MIHistory – May 8: First Girl in Little League

On this day in 1973, Carolyn King of Ypsilanti became the first girl to play on a Little League team when she took the field as a member of the Ypsilanti Orioles baseball team. Despite the Little League’s rule against having girls on teams, the Ypsilanti Orioles president and coach let her try out anyway, and placed her on the team.

When Little League International officials found out, they threatened to pull the charter for the local team, and the Ypsilanti Orioles reluctantly complied. The city of Ypsilanti countered by calling the move discriminatory, and telling the Little League that they could not play on city-owned fields if King was kept off the team. The local team relented, and she took the field as television crews filmed the game.

The international leaders of the Little League followed through on their promise to pull the team’s charter, and King and the city of Ypsilanti sued. The Little League initially won, but in 1974, the Little League voluntarily dropped the rule.

16-may 8-carolyn king

Carolyn King in an undated photo.

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