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A League of Their Own Screening Reunites Veteran All American Girls Baseball Players
by Jill Pantozzi | 11:47 am, June 21st, 2012
There may not be any crying in baseball but something tells me a few tears might be shed at Friday’s screening of the 1992 Penny Marshall film A League of Their Own. Why? Because veterans of the actual All American Girls Professional Baseball League will be in attendance and let’s face it, we cried during that movie and it wasn’t even about us.
A League of Their Own, starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell, will be screened tomorrow at Bosse Field in Indiana, one of the shooting locations for the film. “Erma Bergmann of St. Louis, Eileen ‘Ginger’ Gascon of Chicago and Dolly Kowinsi of Grand Rapids, Mich., will step onto the infield to take a bow and later to sign autographs at Friday’s open air, 20-year anniversary screening,” according to Courier Press. “Bergmann, who celebrated her 88th birthday in her native St. Louis Monday, is one of the league’s oldest members. She pitched six seasons in the AAGPBL, two of them with the Racine Belles, one of the teams featured in A League of Their Own.”
Bergmann played in the Chicago Girls Professional Baseball League for three years after her tenure with the All American Girls and retired a sergeant after 25 years with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. ”I met people from all walks of life,” said Bergmann, “from bag ladies on the streets to millionaires.”
Patricia Treacy, a writer working on Bergmann’s biography said, “she worked with the department’s Juvenile Division as well as the original Decoy Squad, the Rape Squad and the Hoodlum Squad.”
The paper says half the players from the All American Girls, which existed from 1943 to 1954, are still alive today. Bergmann was able to watch some of Marshall’s film being shot at an old farmhouse. A police officer guarding the set bent the rules, with good reason, when he realized she didn’t have a pass. “When she told the police officer guarding the entrance to the location that she was not only a former pitcher, but a retired sergeant in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, he waved her through,” writes CP. “He said ‘Go wherever you want, I don’t even see you,’ recalled Bergmann.”
Bergmann has only ever seen the film on television and mentioned she’s excited to see it for the open-air screening at Bosse Field. And I know it’s super-tiny but here’s Bergmann’s baseball card.
I just need to point out, I did a double-take when I realized A League of Their Own came out in 1992. Twenty years ago! Perhaps it’s about time someone filmed the cast reuniting like the characters did in the film.
(via Courier Press)