“Welcome to the dugout,” a Yankees player said to Gwen Goldman on Monday as she stepped down off the field. The line has special significance to Goldman, 70, because 60 years earlier she had been told expressly that she would not be welcome in the dugout.
When she was 10, Goldman wrote to the Yankees asking to be a bat girl, but the response from then-general-manager Roy Hamey was that a young lady such as herself would “feel out of place in a dugout.” Goldman was crushed, but the rejection didn’t thwart her love for the Yankees. She even displayed the framed letter from Hamey in her Connecticut living room.
Earlier this year, Goldman’s daughter, Abby McLoughlin, reached out to the Yankees about her mother’s life-long desire, and this time general manager Brian Cashman came through. He wrote Goldman a new letter offering her a spot as an honorary bat girl at Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. Goldman received the note 60 years to the day of Hamey’s original message.
“Although your long-ago correspondence took place 60 years ago (six years before I was born), I feel compelled to resurrect your original request and do what I can to bring your childhood dream to life,” Cashman wrote. Later, he read the words out loud to Goldman on a Zoom call.
Yankees Bat Girl Goes Into the Dugout
Before the game started, Goldman got shown the ropes by pitcher Gerrit Cole. He explained where everyone sat in the dug out and where she was expected to stand. He also suggested that she occasionally go out on the field and “do some courtesy waves like the queen.”
“I feel like more than a queen,” she said through a grin. “I feel like a YANKEE!” She pumped her arm in the air with joy.
Her Yankee-ness extended beyond bat duty: She also threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity,” Goldman said in a video call with reporters during the game. “A day of a lifetime I can’t put into words. I don’t know where to start on which was the best, which or what did I enjoy the most. Just the whole piece from walking in the front door of the stadium to coming up to a locker with my name on it, Gwen Goldman, and suiting up, and walking out onto the field.”
“It took my breath away, and it’s obviously taking my words away.”