It was a field of dreams come true.
On Monday, Gwen McLoughlin, 70, served as bat girl for the New York Yankees when they hosted the Los Angeles Angels, 60 years after she was rejected when she wrote a letter to the team as a 10-year-old asking if she could serve in the role.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity. A day of a lifetime,” she said after the game. “I can’t put it into words.”
“It was the thrill of a lifetime, times a million,” she added.
In 1961, McLoughlin, then Gwen Goldman, received a response from Roy Hamey, who was general manager of the team after she wrote a letter asking to be a bat girl.
“While we agree with you that girls are certainly as capable as boys, and no doubt would be an attractive addition on the playing field, I am sure you can understand that in a game dominated by men a young lady such as yourself would feel out of place in a dugout,” Hamey replied.
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Fast forward six decades and McLoughlin’s daughter Abby forwarded the letter to the team, which caught the eye of current general manager Brian Cashman, who replied with a more favorable reaction inviting her to be the honorary bat girl during the game as part of the Yankees’ annual HOPE Week, which shines a light on inspiring stories and people.
“Although your long-ago correspondence took place 60 years ago — six years before I was born — I feel compelled to resurrect your original request and do what I can to bring your childhood dream to life,” he said in a letter he shared with her during a video call that the Yankees posted on Twitter.
“Here at the Yankees, we have championed to break down gender barriers in our industry. It is an ongoing commitment rooted in the belief that a woman belongs everywhere a man does, including the dugout.
“That letter’s a long time coming,” Cashman told her after he finished reading it.
“We have a chance to rewrite history here and show you, obviously, how times have changed,” he added.
“It is my honor and my dream and I can’t thank you enough for making this come true,” a choked up McLoughlin said. “I will be there.”
McLoughlin, who said Mickey Mantle was her favorite player growing up, also believed the Yankees’ actions speak to a bigger issue than just her desire to be a bat girl.
“Thank you for doing this for us women and for moving forward and opening the world up to the population,” she said.
“You know when they say dreams come true? This is it,” she added.
She also said she had no ill will against the Yankees after they initially shot her down.
"I didn't hold it against them," she told reporters after the game. "I love the Yankees. They wrote me a letter. It wasn't what I wanted to see, but they wrote me a letter and I've always loved them and been a fan of theirs."