The Other Babe

There are a great many stories surrounding current and former St. Louis Cardinals.  One of the more unique is this one.

Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias was an excellent athlete growing up in Texas and is widely considered to be possibly the great female athlete of all-time.  She excelled at a great many sports growing up.  She was an excellent basketball player and won two Gold Medals in Track and Field at the 1932 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.  One sport she excelled at in particular was baseball.  In fact, she claimed to have acquired the nickname “Babe” when she hit five home runs in a baseball game as a child.

Babe was so good at baseball that she attracted the attention of some big league teams and is still believed to hold the record for the farthest baseball thrown by a woman.  On March 20, 1934, she pitched for the Philadelphia A’s against the Brooklyn Dodgers in an exhibition game.  She pitched one inning and gave up one walk and no hits.  Two days later, came her moment as a St. Louis Cardinal in an exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox.  She got tips from future Hall of Famers Burleigh Grimes and Dizzy Dean.  She learned to toe the rubber and wind up and was said to have thrown “a rather fair curve”.  She gave up three runs in the first inning and got Bucky Walters to fly to Joe Medwick to left to end the inning.  She gave way to Bill Hallahan in the Second.

In 1938, she married professional wrestler George Zaharias and became a champion golfer, recording 41 LPGA Tour wins.  She died of colon cancer on September 27, 1956 at the age of 45.


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