But for one afternoon last Saturday, Fulle was a Mill Valley Little Leaguer again, an accomplishment she fought very hard for 45 years ago and one that made her an icon to the girls that have followed in her path as the pioneering female player in Mill Valley Little League.
To mark the anniversary, Fulle was honored at the 64th Annual MVLL Opening Day parade and a subsequent ceremony at Boyle Park, where she caught the Opening Day first pitch from a Challenger League player and had a plaque installed in her honor. Mill Valley Mayor Jessica Sloan was on hand to recognize Fulle’s achievement as well.
As a 9-year-old girl, Fulle so badly wanted to play baseball that she tucked her hair under her baseball cap and went to play for MVLL, but was turned away due to a prohibition against girls playing in Little League. A turbulent one-year battle followed involving the City of Mill Valley, the National Organization for Women and the American Civil Liberties Union, among others, and Fulle was eventually allowed to play in Little League but just as she was about to reach its age limit.
“I’m very proud of it now,” Fulle said of being honored at the Opening Day ceremony in front of “more than 700 registered Mill Valley Little League players — 24 of them girls,” according to the Marin Independent Journal. “It definitely — it’s thickened my skin at a young age to a certain extent. I look back at it now and I think it was a major accomplishment. I also look back and think my life peaked at age 12. How do I surpass that?”
Lisa Kift, a Mill Valley Little League board member who took the photos above, told the Marin IJ that Fulle’s fight paved the way for her, as she joined MVLL just five years after Fulle played.
“She blazed a trail for me and other girls to be able to play Little League baseball,” Kift told the IJ. “I was a tomboy and at that time I was pretty athletic and enjoyed playing sports and playing with boys. For me it was natural to play with boys.”
The acclaim for Fulle continues next month as the Mill Valley Historical Society hosts “Reflections on Making Little League History,” a panel discussion featuring Fulle, former Mill Valley Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ed Addeo, and award-winning mediation attorney Lee Hunt. The event is set for Wednesday, April 5 at 7pm at the Mill Valley Public Library. Registration recommended. Click here to register.