“Fill[s] a yawning gap in the literature. It’s especially strong at conveying how popular, at times, the game has been as a spectator sport. . . . The author draws fine profiles of some of the sport’s legendary figures . . . its great teams . . . and, especially, a cultural climate that has often been unsupportive of, if not antagonistic toward, those gifted, dedicated athletes.”


A fascinating exploration of a sport that has helped women work through issues of sexism while playing the game they love.

—School Library Journal

This well-researched book on softball history underscores the fact that present-day women’s sports face all the same hurdles they did a century ago.

—Publishers Weekly

“A fascinating look at the little-known story of fastpitch softball, and the women who dedicated themselves to it for the love of the game. From the old industrial leagues to today’s international competitions, here is the rollicking, unlikely, and totally absorbing story of an original American sport.”

—Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd

“Every baseball player knows about Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, and every softball player should know about Bertha Tickey and Joan Joyce. I love reading about the history of our sport and about the legends of our game. The opportunities that I had playing this great sport are because of athletes like Bertha, Joan, Jeanne Contel, and others. Every softball player should read this book and learn about their sport.”

—Laura Berg, Olympic gold medalist in softball and head softball coach at Oregon State University

Fastpitch is hidden history at its most intriguing. Through the story of women’s softball, Erica Westly offers unexpected insights into business history, feminism, American social history, and the politics of sports. At the same time, she focuses on the competitive drive of women who wanted to excel on the playing field and the barriers that stood in their way. It’s a classic American tale.”

—Jack El-Hai, author of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist and past president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors

“Erica Westly’s Fastpitch is a fun and entertaining read for people of all ages. Team sports were my first love, and Fastpitch immediately brought back wonderful memories of playing softball at Houghton Park in Long Beach, California, winning the 15& Under championships on my softball team, and then later working with legends of the sport to start a professional softball league. The history is well documented and the storytelling is completely enjoyable!”

—Billie Jean King

Fastpitch is A League of Their Own for the softball set. Erica Westly takes on the power plays and girl power moments on and off the field.”

—Lily Koppel, bestselling author of The Astronaut Wives Club

Fastpitch whips through the surprising history of softball and the remarkable women who played it. From rival leagues to cringeworthy news coverage to incredible athletic feats to the shifting politics of playing the sport, Westly gives readers a thorough tour of decades of figure eight wind ups, rise balls, and fast pitches.”

—Rachel Swaby, author of Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science — and the World

Fastpitch tells you the untold story of softball in a stunning and creative way. A must read for anyone who loves the sport!”

—Jonathan Fader, author of Life as Sport