It's World War II, and all of the biggest stars in Major League Baseball have left the ball field for the battlefield. 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 Dramedy 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 (Illinois) 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. A second television adaptation, featuring Nick Offerman, was released on Prime Video in 2022.
Not to be confused with the British sports panel show of the same name.
This film provides examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Kit refers to a local boy who has the hots for her as "one step up from a pig."
- Downplayed in the case of the twins at the Suds Bucket, who both became interested in Doris. Though she initially reacts this way to them when they start showing up at the Peaches' games, she's warmed up to them considerably by the World Series.
- Ability over Appearance: Taken literally with Marla who is a spectacular player and switch hitter but is heavyset and homely in appearance and the scouts were looking for pretty girls to bring the crowds. Dottie stood up for her and her father also asked for some compassion, and the scout reluctantly brought her in.
- Actor Allusion:
- At one point, while the girls are trying to come up with ideas to bring attention to the league, Mae suggests letting her bosoms pop out. Doris shoots the idea down: "You think there are men in this country who ain't seen your bosoms?" At the time the film was made, Madonna had caused controversy by showing herself in public. In fact, Mae's entire character—an exotic dancer before getting recruited for the team—is basically a 1940s version of Madonna.
- When Doris talks about how guys she dated criticized her for being "too masculine" because of her size and the fact that she enjoys playing baseball, the then-closeted lesbian Rosie O'Donnell sells the line like no one else could.
- The song the girls sing about the league includes stating that the roster includes Swedes. Geena Davis lived in Sweden in her youth, as an exchange student, and speaks the language fluently.
- Several actual AAGPBL players were involved in the scene set in the present day. A few of them actually played for the Rockford Peaches at some point, including Shirley Burkovich, who was cast as the older version of Alice.
- 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. In the present day, one older fan asks who she is, and his AAGPBL friend tells him it's Dottie Henson, the best player who ever played in the league; he responds he never heard of her, and the ballplayer replies she only played one year. That's right — Dottie played only one year in the league and is recognized as the best ever to play in it.
- The Alcoholic: Jimmy. It's the reason the latter part of his career was a disaster, when it seemed like he was on pace to pass Babe Ruth's home run record. Part of his attempt to lure Dottie back to play in the World Series is the beginning of a I Coulda Been a Contender! speech.
- Alliterative Name: Kit Keller and Mae Mordibito
- Ambiguous Situation: One of the more passionate debates in the past 40 years or so of film history: did Dottie intentionally drop the ball when Kit bowled over her in the last game of the World Series, or did Kit knock it loose fair and square? Geena Davis has said that she knows the answer, but won't share it.
- Artistic License – History:
- Averted with Wrigley Field, where you can see the lights that weren't actually installed until 1988—but this is Harvey Field.
- It also shows the plastic seats, modern foul poles, and a few other modern items. This is an acceptable break from reality since at the time digitally altering everything would’ve been very difficult and very expensive. Notice also that all scenes are filmed from a low angle so modern buildings could not be seen in the background.
- There is no way in the world that Dottie and her husband are making that 3000 mile roundtrip to Yellowstone and back. There was a war on and gasoline rationing was in effect: an A sticker on their car meant that the Hinsons would get two gallons of gas per week.
- Averted with Wrigley Field, where you can see the lights that weren't actually installed until 1988—but this is Harvey Field.
- Ask a Stupid Question...:Jimmy Dugan: Does he know how good you are?
Dottie Hinson: Bob?
Jimmy Dugan: No, Hitler. Yes, Bob.
- Award-Bait Song: Two of them:
- Badass Boast:
- A wordless one. After Doris and Mae taunt Dottie, Kit and Marla about how good you have to be to make it in the tryout, Doris rifles a ball at Dottie. Dottie catches it barehanded without even flinching, causing Doris and Mae to stare in wonder.Mae: Okay, some of them are goin' home.
