Mamie ‘Peanut’ Johnson, first female pitcher in Negro Leagues, is dead at 82

Johnson was just one of three women to play in the leagues

Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, the first female pitcher to play in the Negro Leagues, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 82.

The sports legend grew up in a time of segregation, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her passion for the game. Instead, Johnson made history as the first female pitcher in the Negro Leagues. She was one of three women to play in the leagues.

‘Something that no other woman has done’

At age 17, Johnson was rejected by the White Female Baseball League, but she didn’t let that stop her.

In 1947, she moved to Washington, D.C., to live with her mother. There, a scout for the Indianapolis Clowns recruited her and arranged a tryout.

She made it.

From 1953 to 1955, she played for the Indianapolis Clowns. She won 33 games and only lost 8. But more importantly, she made history, and everyone who saw her playing knew it.

“If I had played with white girls, I would have just been another player, but now I am somebody who has done something that no other woman has done,” Johnson said.

In 2008, Johnson and other still-living players in the Negro League Era were drafted by the major leagues for the 2008 MLB First-Year Draft.

Johnson was chosen by the Nationals, who marked her passing on Twitter.

“The Washington Nationals are saddened by the passing of DC baseball royalty Mamie Johnson.Her love of the game and pioneering spirit as a member of the Negro Leauge was an inspiration to generations. We were thrilled she was part of Nats history – participating in our inaugural game, meeting our players and lending her name to one of our youth baseball fields. While we will miss her, her trailblazing legacy of competition, grit and risk-taking will not be forgotten.”

TheGrio sends its condolences to Mamie Johnson’s family in their time of loss.

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