(Huffington Post) 'A League Of Their Own' Reunion: Real-Life Inspirations For The Film Come Together In Central NY
When Delores "Dolly" Brumfield started dating her future husband, Joe White, in the 1970s, she never bothered to tell him about her youth – when she played in a league of her own.
"I really didn't tell that many people about it. For one thing, they wouldn't have believed me," Brumfield, now 80, said, recalling her playing days as a teen-ager in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. "That was the biggest thing. If you say, `Oh, I played professional baseball,' there ain't no such thing, not in the South anyway. They didn't have any idea at all.
"I just didn't talk about it that much."
Brumfield is more than willing to talk about it these days, especially this weekend as 47 former players of the AAGPBL reunite for the 20th anniversary of "A League of Their Own," the movie that popularized what Brumfield and more than 500 other women accomplished from 1943-54. A new Blu-ray release from Sony Pictures that includes deleted scenes from the movie will be released in mid-October to celebrate the anniversary.
"I think we were pioneers," said Brumfield, a native of Prichard, Ala. "We showed that we could participate in sports. We could compete in sports."
According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the history of women playing baseball dates back to at least the 1860s, when Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. fielded a team. The AAGPBL is considered the first formal women's professional baseball league and was formed when World War II was in full swing.
The so-called "lipstick league" was the brainchild of Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley, who wanted to keep ballparks busy during the war if baseball was adversely affected by players being called to serve their country. The league's first tryouts were held in Chicago in the spring of 1943 and drew almost 300 women from across the United States and Canada.