The Vestal Virgins are CBA's team of prominent and noteworthy women. The Virgins have been playing cosmic baseball since 1983.
Italics indicates a rookie player
1848-1903Also known as Martha Jane Canary, "Calamity Jane" was an American frontier woman who wandered the mining districts of the American west.
Orphaned at 15, Calamity Jane settled in Deadwood, part of the Dakota Territory, and became a friend of Wild Bill Hickock.
Ms. Canary could frequently be seen, dressed like a man, at bars telling stories of real and imagined adventures.
In 1891 she married a cabdriver named Clinton Burke but he soon left her.
She is buried in Deadwood, next to her companion, Wild Bill.
69-30 B.C.CLEOPATRA is the archetype of the romantic, ambitious, and political femme fatale. She is the infamous and amorous Queen of Egypt, lover of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.
The Encyclopedia Britannica describes her physical characteristics as more alive, than beautiful with "a sensitive mouth, firm chin, liquid eyes, broad forehead, and prominent nose."
Cleopatra was Macedonian, not Egyptian. She was the second daughter of Ptolemy XII and the last Macedonian sovereign to rule Egypt. Apparently she had a great voice for the biographer Plutarch called it an "instrument of many strings".
Ultimately events conspired against Cleopatra, and history shows her political ambitions failed. Despite her attempts to seduce Octavian (later Augustus), Egypt was eventually annexed by Rome in 31 B.C. The next year Cleopatra committed suicide.
She was finally laid to rest next to the man she had been with for 11 of her 39 years, Marc Antony.
Sinc 1993, First Lady of the United States
*Controversial first lady. Perceived by her critics as arrogant and deceptive. Fans admire her intelligence
1912-1970Caresse Crosby is a seductive character from the roaring literary 1920s.
Born in New York as Mary Phelps Jacob, she fashioned an early example of a brassiere. She later married into the Boston Brahmin Peabody family and then left her husband for the enigmatic diarist Harry Crosby. Together they created Black Sun Press.
Born September 21, 1965An inventive graphic designer and artist, Dina Damico, studied at the Corcoran School of Art, in Washington, D.C. and currently lives and works in the nation's capital. Damico brings an experimental approach to book and publication design.
She is also a founding member of the Henry Miller Club and director of the Anais Nin Institute of Erotic Art Studies.
Born February 10, 1967A daughter of actors, Laura Dern has distinguished herself as an intense and diverse cinematic talent.
Our favorite Laura Dern role: the wild woman in David Lynch's Wild at Heart
1830-1886One of the great American poets,"the half cracked daughter of Squire Dickinson" published barely a dozen poems during her life despite writing over 2,000. Her father, Edward Dickinson, was a lawyer and quite dominating figure.
Emily lived her entire 56 years in her father's house in Amherst, Massachusetts. Except for a few brief trips to Philadelphia, Washington and Boston, Emily did not leave the area. She spent one year at the South Hadley Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College).
Dressed in white, surrounded by flowers, she quickly earned a reputation for being unusual, hermetic, and eccentric.
*One of the most prominent women on the American political terrain, Dole has been a cabinet secretary, and currently heads the American Red Cross.
1878-1927A vivid, rebellious, tempestuous bohemian, Isadora Duncan stories are legendary. She had many strong opinions, many of them anti-American. At the end of performances she would pull out a red flag and wave it while delivering caustic polemics. She renounced her American citizenship and wrote "I am not an anarchist or a Bolshevik. My husband and I are revolutionaries. All geniuses worthy of the name are."
1913-1970A talented Hollywood starlet for Paramount in the late 1930s, Frances Farmer was known to give her her money to the poor. A raging rebel, by the 1940s, when Hollywood could not get Farmer to conform to its codes, society deformed her: Though not proven, there was speculation that she underwent an "ice pick" lobotomy while confined to a mental institution in the state of Washington, where she was born.
Her life represents a profound tragedy of self-inflicted and external wounds.
Born February 20, 1954In the 1970s Patty Hearst was kidnaped by a revolutionary political group, probably because she was a grandchild of a notorious American capitalist, William Randolph Hearst. Later she was put on trial for participating in a bank robbery while under the control of her captives. Her trial lawyer, F.Lee Bailey, tried to convince the jury that she had been brainwashed by the group; she wasn't really a revolutionary. As the world turns, he was right, but the jury found this child of the well-to-do-class guilty as charged.
Born 1942When Fear of Flying was published, the young Erica Jong was catapulted to fame. A sexy diatribe on a woman's right to erotic liberation, the book has attained a classical standing in the feminist literature field.
Jong has also written an interesting series of essay about Henry Miller, The Devil At Large, which attempts to make Henry more acceptable to feminist thinkers who typically revile him.
Internet Murder Victim
1961-1996Sharon Lopatka's story makes us pause and consider just how reflective of reality the nexus of computers glued by voltage and called the 'internet' really is.
She died at the hands of someone she met on the internet. Immediately after the story broke, calls for more rigorous regulation of the internet were met with counter-calls suggesting this case was an anomaly, not typical of the online community.
