This week, 16-year-old Eri Yoshida became a seventh-round draft pick for the Kobe 9 Cruise, a baseball team in the independent Japanese League. The Cruise is a new team, opening its first season in April.
Yoshida, a pitcher, has been playing baseball since the second grade. Yoshida says she began throwing her sidearm knuckleball after her father showed her a video of Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
In a tryout earlier this month, Yoshida held male batters hitless for one inning, helping her become one of the 33 players picked in the draft. Yoshida's new manager said, "Her sidearm knuckleballs dip and sway, and could be an effective weapon for us."
Upon hearing about Yoshida, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield said:
Hope I can see her pitch one day. I'm honored that someone wants to become me. I wish her the best of luck. Maybe I can learn something from her. ... It's funny that I've reached that point in my career that people want to emulate me. I'm glad I had people like the Niekros, Charlie Hough and Tom Candiotti that I could look up to. I am deeply humbled that it is me this time.
Baseball fans of a certain age remember Ila Borders' bid to make the majors, pitching for the St. Paul Saints. Since reading about Borders and the legendary Negro League second baseman Toni Stone, I have longed to see a female pitcher take the mound in an official Major League game. I hope so much to see this in my lifetime.
Via Joy of Sox.