Sunday, May 10, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020
Saturday the last member of the Rockford Peaches, Mary Pratt, died at 102. Of course, I watched A League of Their Own starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell.
The 1992 film dramatizes and honors the play in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). During World War II, baseball owners feared President Franklin D. Roosevelt would shut down Major League Baseball because the United States would need all the players for the war effort. Although President Roosevelt did not shut down MLB, many star players served in the armed forces, affecting the competitiveness.
A group of owners formed AAGPBL in hopes of making a profitable competitive baseball league to provide entertainment for people at home during the war. The scouts went across the country looking for pretty females who could play baseball well. These women players who made the cut were forced to attend charm classes and had a chaperone to make sure the women acted like ladies. Like most players, the women tried and succeeded in avoiding the chaperone to go to a bar to drink and fraternize with men.
On the field, women, dressed in inappropriate uniforms, performed admirably. At first, the Peaches’ manager, a drunken former star with a knee injury played by Hanks, lacked interest in how his team did. Eventually, he became a good manager. At the end of the film, he turned down an opportunity to manage Triple-A to remain with the AAGPBL.
At first, no one came to watch women playing baseball. However, after Life magazine did an article on the league featuring Dotty Hinson, the league’s best player who was a catcher. After the article, attendance improved.
A League of Their Own is entertaining and a must-see movie for any baseball fan. In 1988, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, honored AAGPBL and had a reunion of the players.
When I first saw A League of Their Own, I was an aspiring baseball writer, a field atypical for females. Every time I see the film, I offer thanks to those women who played in AAGPBL for opening the doors for me.
Sunday, May 10, 2020