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Making My Pitch: A Woman's Baseball Odyssey
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Making My Pitch: A Woman's Baseball Odyssey

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Making My Pitch tells the story of Ila Jane Borders, who despite formidable obstacles became a Little League prodigy, MVP of her otherwise all-male middle school and high school teams, the first woman awarded a baseball scholarship, and the first to pitch and win a complete men’s collegiate game. After Mike Veeck signed Borders in May 1997 to pitch for his St. Paul Saints ...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published April 1st 2017 by University of Nebraska Press
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Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball, biography
One of the favorite movies of my adolescence was A League of Their Own starring Madonna and Tom Hanks about members of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. Besides the fact that some filming took place at Wrigley Field, the movie showcases how women played America's game while men were fighting in World War II. The league ended in the early 1950s as men returned from war and with it women's dream of playing professional baseball. Women received token opportunities to try out for ...more
Taylor Knight
This book was amazing. As an avid sports fan, especially of baseball, I loved reading about Ila's experiences. Ila described her games so fantastically, I felt like I was listening to the games on the radio. I was so emotionally invested in her journey and I rooted for her every moment I was reading.
As a female sports fan, I've experienced the sexism that is in men dominated sports and I can't imagine everything Ila has gone through. I've never met Ila, and I doubt I ever will, but I'm incredib
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, queer
Ila Jane Borders memoir of her pursuit of a professional baseball career is timely and enlightening. While I’ve certainly been aware of the barriers to women in many professional fields, I was astounded at the persistence of the criticism, and outright vitriol, Borders faced simply for playing baseball. It’s even more astounding to me that these attitudes and actions persisted through the ‘90s and that some of the cruelest taunts and actions were directed at her from adults (many of them parents ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A courageous memoir from a baseball pioneer. I started and finished this book in one sitting because it was so compelling. Ila Borders became famous in the 1990s for her success as a pitcher on men's teams in high school, college, and eventually the independent minor leagues. In this book, she reveals how the intense glare of the spotlight as America's top female baseball player affected her personally and professionally. She faced a difficult and lonely journey with few role models to learn fro ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I admire dedicated athletes although I've never been one, and I am awed by those whose dedication leads them to give up almost everything to achieve in their sport. I hadn't heard of Ila Borders, a left-handed pitcher, who played on independent professional leagues in the late 1990's. She made many firsts: the first woman to get a baseball scholarship for college, the first woman to start a men's NCAA or NAIA college baseball game, and one of the first female pitchers in men's professional baseb ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Baseball, like many other sports and occupations, is called “a man’s world.” However, one woman was determined to make a career in baseball. Ila Borders had the drive to do so within her from her Little League playing days. Her story, both inside and outside the sport, is captured in this inspiring memoir, co-written with Jean Hastings Ardell.

While Borders was not the first woman to play in men’s professional baseball, she accomplished many firsts: the first woman to be the winning pitcher in an
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
A very well written and interesting memoir of a female baseball player and the challenges she faced, both from the outside world and from herself. I particularly enjoyed her reflections on her sexuality and religious beliefs, again both her own religious beliefs and how she saw others practicing the same beliefs but through their own interpretation. I regret not having heard of her until I received a free copy of this at bookcon and hope her name is spread around to others more readily in turn.
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Wonderful memoir of a woman's journey in the world of baseball. Especially interesting if you are a fan of the sport. Also details her struggles growing up with a dysfunctional family, coming to terms with being gay, and life's tragedies. Great tale of determination and perseverance!

*Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this e-book in return for an honest review*
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story of Ila Borders is one of triumph, defeat, and hidden identity. Making My Pitch showcases the deep inner thoughts of Ila Borders as she overtook borders preset in baseball, and in the world. In collaboration with Jean Ardell, Borders took the time to showcase her journey from little league to professional baseball. This journey was by no means easy, every turn, every accomplishment was met with a wall of prejudice, from both men and women. With every wall she faced, she continued, she b ...more
Skylar Whalen
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was rated four (4) stars because the story behind everything on the determination, feminism, and gives a sense of hope. I loved reading everything behind the book and how it really puts you in Ila’s shoes with everyday common issues with society. The only criticism I could give is a small part of the book gives some boring details over this girl and that's literally it! This book is a great insight on how women are treated in male dominated sports and all the criticisms they face, whic ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads, non-fic, queer
A really interesting look into the life of the first woman to start a men's professional baseball game, among many other trailblazing firsts. Borders doesn't hold anything back either, with plenty of detail on her complicated home life growing up, the low points of being a professional baseball player in an independent league, her struggle with remaining in the closet during her baseball years, and her challenges adjusting to life after baseball. Borders has faced a lot in her life, but it's not ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a great book. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I'm surprised and ashamed that I hadn't known about Ila Borders, being that I consider myself a pretty serious baseball fan. Her story is fascinating and inspiring. I think Ardell does an excellent job recounting Ila's story (I'm assuming she's the co-author most responsible for the high quality of the writing, because, in the book, Borders mentions a few times that the written word is not her forte).

All young women and baseball fans should read
Colton Best
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is a very complex and has many different points of views. This book has some touchy spots in the context. About sexist points of view in baseball and girls playing baseball and not softball. She pushed her self harder than any of the boys she made them look years younger. The coaches would have kids throw at her even in high school and minor league games. She pushed past all of the barriers and walls to get passed all of the sexist points of view.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
I'm a little surprised that 20 years after Borders played professional baseball in the Northern league, we are just now starting to see other women break into the field.

Having a real interest in pitching helps for enjoying the book. Thankfully, I have gotten more into baseball over the past few years, or else some of her inning play-by-plays would have gone more over my head.

Borders is fighter, off the field and on. Her story is one worth knowing.
Robbin Miller
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
IIa Borders shares her story of her dreams and aspirations to excel in the sport she loves which is baseball. She tells about the trials and tribulations of wanting to make the team with men who can either be with her or against her in her dream to succeed. IIa soon learns that just focusing on her goal to make and/or stay on the team can come at a personal cost. However, she finds her inner truths of being who she is as a person and at the same time loving what she enjoys most-playing baseball ...more
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: queers
Sometimes this book felt like reading a play by play on baseball games, and I lost interest, but three stars for the other parts. I freely admit that I don’t know enough about baseball to understand those details, so it’s my fault I got bored.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I completely read a sports book in two days. That alone means that it's a good one! Review to come in SLJ AB4T. ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finally feel validated as a person.
Kristy Ann
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Love is the greatest thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too." ...more
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As an athlete and a fan of women's sports autobiographies, I think this book is great. Ila's story is inspirational in so many ways and she writes in a way that keeps you interested in her journey.

I am surprised to see only 16 reviews on GoodReads about Ila's book. More people need to know her story!
Ryan Woodward
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