"Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!"
— Jimmy Dugan
As all the best baseball stars went off to fight the good war, something had to be done to get baseball stadiums busy. One man's solution: Create the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. This is their story.To be more concise, A League of Their Own is a 1992 film directed by Penny Marshall, starring her brother Garry, and featuring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, Tom Hanks and Jon Lovitz. It is a fictionalized telling of the founding of the aforementioned baseball league and its struggles to stay relevant after the war ended. The main focus is the Rockford (Ill.) Peaches, headed by drunkard former baseball player Jimmy Dugan, and Kit and Dottie, two sisters who join the team.Spawned a television adaptation on CBS running for six episodes, airing at bizarrely-varying times (somewhere between May and August) throughout 1993.Not to be confused with the British sports panel show of the same name.
Billing Displacement: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna are listed as the three main actors in promotional material, and home video, despite the fact that the characters Dottie and Kit are clearly the main stars, and Lori Petty has a much larger role than Madonna (Although Madonna also contributed the movie's theme, "This Used to Be My Playground").
The iconic "THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!!" rant quoted above comes after Evelyn bursts into tears when manager Jimmy Dugan rips her for missing the cutoff (wo-)man on a throw from the outfield. During the final game of the World Series, she makes the identical error, allowing Racine to score their first run, Jimmy barely contains his rage. She finally gets it right in the climactic scene when she fields the final hitter's base hit deep in the gap and uncorks an excellent throw to the cutoff man, but Kit's still safe.
Evelyn burst into tears after Jimmy screamed at her, "Start using your head! That's the lump that's three feet above your ass!" Later:
Chewing the Scenery: It's a sign of Penny Marshall's underrated directorial skill that she not only gets great performances from Hanks, Davis and Petty, and from all the supporting characters, but even from Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna — but even Ms. Marshall couldn't stop Ms. Ciccone from going for the Best Supporting Actress statuette once:
"And what am I supposed to do, huh? Go back to taxi dancin'? Ten cents so some slob can sweat gin all over me? I'm never doin' that again! So you go back there and you tell ol' rich Mr. Old Chocolate Man that he ain't closing ME down!"
"That was some good coaching. I particularly liked that play in the fifth inning where you scratched your balls for an hour"
And, in the same scene: "Hey Jimmy if I paid you a little more could you be just a little more disgusting?"
Death Notification: One of the girls gets a telegram telling her that her husband was killed in action. The man delivering the telegram somehow didn't realize that he never bothered to find out which woman on the team was supposed to receive the letter, causing some angst.
But played straight initially, as the Peaches were down to their final out, with Racine ahead 1-0, before Dottie's base hit allowed them to take the lead.
Executive Meddling: The producers wanted Jimmy and Dottie to hook up in the end. They also pushed for Dottie to save Jimmy from his drinking. The director responded with a single scene on the bus where Jimmy ends the conversation saying it was "time for a drink." Dottie takes his flask and hands him a soda.
Gilligan Cut: Evelyn asks if she can take her son on road trips, saying, "He's the sweetest little boy. Everyone's just going to love him!". Sure enough, the next shot is of the little brat running through the bus screaming his head off.
Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Mae. Not a prostitute, but a former taxi dancer (which was close enough back in those days) and implied to be promiscuous. Other than that, she's clearly a good person—fiercely loyal to and protective of her best friend Doris, teaches Shirley to read, helps Marla and Kit pretty themselves up, consoles Dottie after the World Series loss, is a great ball player, and for all her flirting and sleeping around, is never once seen to be pursuing any of the other girls' men.
Whipped back in the next scene, where Dottie is openly weeping in her room, knowing what happened to Betty could have happened to her, too, when the door opens, revealing her husband Bob, discharged after being injured. The joy and relief on Dottie's face is palpable.
Shirley: Her. M - mi - mil - mil - milky, milky. White, white. Milky white. Evelyn: Mae. What are you giving her to read?! Mae: Oh, what the difference does it make? She's reading, okay?
