All Gwen Goldman wanted to do was get close to her beloved Yankees. After dozens of attempts to be a ballgirl for the team as a 10-year-old in New York, Goldman was crestfallen when she was told by then general manager Roy Hamey back in 1961 that ballgirls weren’t allowed.
On Monday night, after 60 years of waiting, Gwen got her chance.
In 1961, Gwen Goldman was rejected to be the Yankees bat girl because of her gender. Today, the 70-year-old finally got to fulfill that dream. pic.twitter.com/zLJKtGsl6A— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 29, 2021
“It was a thrill of a lifetime — times a million,” Goldman told NBC New York, “And I actually got to be out in the dugout, too. I threw out a ball, I met the players. Yeah, it goes on and on. They had set up a day for me that is something that I never would have expected.”
The idea that any kid would get rejected from being a ballboy or ballgirl is ridiculous now, but in 1961 it was standard. In his letter to Goldman, Haney explained the organization’s justification for now allowing her to take the field.
“While we agree with you that girls are certainly as capable as boys, and no doubt would be an attractive addition on the playing field, I am sure you can understand that it is a game dominated by men a young lady such as yourself would feel out of place in a dugout.”
A second letter from the Yankees, arriving 60 years to the day from her rejection, couldn’t have shown better how far we’ve come.
“Here at the Yankees, we have championed to break down gender barriers in our industry,” wrote Yankees GM Brian Cashman. “It is an ongoing commitment rooted in the belief that a woman belongs everywhere a man does, even in the dugout.” Cashman added that he has a daughter himself, and wants to see every little girl given the opportunity to do anything a man can. He also quipped that the 60-year waiting period for Gwen to realize her dream happened before he was even born.
60 years later, in a new letter to Gwen from the current Yankees GM, Brian Cashman invites her to Yankee Stadium to fulfill her dream. pic.twitter.com/FHZK3SIfe5— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 25, 2021
For Gwen, the moment was worth the wait. Grinning ear to ear as she told reporters that the moment was better than she ever hoped.
“The whole piece, from walking in the front door of the stadium at Gate 2, to coming up to a locker with my name on it that said Gwen Goldman, and suiting up, then walking out onto the field. It took my breath away. It’s obviously taking my words away also.
Bravo to the Yankees for not letting this moment drift into history unrecognized. It would have been far easier for the organization to simply move on, and pretend this never happened — but by bringing Gwen to Yankee Stadium, and making her a VIP for the day, it made an impact.