Astros History: Anita Martini

A look at what's been written about the first female journalist allowed into a Major League Baseball locker room.

This past summer, one of the things I wanted to accomplish was reading Jimmy Wynn's book Toy Cannon: The Autobiography of Baseball's Jimmy Wynn. I did that and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Houston Astros and especially those who want to learn more about the early years of the Astros.

One of the more interesting things I learned while reading that book was that on October 1, 1974, the first female journalist was allowed into a Major League teams locker room. It happened in the Astrodome, in the visiting clubhouse, when Walter Alston the Los Angeles Dodgers manager allowed the female journalist into his teams locker room. That first female journalist was Anita Martini, a Houston broadcaster.

In researching Martini for this article, I'm a bit disappointed that there hasn't been more written about her:

John Royal wrote an article last year wondering why she doesn't have a place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

She was the inaugural inductee into the Astros' Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honor and also inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Aside from this article done back in 1975 talking about Martini's rise through the journalist ranks, I'm not finding much else on her or her career as a journalist. She doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

Anita Martini passed away from cancer in 1993, which is another tragedy in its own right, but, for someone who helped paved the way for female journalists and women rights there's been very little celebration about her accomplishments. And maybe that says something about the current role of women in sports.

I wish I had more on her career and her ability as a journalist, but I wasn't around back then and I'm finding little else other than what's already linked above. The most personal I can find on her are those of Jimmy Wynn's, so I'll leave you with that:

Anita was all business in her interview with me after the division clincher. She wanted me to explain my regenerated productivity in Los Angeles; She wanted to know how I saw our chances against the strengths and weaknesses of the NL East Pirates; and she wanted to know who I preferred as an opponent, if we got to the World Series, Baltimore or Oakland?

As best I could, I tried to palm off all of Anita's questions with the same stock cliche answers that we ballplayers have been handing to male sports writers since the Fall in Eden, but she was too smart for that. I don't remember how we got through the interview, but we did.

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