Baseball for All: Justine SiegalPublished on: September 22, 2017
Photo used with permission from Justine Siegal
Everyone knows baseball is one of America’s favorite pastimes. How do you think you would feel if you were told you couldn’t participate? Justine Siegal was 13 years old the first time she was told she shouldn’t play baseball. Her coach told her boys play baseball and girls play softball. That’s why, when Justine was just 23 years old, she founded Baseball for All, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls through baseball.
When Justine was told by her coach she should quit baseball, she knew she wanted to play for the rest of her life. She was introduced to the game by her grandfather who used to take her to watch the Cleveland Indians, a team she would throw batting practice to in 2011.
Baseball for All
Justine founded Baseball for All as a result of her resolve to show kindness in the face of anger. The obstacles she faced as a young girl wanting to play baseball only made her work harder to achieve her goals and improve conditions for other girls.
Baseball for All’s programs work towards gender equality by providing instruction and opportunities for girls to play baseball. Justine created Baseball for All because she believes if you tell girls they can’t play baseball, they may find other things they believe they can’t do. Through Baseball for All, Justine is working to get rid of the status quo that says girls shouldn’t play baseball. Girls can play too!
In 2002, Justine formed The Sparks, the first all-girls team to compete nationally against boys. The team later became the subject of the documentary, Girls of Summer.
Making Dreams Come True
When Justine was 16, she decided she wanted to be a college baseball coach, a dream she realized in 2009 when she was hired by the Brockton Rox minor league team to coach first base. This was after three years of being the only female coach in the sport.
On her way to achieving this goal, Justine endured much laughter and criticism as people told her men wouldn’t listen to her. This only made her work harder and she returned to school to earn her Ph. D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Springfield College.
The Major Leagues
Justine broke another barrier in 2011 when she pitched batting practice for the Cleveland Indians. She went on to pitch batting practice for five more major league teams before making history again in 2015 when she was hired by the Oakland Athletics as a guest instructor. Justine was the first woman ever employed by a major league baseball team.
There’s a great quote from Justine on her LinkedIn profile that sums up the way she lives her life. “It’s an honor to make history, but it’s more important that we build a better future”.
Everyone has a right to play sports. Baseball For All is a great place for girls and their parents to find resources and encouragement to help get girls in the game. BallQube is a proud supporter of Baseball for All.