Nellie (Twardzik) Thompson gained national recognition in the 1930’s as the only girl in the U.S.A. to play on a high school boys’ baseball team.
When the Bartlett High School sophomore announced her candidacy for the team, controversy followed. However, her skill at first base was recognized early by Coach George Finnegan who reportedly said “Nellie can throw across the diamond better than any player on the squad and fields the position better than most boys.”
Newsreels and both local and national newspapers praised the skill and natural athleticism of the sensational first baseman. Nellie played for the Bartlett baseball teams as a sophomore, junior, and senior, receiving letters all three years. As a senior she was inducted into the Sportsmanship Brotherhood.
Nellie was also a top guard on the Bartlett girls’ basketball team, again lettering all three years.
In addition to sports, she was a member of the Footlight’s Club, Glee Club, Junior Executive Committee, Junior Prom Committee, and Student Council as Vice President.
After graduation she became assistant director of the Crawford Field Playground as well as co-director and coach in the newly formed Dudley Lassie League.
Nellie’s extraordinary career includes being named recipient of the 2004 Stasia Czernicki Sportswoman Award. Also, copies of her scrapbooks constitute the “Nellie Twardzik File” in the National Baseball Library at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Nellie has two daughters, Patricia Biron and Joanne Avery and a son Joseph Thompson. A daughter Mary Ellen died in 1957 and another daughter Kathleen Bazinet died in 1983. She has five grandchildren and a great granddaughter.