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Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 9:15 pm

Hall Of Fame, Here I Come

Justine Siegal (WBL) and Deb Bettencourt (Slaterettes & WBL) at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY - 4/20/0

There have been so many times in my life that I’ve wanted to go to Cooperstown, NY and visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. But I could never find the time. Well, when someone asks you to come to the HOF and speak as part of a forum on women’s baseball, you make the time! So I cleared my schedule and headed west on Saturday, April 20, 2002.

There were 4 members of the Women’s Baseball League Board of Directors that sat on the panel which was moderated by Bruce Markusen, Manager of Program Presentations for the HOF. The WBL Members were: Justine Siegal, President; Patrick McCauley, Vice President; Nikki Ross, Supervisor of Umpires; and myself, Deb Bettencourt, Director of Girls Baseball.

Questions ranged from “how did you get started in the sport” to “do you ever think we’ll see a woman playing in the major leagues.” We discussed the AAU’s decision to sanction girls’ baseball as a national sport and the possibilities of a trip to the Olympics in 2008. Even the umpires got to be represented! It was also the first time that we got to speak “out loud” about our invitation to send a national team to compete in Australia in December.

It was an amazing day for me. The best part was that they videotaped the entire discussion and it will be kept in the HOF archives for future reference. Years from now, someone will be researching the origins of women’s baseball and they’ll find us. How cool is that?

But how could I go all the way to Cooperstown and not remember my baseball “family” back home in Pawtucket? I made sure they knew exactly where I came from and what it meant to be a Slaterette. It was amusing to listen to some of these people try to pronounce “Pawtucket”! I even made sure I gave them one of the league’s brochures which will go into the archives as representation of our league!

During the discussion, Justine brought up a point that I had made at the WBL Conference in Orlando back in February: I am very proud to say that the Slaterettes are currently the only all girls baseball league in the country. We’ve been going strong for 29 years. But I think we are all ready to.