There’s No Crying in Baseball
I grew up listening to stories of my mother’s career as a professional baseball player in the 1940s. My mom and her sister Margaret – the first “sister act” in the All American Girl’s Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), were brought up in Vancouver, Canada. They were great softball players, learning their skills on the streets and ball-fields of their neighborhood.In 1944, both of them were recruited for the AAGPBL by a scout who saw them play at a tournament in the United States. My mom’s went to tryouts and was picked up by the Minneapolis Millerettes. After only one year there she then went on to play for the Fort Wayne Daises. Margaret also played for Fort Wayne before moving on to the South Bend Blue Sox. My mom was the batting champion in 1945, and retired from baseball in 1948.
In 1987, I decided to make a documentary film about my mom’s participation in the women’s league for the local Los Angeles PBS station. I called the film A League of Their Own, as I thought the title captured something special about these wonderful but unknown athletes.
When the film aired nationally, the Director Penny Marshall saw it and invited me to her house to talk about making a feature film about the league. The film turned into the 1992 film with the same name – A League of Their Own. When the film came out I had a chance to go on the Today Show with my mom and to appear on shows with one of the stars of the film, Tom Hanks. He’s a great guy, who signed shirts and other memorabilia to help support women’s softball programs in Lompoc, the town where my mom lived at the time.
The movie made over $100 million in the United States alone, and brought a much deserved recognition to my mom, her sister and the other women who played in the league. The women were eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, a scene depicted at the end of the Columbia Pictures film.
My mom died in 1992, the year the film came out. She had a chance to see the film and thought that while exaggerating somewhat, that it captured the love that the women had for the game – and the fun they had.
I hope you enjoy the documentary. There’s No Crying In Baseball.