Black History Profile--Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson

Black History Month profile:

Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson (1935-2017)

--one of three women to play in the Negro League, the only pitcher and won the first game she ever pitched in

--stood 5'4, weighed 120 pounds and gained the name 'Peanut' after teammates mocked her for looking like a peanut and also being 98 lbs., soaking wet

--as a starting pitcher, amassed a 33-8 record--credited to having an unhittable curve, with a .262 lifetime batting average

--officially "drafted" by MLB in 2008, making her also one of the exceptionally few only women ever drafted by a male dominated sport

--Born Mamie Belton on September 27, 1935 in Ridgeway, South Carolina, she is the only daughter of Della Belton Havelow and eldest of Gentry Harrison

--grew up loving baseball so much that even when they couldn't afford the necessary tools, improvised bats out of tree limbs, bases out of pie plates and balls from rocks wrapped in tape

--gained strength and control by targeting the crows that landed on her grandmother's fence 

--played with boys most of her life and when trying out for the All-American Girls Baseball League (as seen in a League of Their Own), was denied because she was black

--with this motivation, she began learning how to outsmart batters rather than simply overpower them

--by the time she was 20, the Negro league was in decline due to MLB drawing away the best talent, Mamie left baseball behind and became a nurse

--during her 30-year nursing career, Johnson often coached youth league baseball teams and after she retired, worked in a Negro League Baseball memorabilia shop that her son owned in Capitol Heights, MD

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