Obit of the Day: A League of Her Own in A League of Their Own
Lavonne “Pepper” Paire Davis loved baseball. So when she was 18 she jumped at the chance to join Philip K. Wrigley’s All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the spring of 1944. Davis, a catcher by trade was first assigned to the Minneapolis Millerettes and would spend the next ten seasons in the AAGPBL.
A defensive specialist with a .997 lifetime fielding percentage (meaning that she made all by 0.3% of all plays she handled behind the plate), she would win a championship in 1946 with the Racine Belles and finish second three other times (1951-1953). Hitting only .225 over her career, Mrs. Davis had 400 runs batted in, good for fourth all time.
But Mrs. Davis’ contribution to the AAGPBL went beyond the diamond. She was the co-writer of the league’s official “Victory Song” along with Nalda “Bird” Phillips. The song was performed during the film.
Mrs. Davis’ experiences and personality also earned her the role of technical advisor for A League of Their Own. The lead character, “Dottie Hinson,” played by Geena Davis was a composite of Mrs. Davis and two other stars of the AAGPBL: Dorothy Kamenshek and Dottie Schroeder.
“Pepper” Paire Davis, who published her memoir Dirt in the Skirt in 2009, passed away on February 3, 2013 at the age of 88.
Sources: Chicago Sun-Times, PepperPaireDavis.com, AAGPBL.org, Baseball-Reference.com, and IMDB.com
(Image is courtesy of www.sportsartifacts.com - you can buy the photo for $40.)
Other members of the AAGPBL on Obit of the Day:
Doris Sams - Threw a perfect game