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Here's some sad baseball news that took awhile to filter down: Dottie Kamenshek, the female baseball player who served as inspiration for Geena Davis' character in "A League Of Their Own," died of natural causes in California last Monday. She was 84.

As you might suspect, Davis' "Dottie Hinson" was actually a composite of many players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the '40s and '50s.

But as the Babe Ruth of that league, Kamenshek was honored by the movie's producers through the name of the 1992 movie's lead role. Kamenshek is the league's all-time batting leader with a .292 average, a mark that some say is equivalent to a man hitting a career .400. 

She was also once described by Wally Pipp of the New York Yankees as "the fanciest-fielding first baseman I've ever seen, man or woman."

From the Associated Press:

Kamenshek, who also went by Dottie and Kammie, played for the Rockford Peaches in Illinois from 1943 to 1953. The left-handed infielder was a seven-time All-Star and named in the top 100 female athletes of the century by Sports Illustrated.

"She was the greatest first baseman in the league," said Jeneane Lesko, who also played for the Grand Rapids Chicks of Michigan. "She's been an inspiration to all the members in the association."

Dennis McLellan has more on Kamenshek's life with an excellent obit in the Los Angeles Times. She was named to Sports Illustrated's top female athletes of the century list in 1999. 

As a side note, it's amazing how well "A League Of Their Own" has held up over time. They make that movie in 2010 and it's probably a Maggie Gyllenhaal vehicle and a disaster of epic proportions. But with a cast including Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna and the previously likable Rosie O'Donnell, I think it might actually qualify as a future classic. 

Save for the scene when they all get together and sing in the locker room, of course.

(That was just weird and uncomfortable.)

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