Betty Bushman, an Early Female Baseball Voice, Dies at 89

Betty Bushman, an Early Female Baseball Voice, Dies at 89


Ms. Bushman died on Sept. 3 in her condominium in Kansas City, Mo. She was 89. Her son Craig said the cause was a stroke.

While women sportscasters became more commonplace in the decades after Ms. Bushman’s brief stint with the A’s, they are still rarities in the baseball booth. In 1977, Mary Shane, a sportswriter, was part of the team calling Chicago White Sox games on radio and TV, but she worked only one season.

Suzyn Waldman has had a far more successful experience as a color commentator for Yankee games, first on local television and, since 2005, on radio. Jessica Mendoza, an Olympic softball gold medalist, was an analyst on ESPN’s Sunday Night baseball games from 2016 to 2019.

Betty Jean Congour was born on March 10, 1931, in Chicago. Her father, Vernon, was a ward boss for Mayor Edward J. Kelly. Her mother, Irene (Wolf) Congour, was an office worker. They divorced in the 1940s, and she moved with Betty and her brother, Stanley, to Kansas City, Mo.

She married Frank Caywood, a tournament supervisor for the Professional Golfers Association, in 1950, and the couple moved to Salina, Kan., two years later. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Marymount College, in Salina, and a master’s in speech therapy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. After she and Mr. Caywood divorced in 1957, she moved back to Kansas City, where she began modeling for high-end stores and hosting a TV program that showcased houses for sale.


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