Posts Tagged ‘All-American Girls Professional Baseball League’

A League of Their Own: A Review

March 25, 2016
A League of Their Own DVD

A League of Their Own DVD

Admit it, you know the line “There’s no crying in baseball.” It’s a good line; it’s become famous. In case you didn’t know, it comes from the movie “A League of Their Own.”

Back in the 1940s, with a number of the major players gone off to war, baseball was looking for a way to increase attendance. One option was to create a female professional league, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. It did OK for a while, but never really caught on nationally. It limped to an end in the early 1950s, but left us the legacy of a fun baseball movie, the 1992 flickĀ “A League of Their Own.”

The flick follows the recruiting of players for the initial season for the AAGPBL and then centers on the first year of the team in Rockford, Illinois (the Peaches). The central character is played by Academy Award winner Geena Davis. The Davis character is fictional, but based on a real player. She reluctantly joins the league along with her younger sister. They end up with the Peaches and go on to glory led by a drunken lout of a manager based on the real life Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx and played by Tom Hanks, another Academy Award winner. The acceptance of the women as players and as women is central to the movie, but so is the relationship between Davis and Hanks. Equally important is the relationship between the two sisters. Lori Petty is terrific as the younger sister trying to break out from the shadow of her older sibling. The singer Madonna does a wonderful turn as the amoral and amorous centerfielder “All the Way” Mae.

Historically the movie isn’t particularly accurate. For example the 1943 championship is shown as a showdown between Peaches and Racine Belles, the Belles winning. The Belles did win the 1943 championship, but the Peaches didn’t make the playoffs (Kenosha was the Racine opponent).

Despite the historical inaccuracies, the movie is worth a look. In many ways the best parts are the interaction between the women trying to balance ball playing with a personal life and the rivalry between the two sisters, one a superior ball player and the other determined to show she can play also. Check it out.

As an aside, when the American Film Institute did its list of “greatest film quotes of all time”, the “There’s no crying in baseball” line was rated number 54 (losing to “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” from “Gone With the Wind).