July 6, 2009

A League of Their Own: one of my greatest childhood muses {Monday Muses, July 6th}

The evening dusk rolled in like a jukebox tune, warn, pulsating and full of vibrant energy, as eager young eyes peered up from the back of a minivan at what seemed like a mile-wide screen. Barely eight years old, I was enamoured from the split second the opening credits began to roll, the thermal crackling of the summer air mixing with a parade of drive-in theater sounds. By the time film’s main characters Dottie and Kit were chasing each other down the dusty country road, I had a newfound favourite childhood movie.

Set in the heart of WW2, the movie I’m talking about is A League of Their Own, staring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna. A dramatic comedy about the founding of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that came into existence in the wake of thousands of US men (including many professional ball players) being deployed overseas during the war, while the US public back home still pined for a day out at the field.

{Movie poster for A League of Their Own. Image from the blog Sports Talk 90.3.}

More than just the historical context of film, I was enthralled by two distinct elements: the fashions (both on and off the diamond) that the early 40s ladies wore, and the sense of independence and determination these headstrong gals put forth in an era when women were still by-and-large expected to follow traditional roles (of which being a ball player did not fit the mold).

Though I was already a tremendous fan of the 1940s and 50s thanks to movies like Grease, White Christmas and Meet Me in St. Louis, and the influence of a close friend whose parents were really into hot rods, this movie embedded an even more profound adoration of the forties deep in my young soul. Lifting it beyond just a beloved film, and into a muse that to this day is no less inspirational than it was back in 1992, when this movie hit the big screen.

{Tom Hanks and Geena Davis sit in the dugout during a scene from A League of Their own. Image from the blog Alien Citizen.}

This week, with my birthday approaching in a few days, I wanted to pay a homage to one of my greatest vintage influences, by making A League of Their Own not just my Monday Muse, but also by indoctrinating into my Lifelong Muse Hall of Frame.

While this movie is fiction, it is rooted strongly in actual fact; the AAGPBL was real, existing between the years of 1943 and 1954. Today a terrific website exists that's dedicated to preserving the legacy of this fascinating slice of American sports history, as does a National Baseball Hall of Fame exhibition about the AAGPBL.

{Lovely photo of assorted ASGPBL memorabilia and a uniform. From the Baseball Hall of Fame's website.}

In reading about the real ladies at bat, it’s interesting to learn that much as in the film itself, the players were required to attend Charm School, had female chaperons and were expected to follow a set of dress code guidelines both on and off the field.

{AAGPBL players in uniform. Photo via the San Fransisco State University's website.}

If like myself, you’re an avid fan of this movie and/or mid-century women’s baseball, you may have thought to yourself before how wonderful it would be to own a real AAGPBL uniform. No doubt this would be amazing, but it would likely also cost you a small fortune (unless you were lucky enough to have a relative who played for an AAGPBL team who would be willing to let you have her uniform), based on the prices I’ve read that these beautiful pieces of baseball history now sell for.

{Examples of reproduction uniforms from K & P Weaver's website.}

All hope is not lost though, K & P Weaver, LLC, a US based historical baseball uniform seller reproduces AAGPBL uniforms and ball caps in the original styles and colours of the teams that composed the league. Whether you want to be a Rockford Peach (the team Dottie and Kit both started out playing for) or a Racine Belle (the team Kit was traded to towards the end of the movie) – or any of the other teams that comprised the AAGPBL, for $225 (US) you too can own a cotton twill uniform that looks a far sight prettier than any of the modern day iterations of women’s baseball wear. It is my sincere hope that one day I’ll be able to purchase one of these gorgeous re-creation uniforms, not only to wear from time-to-time, but also as a means of further honouring my love of a League of Their Own.

{Gena Davis and fellow Rockford Peaches team members excitedly embrace each other after winning a game. Image from Hollywood.com.}

While this film (and the story of the real-life AAGPBL) didn’t inspire me to become a world class ball player, it did touch my life on a profound level. It helped to show a young girl an era which was comprised of hardship and glamour, tenacity and the emergence of women’s empowerment; spawned my love of swing dance, forties hairstyles and headstrong female characters, who, as this movie’s tagline proclaimed, believed that “To achieve the incredible you have to attempt the impossible”. Like the title of one of the songs in the A League of Their Own's soundtrack, Now and forever, this movie will be one of my all-time greatest Muses.


