When will a female major league player get her chance? The answer is complicated.
Women have played professional baseball at various levels for decades. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League ran from 1943 to '54 and inspired the hit 1992 movie, A League of Their Own. Mamie "Peanut" Johnson was one of three women to play in the post-integration Negro Leagues, doing so from 1953 to '55. There have been several women who played in independent leagues: Ila Borders was a lefthanded pitcher from 1997 to 2000; Eri Yoshida was a righty in Japan in 2009 and then in the U.S. from from 2010 to 12; and last summer Stacy Piagno (pitcher, first base and second base), Kelsi Whitmore (outfield and pitcher) and Anna Kimbrell (catcher) played for the Sonoma Stompers, with Whitmore and Kimbrell teaming up to form the first professional all-female battery since the AAGPBL.
Still, no woman has ever played for a major league team, and the limited opportunities for them to play competitively at high levels mean that it will take years or even decades to change that. As with last year's Fox drama Pitch, the likelihood is that the trail would be blazed on the mound, where the physical differences between male and female players would matter less—and perhaps play to a woman's' advantage when it comes to avoiding soft-tissue injuries. Don't wait up for 2014 Little League World Series star and Sports Illustrated cover subject Mo'ne Davis, who has shifted her focus to basketball, with dreams of a WNBA career.