Episode 43 – Melissa Ludtke, Pioneering Baseball Journalist

News article on Melissa Ludtke and Jane Gross in 1978

Melissa Ludtke

Happy September! I always feel fresh and new, optimistic about the future at the beginning of the school year.

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We are coming up on the 40th anniversary of the landmark victory of Ludkte v. Kuhn, as commissioner of MLB. Melissa Ludtke, at the time a 20-something sports reporter for Sports Illustrated, was barred from entering the Yankees clubhouse while on assignment during the world series. MLB policies banned women from locker rooms at the time.

Ludtke’s suit was about equal access. And the judge saw it that way. She moved on from sports a few years later and focused on societal issues of women and children.

She is an author, filmmaker and award-winning journalist. She’s reported for Sports Illustrated, CBS News, and Time Magazine. Melissa won the Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association of Women in Sports Media, and the Yankee Quill Award for Lifetime Achievement, citing her distinguished history of fighting for equal opportunities for women sportswriters.

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