Ohio’s Alta Weiss: Baseball’s Woman Wonder

Weiss was born in 1890. She lived with her father, a doctor, and an older and younger sister in Ragersville, Ohio. She began pitching from early on and Dr. Weiss established a high-school so Weiss could play on its baseball team.

It was 1907 in Vermilion, Ohio when Weiss would first be considered for professional baseball. She played a pick-up game with some men from the town. The Vermilion mayor was impressed enough that he contacted the Vermilion Independents (the local semi-pro team) to suggest they sign her.

Skeptical at first of a female player, the Independents’ manager arranged a game between two local teams and had Weiss pitch. After her fifteenth strike out the manager asked her to join the Independents and she became a sports phenomenon.
Weiss was only 17 years old.

That same year in September she played her first semi-pro game. She pitched five innings. She would go one to play seven more games that season as pitcher. Her pay rivaled that of the male players. The Independents ended their season with a 5-3 record. Weiss became known as the Girl Wonder.

On September 2, 1907, Weiss made her semi-pro debut, pitching five innings. She pitched seven more games that season and became known as the “Girl Wonder,” dressing in a blue skirt and receiving pay that rivaled even the male players. The Independents ended the 1907 season with a 5-3 record.

Weiss continued to practice, and her father purchased a semi-pro team in 1908, renaming it the Weiss All-Stars and of course it featured Weiss, the Girl Wonder, as its pitcher.
In 1910 Weiss followed in her father’s footsteps and began a career at the Starling College of Medicine and eventually attended the Ohio State University Medical College—all paid for by her baseball career. In 1914 she was the only woman in her class to receive a Doctor of Medicine.

During WWI Weiss replaced the doctor in Sugarcreek, Ohio who was enlisted. Though the war and flu pandemic took its toll on Weiss as she claimed her enthusiasm for the profession waned after those events. However, she went on to practice medicine in Norwalk, Ohio and took over her father’s practice in Ragersville after his death.
Weiss maintained her love of baseball and encouraged children to play the game throughout her life, including Lois Youngen who played for the Fort Wayne Daisies in the All-American Girls Baseball League.