Kelsie Whitmore signs to play in Atlantic League: How it happened

The thing to understand about 23-year-old Kelsie Whitmore’s path to signing a contract with the Atlantic League’s Staten Island FerryHawks—the highest level attained by a woman in professional baseball in more than a generation—is that there is no path. Not for women to play baseball.

Whitmore signed with the FerryHawks on Thursday. No woman has reached such a high level of professional baseball in more than a generation.

From a young age, girls are asked, then gently nudged, then usually forced to switch from baseball to softball. Only this year did a women’s collegiate baseball championship, created by Justine Siegal’s Baseball for All, even exist, and the sport at the college level is in its infancy. A game that requires reps to succeed has long denied them to women, a self-fulfilling prophecy keeping them from advancing on the field.

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