One of my favorite films growing up was A League of Their Own. It stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and Lori Petty. The film is a fictionalized account of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league operated from 1943 to 1954.
Lavonne “Pepper” Paire-Davis played 10 seasons with the league and was the inspiration for the character portrayed by Geena Davis in the 1992 film. Ms. Paire-Davis died earlier this month at the age of 88.
Davis, who was known as Pepper Paire in her playing days, entered the league in 1944, the year after it was formed by Philip W. Wrigley, the chewing-gum magnate and owner of the Chicago Cubs. Wrigley had worried that World War II would deplete professional baseball of male players and force it to fold. That never happened, but his women’s pro league became popular anyway, and Davis became one of its most enduring players.
Playing catcher as well as shortstop and third base, she won pennants with all but the Millerettes, and her 400 career runs batted in tie her for fourth in league history. In 1950, she drove in 70 runs in 110 games for the Chicks. – New York Times Obituary.