On This Day in Sports: First Female in the Baseball Radio Booth
The year was 1977, 41 years ago, and women in sports broadcasting wasn't a barrier yet broken down, until this particular year.
Mary Shane, a sportscaster from Milwaukee, Wisconsin would be the first to break that barrier and get herself into the Chicago White Sox radio booth.
As the story has it, she was working for a local radio station in Milwaukee in 1976. She was covering the Brewers-White Sox game at County Stadium in Wisconsin.
Harry Caray was the lead radio broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox at the time and saw Shane in the press box. From there he invited her to sit with him and show her chops doing some play-by-play along with him for the remainder of the game.
Caray was impressed enough with her that he asked her back the next day and then again when the White Sox visited Milwaukee later in the season.
Ahead of the 1977 White Sox season, WMAQ and WSNS-TV hired Mary Shane as the very first female baseball broadcaster. She would join an already established team in Harry Caray, Lorn Brown, and Jimmy Piersall.
There was some question surrounding this move made by the White Sox Broadcast affiliate and those questions would prove to be true, unfortunately for Shane.
Halfway through the season it was clear that she wasn't properly equipped to handle being one of the primary commentators. It was said that her situational baseball knowledge just wasn't there. The media and the listeners could tell and the experiment ultimately failed. Shane didn't make it through the 1977 season and was fired.
The story didn't end up the way Shane would have wanted but she did break through the barrier of female broadcasters in baseball.
These days we've seen a female commentator in the National Baseball TV Booth for ESPN in Jessica Mendoza.