- School Wellesley College
Melissa Ludtke is a sportswriter. Born in Iowa, she grew up in Amherst, MA where her father was a professor at the University of Massachusetts. She began working as a sportswriter after graduating from college in 1973, at a time when there were exceedingly few women in the profession.
She was on assignment from Sports Illustrated to cover the 1977 World Series when the New York Yankees barred her from the team's locker room, to which other male reporters had access. On December 28th, she filed suit against the Yankees, Major League Baseball and the city of New York, NY (as the owners of Yankee Stadium) for sex discrimination on the basis of the 14th Amendment, for which she had the full backing of her employer and its corporate owner, the powerful Time Magazine. The lawsuit, Melissa Ludtke and Time, Inc., Plaintiffs, v. Bowie Kuhn, Commissioner of Baseball et al. was successful, with the ruling being issued by Judge Constance Baker Motley in September of 1978. It opened access to baseball's locker rooms to women reporters, and more widely, encouraged many more young women to seek careers as sportswriters, and in other areas of the professional sports world.
She continued her career as a reporter, later working for Time Magazine as an investigative reporter, then taught journalism at Brandeis University. She has received many honors for her pioneering work as a reporter.
- Betelhem Ashame: "Balkovec latest in line of women shattering baseball's barriers", mlb.com, January 24, 2022.