HIS 1150 Assessment 5-1 A League Of Our Own

HIS 1150 Assessment 5-1 A League of Our Own

A League of Their Own is a beloved American film released in 1992 that depicts a significant moment for women during World War II. Set in 1943, the movie showcases the challenges faced by women as most American men were drafted into war, leaving job vacancies and entertainment opportunities to be filled by the women left behind. 

The film highlighted a unique and empowering chapter in history when women could play professional baseball, thanks to the creation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). The story revolves around the experiences of two sisters, Dottie Hinson (played by Geena Davis) and Kit (played by Lori Petty), who are selected to be part of a professional baseball team.

HIS 1150 Assessment 5-1 A League Of Our Own

During World War II, women played a crucial role on the home front. With most non-disabled men enlisted in the military, women stepped up to fill the void in the workforce and support the war effort. 

This era of empowerment was epitomized by the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter, a bandana-wearing, cuffed-sleeve, arm-flexing woman who symbolized women’s rights and equality. Rosie’s idea quickly motivated women worldwide, inspiring them to break societal norms and pursue new opportunities.

The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) directly resulted from this changing landscape. In 1943, wealthy candy bar maker Walter Harvey (played by Garry Marshall) and several other men recognized the potential of women’s baseball. 

They agreed to recruit talented female players for actual professional league teams. The AAGPBL provided a platform for women to showcase their athletic abilities and contribute to the national pastime.

A League of Their Own relives the history of women’s rights and battles with discrimination. While the movie takes some liberties with the facts for dramatic effect, it is rooted in actual events. With most men serving in the military, there were not enough male players to continue professional baseball games in the United States. 

HIS 1150 Assessment 5-1 A League Of Our Own

The movie captures the journey of Dottie and Kit as they navigate the challenges of professional sports, including travel, performance pressure, public discrimination, and family tensions. Their coach, Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks), is a washed-up alcoholic former baseball player who must overcome his demons to lead the team. This necessitated the recruitment of women to keep the sport alive.

The AAGPBL was founded in 1943 and allowed talented women to showcase their baseball skills professionally. However, the league was unfortunately short-lived, dissolving in 1954. One of the primary reasons for its downfall was the increasing popularity of televised baseball games. 

As television sets became more prevalent, many small towns needed access to broadcasts, resulting in limited support for the AAGPBL. The lack of advertising and promotion further hindered the league’s growth and sustainability.

Despite its dissolution, the AAGPBL had a lasting impact. It paved the way for women’s baseball and softball, becoming a stepping stone for future generations of female athletes. While women’s baseball reached a different level of recognition and support than men’s baseball, the AAGPBL demonstrated that women could compete professionally and excel in traditionally male-dominated sports.

HIS 1150 Assessment 5-1 A League Of Our Own

In portraying the historical events, A League of Their Own does take some creative liberties. Most of the characters in the movie are loosely based on actual individuals, with some minor details altered for storytelling purposes. 

For example, Dottie Kamenshek, the real-life inspiration behind Dottie Hinson, did not play baseball alongside her sister. This addition of competing sisters was made to generate more dramatic tension in the plot. Kamenshek, one of the most remarkable women baseball players, was a left-handed first baseman and outfielder.

In reality, the movie depicts her as a right-handed catcher. There are also semi-accurate depictions in the film, such as Walter Harvey’s character representing Philip Wrigley, the owner of the Chicago Cubs and promoter of the AAGPBL. 

The AAGPBL was quite successful, attracting approximately one million fans. While Mr. Harvey is portrayed as a candy bar maker in the film, Mr. Wrigley is known for promoting chewing gum. Furthermore, the movie depicts the league as struggling, with gimmicks encouraged by Harvey’s right-hand man, Ira Lowenstein.

HIS 1150 Assessment 5-1 A League Of Our Own

One of the notable aspects of A League of Their Own is its attention to aesthetic accuracy. The film accurately represents the uniforms women baseball players wore during the 1940s. The classic attire consisted of wool skirts that buttoned at the neck, reflecting the time’s fashion. 

The filmmakers even went to great lengths to use authentic 1940s baseball equipment during the production, ensuring a realistic depiction of the era. However, due to the outdated webbing on an old-style mitt, one actress even ended up with a broken nose while attempting to catch a ball.

The film also discusses the restrictions imposed on female players during that period. The women were required to follow a set of rules that dictated their appearance and behavior. They were not allowed to wear pants and had to play in short skirts. 

While smoking and drinking alcohol was prohibited in the movie, only drinking was explicitly forbidden in reality. Players caught violating these rules would face fines. Additionally, Philip Wrigley mandated that all women players attend charm school in the evenings after games, aiming to present a more feminine image of the players. However, media reports criticized women’s baseball then, suggesting that it masculinized the country’s women and would create problems when the men returned from war.

HIS 1150 Assessment 5-1 A League Of Our Own

In 1944, Wrigley sold the AAGPBL to Arthur Meyerhoff, who expanded the league and implemented a reorganization. Each franchise was officially governed by a League Board of Directors, treating the female players as professional athletes. This development further legitimized women’s baseball and recognized the players’ contributions.

The enduring impact of A League of Their Own is evident in its recognition and preservation. In 2012, the Library of Congress selected the movie for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. This honor was bestowed upon the film due to its historical, cultural, and aesthetic significance. Despite the fictional elements and creative storytelling choices, the movie remains true to its core theme of women’s oppression and the fight for equal rights.

While A League of Their Own tells an inspiring story, some opportunities for greater accuracy could be improved. For instance, the film could have explored the restrictions faced by black women who were excluded from the league despite their talent and abilities. 

HIS 1150 Assessment 5-1 A League Of Our Own

There is a brief scene where Geena Davis’s character expresses disappointment when a black woman demonstrates impressive throwing skills, hinting at the issue of racial exclusion. However, this topic has yet to be further developed. Nevertheless, the movie’s focus on women’s rights remains intact, and the decision to remove a romantic storyline between Geena Davis’s and Tom Hanks’s characters demonstrates the filmmakers’ commitment to showcasing the film’s core message.

In conclusion, A League of Their Own is important in sports history and popular culture. It pays homage to the original female baseball players by incorporating their photos and dedicating the film to the AAGPBL. 

The extras featured in the movie’s closing scenes, set at the Baseball Hall of Fame, were the real women who played baseball decades ago. While the AAGPBL may no longer exist, its impact on women’s baseball and softball is undeniable. A League of Their Own immortalizes the achievements of these trailblazing women, reminding audiences of the power of determination, unity, and the fight for equality. HIS 1150 Assessment 5-1 A League Of Our Own


AAGPBL Players Association Staff. (2014). AAGPBL League History. Retrieved from


Santana, (2016). From Empowerment to Domesticity: The Case of Rosie the Riveter and the WWII Campaign. Frontiers in Sociology, p. 1. doi: 10.3389/fsoc.2016.00016

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. (2017). All-American Girls Professional Baseball League | American sports organization. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from


Wikipedia Contributors. (2019, December 16). A League of Their Own. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved from


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