Edith Houghton Dies; Baseball's First Female Scout Was 100

Edith Houghton died Saturday, Feb. 2, just eight days before her 101st birthday in Sarasota Fla., according to reports. Houghton was known for becoming one of the first female scouts in professional baseball and for her career in the military.

Edith Houghton first began playing baseball when she was only 10 years old in Philadelphia. Soon, she was involved with playing baseball professionally, first trying out for the Philadelphia Bobbies and making the team. She was the Bobbies' best player, but her career in the game was only starting.

The Bobbies were soon playing internationally against men's teams, and the baseball veteran recounted the significance of the event at the time.

"For a young woman in 1925 to be playing baseball and going to Japan- well, that was pretty exciting," she told The Inquirer in 2001.

After graduating from Girls' High in 1932, Houghton's life took a different turn- this time into the armed services. She then signed up for WAVES, the Navy's all-women division. She joined up during World War II.

After returning from the Navy, Houghton got another chance to make a difference in Major League Baseball. Bob Carpenter, owner of the Phillies, hired her as the first female scout in the existence of the sport in 1946. She worked for the team for six years, signing 15 players, but none of them made it to the major leagues.

Duty called again in 1952, when Houghton left the Phillies to serve in the Korean War. She later served in Vietnam, then retired after earning the rank of chief petty officer in 1964.

Houghton's baseball cap and other memorabilia are enshrined in the "Diamond Dreams" exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, her great-niece Dorothy McDonell told The Inquirer. She donated the items, including her jersey from her tour in Japan, to her organization herself.

Ms. Houghton is survived by Dorothy McDonnell, great-niece Lisa Perri, great-nephews Robert Houghton and Eric Houghton. She was 100.