From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Bloomer Girls Baseball Team, Lexington, KY

African American Bloomer Girls baseball teams in Kentucky is an untouched topic in Kentucky history. It could easily be assumed that there were no teams in Kentucky. However, thanks to the efforts of Yvonne Giles, the names of a few African American women's baseball teams in Lexington, KY, have been found.

In August of 1921, the Douglas Bloomer Girls defeated the Junior boys' team (9-4) at Douglas Park in Lexington, KY. The following week, the Patterson Street Girls were set to play the East End Girls, and the winner was to play the Douglass Bloomer Girls. In June of 1922, the Southend Quicksteps girls' team played against the Douglass Bloomer Girls in Dixie Park in Lexington, KY. The game was a fundraiser for the YWCA. Admission to the game for men was 25 cents, for women, 15 cents, and for children, 10 cents.

There were other African American Bloomer Girls baseball teams in cities such as Indianapolis, IN, Camden, NJ, Baltimore, MA, Detroit, MI, and St. Louis, MO. According to writer Dawn Mitchell, "In the early days of the Bloomer Girls, blacks were not allowed to play. It wasn't until 1920 that W. M. King managed the Indianapolis Bloomer Girls, an all-black traveling girls' baseball team." --Source: Dawn Mitchell, "She's on first: Women in baseball," The Courier-Journal, 03/13/2016, p.A11. [All of the women on the various Bloomer Girls baseball teams were often referred to as "girls" in the newspapers.]

Women's professional baseball teams developed in the 1870s. The Bloomer Girls baseball teams came about in the 1890s and continued into the 1930s. The team members initially wore bloomer uniforms, and then the style gave way to the more standard uniforms of baseball pants and shirts. The teams played exhibition games against other women's and men's teams for fun and entertainment, and some games were fundraisers for charity and other causes. There are quite a few brief articles in newspapers about the games played by Bloomer Girls baseball teams in various locations in Kentucky.

Sources: "Colored News Notes: The Douglass Bloomer Girls," The Lexington Herald, 08/07/1921, p12; "Baseball between two girl teams..." The Lexington Herald, 06/25/1922, p.9; "One of the best ball games of the season ..." The Lexington Leader, 06/25/1922, p.15; Girls of the Summer,” an Exploratorium webpage; "Topics in Chronicling America - Bloomer Girls: All-girls novelty act sweeps country playing baseball," a Library of Congress webpage; Women at Play: the story of women in baseball by Barbara Gregorich; Forgotten Heroes: Women of the Negro Leagues by Dr. Layton Revel [online .pdf].

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

References

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Giles, Yvonne Y.
NKAA Source: The Lexington herald (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Women at play : the story of women in baseball
NKAA Source: Forgotten heroes: women of the Negro Leagues [online]
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Bloomer Girls Baseball Team, Lexington, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 28, 2022, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/300004623.

Last modified: 2022-05-03 20:17:06