Mamie “Peanut” Johnson holds a special place in baseball history.
“Oh, I’m very proud. Because, see, I’m the only lady that’s did something no other lady has ever done,” said Johnson.
She’s the only female pitcher ever in the Negro Leagues. Peanut, now 81-years-old, played for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1952-1955. There were only two other women to ever take the field in the Negro Leagues.
“It let the world know that women could play too. And I think we did a pretty good job of it,” added Johnson.
Peanut was part of a black history celebration Wednesday at the Federal Reserve Bank downtown, along with fellow Negro League player Luther Atkinson.
Atkinson never got to play against Peanut in the Negro Leagues. They just missed each other. Atkinson started playing after Johnson was done. But, Atkinson said he definitely heard all about her.
“They said she was a good pitcher. I never did get a chance to see her. I would have loved to have seen her play,” said Atkinson. “She played with some great ballplayers that I played against. So, I knew she had to be good to play with those ballplayers.”
Also part of the event was former Oriole Fred Valentine. Valentine, Johnson and Atkinson are all helping others learn about the great African-American players of the past.
“It’s real special because of the fact of what it represents,” said Valentine. “Each year this month, get involved in a lot of activities related to the cause.”
“It’s a history and it’s a good history that dates back for a while,” added Johnson. “It’s good for people to know.”
A history worth remembering all year long.
Johnson, Atkinson and Valentine live in the Maryland-DC area.
There’s plenty more Negro League memorabilia at the Hubert V. Simmons Museum in Owings Mills.