Jeane Hoffman

From BR Bullpen

Jeane Hoffman

Biographical Information[edit]

Jeane Hoffman was one of the first women to work as a sports reporter in the United States. She got her start very young, as the sports editor of her high school newspaper, and then by having some of her cartoons published in the Hollywood Citizen-News when she was barely 15. At age 17, she received a pass for the press box at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, CA and covered the Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels for her paper.

In 1940, she was hired by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin as a sportswriter and cartoonist. Her drawing talent was always one of her calling cards, and her easy-going personality and sense of humor helped to open doors, although she was working in a very male-dominated milieu. She worked out of the press box in Shibe Park, covering Philadelphia's two major league teams, and in 1942 was the first woman to report from spring training in Florida. On the way there, she stopped at Roanoke, VA Naval Training Station, and interviewed players Bob Feller and Sam Chapman who had just enrolled in the United States Navy in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As she later wrote about her experience: "The boys have been darn nice to us. When we toured Florida last spring, we didn't have more than 250 jokes played on us, and no more than 50 jesters tried to steer us into the players' un-dressing room."

She married a British merchant marine officer in 1944, but continued to work on the east coast until moving back to L.A. in 1951. In 1949, she was profiled in Time Magazine, in an article entitled: "The Press: Girl from the Gazette". When she moved back west, the Los Angeles Times announced on September 16th: "Famous Woman Sports Writer Begins Series in Times Today". She wrote a weekly feature article on sports topics, and covered the relocation of the Brooklyn Dodgers to southern California in 1958.

In May of 1965, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley hired her to be a special assistant with the title of Department Head and Assistant to the President. Her duties were to organize bookings at Dodger Stadium when the Dodgers weren't playing. Just as the profession was beginning to open to more women, thanks in part to her pioneering work, she died suddenly in 1966, struck by a pulmonary embolism. She left behind her husband and three daughters, aged 11 to 15.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jean Hastings Ardell: "Jeane Hoffman: California Girl Makes Good in Press Box", in Jean Hastings Ardell and Andy McCue, ed.: Endless Seasons: Baseball in Southern California, The National Pastime, SABR, Number 41, 2011, pp. 136-139.