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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Jackie Mitchell, 17, fans Babe and Gehrig
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

April 2, 1931

It's the Babe vs. the babe. Jackie Mitchell, a 17-year-old left-hander for the Chattanooga Lookouts, becomes the first woman to pitch in a professional game when she faces the Yankees in an exhibition contest in Chattanooga.

Relieving in the first inning, her first batter is Babe Ruth, who swings from the heels and misses Mitchell's first two pitches. Then he takes the third pitch for strike three, flinging his bat in mock anger after he's called out. Lou Gehrig follows by also striking out, missing on three hefty swings. Tony Lazzeri walks, and then Mitchell is removed from the game.

The entire incident is more a publicity stunt than one for the record book. The Bambino and the Iron Horse pose for pictures with Mitchell.

Mitchell's contract with the Lookouts will soon be voided by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who regards baseball as too rough for women.

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