Never Trust a Trailer: The original theatrical trailer made the movie look raunchier than it actually is by focusing on all the sex jokes: Jimmy's prayer about "plentiful balls" and a woman he had sex with in a motel; A sailor asking a player to slide so he can look up her skirt; the young boy who hits on Dottie; Doris asking Mae if there are any men left who haven't seen her bosoms.
Newsreel: "Betty Grable has nothing on these gals!"
Nobody Poops: Averted in the scene where Tom Hanks takes an extraordinarily long pee. It's so long Mae pulls out a stopwatch. "He ain't done yet!"
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jimmy Dugan represents Jimmie Foxx, who managed the Fort Wayne Daisies in the real league, and Walter Harvey the candy bar magnate founder was inserted in place of P.K. Wrigley, the gum magnate founder of the real league.
No, Except Yes: Doris tells Mae to not use her bat to hit an annoying Stillwell. She should use Marla's because it is heavier.
Playing Against Type: Tom Hanks to some extent. Jimmy Dugan eventually proves to have a heart of gold, but he's arguably the sleaziest character Hanks has ever played.
(Jimmy has just signed a baseball for a little boy) Little Boy: [reading] "Avoid the clap, Jimmy Dugan." Cool! Jimmy Dugan: Hey, that's good advice!
Refused by the Call: The league scout has no real interest in Kit. He only recruits her because her older sister won't join without her. This builds up resentment on her part (she had already spent her life in Dottie's shadow) that culminates when the Dottie goes to the bosses saying they just can't play on the same team anymore (hoping to be traded) and accidentally gets her little sister shipped off to another team.
To be fair, he did change his mind after he felt Kit's bicep. Presumably it was strong enough to make her worth the trouble.
Save Our League: The league gets off to a slow start, and Harvey starts to think maybe they should just give it up and wait for the war to end. Dottie responds my making a spectacular catch in front of a photographer for Life magazine, and the Peaches step their game up likewise.
Sibling Rivalry: Dottie and Kit. It doesn't help that everything Dottie tries to rectify the situation makes things worseMemorably, when she tells Ira she's thinking of quitting because of the pressures of being on the road, Ira trades Kit to Racine.
Spoiled Brat: Stillwell. His mother's response to calming his rampage down is another candy bar. He grows out of it.
Statuesque Stunner: Dottie is easily the tallest of the Peaches, and as many of the characters will attest, one of the prettiest
Stay in the Kitchen: A radio commentary plays over the tryout montage stating that the league is a gross perversion of women and they should all be ashamed of themselves and go home. Later, when the league is in danger of being shut down, Ira asks Harvey if he just expects them to all go back to their kitchens.
Ira: Is that it? Sorry Rosie, put your rivets away and get back in the kitchen?
The Stinger: During the closing credits, the older ladies play a legends game at Doubleday Field.
Very Loosely Based on a True Story/Artistic License - History: The real AAGPBL did not play regulation baseball, but rather a sort of baseball/softball hybrid. The ball was larger than a baseball (but smaller than a softball) and the bases were closer together (but still farther apart than a softball diamond). Also, while Racine did win the 1943 World Series, it was a five-game series against the Kenosha Comets, not a seven-game series against the Rockford Peaches.
Over time the rules would be changed to make the game closer to actual baseball. But the first year, it was closer to softball.
Written-In Infirmity: A consequence of Method Acting: None of the actresses wanted a stunt double, so they did many of the stunts themselves. Their injuries were written into the film. So when you see Rosie O'Donnell wearing a knee-brace, or Renee Coleman sporting a bloody bruise the size of a frying pan on her leg, that's because they really hurt themselves. (The bruises the size of frying pans, along with open, seeping wounds, were Truth in Television; one player would recount years later how she had to sit in the dugout between innings on what was essentially a hemorrhoid donut for an entire game because the team's chaperone didn't want her to get blood all over her uniform.)
In the scene where Dottie catches a fast-pitch from Doris bare-handed, one of the real players from the league (and a consultant) claims this was a tennis ball with a baseball skin covering it, to help avoid hurting the actresses unnecessarily.