Arlington, Lizzie (b. 1876)

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Arlington, Lizzie (b. 1876)

First woman to sign a contract in the baseball minor leagues (Atlantic League). Name variations: Stoud; Arlington was a professional name. Born Elizabeth Stride in Pennsylvania, in 1876.

Growing up in the coal-mining hills of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Stride played baseball with her father and brothers. She gained inspiration and pointers on pitching from John Elmer Stivetts, a pitching great who won 35 games for the 1892 Boston world champions.

In 1898, the short, sturdy 22-year-old caught the eye of promoter William J. Conner, who became Stride's manager and paid her $100 a week as a starting pitcher for professional teams. On July 2 of that year, Stride, calling herself Lizzie Arlington, played in her first professional game for the Philadelphia Reserves, pitching four innings and giving up six hits and three unearned runs. At bat, she had two hits off Mike Kilroy and was left at second base at the end of the game in which the Reserves defeated Richmond 18–5.

Though the novelty of a woman pitcher failed to make money for Conner, Edward Grant Barrow, president of the Atlantic League, was intrigued enough to sign Arlington. On July 5, 1898, she pitched in a regulation minor-league game for Reading against Allentown, appearing in the ninth inning when Reading led 5–0. To the cheers of approximately 1,000 spectators, of whom 200 were women, she gave up no runs. An article in the Reading Eagle made much of Arlington's "attractive face and rosy cheeks" and the fact that she was very professional, "even down to expectorating on her hands and wiping her hands on her uniform." As to her pitching, the article admonished that "she, of course, hasn't the strength to get much speed on and has poor control. But, for a woman, she is a success."

When Arlington failed to attract an increase in gate receipts, Barrow let her go, but she signed with a bloomer team and went on to play baseball for many years. When minor-league commissioner George Trautman barred women baseball players, George Barrow commented on Arlington's brief career: "The sensible thing, I would think, is to accept or reject a player on merit alone. I admit that I signed Lizzie strictly as a stunt. But I'm not so sure she couldn't win a spot somewhere in organized ball if she were in her prime today."


Gregorich, Barbara. Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball. NY: Harcourt Brace, 1993.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Arlington, Lizzie (b. 1876)

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