“Women vote, smoke, drink and vie with men for jobs today. But although we have ‘Ladies Days’ at baseball parks, there are no ‘Gentleman’s Days,’” groused a newspaperman in 1938, around the time this queue to the “Ladies’ Gate” at Sportsman’s Park was snapped. Pretty much every ballpark from L.A. to New York offered free or cheap admission to women on certain days, but there was a reason they called it “the St. Louis idea.” Browns president Robert Lee Hedges created Ladies’ Day in 1912, offering free entry with a male escort. After the Browns realized that women were hanging around the ballpark trying to “crab” their way in on any guy’s arm, they decided to just let them in; the Cardinals followed suit.
By the 1930s, Ladies’ Day games were packed with “high school girls carrying their textbooks, grandmothers holding daughter’s arm, mothers towing or carrying children, pushing a trio ahead, trying to force the tide of the crowd,” and what they saved on tickets, they spent on buttermilk, near beer, and ice cream. Despite the objections of grouchy male sports columnists, Ladies’ Day would stick around for decades.
Article originally posted by STLMag
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The institution of Ladies’ Day began in the 1800s. It was in place for horse-racing and baseball.
It became a regular event in several cities such as Pittsburgh and New Orleans before 1900.