Open main menu

Mary Shane (May 17, 1945 – November 1, 1987) was the first full-time female play by play broadcaster for a Major League Baseball team in 1977.

She was born Mary Driscoll in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of a former semi-pro baseball player. In 1967, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a B.A. in History. After college she became a history teacher at a Milwaukee high school for six years. In 1975, she decided for a career change and became a radio sportscaster at WRIT (now WJYI) in Milwaukee, where she covered the Brewers, the Bucks and the Marquette Warriors.[1]

In 1976, while working in the County Stadium press box for a White Sox - Brewers game, White Sox announcer Harry Caray was surprised to see a young woman in the press box and invited her to do some play-by-play.[2] Shane did well enough that he asked her to join the broadcast the next day and again on a subsequent White Sox visit to County Stadium.

In, 1977, WMAQ radio and WSNS - TV, the flagship stations for the Chicago White Sox, hired her to join the broadcast team which already included Caray, Lorn Brown and Jimmy Piersall.[3] However, Shane was pulled from the White Sox Broadcasts before the 1977 Season concluded and her contract was not renewed.[4] While her voice was an issue, Mary distinguished herself as a hard worker.[4] Broadcasting partner Jimmy Piersall stated: “She never had a chance. Even a bad baseball player gets at least one full season to see if he’ll come around. But because of all the in-bred prejudice against a woman covering a baseball team, Mary didn’t even get that. It was a real shame, because I thought she had what it takes to make it. Someday, the idea of a woman bringing a woman’s perspective to baseball broadcasting will be a tremendous innovation somewhere.”[4]

In the 1980s, Shane worked in Worcester, Massachusetts as sportswriter for the Worcester Telegram, becoming the first female reporter to regularly cover the Boston Celtics, winning an award for her writing. . [5] In her thirties, she became plagued by heart troubles and on November 1, 1987 at age 42 she died of a heart attack at her home in Worcester.[6]


  1. ^ Dudek, Duane (May 8, 2014). "Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman in a class by herself, and 'distressed' about it". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  2. ^ Moser, Whet (September 26, 2012). "Betty Caywood and Mary Shane: Baseball's First Female Announcers". Chicago. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  3. ^ Heise, Kenan (November 6, 1987). "Mary Shane; 1st Woman in Baseball Broadcasts". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Morris, Peter. "Mary Shane". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  5. ^ Doyle, Bill (February 13, 2014). "Tuning In: Jackie MacMullan a good fit on Celtics telecast". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  6. ^ Heise, Kenan. "MARY SHANE; 1ST WOMAN IN BASEBALL BROADCASTS". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 November 2019.

External linksEdit