The history of baseball is long and storied. More players have been lost to time than we'll ever know. Ever spend any amount of time going down a Baseball-Reference rabbit hole? Well, you're reading an article about baseball on SB Nation, so of course you have.
We're here today to celebrate those that history has all but forgotten: the notable baseball moms of yesteryear. As the world's foremost baseball mom historian (they prefer the term "momball"), I am here to highlight some of the most beloved mothers to ever lace up some spikes. Hats off to you, momballers!
Maggie Ruth Havershim, 1898
When Cleveland Spiders left fielder Stork "Swollen Ankles" Havershim was laid low by a ferocious flare-up of the gout, his dear mother Maggie Ruth insisted upon filling in for him. Although she managed only a pair of squib hits from June to August of 1898, her fresh blackberry pies were dubbed "first-rate" by all the lads on the Spiders.
Ernestine Cloyvell, 1901-1903
A surprising powerhouse, Ernestine clobbered 10 home runs over the course of three seasons with the Brockton Buggydrivers (then an International League record). However, her accomplishments were stricken from the record books when the municipality of Brockton passed the "Mothers Act of 1903," forbidding mothers from engaging in "unladylike activities" such as baseball playing, swimming and the baking of croissants. (It was a markedly different age.)
Mrs. Abernast, 1899
Not much is known about the mysterious Mrs. Abernast, who pitched for the Louisville Colonels, but she is said to have flummoxed opposing batters with her "bean-ball," which was a pitch slathered with baked beans. It was later revealed that she was just trying to have a picnic on the field when two teams showed up for a baseball game and "thought it looked like a laugh."
Moms Bernaby, 1905-1909
This was actually just a guy named "Moms."
"Clodhopper" Clara Culpepper, 1900
The 27-year-old Clarence Culpepper was a master of the base hit, but was a liability on the basepaths due to being born with one leg eight inches shorter than the other. Luckily, his 52-year-old mother Clara was not only available as an able-bodied pinch-runner, but was said to have been so fast that she regularly left their teammates in the dust during morning "rehearsal constitutionals." The hitting-and-running son-and-mother tandem was dubbed "The Culpepper Two" by the more creative of the local newspapers.
Delores Gables, 1891-1912
The earliest momballer on record, Delores was a pioneer in more ways than one. For starters, she was a literal pioneer. In the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, Delores and her family staked a claim to an expance of 1,500 acres in northern Oregon. When her eldest children used a portion of the land to construct a baseball diamond, settlers from far and wide came to "play-ball!" at the Gables Homestead. The Gables Barnstormers were one of the first baseball teams to play competitively on the West Coast.
Notoriously fearful of both bandits and coyotes, Delores planted herself in the outfield with a shotgun, determined to protect herself and her kin should any player arguments get out of hand. When participants were thoroughly unable to get her to move from her spot, she was designated "permanent center fielder." She posted a lifetime fielding average of .000, never had a plate appearance, and winged four desperadoes.