For Yankees’ bat girl Gwen Goldman, a dream six decades in the making

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Gwen Goldman has adored the Yankees all of her life.

Her favorite player was Hall of Fame outfielder Mickey Mantle. As a girl, her father always took her to games, days that she now remembers as special times for them both. Whenever she was at camp every summer, he would add clippings from the New York Times to his letters to keep her updated on her team.

When she was 10, Goldman wrote a letter to the Yankees asking them to serve as their bat girl, the person in charge of fetching bats and performing other duties during a game. But in the letter she received on June 12, 1961, the then general manager of the Yankees, Roy Hamey, told her no.

Girls, he said, didn’t belong in the dugout.

“While we agree that girls are certainly just as capable as boys and would undoubtedly be an attractive addition to the field, you can safely understand that in a male-dominated game a young lady would feel like you.” Place in a dugout canoe “Wrote Hamey.

Sixty years later, the team corrected that refusal. On Monday, Goldman was invited to the Bronx to serve as the bat girl for her beloved Yankees. Before a game against the Los Angeles Angels, she wiped a tear from her eye the first time she stepped on the field at Yankee Stadium.

“It was a great opportunity,” Goldman said on a video call with reporters during the game. “A day of my life that I cannot put into words. I don’t know where to start, what was the best, what or what I enjoyed the most. Just the whole thing, from stepping in the front door of the stadium to finding a locker with my name on it, Gwen Goldman, and getting dressed and walking out onto the field.

“It took my breath away and it obviously takes my words away.”

Goldman wore a full Yankees uniform and threw a ceremonial first pitch. She accompanied the team’s third base coach, Phil Nevin, as he presented the line-up card to the referees before the game. She chatted and gave the players fist pumps, everyone was so nice and even thanked them for their story and support. Pitcher Gerrit Cole showed them around.

At some point during her interview, Goldman held up her hands and declared, still in disbelief, that her hands were sticky from the bats she’d put away.

Despite being rejected 60 years ago, she said she never resented the team. But she posted Hamey’s answer on a bulletin board in her Connecticut home for decades.

“It wasn’t what I wanted to see, but they wrote me a letter and I have always loved them,” she said, adding, “But I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that Brian Cashman would be 60 years later … make this a reality. “

As part of an annual charity week, the Yankees invited Goldman after hearing their story from their daughter who emailed a photo of the 60-year rejection letter. In a new letter to Goldman, Cashman, general manager of the Yankees since 1998, wrote that “a woman belongs where a man belongs, including the dugout” and that it is “not too late, the ambition you have shown in writing,” to reward and recognize ”. this letter to us as a 10-year-old girl. “

“Some dreams take longer than they should to be realized,” he added, “but a goal achieved should not fade over time.”

In a video call telling Goldman of their invitation, Cashman was joined by Cole, members of Goldman’s family, and Jean Afterman, the Yankees’ longtime assistant general manager, among others.

Afterman, one of the most senior women executives in baseball, pointed out to Goldman that she was on the team in her 20th season and that the Yankees were the only team in baseball to hire two women in such prominent roles. Afterman’s predecessor, Kim Ng, was the first woman to serve as general manager of the major league when she was hired by the Miami Marlins in November.

“You have chosen the right team to be passionate about,” said Afterman.

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