  1. OOOH I love this! I use to love that movie (still do) & I played softball all my summers practically growing up!! what a great post! what are your birthday plans dear?

  2. Excellent post; thanks for the history review and love Hanks and Davis. Did you know she's a MENSA member?

  3. Great post. I love this movie. I've watched it so many times. Nice to be reminded of it. It's been ages since I've seen it.

  4. I JUST saw this movie recently. So inspiring and of course the vintage fashion knocked my socks off AGAIN. GREAT post!!!!

  5. What a great movie and how neat would that be to wear a repro uniform! I can picture the knee socks and fab high heeled mary janes now! lol

  6. What a great movie and what a great post!

    Have a terrific week!

    xxLOL LOLA:)

  7. I adore this movie so much. It's one of my all-time favourites, too. Thank-you so much for the link to the repro uniforms! I hope that, one day, I can own one, too!
    -Andi x

  8. Your post is fabulous! I too adore this movie and have seen it countless times!! How fun it would be to own one of those replica uniforms, I hope that you get one soon!!!


  9. Aw I loved this post. That is one of my all time favorite movies, and I haven't seen it in forever! I'm eyeballing those repro uniforms possibly for Halloween this year...

  10. Such cute uniforms! My siblings went to a ball game on the 3rd and I love how it's such an all American thing.


  11. I love that movie, esp the end scenes with the reunion. I'm renting it this week now, thanks!

  12. I love baseball and I adore this movie, so thanks for this lovely post! I'm pretty sure I need a reproduction uniform now. Or should I just try to make my own? Hmmm...

  13. @ GypsyFox, thank you very much, sweetie pie! I loved playing baseball as a child too, though I was never on a team (in hindsight, I truly wonder why?! Perhaps because I was already involved with numerous other sports). Do you ever play these days?

    @ Thistle Cove Farm, what an interesting fact, I wasn't aware of that. Thank you for sharing that tidbit of Geena Davis info!

    @ Keith, thank you very much! I've seen it easily 20 times in my life, yet it's one of those films that I never, ever tire of watching. You should definitely try to watch it again the the next time it's on TV.

    @ Landgirl, what cool timing! Aren't the fashions to-die-for? I've always especially liked the outfits the gals wear when they're attending etiquette class and then later at the roadside dance hall.

    @ Maggi, it would be so amazing! I totally agree, knee socks and some mary janes would be perfection here!

    @ Nora & Lola, thank you very much, sweet dears! I hope you both have a fantastic week, too!

    @ Andi, you're very welcome. I hope that you're able to get one of these incredible repro uniforms some day!

    @ Karyn, thank you so much, honey! I'm hoping that one year I'll have a really great Halloween party to go to so I can justify spending the money to buy one of these beauties ;D

    @ Mlle G, great minds think alike! I agree, they would make such an amazing Halloween costume!

    @ Cait, thank you, sweet heart. Baseball is played fairly commonly here in Canada as well, but it's definitely a very, very American tradition! :)

    @ thatgirlblog, you're totally welcome! In case you don't make it to the video store, I found that there's currently a Youtube poster who has the whole movie split up into parts available to watch on Youtube (try searching for "A League of Their Own part 1" to find the person I'm referring to.)

    @ aramblingfancy, that would be seriously wonderful! If you do sew your own uniform, I would absolutely love to see pics of it!

    Thank you each so, so much for your fantastic comments! It's such a delight to know that so many of my vintage friends also hold this movie near and dear to their hearts!

    You guys rock! I hope you all have a stellar Wednesday!
    ♥ Jessica

  14. Hey guys! I'm not sure if any of you know, but my partner and I own the exclusive license to the AAGPBL. We sell fashionable tees and totes like our There's No Crying in Baseball! tee and Charm School Rule tee. We're so happy to see other fans like us! Check out our site for more info at www.vintage-blue.com.

  15. Jessica, Just came across your site and wanted to thank you for mentioning our reproduction uniforms. As the official licensee of the AAGPBL uniforms, caps and pennnats we take great pride in reproducing these uniforms to honor the "women of baseball". It's wonderful to see so many people appreciate the ladies of the AAGPBL. Thanks again, Paula

  16. My favorite movie as a kid too! I wanted to be them so bad.