Before Mo’ne Davis, There Was Maria Pepe…
In 1972, Maria Pepe pitched in the Hoboken Little League.
Today no one bats an eyelash at a girl playing Little League—in 1972, it nearly resulted in Hoboken, “the Birthplace of Baseball,” being kicked out of the sport.
The controversy over Maria led to a case that was ultimately decided in the New Jersey Superior Court. The resulting decision effectively broke down the barriers to sports for girls, with the Little League instituting programs that eventually resulted in female phenoms like perfect-game pitcher Kathleen Brownell and the face of Little League today, Mo’ne Davis.
Maria Pepe has been honored by the New York Yankees, the Little League Museum in Williamsport, PA and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Yesterday, to commemorate Women’s History Month, the first female Little League player from Hoboken was honored by Hoboken’s first female mayor, Dawn Zimmer.
Maria Pepe now works for the City of Hoboken, along with her former coach, Hoboken City Clerk James Farina.
Hoboken is proud to be the birthplace of baseball, but we are also very proud of Hoboken resident and City employee Maria Pepe who is a trailblazer for women in sports. She was honored by Mayor Zimmer at the Hudson County Women's History Month Celebration tonight. In 1973, Maria was one of the first girls to play on a Little League team, which was coached by Hoboken Clerk James Farina. Although she was forced off the team by the Little League organization after just a few games, her actions led to all girls being able to play Little League today.Her baseball glove now resides at the Little League Baseball Museum in Williamsport, Pa. and her baseball cap is on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Posted by Hoboken on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
(Click the link to view the accompanying video on the City of Hoboken facebook page)