Summary

  • The A League of Their Own film is inspired by the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) from 1943 to 1954.
  • The Rockford Peaches, featured in the film, were a real team in the AAGPBL and were successful, winning several championships.
  • Although the film fictionalizes many aspects, it still brings awareness to the AAGPBL and celebrates the players’ contributions while addressing criticisms of lack of racial and queer inclusivity.


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The A League Of Their Own true story is about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a real league from 1943 to 1954. The Penny Marshall film loosely follows the story of the AAGPBL, which was formed in 1943 during World War II when Major League Baseball was in danger since men were being drafted for war. In the same way women stepped up to work men’s factory jobs, they did the same for baseball. The film focuses on sisters Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty), who are recruited for the Rockford Peaches.

A League Of Their Own also stars Rosie O’Donnell as Doris Murphy and Madonna as Mae Mordabito as fellow Rockford Peaches players. It has withstood the test of time to become a beloved sports film but there are still some longtime viewers who are unsure of how much of the film really happened. The movie has empowering messages about what women are capable of and keeps the memory of the AAGPBL alive, even if the storylines are fiction.

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What Happened To The Real AAGPBL

A League Of Their Own Tom Hanks and Madonna

The real AAGPBL from A League of Their Own was formed in 1943 by Philip K. Wrigley, Branch Rickey, and Paul V. Harper. The founders invited over 200 women to try out for their teams, with just 60 of them chosen. Unfortunately, due to segregation at the time, women of color were banned from being a part of the league. From 1945 through 1953, the league was owned by Arthur Meyerhoff, and from 1951 to 1954, the baseball teams were individually owned.

This led to a lack of publicity and advertising for the teams since they didn’t have the same knowledge and experience as people like Wrigley and Meyerhoff did. League president Fred Leo attempted to raise promotion for the teams, but his efforts didn’t go very far. The league eventually died out after 1954. The film briefly teases the fallout when Garry Marshall’s character mentions America is winning the war, and soon men will be back to play baseball, so they won’t need the women anymore.

Were The Rockford Peaches Real?

Woman looking frustrated in A League of their Own

The Rockford Peaches were a real team in the AAGPBL, representing Rockford, Illinois. The Peaches and the South Bend Blue Sox were the only teams to play in every AAGPBL season. The real players wore uniforms like the ones the characters wore in A League Of Their Own. The league required female players to uphold their feminine appearance, so the uniforms consisted of dresses with fitted belts, died a light peach color, which inspired the team’s name.

The color was due to most dye colors being unavailable during the war. The Rockford Peaches won the league championship in 1945, 1948, 1949, and 1950. They were one of the most successful teams in the league, which is why the film focused on them over some others. Pitcher Mary Pratt was the last living member of the team and passed away in 2020 at 101 years old.

WHERE TO WATCH: Stream A League Of Their Own on Tubi

How Much Of A League Of Their Own Is True

Hidden Things Missed In A League Of Their Own - three actors in the movie

While some crucial aspects of the film did exist, like the AAGPBL and the Rockford Peaches, much of the movie was made up too. Dottie was loosely based on Peaches player Dorothy “Dottie” “Kammie” Kamenshek, but other than Davis’ character, all the others were fictionalized. There was no rivalry between Dottie and her sister, and the story about Dottie’s husband being a soldier whose dispatched after an injury was also fictional. Tom Hanks’ character Jimmy Dugan was also created by film writers. However, he was inspired by a real-life baseball player named Jimmie Foxx, who, like Hanks’ character, dealt with alcoholism in his life.

Another thing the film got right is that the Racine Belles did win the championship in 1943. What they got wrong is the team wasn’t playing against the Peaches but the Kenosha Comets instead. Since the league still wanted the women to appeal to the male gaze, they had to take etiquette classes called charm school to make sure they were still behaving like ladies even though they were playing a men’s sport. This was showcased in the film.

