As someone who also moved from San Diego, California to New York City to pursue her dreams, I can say that Kelsie Whitmore has more than earned my admiration.
Kelsie Whitmore, Cal State Fullerton alumni and Staten Island FerryHawk, holds a lot of “first woman to…” records. This is a given considering she is one of the few women to make a name for herself in the world of baseball.
In a podcast for the Player’s Tribune, Kelsie recounted her experience as a female baseball player, reminiscing about both the good and the bad. Her love for the game developed at just 6 years old when she and her dad started playing catch in their backyard. As she matured, she went on to play soccer, volleyball, golf, and also dabbled in track and field during her high school years. But despite participating in such a wide variety of sports, baseball always had her heart.
“People would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I knew. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but I stopped telling people because I got shut down a lot,” - Kelsie Whitmore for Titan Mag.
Sports definitely played a major role in Kelsie’s life, especially during her high school years. Kelsie attended Temecula Valley High School in California, and in true Kelsie nature, she was the only woman on the school’s baseball team. From 2014 to 2019, she was a player for the US women’s national baseball team, and on top of that, she won a silver medal at the 2014 Women’s Baseball Cup and gold in the Pan American Games the following year. And when she participated in the 2018 Women’s Baseball Cup, the US came in 4th place. When Kelsie said that there was going to be a girl to make it in the baseball world, she was definitely talking about herself, whether she knew it or not.
“I always knew that there was going to be a girl one day, and I thought, if there is one, I want to be that girl who makes it,” - Kelsie Whitmore for Titan Mag.
After graduating from Temecula Valley High, Kelsie went on to attend Cal State Fullerton, so she could play college softball on scholarship. Here at Fullerton, Kelsie earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology before working towards her Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology. Off the field, she was a woman in STEM. But on the field, she was THE baseball player.
In 2016, Kelsie signed with an independent baseball league, the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association. She and the only other woman, Stacy Piagno, were the first female teammates in professional baseball since the 1950s when women played for the Negro Leagues.
That same year, Kelsie was joined by Anna Kimbrel when she had the privilege of pitching to her. This was the first all-female battery in a professional baseball league game since the All-American Girls Professional Baseball Club. By earning all these records, it was plain to see how Kelsie was revolutionizing the game for women.
“I compared myself to men because they were my competition. I never had a body like them. I never had the build, the strength, the speed or the power, and I was so envious of that,” shares Whitmore. “I overworked myself trying to outperform the competition. What helped me overcome that was learning to love what I was given and who I was.” - Kelsie Whitmore for Titan Mag.
Finally, on April 8, 2022, Kelsie signed with the Staten Island FerryHawks as a pitcher and outfielder. She debuted as a pinch runner on April 22 and became the first woman to start an Atlantic League game as a left fielder. During her first game pitching, she stepped into loaded bases and 2 outs. Heroically, she got Ryan Jackson out on a flyout to end the inning. She re-signed with the FerryHawks for the current season on April 18, 2023, so you could say the rest is history. Because Kelsie is continuing to make it.