Film / A League of Their Own
"Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!"
Jimmy Dugan

It's World War II, and all of the biggest stars in Major League Baseball have left the field of play. Something has to be done to keep the stadiums full, the people's morale up, and profit coming to the owners of the league and their business partners. One man's solution: Create the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. This is their story.

A League of Their Own is a 1992 film directed by Penny Marshall, starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, and Tom Hanks, with major supporting roles by Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, Jon Lovitz and Penny's brother Garry Marshall. 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.

This film provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Doris clearly views the two nerdy guys who have a crush on her as this. And Kit refers to a local boy who has the hots for her as "one step up from dating a pig."
  • The Ace: Dottie's the best player in the league and tends to dominate every room she's in, albeit unintentionally. The movie deftly explores just how infuriating The Ace can be to those around her, as Dottie's sister Kit complains that "when you're in the room, it's like I'm not even there." Kit even acknowledges that she's being illogical, which only serves to annoy her even more.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...:
    Jimmy Dugan: Does he know how good you are?
    Dottie Hinson: Bob?
    Jimmy Dugan: No, Hitler. Yes, Bob.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Dottie returns just in time for the final game of the world series. Subverted in that they lose.
  • Big Game: Game 7 of the World Series.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ladies and their families get to see the new exhibit dedicated to them at Cooperstown, and Dottie and Kit reunite warmly. However, Bob, Jimmy, and Evelyn, Stillwell's mother, have all died.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Doris. Makes sense, since she was a bouncer at a strip club.
  • Book Ends: The elderly Dottie attending the league's induction into the baseball hall of fame.
  • Book on the Head: The female baseball players, additionally to the sportive training, also have to follow etiquette lessons, which include this exercise.
  • Bottomless Bladder: Jimmy subverts this.
  • Call Back:
    • 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:
      Jimmy: So, let's play hard, let's play smart, use your heads.
      Doris: That's that lump three feet above our ass, right, Jimmy?
      Jimmy: Some more prominent than others, there, Doris.
    • Mae and Doris recognize Dottie by throwing a ball at her. She catches it barehanded - exactly like when they first met.
  • Captain Obvious: Jon Lovitz' recruiting agent, to Kit and Dottie.
    Ernie: They'll pay you seventy-five dollars a week.
    Kit: We only make thirty a week at the dairy.
    Ernie: Well then, this would be more, wouldn't it?
  • Chick Flick: or rather, a Deconstruction of the very term.
  • 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 — however, 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!"
  • Completely Different Title: In Japan, the film was released as プリティ・リーグ (Pretty Leagues).
  • Confessional: "That's the second time he's dropped that bible[...] Mae, what'd you say?" "Everything."
  • Creative Closing Credits: A mix of Credits Montage, interlaced with scenes from the Legends Game that book-ended the main portion of the film.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Jimmy's page quote is his most famous speech, but Hanks has an even better (if much quieter) speech to Dottie when she is about to leave the team just before the World Series:
    "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ira Lowenstein has some good moments:
    "That was some good coaching. I particularly liked that play in the fifth inning where you scratched your balls for an hour"
  • 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. This leads to one of the truly suspenseful and heart wrenching moments of the film, as every married woman (especially Dotty) watches with dread as the inept telegraph deliverer starts to leave, saying they'll just have to wait. Jimmy makes him hand over the telegram and takes it upon himself to be the Bearer of Bad News... to not Dotty, but Betty.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Madonna's "This Used To Be My Playground".
  • Down to the Last Play: Inverted in that it's the Opposing Sports Team that wins on the last play.
    • 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. But that was the top of the ninth...
  • Fan Nickname: In-universe: Dottie is hailed as the "Queen of Diamonds" for her beauty and skill at the game.
  • Fat Best Friend: Doris to Mae, even though Mae isn't the protagonist.
  • Foreshadowing: Subverted. Betty has a Jimmy Dugan baseball card belonging to her husband and jokes he'll come back to kill her if anything happens to that card. When she gives the card to Jimmy for him to sign, he tears it up. Also, Dottie hasn't heard from her husband in quite a while, which is why she's afraid that the Death Notification is for her.
  • Framing Device: Most of the movie is a flashback of the now-senior Dottie.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: An in-universe case, as the newsreel montage implies that Mae is able to get away with the nickname "All the Way Mae" thanks to the assumption that it's a reference to her base running skills.
  • 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.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Dottie and Kit in the worst way.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Kit towards Dottie somewhat.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Mae. Not a prostitute, but a former taxi dancer (which was close enough back in those days) and 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 with makeovers, 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.
