Aug 20, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT
Before Mo’ne Davis, the most famous female pitchers were Olympic champion softball players such as Jennie Finch and Lisa Fernandez.
Finch and Fernandez took notice of the 13-year-old star of the Little League World Series.
“She’s breaking down barriers,” Finch said in a phone interview Wednesday. “It’s so exciting to see her not only make it this far, but shine on this big stage. A lot of young girls I’m sure are looking up to her and watching her.”
There are parallels. Let’s start with women striking out men.
Finch is known by baseball fans for making Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols look foolish in the batter’s box. Finch’s 2011 book was titled “Throw Like A Girl.”
Fernandez said “throw like a girl” used to feel like a putdown, but that women have come such a long way — boosted by softball being part of the Olympics from 1996 through 2008 — that the phrase is now jocular.
“It doesn’t have any relevance anymore,” said Fernandez, the greatest pitcher in Olympic history who won three gold medals.
Fernandez pointed to added respect, evidenced with one of her Olympic teammates, Jessica Mendoza, now working as an analyst for ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight.”
Davis’ baseball days appear numbered. She has said she prefers basketball long-term.
“I’m a little bummed about that,” said Fernandez, an assistant softball coach at UCLA. She has seen women’s high school baseball players transition to softball and play collegiately.
Throwing motions in baseball and fast-pitch softball are completely different — and so are the objects they’re hurling, of course. The Taney Dragons ace could be a shortstop or third baseman in softball. Her overhand arm strength suits those positions.
“There’s nothing to say that she couldn’t [be a softball player],” Fernandez said. “There’s one thing they say you can’t teach, and that’s arm strength and velocity. That’s an impressive gift that she has.”
The sport of softball failed in a joint bid with baseball to get back into the Olympics last year, losing an International Olympic Committee vote to wrestling.
The Women’s Softball World Championship is taking place in the Netherlands right now (the U.S. is 5-0 with a 37-3 run differential and three mercy-rule wins).
Fernandez remembers the first U.S. Olympic softball team in 1996. A majority of that roster grew up playing baseball, she guessed, because softball wasn’t as widespread.
Whether it’s baseball, softball or basketball, Fernandez is excited about Davis’ exposure.
“It’s only going to help women’s athletics,” she said.
Sep 16, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT
Olympic 200m free champion going back to France.
Sep 16, 2014, 9:11 AM EDT
“The city is the Olympic park,” official tells Boston Globe.
Sep 15, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT
Osmond won Olympic silver in the Sochi team event.
Sep 15, 2014, 4:27 PM EDT
IPC president Sir Philip Craven looks ahead to an anniversary and a new frontier for the Paralympics.
Sep 15, 2014, 2:36 PM EDT
The greatest Olympians of this generation discuss thoughts on one another.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
U.S. bounced in Poland with five-set loss to Argentina.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:16 AM EDT
The second-biggest winner from the FIBA World Cup may be a nation that didn’t compete in Spain.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT
Olympic bronze medalist figure skater dated Olympic race-walking champion when he tested positive.
Sep 13, 2014, 8:52 PM EDT
Nike had suspended its contract with the runner six days after he shot and killed his girlfriend.
Sep 12, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT
Simpson, racing the Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday, is one tenth away from breaking a 31-year-old mark.
Sep 12, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
High jumper hashtag has taken social media by storm.
Sep 12, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT
Steenkamp’s parents want to meet with Pistorius, they told NBC News.
Sep 12, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT
“We would not stand in his way,” IPC spokesman said.
Sep 12, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT
Runner faces up to 15 years in prison, plus sentence for gun charge.
Sep 11, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT
U.S. women’s team won’t officially be named until next week.
Sep 11, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT
Olympic slalom champion hopes for multiple World Cup giant slalom wins this season.
Sep 11, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT
Runner could still face up to 15 years in prison for culpable homicide.
Sep 10, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT
Kessel visited brain center run by same doctor who treated Sidney Crosby.
Sep 10, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT
Kenyan has never run the five-borough race before.
Sep 10, 2014, 10:20 AM EDT
Yoshinori Sakai was born on the day an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima.
- Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps hope to meet for first time before Olympic farewell 0
- What U.S.’ FIBA World Cup title means for Olympics 0
- Oscar Pistorius’ Nike contract terminated 5
- Oscar Pistorius would be allowed in Paralympics after serving sentence 1
- Oscar Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide (verdict video) 3
- Mikaela Shiffrin eyes breakthrough with World Cup season approaching 0
- Oscar Pistorius trial judge rules out murder, verdict incomplete 4
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (57)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)