On Monday afternoon, The Stew memorialized Lavonne "Pepper" Paire-Davis who, before she died at age 88 on Saturday, inspired the character played by Geena Davis in "A League of Their Own."
Well, as it turns out, she wasn't the only one who inspired Davis' take on the fictionalized Dottie Hinson. In fact, if I had been paying full attention in 2010, I would have realized The Stew had published an obit for Dottie Kamenshek that included documentation asserting she was the inspiration for the lead role in Penny Marshall's movie. Our post even linked to an obit in the L.A. Times that quotes Paire-Davis saying as much.
Don't characterize this confusion as a mistake; it's just not the full truth. It's highly likely that the character played by Geena Davis was simply a composite of several women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. How can we be sure? Well, The Stew got an email from the reverend who in 2008 officiated the funeral services of a third woman whose family believes she was the inspiration for Dottie Hinson. Her name was Dottie Naum Parker:
Dear Mr. Brown,
I just read your article on yahoo! sports about Lavonne Paire-Davis. I believe that many of these wonderful women were great role models for our young girls today. Thank you for bringing to our attention Ms. Paire-Davis' passing. May she rest in peace.
I thought I would bring to your attention another one of the players, whose family believes was the inspiration for Geena Davis' character.
In late 2008 I had the opportunity to officiate the funeral service for Dorothy "Dottie" Naum Parker. You can read more information about her here:
Im not interested in getting into an argument about who's right. I just thought I'd bring to your attention another player (who's family believes was the inspiration for Geena's character in the movie). I would say, though that she had the same nickname "Dottie" and she left the game when she got married and then moved away (to Galesburg, IL).
Thanks for your writing!
Rev. Dr. David B. Parker (no relation to Dottie Naum Parker)
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church
Dottie Naum played with South Bend, Kenosha and Kalamazoo from 1946-1953, before leaving the league and marrying Ron Parker. She didn't hit like Geena Davis' character, but she could pitch (like her sister, Kit, eh?) leading the league in ERA in 1951. So we're talking about one of the AAGPBL's better players here. And her baseball card, pictured above, is reminiscent of Geena Davis throwing off the mask and going after a foul ball in the movie.
There's little reason to doubt that Dottie Kamenshek, Pepper Paire-Davis and Dottie Naum Parker all inspired the movie and are big reasons why so many fans enjoy it as much as they do. May they all rest in peace. And thanks for writing, Rev. Parker.