LIZZIE “SPIKE” MURPHY (Old Timer, Charter Class of 1998, Posthumous)

 

Known as the “Queen of Baseball,” Lizzie Murphy played for an American League All Star team versus the Boston Red Sox and a National League All Star squad against the Boston Braves.

 

At age eighteen Lizzie became the first female holdout in baseball history until she was guaranteed five dollars a game and a share of the gate receipts by the Warren Shoe team.  Spike, once called the best women’s player in the country, played on Eddie McGinley’s Providence Independents and then, from approximately 1920 to 1935, on Boston’s Eddie Carr’s All Stars, a team that included former major leaguers and traveled throughout the Eastern United States and Canada.

As she became better known, she would sell postcards of herself for ten cents between innings.  Always playing in a uniform that had “Lizzie” scripted across the front and back (“so that people could pick out who they had come to see”), she hit just under .300 for Carr during her career. 

Lizzie once singled off the legendary Satchel Paige when he was pitching for a black baseball team in New York.  When asked if Satchel had gone easy on her, the great Josh Gibson said that Satch didn’t want to be charged with a hit by a woman of any color.

The Town of Warren honored “The Queen of Diamonds” by posthumously naming her one hundredth birthday, April 13, 1994, as Lizzie Murphy Day. 

 

 

 

That same year she was elected to the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame (Luther Blount was the only other Warrenite in the Hall at that time) and was named as one of the Providence Journal’s “Twenty-Three Women in Rhode Island History Who Made A Difference.”

She was a proficient violinist, starred in track, won a medal for her skill in ice hockey, and once swam Narragansett Bay from Warren to Warwick’s Conimicut Point.

Lizzie was of both Irish and French-Canadian heritage and spoke French-Canadian fluently.  Once in Quebec she overheard the first-base coach giving the steal sign in French.  She called time and worked out a code with the catcher.  Her team caught five runners attempting to steal that day.

 

Sports Illustrated article "Queen Lizzie plays First Base"   1965

 

The below data was obtained from R.I. Historical Baseball Project

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures from Hall of Fame archives