|A League of Their Own|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Penny Marshall|
|Produced by||Elliot Abbott|
|Screenplay by||Lowell Ganz|
|Story by||Kelly Candaele|
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Edited by||George Bowers|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$132.4 million|
A League of Their Own is a 1992 American sports comedy-drama film that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Directed by Penny Marshall, the film stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, and Lori Petty. The screenplay was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel from a story by Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson.
In 2012, A League of Their Own was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
In 1988, Dottie Hinson attends the opening of the new All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame. She sees many of her former teammates and friends, prompting a flashback to 1943.
When World War II threatens to shut down Major League Baseball, candy magnate and Cubs owner Walter Harvey persuades his fellow owners to bankroll a women's league. Ira Lowenstein is put in charge, and Ernie Capadino is sent out to recruit players. Capadino attends an industrial-league softball game in rural Oregon and likes what he sees in Dottie, the catcher for a local dairy's team. Dottie turns down Capadino's offer, happy with her simple farm life while waiting for her husband Bob to come back from the war. Her sister and teammate, Kit, however, is desperate to get away and make something of herself. Capadino is not impressed by Kit's hitting performance and refuses to evaluate her pitching, but agrees to take her along if she can change Dottie's mind. Dottie agrees, but only for her sister's sake.
Dottie and Kit head out to Harvey Field in Chicago for the tryout. There they meet a pair of New Yorkers, taxi dancer Mae "All the Way Mae" Mordabito and her best friend, bouncer Doris Murphy; along with soft-spoken right fielder Evelyn Gardner; illiterate, shy left fielder Shirley Baker; pitcher/shortstop and former Miss Georgia beauty queen Ellen Sue Gotlander; gentle left field/relief pitcher Betty "Spaghetti" Horn; homely second baseman Marla Hooch, who was scouted by Ernie, Dottie and Kit in Fort Collins, Colorado; genteel first baseman Helen Haley; and superstitious Saskatchewan native Alice "Skeeter" Gaspers. They and eight others are selected to form the Rockford Peaches, while 48 others are split among the Racine Belles, Kenosha Comets, and South Bend Blue Sox.
The Peaches are managed by former marquee Cubs slugger Jimmy Dugan, a cynical alcoholic who initially treats the whole thing as a joke and is abrasive toward his players. The league attracts little interest at first, and the Peaches must adjust to traveling with Evelyn's bratty son Stillwell and tightly wound team chaperone Miss Cuthburt. With a Life magazine photographer in the stands, Lowenstein begs the players to do something spectacular. Dottie obliges when a ball is popped up behind home plate, catching it while doing a split. The resulting photograph makes the magazine cover. A publicity campaign draws more people to the ballgames, but the owners remain unconvinced. The Peaches experience success on the field while forming a tight sisterhood off the field; Marla marries a man she meets on a raucous roadhouse outing, Mae teaches Shirley to read, and Evelyn writes a team song. As Dottie becomes one of the league's brightest stars, Kit becomes resentful and their sibling rivalry intensifies, culminating in Kit's trade to the Peaches' rival, the Racine Belles.
The Peaches end the season qualifying for the league's World Series. In the locker room, Jimmy gives Betty a telegram that informs her her husband was killed in action in the Pacific Theater. The grief-stricken Betty leaves the team. Later that evening, Dottie receives a surprise when Bob shows up, having been wounded and discharged from the Army. The following morning, Jimmy discovers that Dottie is going home with Bob. Unable to persuade her to at least play in the World Series, he tells her she will regret her decision.
The Peaches and Belles meet in the World Series, which reaches a seventh and deciding game. Dottie, having reconsidered during the drive back to Oregon, is the catcher for the Peaches, while Kit is the starting pitcher for the Belles. With the Belles leading by a run in the top of the ninth, Dottie drives in the go-ahead run. Kit is distraught but gets a second chance when she comes to bat with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Under immense pressure she gets a hit, and ignoring the third base coach's sign to stop, scores the winning run by knocking her sister over at the plate and dislodging the ball from Dottie's hand. The sellout crowd convinces Harvey to give Lowenstein the owners' support. After the game, the sisters reconcile before Dottie leaves with Bob.
