"But I was always dreaming of the outdoors and baseball," Lizzie said of her time before the looms. "Even then, when I was too small to play, I used to beg the boys to let me carry the bats. Finally, I was allowed to join the team for only one reason: I used to 'steal' my father's gloves and bats and bring them along, so I was a valuable asset to them when I could furnish some of the equipment."
Almost from the start Lizzie's performance in the scrub games was so good that she soon was the premiere choice of the team captain with first picks. By the age of 15, she was playing with such amateur clubs as the Warren Silk Hats and the Warren Baseball Club and was on her way.
There was one hesitancy along about the age of 18. Lizzie came to the familiar crossroad reached by most athletically able young ladies: the time when they must decide whether to continue at games or become proper girls.
"I about decided that baseball wasn't a game for a girl and that I'd quit," Lizzie said, shortly after facing that critical junction. "But then I went to look at one of the games. It just made me crazy to take a turn at the bat and line one out."
The verdict was for baseball, and thereafter her career went along full tilt, starting on a paid professional basis on a Warren semipro team. Starting, that is, after a significant one-game delay.
In Lizzie's first appearance with that particular team the customary hat was passed among the spectators, and the rather large sum of $85 was returned. Not without cause, Lizzie felt her presence had contributed to both the attendance and the contributions. However, so the tale goes, when it came time to divvy the pot, Lizzie was somehow "overlooked" and received nothing.
The team manager, though, was sufficiently aware of Lizzie's impact to remember to book the team into Newport, just down the road, for the following Saturday. With Lizzie as an attraction and all those sailors handy, he figured on a bonanza.
All week long before the Newport engagement Lizzie came to practice, taking her workout with the team, saying nothing about finances. On Saturday morning, with interest running high at Newport, Lizzie became, without much doubt, baseball's first woman holdout. She simply told the manager as the club gathered for the trip, "No money, no Newport." The manager quickly capitulated for a sum of $5 per game, plus an equal share of the collection.
Lizzie moved into relatively bigger money when she joined a team called the Providence Independents about 1918 and began touring southern New England. She made still more money when the All-Stars of Boston took her on a few years later.
With the latter club Lizzie made her forays into Canada, playing as many as 100 games a season. She never did reveal how much money she made, but a portion of her take came from her practice of going into the stands and hawking a picture postcard of herself in uniform. She once admitted to making $22 from between-innings work on a crowd of less than 1,000 at Worcester, Mass., and always said afterward that Worcester was just about her favorite town. But she also said that from a crowd of 6,500 at Dorchester, Mass., she gleaned less than $50. She was inclined to be bitter about Dorchester after that.