Playing Ball with the Boys: The Rise of Women in the World of Men’s Sports, a new book that profiles more than a dozen successful and pioneering women in the field of sports, was released nationally on October 1.
Written by former ESPN anchor Betsy Ross, Playing Ball with the Boys features interviews with the legendary women’s sports activist Billie Jean King, as well as Women’s Professional Soccer League leader Tonya Antonucci and ESPN College Basketball Analyst Rebecca Lobo. Prominent women working in the media are also featured in the book, including WFAN’s Ann Ligouri, CBS’ Lesley Visser, ESPN’s Pam Ward, USA Today’s Christine Brennan and Sports Illustrated’s Selena Roberts.
Ross also profiles pioneers in women’s sports such as Janet Guthrie, the first woman to qualify and drive in the Indianapolis 500, T. Jean Dowell who started the University of Georgia women’s basketball program, Bernadette Mattox, the first female coach for a Division I men’s basketball team at University of Kentucky under Coach Rick Pitino and Dr. Michelle Andrews, the first female Major League Baseball trainer, who served with the Baltimore Orioles.
Kelly Earnhardt, who runs JR Motorsports with her brother, Dale, Jr. and Kim Ng, assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, are also featured.
Ross has worked in sports media since her college days at the South Bend Tribune in South Bend, Indiana and the Cincinnati television market, where she has worked for the CBS, NBC, and FOX affiliates, to ESPN where she was an anchor for five years for ESPNews and SportsCenter. She has covered major sporting events such as the Atlanta Olympic Games, World Series, the NFL and college bowl games. She continues to do play-by-play for women’s college basketball and hosts a weekly sports radio show for Cincinnati’s NPR radio station.
“These women have made it possible for me to pursue my passion for sports,” said Ross. “Their inspirational and successful stories remind us that it’s not always easy to ‘play ball with the boys,’ whether in sports or in business.”