Edith G. Houghton, 100, pro baseball's first female scout

Edith Grace Houghton's gear is in on display in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Edith Grace Houghton's gear is in on display in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Posted: February 12, 2013

Edith Grace Houghton, 100, a Philadelphia baseball prodigy who began playing professionally at age 10 and who in the 1940s worked for the Phillies as the first female scout in the major leagues, died Saturday, Feb. 2, in Sarasota, Fla.

In 1922, as a 10-year-old tomboy growing up in North Philadelphia, Ms. Houghton spent her days playing baseball at 25th and Diamond Streets. She was known as "the Kid" for her skills on the diamond.

That year, she tried out for the Philadelphia Bobbies, a new professional women's team, named for the popular "bob" hairstyle of the 1920s. Ms. Houghton joined the barnstorming team, becoming its youngest and best player.

Two years later, the precocious shortstop sailed to Japan with the team to play against men's teams throughout the country.

"For a young woman in 1925 to be playing baseball and going to Japan - well, that was prettying exciting," she told an Inquirer reporter in 2001.

Ms. Houghton was born Feb. 10, 1912, in Philadelphia. She graduated from Girls' High in 1932, and during World War II, she joined the WAVES, an all-women division of the Navy.

In 1946, Phillies owner Bob Carpenter hired her as the first female scout in baseball history. She worked for the team until 1952, when she returned to the Navy. She served in Korea and Vietnam.

Ms. Houghton, who never married or had children, earned the rank of chief petty officer, and retired to Sarasota in 1964.

In 2006, Ms. Houghton's baseball cap and other gear were put on display in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., said her great-niece Dorothy McDonnell.

In addition to McDonnell, Ms. Houghton is survived by another great-niece, Lisa Perri; and great-nephews Robert Houghton and Eric Houghton.

A viewing will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Baron Rowland Funeral Home, 1059 Old York Rd., Abington, Pa. Burial will be in Northwood Cemetery, 1501 Haines St., Philadelphia.


Read Frank Fitzpatrick's 2001 story on Edith Houghton and the Philadelphia Bobbies baseball team at philly.com/houghton


Contact Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.

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