Sunday, August 17, 2008

DOTTIE COLLINS, STAR PITCHER IN WOMEN'S BASEBALL, DIES AT 84

During WWII, as millions of our boys left for the war front, women on the home front had to do just about everything, including playing professional baseball. After all, entertainment was vital to the public's spirit during those tough years.

In 1943, the All American Girls Professional Baseball League was formed--Dottie was a superstar pitcher:

"She pitched underhand, sidearm and overhand; she threw curveballs, fastballs and changeups; and in the summer of 1948, she pitched until she was four months pregnant. She won more than 20 games in each of her first four seasons. She threw 17 shutouts and had a league-leading 293 strikeouts in 1945 for the Fort Wayne Daisies, when the women’s game resembled fast-pitch softball."

Sadly, after the AAGPBL folded, it was all but forgotten, and the girls lost contact with each other. That is, until their superstar got involved. Because of Dottie's efforts, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown created its Women in Baseball exhibit.

Penny Marshall's movie, A League of Their Own, recounts the history of the league. It's one of my favorite movies and features some big names. The movie focuses mainly on Dottie and her sister, with Dottie being played by Geena Davis. Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) had one of the funniest scenes and lines of the movie.

The movie ends with the former players and their families gathering for a reunion and dedication ceremony at Cooperstown. A very touching scene. RIP, Dottie:

Kudos to Penny Marshall for directing such a fine motion picture.

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