The earliest official trace of a woman playing in a professional men's league was 1898, where Lizzie Arlington reportedly played for the Reading team of the Eastern League. Alta Weiss played on men's semi-pro teams in 1907 and 1912. In 1931, Jackie Mitchell signed with, but never played for, the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern Association.
Though Edith Houghton never played in an official men's professional game, she was playing with men on barnstorming teams as early as the late 1920s. She would made history though, becoming the first female scout in MLB history. She scouted for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1946-1952.
Babe Zaharias was a natural athlete who could play and sport she wanted. She would later have success as a professional golfer, but in 1934, pitched 3 games for 3 different teams during spring training. On March 20, she pitched an inning for the Philadelphia Athletics against the Brooklyn Dodgers. On 3/22, she pitched an inning for the St Louis Cardinals against the Boston Red Sox. And 3 days later, she pitched for the New Orleans Pelicans against the Cleveland Indians.
The Negro Leagues had no problem allowing women to play on their men's teams. Even so, it was not a common occurance with Toni Stone becoming the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues in 1949. As a second baseman, she got a hit off the legendary Satchel Paige. She would play until 1954. Mamie Johnson followed Stone by becoming the second female and first pitcher to play in the Negro Leagues. She pitched for the Indianapolis Clowns from 1953-1955 and compiled a record of 33-8. Connie Morgan became the third in 1954 after playing the prior 5 seasons on an all girls baseball team.
Elenor Engle signed with the Harrisburg Senators in 1952. She practiced the next day but had her contract cancelled after her coach and the commissioner had an issue with her playing professionally.
Before Borders played in a minor league game, Julie Couteau became the second woman to play in NCAA Baseball. Later on, Couteau and Lee Anne Ketcham became the first women to play in an MLB sanctioned winter league as they played in the Hawaii Winter League. Justine Siegal was hired in 2009 by the Broxton Rox and became the first female coach in male professional baseball history. Siegal was later hired in 2011 to throw batting practice for the Cleveland Indians in spring training. A little over 3 years ago, in March of 2010, the Big Bend Cowboys of the Continental Baseball League signed Tiffany Brooks, who became the first female pitcher in the 2000s to sign with a men's professional baseball team. Japan did not welcome a female player until 2008, when 16 year old Eri Yoshida made her debut before leaving to go to university.