A League of Their Own always makes me teary-eyed. Not only is it a funny, bittersweet, and touching sports movie, but the true story behind it — of the short-lived All-American Girls Professional Baseball League — is incredibly inspirational. Even watching the fictional movie, I'm always moved by the idea of so many talented female athletes playing together and capturing the nation's imagination during a difficult time.
I got all teary again this weekend, when I read that AAGPBL pitcher Dottie Collins recently passed away at age 84. Not only was Collins an incredible ballplayer (in 1948, she even pitched until she was four months pregnant!) but she was also instrumental in creating the Baseball Hall of Fame's exhibit on the women's professional league. Without her, we may have never learned about this very cool period in history. To find out why, and to see one of my favorite moments from the movie, read more.
According to the New York Times obituary of Collins:
The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., had been considering an exhibition on women and baseball during the mid-1980s, but, as Ted Spencer, its chief curator, recalled in an interview, it had little material to display until Collins approached him.
“When I connected with Dottie, the ball started to roll,” Spencer said. “If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know where it would have gone.”
In 1987, Collins helped form an association of former players in the All-American league. She drew on her contacts to provide the Hall of Fame with memorabilia from the league, spurring creation of its Women in Baseball exhibit in 1988. Now an enlarged, permanent collection, the exhibit inspired the 1992 Hollywood movie A League of Their Own, a reprise of women’s pro baseball during World War II.
Cool, right? I guess we have Collins to thank both for pioneering women's professional sports and for making sure the AAGPBL wasn't lost to history. One of my favorite scenes in A League of Their Own is actually when all the women reunite at the Hall of Fame exhibit dedicated to them. I just got all choked up again watching it, so view with caution, then share your thoughts below.