Guest Author - Traci Falb
The All American Girls Baseball League is featured in a great movie called "A League of Their Own" and features some great actors and actresses, including Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Jon Lovitz, just to name a few. It is a feel-good movie and will have you cheering as you watch it. Every softball fan will be inspired.
The story takes place during World War II and involves women taking the place of men (while they are at war) in baseball leagues. Scouts search the country for good players and gather them together for tryouts. The movie is centered around two sisters who make the team. They don't always agree and although their trials and tribulations on and off the field are fun to watch, the whole team has fun appealing to their new audience.
Jimmie Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) is an alcoholic former professional baseball player who improves with the girls he has to coach. The movie and cast, based on the true story, is incredibly directed by Penny Marshall and exciting to watch, as everyone involved learns how to adapt to girls playing baseball. From deciding on uniforms, to proving they can play, the girls have their hands full, especially while war wages on in the background of this movie.
The movie credits the real players and even shows them participating. When the movie came out in 1992, there was a memorial paying tribute to the women who played in the All American Girls Baseball League, which was founded in 1943 (by Philip K. Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs) and was cancelled after 1954, when the men returned home.
The players in the league wore skirts and picked out cute "fake" names for appeal but they were tough on the inside. They played every night of the week, sometimes over 120 games during a four-month period.
Paire-Davis, the real life inspiration for Geena Davis' character Dottie Hinson, recently passed away, in February 2013. There were some differences in the movie version of Paire-Davis' career. For example, in the movie, Dottie played for the Rockford Peaches but Paire-Davis actually played for all the rival teams of the Peaches, like the Racine Belles, the Grand Rapids Chicks and the Fort Wayne Daisies. Dottie, in the movie, also only played one fantastic year. Paire-Davis played for 10 seasons, until it was cancelled.
The biggest similarity between Paire-Davis and her movie character was the passion she had for her sport. Although she loved softball, she said she would rather be playing hardball. She loved the opportunity she had to play for the baseball league and knew she was doing something special.