Back in the present, Dottie is reunited with several other players, including Kit. The fates of several of the characters are revealed: Jimmy, Bob, and Evelyn have died; Marla has been married to Nelson, a man she met in a bar in an earlier scene, for over 40 years; Mae and Doris are still best friends; and Kit is a mother and grandmother many times over. The original Peaches sing Evelyn's team song and pose for a group photo.
On MLB Network's Costas at the Movies in 2013, director Penny Marshall talked about her initial interest in Demi Moore for the part of Dottie Hinson, saying: "Demi Moore, I liked, but by the time we came around, she was pregnant."
Director Penny Marshall was inspired to make the film after viewing the 1987 documentary about the AAGPBL titled "A League of their Own" on television. She had never heard of the league before, and contacted the film's creators Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson to collaborate with the scriptwriters Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz on producing a screenplay for 20th Century Fox. Fox eventually passed on the script and Marshall signed with Sony Pictures, who were eager to produce the film.
Filming the game scenes involved many physical mishaps: Anne Ramsay (Helen Haley) broke her nose with a baseball mitt while trying to catch a ball and the huge bruise seen in the film on actress Renée Coleman's thigh was real. Discussing the skirts they wore playing baseball in the film, Geena Davis said on MLB Network's Costas at the Movies in 2013, "Some of our real cast, from sliding into home, had ripped the skin off their legs. It was nutty."
The tryout scene, which took place at a fictional Major League Baseball stadium in Chicago called Harvey Field, was filmed at the Chicago Cubs' home stadium, Wrigley Field, on which the fictitious Harvey Field is based. Rockford Peaches home games were filmed at League Stadium in Huntingburg, Indiana, while the championship game against Racine was filmed at Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana. Additional games were filmed at Jay Littleton Ball Park in Ontario, California.
A League of Their Own soundtrack was released on CD and cassette tape by Columbia Records on June 30, 1992. The album peaked at #159 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart on July 25, 1992. Although Madonna contributed "This Used to Be My Playground" to the film, featured over the closing credits, her recording was not included on the soundtrack album for contractual reasons.
The film was released on July 1, 1992, and grossed $13.2 million in its first weekend, finishing second at the box office behind Batman Returns. In its second weekend it dropped just 15%, making $11.5 million and finishing first. It ended up being a commercial success, making $107.5 million in the United States, and $24.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $132.4 million, against a production budget of $40 million.
The film was well received by critics, who praised the cast and their performances. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 78% based on 67 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Sentimental and light, but still thoroughly charming, A League of Their Own is buoyed by solid performances from a wonderful cast." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score 67 out of 100, based 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
With 2012 marking the 20th year since the film's release, A League of Their Own was released as a 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray on October 16, 2012.
Forty-seven former players of the AAGPBL reunited in New York to celebrate the film and the real women who inspired it. Events included a trip to Cooperstown for a special program at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, reminiscent of the film's final scene depicting members of the AAGPBL and family coming together to witness the honoring of the Women's Professional Baseball League. The reunion wrapped up with a game of softball held at Alliance Bank Stadium in nearby Syracuse.
Former players also made an appearance at Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana, on June 6, 2012, where many of the film's game scenes were filmed. Bosse Field still retains many of the "Racine Belles" themes from the movie. The event included an outdoor screening of the film as well as a scene-setting display of cars featured in the film. In addition to Bosse Field, the production used Huntingburg, Indiana's League Stadium, another Southwestern Indiana field older than Bosse that was renovated for the film.
A short-lived series of the same title based on the film aired on CBS in April 1993, with Garry Marshall, Megan Cavanagh, Tracy Reiner, and Jon Lovitz reprising their roles. Carey Lowell took over Geena Davis's role. Only five of the six episodes made were broadcast. On August 6, 2020, Amazon Video gave a series order to reboot of the television series.