Doris: Hey! How'd you do that?
- Marla's father gives one to Ernie when trying to sell his daughter's skill to the scout."The coach of the American Legion said that if she was a boy, he'd take her to the state tournament. I said 'if she was a boy, I'd be in New York talking to the Yankees instead of living in this place'."
- A wordless one. After Doris and Mae taunt Dottie, Kit and Marla about how good you have to be to make it in the tryout, Doris rifles a ball at Dottie. Dottie catches it barehanded without even flinching, causing Doris and Mae to stare in wonder.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Enforced In-Universe by Mr. Harvey and the board running the League. They insist that the women remain as feminine and beautiful as possible at all times by sending them to finishing school, prohibiting drinking and smoking, giving them makeovers, and—worst of all—designing short-skirted "uniforms" that are more fashionable than functional. The women, who actually play baseball and thus know that the gear won't protect them, are understandably upset and try to protest, but Harvey makes it clear that the fans (and his sponsors) are more concerned with beauty than talent.
- Big Sister Instinct: Despite the obvious rivalry between them, Dottie is a devoted sister and supports Kit.
- 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.
- Big "SHUT UP!":
- Ernie yelling at one of the Keller farm cows when it moos loudly while he's examining Kit's arm.
- Jimmy's riposte when he is called out on his abuse of Evelyn: "Oh, you zip it, Doris!"
- Bittersweet Ending:
- For the main story: the Rockford Peaches lose the World Series and Dottie retires permanently from baseball, but Kit is hailed as a hero for winning the game for her team, and she and the other players have promising careers ahead of them, at least for as long as the league continues play.
- For the framing device: the ladies and their families get to see the new exhibit dedicated to them at Cooperstown, and Dottie and Kit reunite warmly. However, not everyone is there to celebrate: Bob, Jimmy, and Evelyn have all died.
- Bland-Name Product: Chocolate mogul Mr. Harvey and his Harvey Bars look like they're based on Hershey bars, but the real-life Milton Hershey and his company had nothing to do with women's professional baseball. They're actually standing in for Wrigley's chewing gum - see No Celebrities Were Harmed, below.
- Blatant Lies: In the middle of a bout of Inelegant Blubbering, Evelyn insists that she's not crying.
- 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.
- The game the girls are playing. She hits the winning runs to cheers of "Dottie! Dottie!" from the crowd. At the end, it's KIT who scores the winning run and is escorted off the field to the sound of her name.
- 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, eventually. Doris tells Mae to get a stopwatch.
- Bowdlerize: Comes with the territory For TV airings, but MLB Network tends to be a little more lenient than other outlets.
- Butt-Monkey: Poor Miss Cuthbert, the chaperone, puts up with a lot. However she sure comes up big after Betty gets her terrible news about her husband.
- The iconic "THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!!" rant 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: [chuckling] That's that lump three feet above our ass, right, Jimmy?
Jimmy: [amused] Some more prominent than others, there, Doris.note
- At the reunion, the now-elderly Mae and Doris recognize Dottie by throwing a ball at her. She catches it barehanded - exactly like when they first met.
- Kit's inability to hit high fastballs, and inability to not swing at them, is established in the amateur game that opens the 1943 part of the film. It comes back in a big way at the climax when Dottie tells the Rockford pitcher to feed Kit a diet of high fastballs.
- 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?
- Catharsis Factor: In-Universe, Kit slamming into Dottie in the climax wasn't just about baseball for her. She was getting out a lot of frustration.
- Character Development: Jimmy gets the most of this. As the Peaches's coach, he gradually evolves from a drunken, lazy Jerkass who can't be bothered to even pay attention to the girls during a game, to a Drill Sergeant Nasty who reduces Evelyn to a sobbing wreck with his famous "There's no crying in baseball!" rant, to finally a motivated coach who shares a mutual respect for his players and can restrain himself to mere Tranquil Fury when telling Evelyn that he needs her to improve her skills.
