Author: Ellen Emerson White
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Published Date: February 14th 2017
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Baseball, YA
When eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty makes history as the first woman to be signed by a major league team, she goes head-to-head against coaches, players, and fans who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. The first step? Proving she’s talented enough to be there. An engrossing story about defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, for fans of John Corey Whaley and Catherine Gilbert Murdock.
Jill Cafferty just made history as the first woman signed by an MLB team, joining the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate only days after high school graduation. Despite the reassurances of coaches and managers alike, not everyone is happy to have her there. A few of her teammates are giving her trouble, making crude jokes and claiming there’s no way she can play at this level. The media presence following Jill at each of her games adds to her own misgivings about choosing pro baseball over a normal college experience. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself?
"You have intellect, and courage, and command. Play your own game, and don't worry about what anyone else is doing. That is what's going to give you a shot at making it. Comparing yourself to anyone else will just drive you crazy."
Cafferty is an extremely good baseball player, theirs only one problem. She's a young women going into a male dominated world that isn't known for playing nicely to each other let alone a young women. Women and baseball have never been treated properly. In the 40's when the men went off to war and the women did get a chance to play they were seen as less than and while it was still a popular game they were constantly insulted or being catcalled. So for Cafferty to now 60+ years later now taking the field alone it's a big undertaking for her and her family.
At 18 she has to make the tough decision to go to college and pitch for a few years and take the risk of her arm giving out or to go ahead and go pro while her arm is still good enough. With the help of her mom, brother, and best friends Greg and Lauren she makes this decision and has there support which becomes vital for her.
"It's still baseball Cafferty. And were supposed to treat you like--look, you have to tune out all of the static. Focus on baseball."
Once she's gotten through all of the entry level things and is actually placed on a minor team she now has a whole new world to deal with. Minor league is tough, its not for the faint of heart, because everyone on the team is trying to make it up to the majors or just trying to convince themselves they still have the ability to play professionally.
Cafferty really struggles not only with living with a host family, but the huge expectations that have been placed on her by everyone, and how exactly she will fit in with the team. If she didn't have catcher Marcus known as 'mother' by the team I don't know if she could have made it. Marcus not only helps her find ways to deal with the things that are happening on the field, but also puts a stop to the drama in the locker room with a help of a few other teammates.
I don't want to say too much more about what happens here and how the team reacts because that's part of the good things that happen in the book.
"They all want me to be this perfect role model. You know, the ideal of what a female baseball player is supposed to be. That I have to be exemplary, in every possible way."
Being the first women in baseball isn't going to be easy, and to the first women who has the ability to do so. I hope you have an amazing support system that isn't just family, but friends as well. Friends who let you vent, but then still tell you how it is and don't let you get to in over your head. Family that has taught you to be a duck and to let the comments and criticism from others roll off your back as if they were water. I also hope you really enjoy the game and that being the first women in baseball doesn't end up making you hate it. Most of all though I hope you love the game no matter if you win or lose and always have fun!
Overall I really enjoyed and loved this book. Not only did it address the pressure that the first women in baseball would face, but also the harsh criticism from everyone that would most likely happen. The struggles that the baseball teams would have with a women being in baseball and how they would handle locker rooms, showers, etc. The real struggles of the minors were also shown and of course the annoying attitude that some players have that gets extremely annoying.
Having said that though, this book felt so real to me, like this is something that could actually happen for a young women someday soon. Which also means that I need more books with this type of topic and maybe possibly this one having a companion novel? Just so we can see if she is able to make it up to the pro teams and how things are when she makes it.