In recognition and celebration of National Women’s History Month, we present director Penny Marshall’s fact-based story of the the pioneering women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), who played professional baseball from 1943 through 1954, the 1992 classic A League of Their Own.
It’s 1943 and the continuing war has threatened the shut down of Major League Baseball as most of the men are fighting in Europe and Asia. As a way to diminish potential lost profits, a candy tycoon creates the AAGPBL, using women from across the country to play in different competitive teams. Playing for the Rockford Peaches are Dottie (Geena Davis) and Kit (Lori Petty), sisters from Oregon; “All the Way” Mae Mordabito (Madonna) and her best friend Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell) from New York; a former beauty pageant queen, and an assembled ragtag team of supporting female players who take to their sport with passion and determination. Only problem: their coach is the drunken Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), a former slugger who can’t be bothered by what he thinks is a laughable joke. As the team learns to work with each other – and with their consistently inebriated coach – these trailblazing women fight hard to win games and to win the heart of the nation.
In 2012, A League of Their Own was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress in the United States National Film Registry, noting the film as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
“The movie has a real bittersweet charm. The baseball sequences, we’ve seen before. What’s fresh are the personalities of the players, the gradual unfolding of their coach and the way this early chapter of women’s liberation fit into the hidebound traditions of professional baseball. By the end, when the women get together again for their reunion, it’s touching, the way they have to admit that, whaddaya know, they really were pioneers.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“One of the year’s most cheerful, most relaxed, most easily enjoyable comedies. It’s a serious film that’s lighter than air…” – Vincent Canby, New York Times
“Graced by Davis and enlivened by Lovitz and the ensemble cast, it sends us home feeling a little higher, with visions of peanuts and Cracker Jack floating in our heads.” – Rita Kempley, Washington Post