Ethics Heroes: The New York Yankees

bat girl

Now you know, if you know anything about me, that the headline above was not easy for me to write. Fair, however is fair.

Gwen Goldman was 10-years-old in 1961 when she wrote to her favorite baseball team and said that she wanted to be the Yankees’ batgirl. She got a response, too, from the Yankees GM Roy Hamey. His answer, on a letter with the Yankee logo that Gwen framed and hangs in her home today, was that baseball wasn’t for girls. “In a game dominated by men a young lady such as yourself would feel out of place in a dugout,” he wrote in part. “I am sure you can understand.”

This year, her adult daughter Abby emailed a photo of the letter to the team, and current Yankees GM Brian Cashman saw it. Last week, on the 60th anniversary of Hamey’s original letter, Cashman contacted Gwen Goldman to tell her that she would finally be able to achieve her dream of being a batgirl for her beloved Yankees. And so it was that yesterday night she was the honorary batgirl for the Yankees in their game against the Los Angeles Angels. It was part of the team’s HOPE Week, a tradition the Yankees started in 2009 to promote acts of goodwill that could provide hope and encouragement to others.

“This dream of 60 years that didn’t happen is happening,” Goldman said before her big night. “It’s thanks to Abby, starting it going, and to the Yankees organization for being at the forefront of believing about breaking down those gender barriers. The letter Brian Cashman wrote to me [that’s the one in her left hand, above] , it’s just beautiful and speaks a lot to who they are as an organization, trying to do what’s right. … I picked the right team to be a fan of, didn’t I?”

Well, no, Gwen, it’s the wrong team, but this time they did the right thing.

It would be easy to be cynical about the Yankees’ motives. Cashman’s letter is standard issue pandering with its “Here at the Yankees, we have championed to break down gender barriers in our industry. It is an ongoing commitment rooted in the belief that a woman belongs everywhere a man does, including the dugout” virtue-signalling. And one wonders if the team would be so eager to be kind to Gwen if it wasn’t suffering through a rare disappointing season after being the consensus picks to lead the league, and wasn’t desperately seeking positive press. But as I said, fair is fair. This was a wrong righted, and for once, at least, baseball’s most ruthless organization is a genuine Ethics Hero.

Oh, all right: Ethics Alarms has saluted the Yankees three times before: here, here, and here.

I don’t want to talk about it.

3 thoughts on “Ethics Heroes: The New York Yankees

  1. Ahhh, hubby of 5 years is a die-hard Yankee fan…while daughter is equally fanatical about the Red Sox. It’s most interesting at our house during the season, but they enjoy going to Vintage Baseball games together – watching the sport as it was played in the 19th century. 🙂

  2. They could have done so much better with a little humility. This is not Jackie Robinson.

    This is righting a wrong. It is a small gesture on the part of the Yankees that was very meaningful to the fan.

    They should have made it about the fan, but they seemed to make it about themselves.

    They did good, but they could have done better.

    -Jut

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