In Legend of League Park Gioia’s father once dreamed of becoming a major league umpire. Today we will feature the first woman paid to umpire a baseball game: Amanda Clement.
One story states that Amanda’s brother, Hank, was a baseball player. On that fateful day in 1904, she traveled to Iowa to watch him play, but there was one small problem: the scheduled umpire did not show up for the game. Hank, however, had an idea. He suggested to his teammates that his sister could officiate since she was a decent ball player herself.
Other sources say that Amanda’s family lived in the same town as the game and she was approached by the manager.
Either way, this much is true: The rest of the semi-pro team was quite impressed. She was hired immediately and continued to officiate regularly. In a theme repeated among female baseball icons of the early 1900s, she was able to use her earnings to put herself through the University of Nebraska.
[Women in Baseball History is a weekly feature in honor of my book The Legend of League Park, which will be released in April.]