Without sports writers, there would be no sports. Without baseball writers, there would be no baseball. We rarely recognize behind-the-scenes work in sports, and when we do, we focus on male achievement…Which is why Claire Smith’s story is so important.
In 1983, Claire Smith became the first full-time female beat writer in Major League Baseball. In 1984, Smith was denied access into the San Diego Padres locker room because of her gender. Last week, Claire Smith became the first woman – and the fourth African American – to be inducted into the writers’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Claire Smith is the first woman to be recognized in the writers’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. https://t.co/kf0FlzBiSW
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) August 1, 2017
At the ceremony in Cooperstown, NY, Smith said, “I humbly stand on stage for those who were stung by racism or sexism or any other insidious bias and persevered . . . . You are unbreakable. You make me proud.”
The power of social change is exactly what brought Smith to the baseball field in third grade. After watching a movie about Jackie Robinson, the first African American baseball player, the young girl became a baseball fan. In February, Smith described Robinson and other African American players:
“[They are] our heroes and role models….their story is intertwined with everyone who grew up in Black America.”
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) July 29, 2017
According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, 91% of sports columnists and 86% of sports reporters are men. These female sports broadcasters are rarely recognized for their work. Without them, the San Diego Padres might still be preventing female reporters from entering locker rooms.