Women’s History Month – Joan Joyce

March 1st – Thursday, March 31st

“When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.” Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton

Source: Wikipedia; Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame

Women’s History Month Theme 2022

The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month. The 2022 theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” This theme is “both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.”

About Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress  authorized and requested President Ronald Reagan proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.”

In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress designated the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.

Stratford Scores a Hall of Famer

Joan Joyce is the softball coach at Florida Atlantic University, following a record-setting career as a softball player for the Stratford Raybestos Brakettes and the Chapman College Orange Lionettes. She also has set records on the LPGA Tour as a golfer and on the USA women’s national basketball team, and was a player and coach for the Connecticut Clippers volleyball team.

An extraordinary athlete, Joyce has lead multiple teams to national and international championships. She played competitive basketball and volleyball and qualified for the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour in 1977.

However, her fame was local to Stratford, as softball was the sport in which she made her biggest mark, and Joyce is considered one of the best softball players ever to play the game. Joyce joined the Raybestos Brakettes, an amateur softball team, at the age of 14. Three years later she began pitching, marking the first of 18 consecutive years in which she was selected as an Amateur Softball Association All-American.

She notably struck out Ted Williams at an over-crowded Municipal Stadium in Waterbury in 1961. She would do the same to Hank Aaron in a 1978 exhibition game.

In addition to playing, throughout her career she has been a champion of women in sports, coaching various sports at many universities and co-founding the International Softball Association for women to compete on a professional level.

Joyce attended Chapman College in Orange County, Calif., where she lead the Orange Lionettes to a 1965 softball title. Again proving her astonishing athletic ability, she competed in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball, averaging 25 points a game, and was named an All-American in 1961, 1964 and 1965. In one notable 1965 game, she set an AAU basketball record by scoring 67 points.

Joyce moved back to Connecticut in 1967 and rejoined the Raybestos Brakettes, leading the team both as a pitcher and a hitter. Her pitching record while playing for the team was 753 wins and 42 losses, including 150 no-hitters, 33 perfect games, and a .09 ERA.

Her pitches were extremely fast at over 70 miles per hour. She pitched 150 no-hitters and 50 perfect games, with a lifetime earned run average of 0.09. In her record-setting 42-win season, she pitched 38 shutouts. Her 1974 Brakettes team was the first American team to win the world championship

At the plate her highest single-season batting average was .406 in 1973. Between 1960 and 1973, Joyce led the team with the highest batting average. She was the National Tournament Batting Champion in 1971, with an average of .467. 1974 brought a world title for the Brakettes when Joan set many records including most strikeouts (76). Less than a month after winning the world title, she pitched 45 scoreless innings in the national championship, leading the Brakettes to their fourth consecutive national title.

Joyce was the first woman to become a recipient of the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance’s Gold Key Award and the first woman ever to be invited to the awards banquet.

In 1977, Joyce qualified for the LGPA tour, finishing in sixth place both in 1981 and 1984. She holds the world record for the lowest number of putts in a single round of golf, and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for lowest number of putts (17) in a single round (both men and women), set at the 1982.

Joyce began her coaching career in 1973 and has coached softball, volleyball, basketball and golf. Since 1994, she has been the head coach of Florida Atlantic University’s women’s softball team, leading the Owls to 10 conference championships and seven NCAA tournaments.

She has received numerous coach-of-the-year awards and has been inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame, the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame and The Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Joyce was also inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, and the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

Wikipedia summed up her impressive record:

  • Most consecutive all-star team selections (18)
  • Eight-time MVP in the National Tournament (1961, 1963, 1968, 1971 (co-MVP), 1973, 1974, and 1975)
  • Most victories in a season (42) (in 1974)
  • Two no-hit, no-run games in National Tournament (four times)
  • Shutouts in a season (38 in 1974)
  • Most innings pitched in a game (29 in 1968 against Perkasie)
  • Career doubles (153)
  • Doubles in a season (22 in 1968)
  • Career triples (67)
  • Brakettes team batting champion (1960, 1962, 1967–69, 1973)
  • Highest batting average (.467 in 1971)

“I’m not an advocate of women’s lib per se, I don’t go out preaching it … I’ve done the things I wanted to do … and I didn’t let anyone stop me … One thing, though—when I grew up my biggest idol was Mickey Mantle. Now kids can also look to the women who play.”

-Joan Joyce

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.