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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

Picturing the Past 153: Women's softball champs

Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2012, at 1:04 PM

Nina's women's fastpitch softball team, the 1939 Tennessee state champions. (Submitted photo)
Going way back this time, thanks to a contribution from reader Mark Tate.

Women had far fewer choices in sports way back when - apparently nothing but half-court basketball in schools - but summer softball was a different story.

Nina's, a women's clothing store that was around for years, sponsored a women's softball team that won the 1939 state championship and went on to the semifinals of the National Junior Softball Tournament in St. Louis. The team was 16-3 going into the tournament.

In the nationals they downed Pennsylvania 18-5, lost to defending national champion New Orleans 10-7, beat a St. Louis team by an unlisted score, then forfeited to a team listed only as the Missouri state champions after a cold rain began falling. By this time the team had lost their hotel rooms because a tournament organizer had forgotten to pay the bill.

Team members - with starters' positions listed - are, from left, sitting, Marian Lamb (outfield), Charlotte Rice (shortstop), Lucille Pyrdum (now Luciille Tate, Mark's mother, who's 89 now), Emma Jane Rittenberry (second base). team mascot Pattie Haynes, Margaret Hastings (catcher), Mary Jane Smith (pitcher), Jean Hill (pitcher) and Jane Hill (pitcher). Standing, from left, Lavada Watson, Catherine McBride, Louise Elkins, Patricia Hope (first base), Catherine McAnally (third base), Roberta McKamey (outfield) and Brownie Capley (outfield).

I've been told this was a fastpitch team. Bedford County's definitely a softball and baseball area, then and now.

Most of the information above -- and the emailed photo itself - comes from the 1969 Times-Gazette Sesquicentennial book, an essential publication for anyone interested in the first 150 years of the county's history. It's out of print and, no, we're not selling our lone office copy.

But someone's got one for sale now in our classified ads. They're asking $50; call 931-637-1621.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Thanks David for the picture. Mrs. Mullins (Patricia Hope) was my high school Civics teacher. She was quite the athlete at Middle Tennessee Teachers College (now MTSU). I can remember her and Coach Vires shooting hoops in the old upstairs gym at the old Central High for milkshakes.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Apr 4, 2012, at 4:48 PM

I also remember Mrs. Mullins as my civics teacher at C.H.S. Do we know the married names of the others? I was looking back at the Sesqui-Centennial book and was wondering if Bo and others could identify the team members of other pics shown on pages 240 and 241.

-- Posted by Cal t on Fri, Apr 6, 2012, at 10:10 AM

Cal t I also remember from those photos that Mrs. Hill (Marian) and Mrs. Hulan(think her given name was Ann) were in a couple of them. They were also great athletes of their day.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Apr 7, 2012, at 7:07 AM

I, too, was a member of Ms. Mullings civics class.

Boy, that was a while back,I think that was my sophmore year.

Marian Lamb was the wife of the late Leonard Parsons and Charlotte Rice was married to, ahh it just left me but his last name was Threet. Oh Randolph!! Do you all know how the mind works now?

-- Posted by walrite on Tue, Apr 10, 2012, at 12:13 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.