What are the MLB odds of female baseball players? Not bad, according to Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. As Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, Hurdle is ready to see another barrier broken in baseball. As he puts it, it’s a matter of when, not if, until we see a female player in the MLB. While Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, Hurdle would like to see Jackie Robinson Day stand as an inspiration for all opportunity in baseball. He said via ESPN and Beaver County Times that “This isn’t just an African-American celebration. This is about the opening of doors for everybody. I still believe firmly there is going to be a day where there is a female player in the big leagues. I got that. Where it goes, I don’t know. I don’t believe I’ll be in the dugout to see it.”
Through the years, women have broken the glass ceiling in sports dominated by males. Mo’ne Davis has become a star in the Little League World Series. French shortstop Melissa Mayeux also became the first female to be included on MLB’s international registration list in 2015. Pitcher Sarah Hudek recorded a win for Bossier Parish Community College (La.) this season. However, instead of continuing her route toward the majors on the boys’ team, Hudek has reportedly transferred out and signed on to play softball at Texas A&M. But if not Hudek, Hurdle has faith that a woman can make it to the big leagues.
And it’s not just MLB betting on female potential. Naismith Hall of Fame player and coach Nancy Lieberman is currently a Sacramento Kings assistant coach in the NBA, as is former WNBA star Becky Hammon with the San Antonio Spurs. Jen Welter also made NFL history last year when she joined the Arizona Cardinals as a coaching intern, and the Buffalo Bills hired the services of Kathryn Smith as the first full-time female NFL coach ever.
There has been less progress on the playing field, though. Women have played predominantly male sports on the high school and college levels with men, but nothing in the professional leagues as of yet. Last June, the aforementioned 16-year-old Melissa Mayeux, a French shortstop on the under-18 junior national squad, made headlines by becoming the first woman on MLB's international registration list. There is some evidence of progress in the major leagues, but it may still take a few years before a female player or coach becomes a reality. So the MLB odds that we will see a female player are not yet what you would want to put your MLB betting money on. As Hurdle said, he might not still be in baseball to see a woman in the dugout, but there are several options.