The women’s suffrage movement languished through much of the 1800s, its leaders depicted as droning and dowdy. But the early 1900s brought a rebranding: Spry women in sashes. Sleek motorcars. Massive parades.
“Please tell your traffic cops if they see a streak of green and white and purple whizzing along at forty miles an hour…not to arrest the streak for scorching,” a May 1913 New York Tribune story declared. The blur would merely be a car full of women speeding to the Polo Grounds “to convert the pitchers and catchers and umpire and the ‘fans’ and all the rest of the game to suffrage.”
Some fans say this 2020 year of social activism has sullied sports, a realm they view as politics-free. But leading up to 1920, suffragists orchestrated what might have been the most overtly political push in pro sports history: They swarmed baseball games as part of their successful campaign to amend the U.S. Constitution and give women the vote.