, when their fans became more interested in men's professional baseball and 17)Babe Ruth was worshipped as an American hero.