At the end of A League Of Their Own, the players reunite at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, where the AAGPBL players are honored with a new exhibit dedicated to their hard work and talent on the field from 1943 through 1954. The film’s director found inspiration for the scene at the real-life Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The museum has an exhibit called the Diamond Dream exhibition which honors the real-life women from the AAGPBL. The director loved it so much that she included a very similar exhibit in the film.

Biggest Changes Between A League Of Their Own True Story And Movie

The Rockford Peaches posing in front of a bus in A League Of Their Own.

One of the biggest criticisms of A League Of Their Own, besides its lack of racial diversity, which the 2022 series addressed, was its lack of queer inclusivity. In real life, many of the team members were queer and were even in queer relationships throughout their life. O’Donnell explained on Late Night with Seth Meyers, that when they were filming the movie in 1991, most people weren’t out of the closet yet. The actress joked that when the cast met the real-life Peaches players, they would introduce their romantic partners as their roommates.

Rosie O’Donnell herself didn’t come out until 10 years after the film premiered. However, in real life, many of the players were gay or queer, which A League Of Their Own didn’t showcase. While Davis’ character was married to a man, the real-life Dottie was married to fellow AAGPBL player Margaret Wenzell who played for various teams, including the Racine Belles and the Springfield Sallies. Another change was instead of having Marshall play Wrigley, who inherited Wrigley’s chewing gum from his father, the film created the fictional character Walter Harvey, owner of Harvey’s Chocolate.

A League Of Their Own does an excellent job celebrating the real-life AAGPBL players, even if a lot of the movie was fictionalized for entertainment purposes. Luckily the 2022 television series made up for a lack of diversity in the film, but the original is still celebrated for the awareness it brought to the league, which unfortunately is not talked about as much as the MBL is. As the movie shows, the real AAGPBL is no less worthy of recognition.

How True The A League Of Their Own TV Show Is

Carson and Max sit and talk in A League of Their Own

Amazon Prime Video released a reboot series of A League of Their Own in 2022. As a full series, it is a lot more than just retelling the movie’s story. It also added a few more fictionalized moments to the series that didn’t happen in the League of Their Own true story. This A League of Their Own focuses on the Rockford Peaches, which was a real team from the AAGPBL, and it was also the most successful. The series focuses on the team’s season, which ended with a final series for the championship against the South Bend Blue Sox.

However, that was not how the season played out in the League of Their Own true story. The Racine Belles, a team the Amazon Prime series almost never mentioned, actually won the first season championship. The Rockford Peaches didn’t win the championship until the third season. It is also notable that none of the players in the series are real people who played for the Peaches. However, the show did take these fictionalized characters and used them to tell true stories for the women who played in the league at the time, including the charm school where they learned how not to look masculine and to “act like women.”

Another real thing that the A League of Their Own series showed was that Black women were not allowed to play in the AAGPBL. This part of the League of Their Own true story was shown in the story of Max (Chante Adams), where she learned that she wasn’t welcome and ended up playing for a predominantly male team in the segregated league. While a fictionalized character, her story mirrors that of Toni Stone, Mamie Johnson, and Connie Morgan. The Prime Video series also showed LGBTQ+ people, which was accurate for the real teams in the AAGPL, as evident by Maybelle Blair, a former player who came out many years later.

  • A league of their own tv poster

    A League Of Their Own

    Release Date:
    2022-08-12

    Cast:
    Gbemisola Ikumel, Roberta Colindrez, Priscilla Delgado, Chanté Adams, Abbi Jacobson, Kelly McCormack, Nick Offerman, D’Arcy Carden

    Genres:
    Comedy, Drama, Sports

    Seasons:
    1

    Story By:
    Will Graham

    Writers:
    Kelly Candaele, Lowell Ganz, Will Graham, Abbi Jacobson, Kim Wilson

    Network:
    amazon prime video

    Streaming Sevice:
    Amazon Prime Video

    Directors:
    Will Graham

    Showrunner:
    Will Graham

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