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Making My Pitch
Cover of Making My Pitch
Making My Pitch
A Woman's Baseball Odyssey
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Making My Pitch tells the story of Ila Jane Borders, who despite formidable obstacles became a Little League prodigy, MVP of her otherwise all-male middle school and high school teams, the first woman...
Making My Pitch tells the story of Ila Jane Borders, who despite formidable obstacles became a Little League prodigy, MVP of her otherwise all-male middle school and high school teams, the first woman...
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  • Making My Pitch tells the story of Ila Jane Borders, who despite formidable obstacles became a Little League prodigy, MVP of her otherwise all-male middle school and high school teams, the first woman awarded a baseball scholarship, and the first to pitch and win a complete men's collegiate game. After Mike Veeck signed Borders in May 1997 to pitch for his St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League, she accomplished what no woman had done since the Negro Leagues era: play men's professional baseball. Borders played four professional seasons and in 1998 became the first woman in the modern era to win a professional ball game. Borders had to find ways to fit in with her teammates, reassure their wives and girlfriends, work with the media, and fend off groupies. But these weren't the toughest challenges. She had a troubled family life, a difficult adolescence as she struggled with her sexual orientation, and an emotionally fraught college experience as a closeted gay athlete at a Christian university. Making My Pitch shows what it's like to be the only woman on the team bus, in the clubhouse, and on the field. Raw, open, and funny at times, her story encompasses the loneliness of a groundbreaking pioneer who experienced grave personal loss. Borders ultimately relates how she achieved self-acceptance and created a life as a firefighter and paramedic and as a coach and goodwill ambassador for the game of baseball.  

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    April 1, 2017

    The story of Ila Jane Borders (b. 1975), the first woman to win a men's college baseball game and a pioneer for women in professional baseball, has faded into history. Twenty years ago, she signed a minor league contract with an independent men's baseball team, proving herself in the clubhouse as well as on the pitcher's mound. While we are still waiting for the first woman to appear on a major league roster, Borders made meaningful progress, maintaining her poise and sense of humor, despite teammates and fans who wanted to test her resolve, even enduring stalkers and death threats. A difficult childhood and struggles with her sexual orientation gave her the inner fortitude to endure the isolation of being far from home in an often hostile environment, and her personal history, as chronicled here with the help of Ardell (Breaking into Baseball), is related with painful honesty. Borders's conversational style and intriguing life story make this title a winner for both public and academic libraries. VERDICT An inspiring and important account, told with grace and self-awareness that will appeal to baseball and sports fans along with readers interested in LGBTQ memoirs.--Janet Davis, Darien P.L., CT

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from December 1, 2017

    Borders made history in the 1990s when she became the first woman to pitch and win an entire college men's baseball game, and she set records again when she pitched and won a professional league game for the St. Paul Saints. Though her memorabilia is celebrated in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, she faced adversity, intimidation, and harassment during most of her baseball career. While some of Borders's coaches and teammates were supportive, her internal struggle only increased as she hid her sexual orientation at a Christian high school and college. Even at the professional level, she tried to maintain her image as the "perfect" Christian athlete who focused only on baseball. Thoroughly readable and engaging, this inspiring autobiography deserves a spot on all sports shelves and, with Title IX in the news lately, serves as a timely memoir about gender equity in sports. VERDICT A must-purchase for all high schools.-Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Dorothy Seymour Mills

    "At last! The moving story of Ila Borders, as told to the gifted author and researcher Jean Ardell, will make readers wonder how much longer the baseball establishment can afford to disregard the skilled women players who should long ago have been recruited for the Minors and the Majors."—Dorothy Seymour Mills, baseball historian and author of Drawing Card: A Baseball Novel

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    UNP - Nebraska
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