BREAKING THE BASEBALL BARRIER
Kathryn "Tubby" Johnston Massar has been officially recognized as the first girl to play organized Little League baseball. In 1950, as a self-described tomboy in Corning, N.Y., Kathryn convinced Little League officials in her hometown that she was a boy named "Tubby".
Tubby Johnston played for the King's Dairy Team in Corning, N.Y., in the summer of 1950.
"I first tried out for Little League with my younger brother, Tommy, for the King's Dairy team in Corning, N.Y. I cut my hair short and tucked the rest under my baseball cap. I gave the impression that I was a boy so that I could play baseball. I used the nickname "Tubby", a character from my favorite comic strip, "Little Lulu".
"My father always took me out, and we would play. He'd throw the ball and I would bat. My father told me that I was pretty good so I went out for the team. My brother didn't think I'd make the team, but I was better than him. Once I was on the team, I talked to the coach in the dugout and told him that I was a girl. He said, "Well, if you're good enough to make the team, you're good enough to stay on the team."
In fact, I was a drawing card for the King's Dairy team, because once they found out that I was a girl, more people came out to see the games. This made little difference to me as I just wanted to play baseball."
Kathryn "Tubby" Johnston Massar