  • I Choose to Stay: Kit stays in the city with some of the other girls at the end, instead of going back to the farm with Dottie.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Marla Hooch is introduced batting right-handed, hitting solid line drives. Then her father says "Okay, Marla, now hit lefty." Marla, who it turns out is a natural left-hander, starts hitting booming home runs.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: All of the Peaches.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender: Jimmy was a Hall of Famer, yes, but his alcoholism prevented him from challenging Babe Ruth's home run record, as it did the real Jimmy Foxx.
  • Jackie Robinson Story: Subverted because they weren't playing against men.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jimmy Dugan.
    • Also Ernie Capadino, though not the same number of karats.
  • Jumped at the Call: Kit.
  • Meaningful Echo: Dottie and Kit's argument about hitting high fast balls turns endearing at the end.
  • Men Don't Cry: Or, more precisely, real BASEBALL PLAYERS don't cry, as the page quote states.
  • Modesty Shorts: The uniforms the girls wear sport a pair of team-appropriate ones underneath the skirts, particularly visible when Dugan picks up and carries Kit to the locker room.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Peaches have literally just gotten through cracking up over Doris and Jimmy's Call Back exchange, above, when a Western Union Man barges in on the Peaches... and see the Death Notification above.
    • 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.
  • Never Learned to Read: Shirley.
    Shirley: Her. M - mi - mil - mil - milky, milky. White, white. Milky white...buh-buh—breasts.
    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.
  • Obsolete Mentor: Jimmy put himself out of baseball when he wrecked his knee while drunk. He is hired basically for his name value, and since he cares nothing for the girls or the team, he is also a Sink-or-Swim Mentor for the first half of the movie.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Kit spends her life in Dottie's shadow.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Many of the girls, but especially Kit.
  • Poor Communication Kills: After Kit's rant at Dottie about difficult it is for the two of them to be on the same team, the latter goes to the head of the league and comments that she (Dottie) is struggling to stay with the Peaches because of her relationship with her sister. Dottie thinks that this will result in them trading her to another team, but she doesn't state that desire clearly enough, because the league ends up trading Kit instead.
    • That example immediately leads to another example: Kit accuses Dottie of purposely trying to get rid of her, and when Dottie tries to explain the situation, Kit refuses to listen.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Jimmy and Dottie. In any other film they'd have Belligerent Sexual Tension but here they really are simply friends.
    • It's strongly implied it's because Dottie's married. Had she been single, Jimmy was clearly interested.
  • 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.
  • Same Language Dub: The older actresses playing the senior Dottie and Kit were dubbed by Geena Davis and Lori Petty.
  • 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 by making a spectacular catch in front of a photographer for Life magazine, and the Peaches follow suit with a whole campaign of similar showboating to help boost media attention and draw crowds.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Dottie and Kit. It doesn't help that everything Dottie tries to rectify the situation makes things worse Memorably, 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. The only way Evelyn can calm him down is by giving him chocolate bars. He grows out of it and by the time of the reunion is a perfectly nice, respectful adult.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Dottie is easily the tallest of the Peaches, and as many of the characters will attest, one of the prettiest
  • Stacy's Mom: Dottie ends up in this situation when she recruits a boy to drive her to a bar the rest of the Peaches went to, to sneak them out before they're caught.
    Boy: What's your rush, dollbody? What do ya say we slip in the backseat, and you make a man out of me?
    Dottie: What do you say I slap you around for a while?
    Boy: Can't we do both?
  • 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? The war's over, Rosie, turn in your rivets.
  • The Stinger: During the closing credits, the older ladies play a legends game at Doubleday Field.
  • Team Mom: Dottie.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Kit and Dottie, and Doris and Mae.
  • The Unfavourite: Kit views herself as this within her family.
    Kit: You ever hear Dad introduce us to people? "This is our daughter Dottie, and this is our other daughter, Dottie's sister." Should've just had you and bought a dog!
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Kit does this as part of an Indy Ploy to win her team the championship.
  • 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.
    • The league was profitable immediately, rather than struggling as was portrayed.
  • What The Hell Costuming Department: Invoked by the girls on seeing the "uniforms". This isn't an idle complaint; the lack of leg protection from the skirts meant that any time any of the players slid into base, they wound up with enormous bruises and even open wounds (called "strawberries") on their legs from the infield dirt.
    Doris: That's a dress!

Alternative Title(s): A League Of Their Own