First Woman Corporate Officer in Major League Baseball
Huntley native Margaret Donahue was reluctant to take a job with the Chicago Cubs. It wasn’t exactly the job she was hoping for.
But now, 35 years after her death, plans are being made to honor her as a Cubs legend.
Margaret is the youngest girl, far left.
Margaret was born on a Huntley farm December 13, 1892, the second of eight children of Daniel and Hannah Connor Donahue. The farm at Kreutzer Road and Route 47 where Margaret was born and raised today is home to Huntley’s Wal-Mart.
With only one year of education beyond grammar school at Huntley School, Margaret went on to work in various secretarial jobs.
Hired as a stenographer and secretary by Chicago Cubs President Bill Veeck in 1919, the Huntley native began what she later called “a most interesting” and “always exciting” career with the Cubs.
She was credited with numerous innovations in the sports industry, including sales of season tickets, reduced entry prices for children under 12, and Ladies’ Days at the ballpark.
In 1926, Margaret was promoted to corporate secretary, making her the first woman executive in major league baseball. She became vice president in 1950.
The Huntley native held her executive positions until her retirement in 1958, at which time Phillip K. Wrigley issued a proclamation on behalf of the Cubs’ Board of Directors stating she was “a nationally acknowledged authority on the intricacies of baseball rules and regulations.”
After 39 years with the Cubs and residing in Chicago, Margaret returned to her family home in Huntley, where she lived until her death on January 30, 1978.
The night of her funeral she was eulogized on WGN by Jack Brickhouse, whom she had welcomed to Chicago at the start of his broadcasting career.
Margaret Donahue is buried in St. Mary Cemetery on Dean Street, Huntley, Illinois.
Plans are currently underway to honor the Cubs legend as part of Wrigley Field’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2014.