CLOSE
Original image

The Woman Who Struck Out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

Original image

Her biggest skill, however, was that she hurled pitches with startling accuracy, and had an uncanny knack for pinpointing a player's weakness. When Chattanooga Lookouts owner Joe Engel saw her playing in Georgia, he decided he had to have her on his minor league team.

Whether or not Engel knew her full potential is debatable. As the self-professed "Barnum of Baseball", Engel was known for press-friendly stunts, like when he traded his shortstop for a 25-pound turkey. As soon as he signed Mitchell, he began promoting the Lookouts as the only team in baseball with a female pitcher.

Amazingly, Mitchell's first game as a pro was in an exhibition game against the Yankees. And her first pitch was against Babe Ruth! Here's how the Baseball Hall of Fame describes it:

In the first inning, after starter Clyde Barfoot surrendered hits to the Yankees' first two batters, Mitchell was called upon to face the heart of "Murderers' Row," Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig... [Her] uncanny knack came in handy when Mitchell faced Ruth, who watched her first sinker dart low for ball one. Mitchell followed with a sinker on the outside corner, which the Babe swung through and missed. Grinning, the "Sultan of Swat" swung at the next offering and missed for strike two. The next pitch was another sinker on the corner of the plate, which Ruth watched sail by for called strike three. At that point, the Babe "kicked the dirt" and "gave his bat a wild heave" as he stormed unhappily to the dugout...

Next up was Gehrig, who promptly missed three straight dipping sinkers, swinging early each time. On seven pitches, Mitchell had struck out Ruth and Gehrig, two of the game's greatest sluggers. The Chattanooga crowd responded with a rousing standing ovation. Mitchell faced the next Yankees' batter, second baseman Tony Lazzeri, who tried to bunt the first pitch but failed. Lazzeri eventually walked and Mitchell was removed from the game. Engel had maximized her gate appeal by using her to face the heart of baseball's greatest lineup. The 17-year old had squared off against three future Hall of Famers, striking out two of them. The next day, one newspaper would speculate that "maybe her curves were too much for them."

Sadly, Mitchell's game against the Yankees also proved to be her last. Just days after her legendary performance, commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis voided her contract. Citing that the sport was "too strenuous for women," Landis essentially wrecked Mitchell's professional career. While Jackie went on to tour with other prominent female athletes (like Babe Didrikson) and play on women's teams for short spells, she bowed out of sports at just 23.

Original image
Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
arrow
Space
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
Original image
Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

arrow
Art
Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios