In 1961, Gwen Goldman was a 10-year-old girl living on Green Acre Lane. She wrote the New York Yankees, asking to be a bat girl.
On June 23 — exactly 60 years and 4 days ago — general manager Roy Haney replied.
He thanked her for her letter. But, he said:
While we agree with you that girls are certainly as capable of boys, and no dobut would be an attractive addition to the playing field, I am sure you can understand that in a game dominated by men a young lady such as yourself would feel out of place in a dugout.
I don’t know how Haney was so sure Gwen would “understand.” But she overcame her disappointment — and, probably, many other gender-based barriers — and went on to spend more than 30 years as a social worker.
Now married, Gwen Goldman McLoughlin retired in 2017 from Stepping Stones Preschool. She was highly regarded by her Westport Public Schools colleagues.
The other day, Gwen got another letter from the Yankees.
This came from the general manager too — the current one. Dated June 23, 2021 — exactly 60 years to the day after his predecessor’s — Brian Cashman noted that he was born 6 years after Haney had written.
But, Cashman said:
Here at the Yankees, we have championed to break down gender barriers in our industry. It is an ongoing commitment rooted in the belief that a woman belongs everywhere a man does, including the dugout. And despite the fact that 6 decades have passed since you first aspired to hold down the position as a New York Yankees Bat Girl, it is not too late to reward and recognize the ambition you showed in writing that letter to us as a 10-year-old girl.
So — noting that he has a daughter himself, and acknowledging that “some dreams take longer than they should to be realized” — Cashman invited Goldman to be the Yankees’ “honorary bat girl for the day” for tomorrow’s (Monday) game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Goldman — whose daughter Abby had sent Haney’s letter to Cashman — was both stunned and thrilled by the invitation.
“It is my honor and my dream,” she said. “I will be there!”
She’s not the only one excited by the honor. Pitcher Gerrit Cole says, “I only get to play 32 games a year. So the other 130, I’m working the dugout. I can show you all the sneaky routes and quick ways to get in, when you have to give the balls to the umpire, where you keep the bats in case their broken. I can help you out with the flow.”
Goldman’s star turn is the first for the Yanks’ HOPE (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) Week. For 12 years, the program has highlighted inspiring individual stories.
Speaking of inspiring: Click below for a great tweet from the Yankees.
In 1961, 10-year-old Gwen Goldman penned a letter to the Yankees expressing her dream of being a bat girl. The response she received from the GM at the time still hangs on her living room wall.
This HOPE Week, the Yankees will make 70-year-old Gwen’s dream come true. pic.twitter.com/9sMosEcPOz
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 25, 2021
EXTRA INNINGS: Because this is “06880” — “Where Westport meets the world” — there’s one more local connection to this story. I first heard about it from Julia Schorr, the team’s social media coordinator.
A lifelong Westporter, Julia graduated from Staples High School in 2016.