By Cara Jordan
In a time before “A League of Their Own” there were the Boston Olympets. The Olympets, or “Pets” as they were known, were a professional women’s softball team who played ball inside the Boston Garden.
The Olympets were created by Boston Garden owner, Walter Brown, to draw crowds to the Garden during the summer “off season.” Starting in the late 1930’s until 1943 the Olympets did just that. As team member Mary Pratt recalls about playing ball inside Boston Garden, “They took the diamond and put it on a diagonal and they put a post down by first base and as a lefty you could quite readily hit into the stands, but that would only go for a single, but to hit it to left field was a long, long distance at the Garden.”
Olympets uniform top. MTS study collection.
The Olympets uniform consisted of red satin shorts, a white and blue uniform top with red, white, and blue lettering. The team name "Olympets" was spelled out across the front of the uniform top and the player’s number was positioned on the back. The letter “B” was also positioned on one of the sleeves. Players footwear consisted of leather laced sneakers. The team also had yellow satin jackets that they wore for away games. The jackets had blue ribbing at the waist and cuffs and the team nickname “PETS” was spelled out in blue lettering across the back.
Olympets away jacket. MTS study collection.
Many of the women from the Olympets went on to play in the AAGPBL, the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, formed in 1943. Some of the teams that became part of the AAGPBL, such as the Racine Belles and Rockford Peaches, were portrayed in the film “A League of Their Own.” Several of the women featured in this film got their start as Boston Olympets.
Camille Breeze was fortunate enough to obtain four pieces of an Olympets uniform to add to the MTS study collection. We are now in possession of an away jacket with the number 6, a pair of red shorts with the number 6, a pair of red shorts with no number, and a jersey with the number 14. According to the seller, Martha Stickney, the uniform belonged to Virginia MacCarthy of Wakefield, Massachusetts. A photograph of Virginia is known to exist. Martha, who graduated from Wakefield High School in 1981, had made some baseball history of her own by being the first girl to play on the boy's baseball team.
Hopefully, further research will shed light on who Virginia McCarthy was and when she played for the Boston Olympets.
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