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SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference

The 2nd annual Women in Baseball Conference will take place this weekend and is sponsored by SABR and the International Women’s Baseball Center, and hosted by Rockford University.

This year’s conference will be a virtual event centered around the theme “Celebrating African American Women in Baseball.”

In addition to learning about topics such as the Dolly Vardens, Maud Nelson, Tillie Ford, the Hagerstown Mollys, and much more, there will also be a celebration of the Negro Leagues Centennial on Saturday night, with a special design unveiling for an outdoor pylon. The celebration will be followed by an announcement of the 2020 Dorothy Seymour Mills Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

The featured speaker on Friday night will be Lauren Meyer, Emmy Award-nominated director of The Other Boys of Summer.

The conference will also have a Player Panel on Saturday morning with MLB’s Elizabeth Benn, Rachel Folden of the Chicago Cubs, Team Canada’s Marika Lyszczyk, Bianca Smith from Carroll University, and Madison Femia.

“We are so excited for this conference to start on Friday. There is such a great lineup of speakers including a panel from MLB, Lauren Meyer our keynote speaker and a Sunday discussion with Lonnie Murray, Jacara Ware and Maacah Scott. All are welcome and can register at” said Leslie Heaphy.

Here is the schedule of events for the 2020 SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference:

Friday, September 11

  • 2:00-2:30 p.m.: Welcome Remarks and Conference Overview
    Dr. Kat Williams, President, IWBC
    Scott Bush, CEO, SABR
    Dr. Eric Fulcomer, President, Rockford University
  • 2:30-3:00 p.m.: What Does 6-4-3 Mean? The Role of Non-CIS Males in Baseball Fandom, Allison R. Levin
  • 3:00-3:30 p.m.: “Isabel “Lefty” Alvarez, Dr. Kat Williams
  • 3:30-4:00 p.m.: An Analysis of MLB’s 15-Year Gender Report Card, Rebecca Herman
  • 4:00-5:00 p.m.: Break
  • 5:00-5:45 p.m.: Social hour/talking women’s baseball/ book reading by Ethan Bryan, A Year of Playing Catch
  • 5:45-6:00 p.m.: Preview of new IWBC Exhibit, Dr. Kat Williams, IWBC President
  • 6:00-6:45 p.m.: Keynote Speaker: Lauren Meyer, Director, The Other Boys of Summer
  • 6:45-7:15 p.m.: Tillie Ford, Early African American Baseball Pioneer, Paul Spyhalski

Saturday, September 12

  • 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Player Panel: Madison Femia, Geneva (IL) High School; Rachel Folden, Chicago Cubs, Marika Lyszczyk, Team Canada; Bianca Smith, Carroll (WI) University; Elizabeth Benn, MLB
  • 12:00-12:15 p.m.: Break
  • 12:15-12:45 p.m.: Harriet Goodwill Spalding, Keith Robbins
  • 12:45-1:15 p.m.: A Great Day For Baseball, Bridget Mulcahy
  • 1:15-1:45 p.m.: Rewriting the Baseball Rules, Tavi Kodiak
  • 1:45-2:00 p.m.: Break
  • 2:00-2:30 p.m.: Dolly Vardens: 1st African American Women’s Baseball Team, Karen Holleran
  • 2:30-3:00 p.m.: Put That Sister on the Field, Dr. Milbert O. Brown Jr.
  • 3:00-3:30 p.m.: Community Archives and the Black Female Baseball Player, Kate Haines
  • 3:30-4:00 p.m.: Digital Collection Management Resource, Kristi Fane
  • 4:00-5:00 p.m.: Break
  • 5:00-6:00 p.m. Negro Leagues Centennial Celebration and Pylon Unveil, followed by Dorothy Seymour Mills Lifetime Achievement Awardwinner announcement.
  • 6:30-7:15 p.m.: Doing Women’s Baseball Research discussion, moderated by Leslie Heaphy

Sunday, September 13

  • 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Being a Black Woman is my Superpower, Lonnie Murray, Maacah Scott, and Jacara Ware
  • 12:00-12:30 p.m.: Breaking the Rules: The Statistical Impact of Rule Changes in the AAGPBL, Leslie C. Morey
  • 12:30-1:00 p.m.: Break
  • 1:00-1:30 p.m.: The Nelson Effect, Perry Barber
  • 1:30-2:00 p.m.: “No Tagging Unless You Have the Ball!”: The Depiction of Women in Baseball Digest Cartoons, Callie Batts Maddox
  • 2:00-2:30 p.m.: Physical Disparities between Elite Male and Female Ball Players, Luisa Gauci
  • 2:30-3:00 p.m. MLB Could Do Better, by Jennifer Madison