- 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 cast, 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!"
- Chick Flick: or rather, a Deconstruction of the very term.
- Chivalrous Pervert: In a deleted scene, Jimmy follows the girls to the Suds Bucket to make sure they don't get into trouble, explicitly warning Dottie about the intentions of (most) guys who go there, and actually knocking out Lowenstein when he arrives to prevent him from seeing the girls and kicking them out of the league. Note that this is well before his Character Development begins.
- Christianity is Catholic: The two times we see characters in church, they're crossing themselves and/or leaving a confessional, indicating this.
- Covert Pervert: Right before Betty gets the telegram, Stillwell is seen sneaking peeks at the changing Peaches.
- Confessional: "That's the second time he's dropped that Bible[...] Mae, what'd you say?" "Everything." Judging by the look on the young priest's face when she leaves, she may have indicated she was Hot for Preacher too.
- 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:
- Ernie Capadino drips with deadpan snark throughout his recruitment of Dottie, Kit, and Marla to join the league.Ernie: [Walter Harvey]'s starting a girls' baseball league, so he can make a buck while the boys are overseas. Wanna play?
Ernie: Nice retort. Tryouts are in Chicago. It's a real league, professional.
Kit: Professional - baseball?
Ernie: Mmm-hmm. They'll pay you $75 a week.
Kit: We only make 30 at the dairy.
Ernie: Well then, this would be more, wouldn't it?
- Ira Lowenstein has some good moments:Ira: That was some good coaching. I particularly liked that play in the fifth inning where you scratched your balls for an hour.
Jimmy: Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
- And, in the same scene: "Hey Jimmy if I paid you a little more could you be just a little more disgusting?"
- Ernie Capadino drips with deadpan snark throughout his recruitment of Dottie, Kit, and Marla to join the league.
- 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 Dottie) 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 Dottie, but Betty.
- Immediately after, Jimmy shows one of his first (on-screen) "A Father to His Men" moments, a reminder that, despite the sad times...Jimmy: We still have a game to play.
- Immediately after, Jimmy shows one of his first (on-screen) "A Father to His Men" moments, a reminder that, despite the sad times...
- Despair Event Horizon: After the Death Notification scene, it jumps to after that game. When she's alone, Dottie breaks down and cries in her room, not knowing what has happened to her husband.
- A deleted scene shows a different reason she is crying. Marla has been traded to Racine and becomes pregnant after marrying Nelson. Both teams agree to not do anything to endanger her baby. Distraught over Bob being gone and kissing Jimmy, she slides hard into second, causing Marla to be taken off on a stretcher.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Madonna's "This Used To Be My Playground".
- Down to the Last Play: Zig-Zagged Trope, because the Peaches were down to their final out, with Racine ahead 1-0, when Dottie's base hit allowed them to take the lead. But that was the top of the ninth... The Opposing Sports Team wins on the last play.
- Ethical Slut: Mae isn't called "All The Way Mae" for nothing but she never pursues the other women's husbands and is always clearly shown choosing to flirt and sleep with various men. When it's suggested that the league may fold, she has a near-breakdown at the thought of having to be a sex worker again and thus has men force themselves on her, instead of freely deciding what she wants (and more importantly, doesn't want) to do.
- Eye Take: Look at Evelyn's face during this line in Jimmy's prayer before Game 7:Jimmy: And Lord, I just want to thank you for that waitress in South Bend. You know who she is, she kept shouting your name.
- Fan Nickname: In-universe: Dottie is hailed as the "Queen of Diamonds" for her beauty and skill at the game.
- Fat and Skinny: Doris and Mae.
- Fat Best Friend: Doris to Mae, even though Mae isn't the protagonist.
- Female Misogynist: Miss Maida Gillespie and her group of women against the war "masculinizing" women by opening up different (traditionally male) jobs to women, including baseball and even said this will be "monstrous to children and the home".
