The Big Mac Blog

Revo remembers Alison Gordon, who opened the Rangers’ clubhouse to women

Jim Reeves has been retired as a columnist from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a few years, but the man remains an invaluable source of stories and information pertaining to North Texas sports, especially the Texas Rangers. Credit Revo with the following ...

This week, former Toronto Star sports writer Alison Gordon died after lung surgery. She was 72. Gordon was the first full-time female baseball beat writer. Her ambition and willingness to head into a world full of men changed baseball, and sports. Beginning in 1979, she covered the Blue Jays for the next five seasons. It was around that time more women broke barriers to become a part of sports journalism. Every female journalist since Gordon, and a few others, benefited from their willingness to be mocked, and to force their way through doors that sometimes were literally closed to women.

This is where the Rangers come in, as well as Revo’s memory of the time Gordon’s presence changed the Texas Rangers.

Revo wrote to me:

“The local connection is that she was a pioneer throughout baseball, but also was the one who opened the Texas Rangers clubhouse to women in '79. I was the BBWAA (Baseball Writer’s Association of America) chapter chairman (my first tour) that year when the Jays came to town. Unbeknownst to us, the Rangers' players, who had gotten wind that there might be women reporters coming into their hallowed domain, had voted in the spring to close the clubhouse to all media. Then they waived their own rule until the Jays came to town with Alison.

“We learned of this after the first game of the series when the clubhouse door was locked to us and when we were told that manager Pat Corrales or anyone we wanted to would come out into that dank, steamy tunnel at Arlington Stadium for post-game interviews. I quickly polled the other beat writers there and we refuse to talk to any of them in those conditions.

“The next day, before the game, we asked Fergie Jenkins, the night's pitcher, and Al Oliver, if they would jump on Macko's golf cart and be ferried to the press box for post-game interviews. Jenkins pitched a masterful game to win and Oliver had the game-winning hit. Perfect. The whole situation made national news. The next day, GM Eddie Robinson returned from a trip, told the players that the clubhouse belonged to the team, not them, and that it would be open to all media of all genders.

“A triumph women's rights in the world of sports writing. (Former FW Star-Telegram columnist who doubles as my spouse) Jen is where she is today because of her talent, her grit and Alison Gordon, who covered the Jays for five years, then went on to become a fiction novelist.”

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof