The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House has named Orioles Head Groundskeeper Nicole McFadyen the 2016 recipient of the Mary Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business. McFadyen will accept the award on Thursday, March 10, in a ceremony at the Flag House, 844 E. Pratt St.
The Mary Pickersgill Award, established in 2012, is awarded annually to honor a woman who demonstrates leadership in her community, exemplifies innovation in her chosen field, and has the power to inspire others. The Flag House created the award to recognize women in the Baltimore metropolitan area who possess the entrepreneurial and charitable spirit Mary Pickersgill exemplified throughout her life. As a young widow in the early 19th century, at a time when female-owned businesses were uncommon, Pickersgill found success establishing a thriving flag business to support her household. At age 52, she was elected President of the Impartial Female Humane Society, devoting her time to advocating for the rights of elderly and working class women.
McFadyen will begin her 10th season as the Orioles’ head groundskeeper this year. She returned to the Orioles organization in November of 2006 after a three-year absence, becoming just the second woman ever to serve as Head Groundskeeper with a Major League team. McFadyen and Heather Nabozny, who has been with the Detroit Tigers since 1999, are the only female head groundskeepers in Major League Baseball. According to the Sports Turf Managers Association, there have been approximately 10 women who have held the position of head groundskeeper in the history of professional baseball.
“As one of only two female Head Groundskeepers in Major League Baseball, Nicole is a pioneer in her field,” said Amanda Davis, Executive Director of the Flag House. “Her dedication to her work and educating other young women and men about career opportunities in agriculture and groundskeeping made her the winning nominee for the 2016 Mary Pickersgill Award.”
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, built in 1793, was the home and place of business of Mary Pickersgill, maker of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key’s famous poem that later became our national anthem. Mary and her daughter, Caroline, moved into the house in 1807, along with Mary’s mother, Rebecca Young, who began the flag-making business in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. In 1927, the house was purchased by the City of Baltimore and the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Association established a museum inside the historic home. It was established as a National Historic Landmark in 1970.