Nevertheless, Lopatka and Glass clearly represent the "fellaheen" of the net; those individuals on the edges of the edge where the real and the fantastical blur. Spengler says the "fellaheen" arise as the culture decays in its downward plunge into oblivion. Whatever.
Lopatka was a sexual masochist who, apparently, actively used E-mail, chat groups, and newsgroups to find someone who would torture her to death.
So there is a question. Was this a murder, an accidental death, or an assisted suicide?
Born July 9, 1965Courtney Love is the widow of Kurt Cobain. She is also the mother of Frances Bean Cobain.
Courtney Love has established herself as a leading contemporary musician and actress.
1876-1917Also known as Margaretha Geertruida Zelle Macleod, she was a successful dancer who had a fetish for military officers. In 1917 the French accused her of spying for Germany. She was tried by a French military court and convicted. She was executed by a firing squad of French soldiers.
1835-1868On June 7, 1861 the drama Mazeppa opened to rave reviews in Albany, New York. The play, based on a poem written by Byron in 1819 tells of the young nobleman Mazeppa who is caught with the wife of a Polish count. Mazeppa is lashed to a horse and banished from town.
Cast in the leading role was a free-spirited, bohemian woman, Adah Menken. And this was not Adah's first role in drag. Her career got started in her hometown New Orleans where she danced and performed in men's clothing frequently.
Dressed in flesh-colored tights for her role as the seductive Mazeppa, she became known as the "Naked Lady" which is also the title of her biography written by Bernard Falk in 1934.
Adah Menken lived a short but remarkable life, marrying four times, and associating with the likes of Charles Swinburne and Dante Gabriel Rossetti of Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood fame. Alexandre Dumas, the elder, even posed for photographs, scandalously, in his underwear, with the fiery actress and poet.
1926-1962Marilyn Monroe has become a metaphor for the sensitive and insecure woman raped by a business more devoted to image than substance.
After a childhood in orphanages and foster homes, Marilyn Monroe took a job as a photographer's model. At 22 she appeared naked in a calendar catching the eyes of Hollywood producers who promptly marketed her as a blonde sex queen. Sold as beautiful but dumb, Hollywood chewed her up much like they devoured Frances Farmer, another attractive starlet.
For nine months in 1954 she was married to the great New York Yankee baseball player, Joe Dimaggio. She later married the playwright Arthur Miller.
She died, apparently from an overdose of sleeping pills, on August 5, 1962 at the age of 36.
*Like Donna Reed, Harriet Nelson, played the well-adjusted suburban mom and wife in a television series with her real-life husband, Ozzie, and her two real-life sons, Ricky and David.
On television, the Nelsons projected an image of a happy, middle-class family partaking in the rewards of a society that appeared wholesome.
Rarely did this human comedy touch anything resembling the truth.
United States First Lady (1961-1963)
1929-1994Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, first lady of the later American 20th century was like Eleanor Roosevelt before her, one of the most influential and popular American first ladies.
She was about style and image but also about substance. The world continued its obsession with her after the tragic assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
She married the very wealthy Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping tycoon, and later returned to New York and worked quietly and successfully in the publishing industry.
The public never lost its fascination with this women of beauty, culture and grace.
Born February 18, 1933By the time Yoko Ono met John Lennon in 1966, she was already an internationally known avant-garde artist. In fact, she met Lennon at her own one-woman art show at the Indica Gallery in London. She was an early innovator in the "performance art" genre and many commentators have recognized her unique contributions to music.
Born April 2, 1947Camille Paglia has been called a "thermonuclear essayist". Writing about Western culture, its myths and foibles she has attracted a lot of attention for her views on the feminist movement, prostitution, and pornography. She supports the legalization of the oldest profession and does not reject the artistic value of pornography.
In an article in the January 1996 issue of ARTNews she writes:
"It is intolerable that a turbulent genius like Pablo Picasso, who is rivaled for invention and productivity only by Michelangelo in the history of world art, should be hauled up like a schoolboy and held to account for his untidy, bohemian sex life. Two hundred years ago, Romanticism definitively rejected the didactic Neoclassical view that art must elevate and that the artist must set a moral example. Picasso's gargantuan oeuvre demonstrates not that he hated and demeaned women but that he was awed by and obsessed with female sexual power, which he observes, engages, and transmutes in all its modalities from motherhood to prostitution."
1933-1963In writing about the writer Jack Kerouac, a biographer wrote: "Every personality is fragmented somewhere..." Locating the exact location of fracture in the poet Sylvia Plath's personality has occupied a fair amount of time by the literary-academic-psychoanalytic squads of the cultural elite. Despite her intense poetic style, it may be that Plath never really broke out of this environment. As a woman, a wife, a mother, a poet, a human being, she wrote about the fragmentation of the post-industrial soul.
1595-1617Chief Powhaton, leader of native Americans living on the land that the white man called Virginia had a lively and vivacious daughter called Matoaka. Nicknamed Pocahontas, meaning "playful one", Powhaton's daughter played an important role in the history of what became the United States of America. She saved John Smith's life in 1607 and seven years later she married the colonist John Rolfe, thus securing a peace between Powhaton's people and the Jamestown colonists.
