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Female umpire to make Mexican League debut Tuesday
Mexican baseball history will be made Tuesday night when the Mexico City Diablos Rojos open a three-game series against Oaxaca at Estadio Fray Nano. Luz Alicia Gordoa will be making her debut as a Mexican League umpire, becoming the first distaff arbiter in the LMB's 93-year history.
The Sinaloa native made her professional umpiring debut last winter when she worked a few games in the Mexican Winter League, the LMB-affiliated winterball circuit, starting with a November 23 contest between Salamanca and Celayo. The 41-year-old Gordoa's experience lies more in officiating soccer matches, which she did for two decades before giving baseball a shot. She also played softball for 20 years before turning to umpiring the past five. She was joined in the LIM by 34-year-old Paulina Barajas Castro of Mexico City, where she worked games in the Liga Olmeca youth baseball organization now headed by Carlos Fragoso as well as the Liga Lindavista and Liga Maya before joining Gordoa at the MLB Academy near Monterrey last fall.
While Gordoa will be the first woman to umpire a Mexican League game, female umps have worked games in Minor League Baseball since 1972, when Bernice Gera worked one game in the Class A New York-Penn League before quitting after other umpires reportedly said they would not work with her. A heated discussion with Auburn Phillies manager Nolan Campbell during the game didn't make Gera feel any more welcome. However, that opened the door for future women umpires in MiLB. Christine Wren worked in the Class A Northwest League in the mid-Seventies but the most notable was Pam Postema, who began umpiring in the late-Seventies and eventually spent 13 seasons working in the minors, including six seasons at the AAA level. She umpired an MLB exhibition game in 1989, but was not rehired by the AAA Alliance following that season. Postema then filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against Major League Baseball that was settled out of court, but otherwise left the game to work as a trucker, factory worker and welder. She wrote a 1992 book, You Gotta Have Balls to Make It in This League, in which she said, "I'll never understand why it's easier for a female to become an astronaut or cop or firefighter or soldier or Supreme Court justice than it is to become a major league umpire."
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