My Daughter Wants to Throw Like Mo’Ne Davis

The hard-throwing Taney Dragons phenom is an inspiration to girls with baseball dreams.


This article was published before the Taney Dragons advanced to the Little League World Series on Sunday.

“I don’t throw like a girl,” my 7-year-old daughter uttered in late June, her tone full of sass. The haymaker of insults, whether on the grass and dirt of a baseball diamond or the hard asphalt of a schoolyard, has always been to tell someone they “throw like a girl.”

“I want to throw like Mo'Ne” is what my daughter and a dozen or so other little girls were overheard saying a month later while waiting in the victory line for a chance to high-five ace pitcher Mo'Ne Davis of the Taney Dragons after they defeated Collier Township of Allegheny County in the championship game of the Pennsylvania State Tournament of Little League Baseball.

The team from Taney, based out of Markward Playground in Center City Philadelphia, is comprised of a dozen 12- and 13-year-olds. They’re the “City Kids from Philly,” as they were frequently referred to by opposing-team parents during the Pennsylvania District 19 Tournament in Media, the Pennsylvania Section 8 Tournament in Pottstown, and especially during the Pennsylvania State Tournament in Skippack. These fun-loving, scrappy kids made headlines not only because “city kids aren’t supposed to play competitive baseball like that” but also because the heart and soul of the team is a girl —  a girl with long, flowing braids that cover the surname and numbers on the back of her uniform.

Mo'Ne is an honor roll student entering eight grade at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Her fastball registers about 70 miles per hour on the radar gun; her curveball buckles the knees of opposing batters; her line-drives clear fences for home-runs.

Mo'Ne has played baseball with the Anderson Monarchs, a travel team based out of the Marion Anderson Recreational Center in South Philly, since the age of seven. “A lot of the time opposing players don’t realize it’s a girl; they assume it’s a boy with long hair,” says her longtime coach Steve Bandura. The initial shock of learning that kid with the crazy baseball skills is a girl quickly wears off according to Coach Bandura. After a game or two, the other kids just see her as a really good player.

The spectacle of watching Mo'Ne bat and pitch spread like wildfire during games at Skippack, with 9- and 10-year-old boys, sporting their own little league uniforms, sprinting behind the batting cage to check out “that girl” for each of her at bats and pitches.

Mo'Ne is just a kid — too young to be labeled as a role model. Heck, her favorite sport isn’t even baseball — her dream is to play point guard for the University of Connecticut. But to many little girls in Philadelphia who love playing baseball, the unassuming South Philly resident is someone they aspire to play like. Before and after games it’s typical to see her posing for pictures with young girls. After Taney’s Mid-Atlantic Regional semi-final game today in Bristol, CT, airing live on ESPN at 11 a.m., little girls from all over the country will run outside to have a catch, making pretend they are Mo'Ne as they fire the baseball (this past Sunday, in game 2 of the tournament, versus Newark National of Newark, DE, Mo'Ne struck out 10 batters in 5 2/3 innings).

Our daughter was one of two girls on her Taney baseball team this season (her friend Sarah was an All-Star selection!), which had just 16 girls out of 182 kids in the AAA division of 7- and 8-year-olds; she was one of five girls out of about 70 kids in her age group at Temple’s basketball camp in June; and she was the only girl at Penn Charter’s sports camp in July. To show our daughter that being a girl does not mean she cannot play baseball as good as, if not better than, the boys, I’ve driven her to a handful of Taney’s games this past month to watch Mo'Ne play ball.

The Taney Dragons are galvanizing Delaware Valley fans of Little League Baseball. As of today’s game they are just two wins from achieving the dream of kids worldwide – making it to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series. Mo'Ne Davis is leading the way — and she's doing it while throwing like a girl.

Marc Kravitz is a father/coach of two Taney Little League baseball players, a husband, and restaurant consultant. Email him at

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  • Lou

    Great Piece Marc!

  • NotFromPhilly

    I have a 7-year-old who’s full of sass — and a great arm — too. John Thorne, the great baseball historian, told me he believes a woman will be in the MLB as a pitcher at some point in the future.

  • Dotcom

    Would love to see a follow up now that they are heading to LLWS in Williamsport
    Nice piece by Marc Cravitz!

  • 1SantaFean1

    Good story. Good luck!

  • whichchick

    Dear Mr. Kravitz: I enjoyed your article, but I’d like to address the phrase “like a girl” and what it does to little girls and women. Your piece leads with [“I don’t throw like a girl,” my 7-year-old daughter uttered in late June, her tone full of sass. The haymaker of insults, whether on the grass and dirt of a baseball diamond or the hard asphalt of a schoolyard, has always been to tell someone they “throw like a girl.”]

    Your 7-yr-old knows that doing something like a girl is a top-tier insult. You know it too. She’s currently displaying the knee-jerk response of distancing herself from her gender — I’m not like those other girls. I am one of the guys. If I try hard enough, I can play with the dudes and they will accept me as one of them. The failures of all other women and girls before me, their failures were personal and not systemic. I am different. I will try harder. I Can Win This Game, Damn It, and I DON’T THROW LIKE A GIRL.

    This response is a common one that many, many strong, capable, intelligent little girls (and women) have when they run face-first into the concrete wall of patriarchy and it’s problematic as all-get-out. The “I Can Win This Game, Damn It” view offers women the prospect of individual success, the idea that the game is winnable for them if they just try hard enough. ICWTGDI is a distraction and a lie — and as such, it needs to be shut down. It is so utterly harmful and divisive to a little girl’s sense of self and to women as a whole.

    Your daughter is only 7 and she knows that a person can throw “well” or “like a girl” and that these two ways of throwing are OPPOSITES. The choice that “like a girl” offers little girls is that they can do things competently and well — run hard, throw fast and accurately, hit with authority — or they can do them (poorly or not at all) in alignment with their gender. That’s the choice we give little girls in the world where the phrase “like a girl” is a schoolyard insult — succeed, with gender-dysphoria, or fail, gender-conformingly. You couldn’t come up with a better way to get smart, driven, capable little girls gender-distancing and thinking ICWTGDI if you tried. (Also, exhibit A, it worked on your little girl.)

    Because of the crippling, self-hating way that “like a girl” separates competence from gender-conforming behavior for girls and women, we should totally discard the phrasing “like a girl.” The issue here is not that Mo’Ne throws “like a girl” anyway. The issue here is that she throws better than most 12-13 yr old little league pitchers, full stop. Mo’Ne can be a little league pitcher measured against other little league pitchers and that’s fine. The gender of a little league pitcher is not germane to the discussion of their pitching.

    • bedtime

      ‘Throwing like a girl,’ or ‘throwing with one’s elbow tucked under one’s ribcage for the full motion of the pitch,’ looks really funny and lots of guys do it, too. We should call it ‘elbow-ribbing.’ I do it when I throw left-handed unless I try really hard not to, and then the fingers on my left hand extend in a curious, deliberate manner which I find unpleasantly sensual.