Renamed Rebecca after her marriage to Rolfe, in 1616 she toured England as a popular Indian Princess. Unfortunately, as she prepared to return to Virginia she got sick and died several months later. She never got back home.
Matoaka was 21 years old when she died. She is buried in England.
1892-1962Described as romantic, secret and undomesticated, Vita Sackville-West was one of the great lesbians of the 20th century. Married to the diplomat Harold Nicholson, also homosexual, their marriage was an example of how infidelity need not destroy the bond between individuals who connect intellectually.
Vita met Virginia Woolf in 1922. An affair of sorts developed. And though she indicates in letters that she had some physical relations with Woolf, their relationship was more Platonic than Sapphic. Vita writes of her feelings for Woolf in a letter to her husband:
"But really, my sweet, one's love for Virginia is...a mental thing; a spiritual thing, if you like, an intellectual thing...I am scared to death of arousing physical feelings in her...Besides, Virginia is not the sort of person one thinks of in that way. There is something incongruous and almost indecent in the idea. I have gone to bed with her (twice), but that's all."
circa 625 B.C.Born on the island of Lesbos, in the seventh century B.C., Sappho is one of the few ancient female poets to have filtered down through history. Despite speculation that at least nine volumes of her poetry once existed, only one complete poem is today extant. All the rest of her work is fragmentary.
Sappho's name and country of birth have provided two important words in the lexicon of homosexuality: lesbian and sapphic. Both terms refer to female homosexual love. Rather then condemned, her homoerotic work was praised. This suggests that the very ancient Greeks were more open minded about the issue then subsequent generations.
Plato, not really a fan of poets, called her the "tenth muse" and Solon, the great Athenian ruler, admired her lyrical poems.
Baseball Team Owner
*Cranky owner of the Cincinnati Reds major league baseball team, Marge Schott has frequently been accused of insensitivity. By most accounts she is a lonely woman kept on the outside by her narrow-mindedness. While other major league owners treat her with disdain for messing up the world of Major League baseball, they too have brought a considerable amount of disgrace to the game. Marge Schott is no less corrupt then the good ol' boys of baseball...but then that's not saying too much in her favor. After all, she really is narrow-minded and racist.
It's too bad reality baseball doesn't have a better woman speaking on its behalf. Maybe a woman commissioner would help. Our nomination: Madonna.
1918-1963When observer Walter Robinson first looked at Sonja Sekula's 1948 painting The Sun Room he thought it
"looked like cyberspace as described by William Gibson in his landmark science fiction novel Neuromancer, dark and infinite, transected by rays of light and dotted with glowing geometric markers."
Sekula was a Swiss-born abstract-expressionist painter as well as a lesbian schizophrenic. Daughter of well-off parents who moved to America in 1936, Sonja attended Sarah Lawrence College, studied with the artist George Grosz and became influenced by the Surrealist movement after meeting Andre Breton in 1942.
She suffered through a lifelong struggle with depression and she first attempted suicide at 20. Her condition worsened as she got older. At one point she wandered the streets believing she was Jesus.
Her art work was unique, especially in a movement dominated by the masculine. In his article "Sonja Sekula: Abstract Expressionist, Lesbian and Mad", Robinson writes
"Unlike her male colleagues, Sekula's practice ignored the demands of the market, a demand for corporate-style trademark images that would signify the global-scale esthetic in the society of the spectacle."
Sekula left the United States for good in 1955, settling in St. Moritz.
In 1963, in her studio, at age 45, she hung herself.
1928-1974Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967, Anne Sexton, like her friend and compatriot Sylvia Plath, was a confessional American poet who was obsessed with death. Like Plath, Sexton committed suicide.
*Patti Smith's first recorded work was released as a single. The "A" side was Smith's version of the rock song "Hey Joe" that used the Patty Hearst kidnaping as a backdrop. The production, recorded on the evening of June 5, 1974 was financed by her friend, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and released under their own Mer Records label. On the "B" side was a tune called "Piss Factory" about assembly line work.
Smith's use of words and music made her work very poetical and she was in the vanguard of the trend that regenerated the rock music world. Both the "punk" music scene and "rap" owe a debt to Smith's creative musical work.
Born April 29, 1970Uma Karuna Thurman, American movie actress, started her film career while still a teenager. One of her earliest roles was in the 1987 movie, Kiss Daddy Goodnight. Other notable roles include the wife of Henry Miller in Henry and June which chronicles the romantic triangulation between Miller, his wife June, and the writer Anais Nin. Her femme fatale role in Pulp Fiction alongside John Travolta has only increased her popularity.
Her unusual first and middle names mean "bestower of blessings" and "compassion". These qualities have, at times, burst from the screen she so gracefully inhabits.
circa 400 B.C.The wife of the philosopher Socrates has been portrayed as a bit of a nag or shrew. And maybe if your husband was always out and about stirring things up with the younger generation, you might also find reason to complain. Nevertheless, we have every reason to suspect that he loved her and that she cared for him.
Seating Capacity: 19,990
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Vestal Virgins Player Records: 1982-1996
1997 Vestal Virgins Official Team Roster
Published: December 26, 1996
Updated: March 7, 1997; October 31, 1997; June 24, 1998