The late female sports reporter Anita Martini, who in 1974 fought for the right to interview baseball players in the clubhouse post-game alongside her male counterparts, has been named as the inaugural inductee in the Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honour.
The Wall, which will form a display on the broadcast level of the Minute Maid Park press box in Houston, will have one inductee added each season. Those eligible for induction are a former or current Houston Media member who has made a significant impact on sports broadcasting in the city.
Martini, the inaugural inductee, was a trailblazer for women in sports journalism. Beginning her career in the 1960s with Houston radio station KTRH, she later became the first female sports anchor in the early 1970s at Houston TV station KPRC. She shot to national prominence in 1974 when she challenged the Major Baseball League, who until then had excluded women from post-game interviews with players in the clubhouse. Her defining moment came when, after winning her fight, she interviewed Jimmy Wynn in the Los Angeles clubhouse after a game against the Astros at the Astrodome.
After TV she fronted a callin sports show, again in Houston, this time with AM station KPRC. In 1993 Martini sadly lost her battle with cancer and died at the age of 54, and has now become the first person to be honoured in the Baseball Media Wall of Honour. Her inauguration was recognized at the Astros game in a pre-game ceremony on Tuesday, 18th September, where her sister and nephew were presented with a plaque.
From next May a committee, consisting of Astros front office staff and selected members of the Houston-based media shall meet at a hotel in Houston to solicit nominations from all accredited Astros who wish to submit a name, and from those nominations create a final selection list for a ballot in June. The result of the ballot, in which all accredited Houston sports media will be eligible to vote, will be revealed in July when the inductee will be honoured at the Minute Maid Park.
The Astros, former occupants of the demolished Astrodome from where they got their name, have played their home games at Minute Maid Park, originally called Enron Park since 2000. The new ballpark also brought a change in luck for the Astros and in 2005 reached their first ever World Series, which they lost to the Chicago White Sox.