Ninety years ago today, teenager Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth. And Lou Gehrig, too.
But who was Jackie as a girl? Who taught her?
Jackie grew up in Memphis and lived next door to future Hall of Famer Dazzy Vance. Even though Jackie was only about six years old at the time, Dazzy saw promise and taught her how to pitch.
By the time she was sixteen, she played on an all-girls baseball team in Chattanooga, where her abilities grabbed the attention of Chattanooga Lookout president Joe Engel. The rest is history.
Often I wonder about that chance meeting between Dazzy and Jackie. True, Jackie's dad was the first to teach her to throw. But think about the importance of Dazzy -- a person outside of the family -- who took the time to encourage her. For all we know, it might have been just one afternoon of playing catch.
We never know how our words or actions may affect others.
Think about it. Who encouraged you or believed in you when you were growing up? What difference did it make? No doubt, it made an impact.
Now think about the kids in your own life. Is there something you can do to encourage them? Maybe a quick hello or a verbal pat-on-the-back.
And who knows? You might be encouraging the next Jackie Mitchell -- or better yet, a young person who needs to know they matter.