Mo’Ne Davis Throws Like A Girl Who Strikes Out All The Boys
Mo’Ne Davis is a 5-foot-4, lean, 13-year-old honors student with soft brown eyes and braids that flow down her back. She is also an immensely gifted athlete who can throw a fastball over 70 miles per hour and just became the first girl to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series. As tennis great Billie Jean King said in a recent Twitter post about Davis, “See what happens when you let everyone play?”
A pitcher with Philadelphia’s Taney Youth Baseball Association, Davis’s gender isn’t the only thing making waves. She is also the first African-American girl to play in the Little League World Series, she was on the cover of last week’s Sports Illustrated in a baseball uniform, not a barely-there bikini, and her fame is forcing a spotlight onto the world of inner-city youth baseball. Leagues like Davis’s Taney League don’t come with all of the money and cushy benefits of their wealthier, suburban counterparts, but they still have talented kids who love to play ball and want to play at a high level.
Davis’s elite skills as a pitcher are due in part to her learning how to throw overhand, as they do in baseball, rather than underhand, as they do in softball, from an early age. But the rest of it is all her. As Davis said when asked about her pitching style, “I throw my curveball like Clayton Kershaw, and my fastball like Mo’ne Davis.”
With all of the excitement that she brings from breaking down barriers in baseball, Mo’ne is still only 13. I hope that the push to make history doesn’t outweigh her love and desire to play the game. For now, the million dollar deals and world-wide fame of Major League Baseball are still closed to her. And while she is reaching the end of her physical development, the boys her age are just at the beginning of theirs. But women’s professional baseball is out there and is thrilled with the attention Mo’ne is bringing them. As the USA women’s national team manager Jason Pollard told the New York Times,
“I love the exposure that Mo’ne has brought to the game,” Pollard said. “But we have 40 Mo’nes in this group. I wish there was a camera on what we were doing so people could be like, ‘Wow.’ Not just to bring attention to what we’re doing, but so we can be a visual goal for young girls. So when they think their only option is to pursue softball, they know we’re out there.”
From what she has said, however, Mo’ne knows her own mind and isn’t going to let anyone get in her way. Despite all of the attention she is getting for her pitching, Mo’ne’s dream is to play basketball for the University of Connecticut. Apparently, she’s pretty good at that, too.