- 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. It turns out he'd been wounded severely enough to be discharged and was sent back to the States so quickly that he didn't write a letter, knowing it wouldn't arrive before he did.
- Framing Device: Most of the movie is a flashback of the now-senior Dottie.
- 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, his face smeared with melted chocolate.Mae: [wielding a bat] Evelyn! I'm sorry but I'm going to have to kill your son!
Doris: Mae! Mae! Don't use my bat! Use Marla's! It's heavier!
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Dottie and Kit in the worst way. Kit always feels like Dottie has been better at baseball than her and has harbored resentment towards her sister (to her credit, Kit is aware of how unreasonable she is, but she can't help how she feels). Things get so bad that Dottie considered leaving the league because of tensions getting high between them.
- Good Bad Girl: Mae. A former taxi dancer 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 ballplayer, and for all her flirting and sleeping around, is never once seen to be pursuing any of the other girls' men.
- "Good Luck" Gesture: Alice, the team's left fielder (and catcher after Dottie leaves), is really big on superstition, and has the team do this when their bus drives through cemeteries.Older Alice: Dottie, having you here is good luck.
- Graceful Loser: Make no mistake, Dottie is a hardnosed competitor, who has no problems exploiting her sister's weaknesses in the final game, but she isn't unhappy that Kit bowled her over to jar the ball loose on the climactic play. After all, she states, that's how you play the game.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Kit towards Dottie, somewhat.
- Growing the Beard: In-Universe for Jimmy, when Dottie has Marla bunting — and Jimmy calls it idiotic.Jimmy: Hey!! Who is the goddamned manager here!? I AM!!
Dottie: Then act like it, you big lush!
Doris: [off-screen] Ooooh, you tell 'em, Dottie!
- Happily Married: Dottie and Bob; judging by her comments at the reunion, Marla and Nelson too.
- Hero of Another Story: There's a scene in which a black woman on the sidelines throws a ball back to Ellen Sue with enough pepper on it to sting her palm through her glove. That woman is meant to be Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, the first female pitcher for a professional black baseball league, as well as standing in for the thousands of black female athletes who weren't permitted to play in the All-American Girls League due to segregation.
- 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. The players who are part of her try out very audibly groan at the thought.
- 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.
- Harvey offers Jimmy a job coaching in the minors, an opportunity at rebuilding his career in men's baseball. Jimmy chooses to remain where he is.
- 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 Jimmie Foxx.
- In-Universe Catharsis: Kit bowling over Dottie at home was clearly her taking out her frustrations on Dottie. Rounding third, the look on her face is "Here I come, it's going to hurt Dottie."
- I Was Quite a Looker: All of the Peaches during the Distant Epilogue. Justified in-universe, as the athletes learn that they're also being chosen based on their looks in order to appeal to male crowds.
- Except Marla. Unless your name happens to be Nelson. When they first meet, Kit objects to Marla being dismissed as a dynamite player just because she's not as pretty as some of the other girls.
- And Ellen Sue still is, approaching Silver Fox territory. This is lampshaded by her having "married a plastic surgeon".
- Jackie Robinson Story:
- The women have to prove themselves as ballplayers to a country that's used to men's teams, but there are no African-American women allowed to even try out.
- The yet-to-be-broken barrier is alluded to when a foul ball goes into a (even more subtly hinted at) segregated group of African-American fans. Dottie holds up her glove for an easy toss, and the woman who caught it shocks her by firing a perfect strike all the way out to the shortstop (which had more than enough power behind it, judging from Ellen Sue's reaction).
- The guy who delivered the telegram for Betty was incredibly insensitive.
- Ernie the talent scout (played by Jon Lovitz) is nasty and disrespectful to everyone, not just women (as shown by his short interaction with a salesman on the train), although, for most of his brief screen time, Dottie and Kit are usually the ones on the receiving end of his snark.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Jimmy is extremely obnoxious about it ("Stop thinking with your tits!"), but he's right that Dottie is being stupid to call for a sac bunt with their best hitter, as shown when Marla smashes an extra-base hit. (21st-century sabermetricians agree with him.)
