Eighty years ago, a professional women's baseball team was formed in Philadelphia. Its name came from a popular hairstyle of the time. Can you guess its name?

HomeBlogsQuestion of the WeekEighty years ago, a professional women's baseball team was formed in Philadelphia. Its name came from a popular hairstyle of the time. Can you guess its name?

Eighty years ago, a professional women's baseball team was formed in Philadelphia. Its name came from a popular hairstyle of the time. Can you guess its name?

2012-04-02 00:00

 

Answer:  The Philadelphia Bobbies

 

Though professional women's baseball in Philadelphia dates back to 1867 with the founding of the Dolly Vardens, the Philadelphia Bobbies were formed in 1922. Their name was derived from the popular "bob" hairstyle of the time.  Among their star players was Edith Houghton (1912-2013) who played shortstop and was just 10 years old when she joined the team. She and her teammates embarked on a tour across America challenging various men's teams. In 1925, the team traveled to Japan to play, a unique opportunity for a women's baseball team.

Baseball remained a part of Houghton's life after her time with the Bobbies. She played for other teams and pitched for a navy team as part of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II. In 1946, the Philadelphia Phillies hired her as the sport's first female scout. Houghton is now a resident of Sarasota, Florida, and recently celebrated her 100th birthday. She remains a devoted Phillies fan.

Image:  Edith Houghton in the Bobbies uniform, photograph (1929)
 

Comments

Submitted by Dorothy Seymour... (not verified) on

You need to update this. Edith died this year in a Florida retirement home. The New York Times featured her in an obituary.

Submitted by Cary Hutto on

Dorothy, thanks for commenting and keeping us informed! I've updated the post to reflect Edith's passing and have included a link to her obituary. She had a fascinating life and her work as a baseball scout indeed remains rare, even in this day and age, as the obituary notes.

Submitted by Barbara Spangle... (not verified) on

My mother, Nettie Gans, was also on the Philadelphia Bobbies team.  Her diary is in the Baseball Hall of Fame Library.  We went to Cooperstown, N.Y. in the fall of 1988.   Her pictures of the team are on the second floor. We have many more pictures of her teammates.

Submitted by Sandra Fakan (not verified) on

Hi Barbara, My sister (Debra Shattuck) published her first book in the series Bloomer Girls: Women Baseball Pioneers earlier this year. I am collecting some research for her second book which covers the era that your mom played. I am currently looking for more information about the Philadelphia Bobbies. I called my sister about your post, and she is eager to speak with you and perhaps do an interview if you are interested. You can email me at sandyefakan@gmail.com. Thanks!

Submitted by Sandra Fakan (not verified) on

Hi Barbara, My sister (Debra Shattuck) published her first book in the series Bloomer Girls: Women Baseball Pioneers earlier this year. I am collecting some research for her second book which covers the era that your mom played. I am currently looking for more information about the Philadelphia Bobbies. I called my sister about your post, and she is eager to speak with you and perhaps do an interview if you are interested. You can email me at sandyefakan@gmail.com. Thanks!

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