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Mayor Gray Dedicates Mamie “Peanut” Johnson Field

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mayor Gray Dedicates Mamie “Peanut” Johnson Field

District Officials, Washington Nationals and Community Leaders Honor Negro League Baseball Legend

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today, along with Director of the DC Department of Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Councilmember Tommy Wells, Washington Nationals officials, Rosedale community leaders and baseball fans, attended the field dedication ceremony for Mamie “Peanut” Johnson at the Rosedale Recreation Center, located at 1701 Gales St., NE.  Johnson was the first woman pitcher to play in men’s professional baseball, and only one of three women to play professionally in the Negro Baseball League.

"Individuals who devote their time and talent to enhance the quality of life for others are worthy of praise and public recognition, and on this day, we acknowledge the outstanding contributions of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson by dedicating a field in her name,” Mayor Gray said.  “I am pleased that we are able to honor a legend in the world of baseball at the start of the spring baseball season. The sporting activities played on this field will continue to provide a stable and structured environment for District youth."

The Mamie “Peanut” Johnson Field at the Rosedale Community Center is the first field in the District of Columbia named in honor of a woman.  Johnson, who was born in Ridgeway, South Carolina, was “discovered” at the age of 19 playing sandlot baseball on the Rosedale playground. 

Johnson played two years for the Negro Baseball League’s Indianapolis Clowns, alongside baseball greats Satchel Paige and Hank Aaron.  She ended her career with a 38 - 6 lifetime record and was known as "Peanut" due to her height of 5 feet, 3 inches.  Three years ago, the Washington Nationals named Mamie “Peanut” Johnson as an honorary member of the team. She also is the subject of the book, ‘A Strong Right Arm,’ describing her life growing up and the obstacles to becoming a professional Negro Baseball League player.

"Mamie “Peanut” Johnson is not only an amazing person and athlete, but she also is an example to all, showing that with perseverance and discipline, you can achieve your dreams.  Ms. Johnson was first discovered playing on DPR's Rosedale field, and years later, the same DPR field has been dedicated to her. DPR oversees 113 athletic fields, and to name this field in honor of such a courageous and spirited woman is an honor not only for the Agency, but also for the entire District of Columbia,” said DPR Director Aguirre.

Johnson has been working with District youth at Rosedale for some time and will work with DPR in programming activities on the field. The District renovated and reopened the community center in May of 2012.  Its amenities include adult and kiddie pools, athletic field and multi-use recreation center.  The Mamie “Peanut” Johnson Field has a synthetic surface.