- Jerk Jock: Doris, but because she's on the Peaches, she isn't viewed as such. But observe her behavior in Game 7, and to the underdog Racine team, she's screaming, "ONE MORE! ... THANK YOU GOD!", setting her up for her comeuppance in a film where the underdog wins.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jimmy Dugan, who is a straight-up Jerkass at first but gradually changes for the better.
- Jumped at the Call: Unlike Dottie, Kit was very excited by the possibility of playing professional baseball when Ernie the talent scout recruits them.
- Let's See YOU Do Better!: After Jimmy stumbled in and out of the locker room prior to Rockford's first game, the players realize he didn’t give them a lineup. Dottie gets drafted to do so and would be their de facto manager for the first month or so.Dottie: Hey, hey, hey, you guys, come on! How hard can it be to make a lineup? Come on!
Doris: Oh yeah? Well, why don't you do it, Oregon?
Mae and Doris: Yeah, you!
Dottie: Alright, Mae, center field, lead off.
Mae: She's good!
- Leg Focus: Lampshaded by Kit who complains Dottie is a faster walker because her legs are far longer than Kit's.
- Meaningful Echo: Dottie and Kit's argument about hitting high fastballs 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. The women still aren't fond of them when they're introduced.Dottie: I'm gonna have to squat in that thing!
- 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; 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 most truly suspenseful and heart wrenching moments of the film, as every married woman (especially Dottie) watches with dread as the inept telegraph deliverer starts to leave, saying they'll just have to wait. Coach Jimmy makes him hand over the telegram and takes it upon himself to be the Bearer of Bad News... to not Dottie, but Betty.
- 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.
- The Mountains of Illinois: Inverted, there's nowhere in the Willamette Valley of Oregon where one cannot see mountains, but the scenes in Oregon just show low rolling hills since they were filmed in southern Indiana.
- Ms. Fanservice: In-Universe, as Dottie is dubbed "The Queen of Diamonds" by Lowenstein to Life Magazine. She does an unnecessary split to catch a foul ball for the mag.note Racine Catcher: I can't do that!
Racine Coach: Who can?
- Never Learned to Read: Shirley. After the Training Montage for the tryouts, the Racine manager took for granted that the ladies knew how to read, and thought she was having a Heroic BSoD over not being picked. Helen came up and helped her, locating her name on the Rockford roster. During a bus trip scene, we see Mae teaching Shirley how to read...with an erotic novel.Shirley: Her. M - mi - mil - mil - milky, milky. White, white. Milky white...
Evelyn: Mae. What are you giving her to read?!
Mae: Oh, what 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. (Naturally, Wrigley Field is replaced with Harvey Field.)
- Not in Front of the Kid: Inverted spectacularly by Jimmy when two kids ask for his autograph. Of course, "Avoid the clap" is good advice.
- Not So Above It All: This is a critical point in Dottie and Kit's relationship; Dottie plays the part of Aloof Big Sister to the brash and impetuous Kit, but multiple times the mask slips and we see that she's just as competitive as her sister is. Even as early as their second scene together, Dottie races Kit to the barn while insisting she's not, and despite repeatedly insisting that she doesn't enjoy baseball or competing, she still never walks away even when given ample opportunity. What infuriates Kit is that she knows this about Dottie and is more and more enraged when Dottie continually acts otherwise, making Kit look childish by comparison. Dottie showing back up for the final game, smiling and ready to play, indicates she's accepted this about herself; she even gives the pitcher advice on how to strike Kit out.
- 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 and Jimmy, despite all his faults, refuses to pursue her. Had she been single, Jimmy was clearly interested.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Stilwell is an annoying brat most of the time. But notice he is perfectly behaved after Betty gets the telegram informing her that her husband has died.
