My athletic career did not get off to an auspicious start.
See, as per the rules of the 1988 Mundelein Little League, every t-ball team had to have at least one girl on it. My team, the White Sox, did not fit that particular rule and stood the risk of forfeiture if it played without one.
So on the eve of the season, the coach took a look down the roster to find the most expendable player who could be traded to one of the teams with two girls on the roster. That, of course, being me.
And thus before even playing the first Little League game of my career, I was traded for a girl.
But thanks to Mo’Ne Davis, I can feel a lot better about being the youngest player traded in the history of organized baseball. For now I can tell everyone “Oh yeah, that girl they traded for me was good, like Mo’Ne Davis.”
The 13-year-old Davis pitched Philadelphia’s Taney Youth Baseball Association Little League to the Little League World Series on Sunday afternoon, tossing a three-hit shutout while striking out six in her team’s 8-0 regional win over Newark, Delaware.
It wasn’t even her best work of the tournament — Davis struck out 10 against Newark in pool play. She’ll be the 17th female to play in the 68-yeard history of the Williamsport tournament.
Perhaps of more historic value is that Taney is the City of Philadelphia’s first-ever team to make the trip across the state for the LLWS. That’s a good sign for the state of baseball as a whole — Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West Little League is also in the field, perhaps showing that the sport is on the rebound in inner cities after several years where the number of black big leaguers has dwindled.
After all, the appeal of Little League baseball is its sense of democracy. It’s proven that anyone from any background can succeed regardless of nationality, color or gender. Heck, Young Sean Burroughs even proved chunky kids could do well too.
At any rate, I tip my hat to Mo’Ne Davis — because now I’ve never felt better about being traded for a girl.