FerryHawks sign Kelsie Whitmore as first woman in Atlantic League

History has been made in Staten Island.

Kelsie Whitmore has signed with the Staten Island FerryHawks of the Atlantic League to become the first woman to join a league connected with Major League Baseball.

Whitmore will pitch and play utility for the Staten Island FerryHawks, a new team in the Atlantic League, which is unaffiliated with MLB but is a partner league to MLB. She will join the FerryHawks when they begin spring training on Monday.

“I’m very grateful and excited for this opportunity to sign with the FerryHawks,” Whitmore said, per MLB.com “The culture and competitiveness of this ballclub just feels right to be a part of. I’ve been working for an opportunity like this my whole life, and I’m ready to get after it and compete.”

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Kelsie Whitmore
Kelsie Whitmore is the first woman to sign with a league connected with Major League Baseball.
Hearst Newspapers via Getty Imag

At just 23, Whitmore already has a long list of accolades. She’s been a member of the U.S. National Women’s Baseball Team since 2014, winning a gold medal at the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto and again in 2019 at the Women’s Pan-American Championships in Mexico. She also was part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2014 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup in Canada and compiled a 1.35 ERA for Team USA from 2014-19.

The dual-threat made a name for herself as a pitcher and outfielder on the Cal State Fullerton softball team for which she was named the Big West Conference’s Player of the Year last spring. However, baseball has always been Whitmore’s main priority.

She also played in a men’s professional league once before, appearing in 17 games for the independent Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs in 2016-17.

“At the end of the day, Kelsie is a baseball lifer,” FerryHawks general manager Gary Perone said to Sports Illustrated. “If someone loves the game and has proved themselves time and time again, then they deserve to be given an opportunity.”

The FerryHawks will begin their season on April 21 when they play the Charleston Dirty Birds. Their first home game is slated for May 3.

“It feels like pressure, a lot of pressure, but you just change your perspective to embrace that pressure,” Whitmore said. “There’s going to be failures that come with it, and understand that’s part of it. I’m going to make mistakes; I’m going to fail. And that’s all part of it. And my biggest goal was to come here to develop, and gain knowledge to be the best version of myself.”

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