A 70-year-old Connecticut woman served as honorary batgirl Monday night at Yankee Stadium, six decades after the team told her she had no place in the dugout because of her gender.
Gwen Goldman said she lived out a dream, donning Yankee pinstripes and being in the dugout as her Bronx Bombers played the Los Angeles Angels.
“This is all real, this isn’t a dream,” Goldman said. “I’ve never had such an amazing, overwhelming, wonderful feeling like this except probably when my children were born.”
A 10-year-old Goldman had written to the Yankees asking if she could be a batgirl drawing a predictable of-the-era response from then-General Manager Roy Hamey.
“While we agree with you that girls are certainly as capable as boys, and no doubt would be an attractive addition on the playing field, I am sure you can understand that it is a game dominated by men a young lady such as yourself would feel out of place in a dugout,” Hamey wrote in a June 23, 1961, letter that Goldman kept all these years.
Goldman’s daughter Abby let the team know of that 1961 rejection letter and Yankees GM Brian Cashman said it was time to correct that error.
“Some dreams take longer than they should to be realized, but a goal attained should not dim with the passage of time,” Cashman wrote in a June 23 letter, asking Goldman to be a batgirl for Monday’s Angels game.
“I have a daughter myself, and it is my sincere hope that every girl be given the opportunity to follow her aspirations into the future.”
Goldman strolled into Yankee Stadium on Monday and was greeted with a locker with her name on it.
She threw out a ceremonial first pitch to Yankees utility man Tyler Wade and stood next to manager Aaron Boone for the national anthem.
And between innings, the Yankee Stadium scoreboard played a video chronicling Goldman’s story. It included an image of that 1961 letter and a Zoom session that included Cashman, assistant general manager Jean Afterman and pitcher Gerrit Cole extending the batgirl invite.
Goldman, a retired social worker from Newtown, Connecticut, got the last laugh Monday all while shedding some joyous tears along the way.
“Here’s this 10-year-old girl who wrote it and she’s still inside of me,” Goldman said. “She’s still there and we shed some tears together.”
Monday’s event was part of the Yankees’ annual HOPE week, which stands for “Helping Others Persevere & Excel.”
Goldman’s ceremonial victory at Yankee Stadium coincided with other huge, recent strides women have made in the overwhelmingly male industry.
In November, Kim Ng was named general manager of the Miami Marlins. She’s the first woman to run an MLB team’s baseball operations.
San Francisco Giants assistant coach Alyssa Nakken was added to the on-field staff last year and can be seen in the dugout sporting No. 92.