Tag Archives: Nancy Whelchel

Retro RFH Baseball First: Girl on the Boys’ Team

RFH Class of '78 alumni Nancy Whelchel was the first girl to play on the boys' baseball team. Photo/George Day
RFH Class of ’78 alumni Nancy Whelchel was the first girl to play on the boys’ baseball team.
Photo/George Day

In light of baseball season and honoring high school firsts in the breaking down of gender barriers, this Retro Pic of the Day, originally published in 2015, is being recirculated … 

Yes, it’s all about baseball right now.

And the idea of RFH girls breaking into sports that were traditionally boys’ is something to think about.

So, who was on first, or, rather who was first to be somewhere on the field with the guys in the 1970s? It was RFH Class of ’78 alumni Nancy Whelchel.

Yes, Nancy got onto the baseball field with the boys at RFH a year or two after Chris Bowden scored a goal for girls in soccer.

It all happened back in the day when girls had just made strides to change the dress code and wear pants to school. That was a mass effort. There were a lot of girls walking around wearing skirts or dresses with pants underneath. But that’s another girls’ liberation story for another day.

It’s about those singular sensation girls who defied a status quo form of sexism when literally playing the fields.

So, the Retro Pic of the (George) Day honors one of those girls — Nancy Whelchel. It’s a snapshot of Nancy on the field with Ward Tietz.

We’re not sure if this is an actual team practice shot or just one in which she was just tossing the ball around for fun with a couple of the guys from her class.

Still, there she is playing ball. She had the guts and the sports acumen to break the good ol’ — or young — boys’ sports network.

Home run.

I somehow don’t recall any sort of rebellion from the boys. She was good. That was all that mattered.

Any firsts for girls on the football field? Anyone? What was Nancy Whelchel’s specialty on the baseball field?

Many thanks, again, to George Day for this classic!

— Elaine Van Develde