- 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.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Dottie during the final game—when Kit hits the ball, when she charges past third base, and right before she rams into her.
- Evelyn, the second time she screws up a big play. Remembering Jimmy's epic (and horrible) "There's no crying in baseball!" rant from her first screw up, she's already flinching as he's opening his mouth. (Thankfully, Jimmy has evolved a lot since then, and merely chastises her with visibly restrained Tranquil Fury instead of screaming.)
- Old-School Chivalry: When Jimmy reduces Evelyn to tears, the umpire gives Jimmy a gentle talking-to based in this: "Perhaps you chastised her too vehemently. Good rule of thumb: treat each of these girls as you would treat your mother." This being Jimmy, the results are not what said umpire expected or desired.
- One Season Athlete: Dottie Hinson is the best ballplayer in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. But she only plays in the first season of the league and retires by season's end.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Kit spends her life in Dottie's shadow.
- Passionate Sports Girl: All of the women, especially Kit, love the game; ironically, the two who seem to prove (by leaving the league) that they care the least are also acknowledged as the most talented: first Marla, then Dottie.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Jimmy makes numerous sexist comments, at one point outright telling Dottie to "stop thinking with your tits", but eventually comes around and takes his managing job seriously.
- Poor Communication Kills: After Kit's rant at Dottie about how difficult it is for the two of them to be on the same team, the latter tells Ira that she (Dottie) is struggling to stay with the Peaches because of her relationship with her sister and intends to quit. Desperate to keep her, he suggests a trade so the sisters won't be on the same team. She thinks he's talking about trading her and agrees, telling him to make the arrangements by the next day. But he of course arranges to trade Kit instead, who is understandably furious at this development (not least because the hurry means she has almost no time to pack or say goodbye before having to catch her train). 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.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- League official Ira Lowenstein lectures Jimmy for his poor behavior, tries to accommodate Dottie when she feels being on the same team as Kit is hurting their relationship (although his methods aren't perfect), and really goes to bat to keep the league going on multiple occasions when it looks doomed, feeling that the women deserve to keep pursuing their dream.
- The umpire gently remonstrates Jimmy for making Evelyn cry, deescalates the situation, and offers some advice about game decorum. Unfortunately, this earns the umpire only a crass insult in return, but then he ejects Jimmy from the game and unflinchingly stands his ground when the latter tries to weasel out of the penalty, showing that despite his moments-ago gentleness, the umpire is no softie.
- Refusal of the Call: Jimmy reveals late in the film that Harvey offered him a job managing the not-Cubs minor league team — he passed on it to continue coaching the Peaches.
- 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 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.
- Rewatch Bonus: Once you've seen the film and you know that Dottie tells her old teammate that Bob has died, her behavior in the beginning makes a lot more sense. It's clear that she's reluctant to attend the reunion, and her daughter is quite adamant that she go, because she's been depressed over the loss of her husband, which is fairly recent.
- Rule of Funny: By all accounts, real-life major league slugger Jimmie Foxx, on whom Jimmy Dugan is based on, got along swimmingly with the women he managed. Screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel decided, in their own words, "That's not funny" and wrote the Dugan character as a lout instead.
- Same Language Dub: The older actresses playing the senior Dottie and Kit were dubbed by Geena Davis and Lori Petty.
- Save Our Team: 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.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: When the Western Union man comes to the Rockford locker room with the telegram that one of their husbands died in the war, he forgot the placard for who it was for, and said he couldn't open the telegram to see who it was for. Jimmy relieves him of the telegram, knowing the team would not be able to function not knowing who had lost their husband.
- Serenade Your Lover: Marla to Nelson, with the help of Liquid Courage.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Marla starts out as a homely tomboy with dark circles under her eyes, but give the finishing school lessons credit, she does become noticeably feminine, and to Nelson, a Big Beautiful Woman.
