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.
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)