The Seattle Times

Diamonds caught their eye

Seattle Times staff columnist

Major League Baseball may be played by men, but women are well invested, with credentials and histories all our own.

Jackie Koney, Deidre Silva and I proved that Monday, when we compared notes on our first love. I felt my baby move for the first time at Camden Yards in Baltimore after eating a sandwich from Boog Powell’s barbecue stand. Of course we named him after Brooks Robinson.

Koney, 40, grew up watching the Detroit Tigers. She named a gerbil after Aurelio Rodriguez, who played third base “and had a bullet arm.” She loved Ron LeFlore. The Tigers found him in Jackson State Prison and signed him as an amateur free agent in 1973.

“You could tell he was so happy to be playing,” she said.

Silva, 38, was born during Game 6 of the 1967 World Series between the Cardinals and the Red Sox. In Boston.

“No one gave a crap about me,” she said. “I was supposed to be Carl Yastrzemski Silva because it was his Triple Crown year. But then I came out a girl.” (What’s wrong with “Carla”?)

Today, the two friends will pack up their baseball histories and head to spring training in Florida, then Arizona, where they will do research for a book project they’re calling “The Savvy Girls of Summer: Baseball Unveiled.”

The book, written for women, will cover the basics of the game, the institution itself and some of the great debates of the Great American Pastime.

“AstroTurf vs. grass, Babe Ruth vs. Roger Maris,” Silva said. “The little things you’ve been hearing people argue about all your life.”

Koney and Silva met in 1996 and, two years ago, lost their mothers within eight months of each other. The mourning period included long talks about what they wanted to do with their lives. Koney had ideas for books but only wanted to do the research, not write. Silva wanted to write, not research.

They settled on their common love: baseball.Only two baseball books have been specifically aimed at women, Koney said. One was an outdated glossary of baseball terms. The other was about how to “survive” the game: what to wear, the caloric content of the food. Deep stuff. “These women hate going to games,” Koney said. “Not us.”

They gauged interest by organizing women-only baseball outings at Safeco Field. All agreed their book was a great idea, and even the Mariners organization offered to help.

But they still haven’t found a publisher. Many love the book but say the women lack the star power that, say, a player’s wife could bring to the project.

And so they are heading south to sell “The Savvy Girls of Summer” to the Grapefruit and Cactus League crowds.

They’ll hold tailgate parties in parking lots from Tampa to Surprise, talking up their project and their web site to fans and media.

And they will raise at least one glass to Effa Manley, former co-owner of the Newark (N.J.) Eagles, who on Monday became the first woman elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.

Not a bad stat to tuck into their travel bags.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or

The Rocket rules her heart.