- The Show Must Go On: Right before a game, a Western Union delivery man shows up at the door of the locker room with a telegram for Betty informing her that her husband was killed in action. After the team chaperone takes her aside, Jimmy has to get the rest of the team to focus.Jimmy: [softly] Alright, we’ve still got a game to play.
- Shown Their Work: The real members of the AAGPBL did have to attend charm school. Additionally, the song they sing in the locker room (and again at the reunion) is "Victory Song," and it's the official song of the real league.
- Even 1992 audiences thought the scene of everyone making fun of Kit for not being able to finish the game showed that the filmmakers clearly didn’t understand baseball. However up until the 1970s or so the starting pitcher was expected to finish it.
- Dottie and Bob's car is at least 15 years old at the time the film takes place. Cars were not in production at all during the war, and during the previous decade few people were able to afford new cars due to the Great Depression.
- In the tryout scene where Doris rifles the ball at Dottie, who catches it barehanded, Kit drops out of the way immediately. Being a pitcher, Kit's very adept at ducking line drives - a crucial skill when an unexpected ball is speeding towards your head.
- 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.
- 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.note
- 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. After the league kicks off, the newsreel announcer hypes the girls' domestic skills just as much—if not more so—as their playing.
- 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 real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League former players play a legends game at Doubleday Field.Umpire: Listen... yesterday that might have been a ball, tomorrow it might be a ball, but today it was a strike!
- Sweet Tooth: Evelyn gets Stillwell to instantly behave by bribing him with chocolate.
- Team Mom: Dottie.
- Those Two Guys: Doris and May. They're introduced together and have been together since before the events of the film.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Kit and Dottie, and Doris and Mae.
- Underdogs Never Lose: A weird variation. The Peaches are actually the unstoppable force, but the audience tends to sympathize with them simply because the main characters are members of the team, while the Belles are the underdogs. Guess who wins the World Series on the final play with a scrappy Determinator scoring the run in the face of a Jerk Jock?
- The Un-Favourite: 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.
- Unusual Euphemism: When Ernie leaves Dottie, Kit, and Marla at Harvey Field, one of the things he says he needs to do before rushing out for his next scouting trip is "give my wife a little pickle tickle".
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: 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), and pitchers threw underhand like softball. 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 not quite: the ball shrank to regulation baseball size and overhand pitching was allowed, but the bases were still 85' apart (as opposed to 90') and the pitching mound was still a half-foot closer to the plate.
- The league was profitable immediately, rather than struggling as was portrayed.
- Wardrobe Malfunction: Mae suggests this as a way to drum up interest in the league.Mae: What if at a key moment in the game my, my uniform bursts open and, uh, oops, my bosoms come flying out? That, that might draw a crowd, right?
Doris: [dryly] You think there are men in this country who ain't seen your bosoms?
- Wartime Wedding: A deleted scene explains that Dottie married Bob the night before he was sent off to war.
- Wham Line:
- "Bitch! I'VE BEEN TRADED TO RACINE!!"
- "I'm sorry, Betty."
- 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 friction burns.Doris: That's a dress!
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Ira doesn't do much to hide his contempt for Harvey when the owner announces his intent to fire the girls now that the war is almost over.
- Jimmy questions Dottie telling Marla, their best hitter, to bunt. They get into an argument and it finally spurs Jimmy into becoming their manager for real, and not just In Name Only.Jimmy: Hey!! Who's the goddamned manager here!? I AM!!
Dottie: Then act like it, you big lush!
Doris: [chuckles]' You tell 'em, Dottie!
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Downplayed. Aside from those who had died, we only find out details about what a few of the players did with their lives following baseball. Helen became a doctor; Marla's husband, Nelson, had some sort of business successnote ; Ellen Sue married a plastic surgeon; Kit ultimately married someone who was successful enough that they could travel in their retirement — and has half a dozen grandchildren.