In 1950, in Corning, N.Y., 11-year-old Kathryn Johnston tucked her hair under a baseball cap, borrowed the name Tubby from a comic book and became the first girl to play Little League baseball. When word got out, her teammates didn't care, because the first baseman was one of their best players. After the season Little League instituted a rule forbidding girls from playing; it wasn't abolished until 1974.
Massar, 64 and living in Yuba City, Calif., played sports in high school, became a nurse and married. "I felt being a girl should not stop you if you were good enough," she says. "I didn't think it was a big thing at the time, but now I think it is."
She Ran the 1966 Boston Marathon for one reason: She wanted to change the world. Despite having her application rejected by race officials who told her that women were physiologically unable to run 26 miles, Gibb showed up anyway. The 23-year-old hid in the bushes at the start, then leaped into the pack when the gun went off and finished in 3:21:25—ahead of 290 of the 415 men who entered. Gibb ran the race again in '67 and '68 (it was officially opened to women in '72) before focusing full time on obtaining a law degree.
No longer practicing law, Gibb, 59 and divorced, splits time between Rockport, Mass., and San Diego. She spends her days sprinting along the beach, sculpting, writing and working with charities. "I wish I had three or four lives," she says. "I'm going to have to live to 150 to get all this stuff done."
She was just 20 years old when she became the first (and still the only) woman to play in an NHL preseason game, so she didn't dwell on the historical significance. "At the time I didn't realize what I was doing," Rheaume says of that September night in 1992 when she stopped seven of the nine shots she faced in net for the Tampa Bay Lightning. "Now I look at the game, how fast it is, how hard the guys shoot, and I can't believe I was there."
The 5'7" Rheaume went on to play six seasons in the minors and won an Olympic silver medal with the Canadian women's team in 1998. Now 30 and the divorced mother of three-year-old Dylan, Rheaume is the manager of apparel and special events for Mission Hockey, an equipment manufacturer in Santa Ana, Calif. In February she took the Mission Bettys, a team of 12- and 13-year-olds, to the Quebec International PeeWee Tournament, whose gender line she had broken 18 years earlier. Her club, the first all-female team in the tournament's history, reached the quarterfinals. Says Rheaume, "It was a way for me to give those young girls a chance like I had."
Umpires are natural targets for abuse, but Postema was an especially popular one. After graduating from umpire school in 1977, she worked her way up through the minors to become, in '83, the first woman to climb as high as Triple A. (Two others had had brief spells in Single A.) Postema remained perched on the doorstep of the majors until her contract was terminated in '89. Two years later she filed a sex-discrimination suit against Major League Baseball and settled out of court.