Sunday is International Women’s Day – part of International Women’s History Month – and to mark the occasion, the “SC Featured” segment on SportsCenter will remember the Colorado Silver Bullets, the first women’s professional baseball team of the post-World War II era.
From 1994-1997, the Silver Bullets, managed by Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro, barnstormed around the country, playing in front of crowds as large as 30,000. Chris Connelly is the reporter for the piece, which was produced by Miriam Greenfield for ESPN Features.
“Silver Bullets” will debut in the 8 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on Sunday and will re-air in other editions of the program throughout the day, including the 11 p.m. program.
“Chris pitched the idea last summer and we thought that coming into Women’s History Month that it would be a story worth telling,” said Greenfield.
As she looked into finding players and others associated with the team to be interviewed for the feature, Greenfield said “Google was my friend.” She and the production team travelled to California, Arizona, Georgia and Alabama for interviews.
“It wasn’t that difficult to track them down once we told them what we were doing – that we were interested in telling the story of the team,” she said. “They were all excited and it’s been a while since they reminisced and talked with their fellow teammates. This got them connecting again and they’re actually planning a Silver Bullets reunion.”
Greenfield learned a great deal during the production and feels that viewers will as well.
“They were badass baseball players,” she said. “I think when you look at where we were in the 90’s, this was before the WNBA, before the ’99ers, before obviously the last two Women’s World Cup teams, so the Silver Bullets were really the first when you think about women playing professional sports, so that was something cool to explore.
“They were the Title IX generation,” Greenfield said. “I remember asking one of the players about it. The Title IX legislation was passed in 1972, she was 5 when she first started playing baseball, which was in the mid-70’s. These women wanted a chance, they loved baseball, and this is what they grew up loving to do. They grew up wanting to play for the Dodgers, they wanted to play professional baseball.
“You look back 26 years on the Silver Bullets and they were the pioneers.”