Today’s AFI Movie Club Film: A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Screen Shot 2020-07-04 at 10.36.19 AM

A League of Their Own comes to bat with an all-star lineup that includes Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and AFI Life Achievement Award Recipient Tom Hanks – who taught us all that “There’s no crying in baseball!” –one of AFI’s greatest movie quotes in cinematic history.

A beautiful film and heart-warming story about a difficult time in American history. Professional baseball has been canceled due to World War II. To help continue the traditions of America’s past time, a women’s professional league is formed to help fill the gaping hole by the overseas war effort. Highly entertaining! Check it out. But before you do listen to director Penny Marshall has to say about A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN in this exclusive AFI Archive video:

Interesting Facts

  • Before any actress read for a part in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, she had to take a baseball test. Each actress either had to be good at baseball or trainable in order to even audition. Roughly 2,000 actresses tested on a field at USC – including director Penny Marshall’s own daughter, Tracy Reiner.
  • Actual players of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League can be seen in the final scenes of the movie – both at the baseball field and at the Hall of Fame.Former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player Dolores “Pickles” Dries taught Rosie O’Donnell how to throw two baseballs at once during filming. Director Penny Marshall added the trick throw into the movie.
  • Rosie O’Donnell originally read for the part of Marla Hooch. After director Penny cast Megan Cavanagh in the part, Marshall had the part of Doris Murphy changed to better fit O’Donnell. Marshall thought she was funny, a good actress and a very good ball player so she made sure to find a place for her in the movie.
  • Director Penny Marshall had the teams play real baseball games with cameras rolling to get extra footage of game play.
  • A short-lived sitcom based on A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN aired in 1993. Tom Hanks and Penny Marshall both directed episodes of the series.
  • A community field in Huntingburg, IN, was enlarged and rebuilt to stand in for the Rockford Peaches’ home field. Construction was done to code so the structure could remain in use after filming, and the revamped stadium was named League Stadium in honor of the production.
  • Over $10 million was spent in Indiana during the production of the movie – becoming one of the greatest economic impacts of any film produced in Indiana.
  • The role of Ernie Capadino was specifically written with Jon Lovitz in mind.
  • During the barn scene in which Jon Lovitz meets Geena Davis and Lori Petty, production had to be temporarily paused because a cow in the background was giving birth. The calf was named after director Penny Marshall.
  • Wrigley Field doubles as the fictional Harvey Field in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. The character “Walter Harvey” is based on chewing-gum tycoon P. K. Wrigley, who owned the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise and organized the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1943.
  • The movie doesn’t end at the credits. Engage with your family, friends and others like you who love the movies. Check out the AFI Movie Club Discussion Questions for this movie and post your responses in the comment section!

Discussion Questions

-Why do you think Dottie is reluctant to attend the opening of the Hall of Fame at the beginning of the film?

-What was the political climate like in the U.S. that led to the creation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League? How did World War II influence the experience of American women?

-Why was it so difficult for society to accept women playing baseball?

-Describe the sisterly dynamic between Dottie and Kit. What were their major points of conflict?

-What makes A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN important in today’s society even after 25 years?

-Why was Doris willing to tear up the photo of her boyfriend and throw it out the bus window?

-Which player in the movie had your favorite nickname?

-What makes the line “There’s no crying in baseball!” so iconic that it is still quoted today?

– What did the league managers expect from their female players, in terms of traditional feminine qualities, appearance and behavior? Why was this expected of them as athletes?

-Why was it important for director Penny Marshall to include the scene of the African American woman throwing the baseball back to the players on the field?

-Did Dottie drop the ball on purpose at the end of the film? If she did, what would that signify about her relationship with her sister Kit?

-Why was the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League short-lived? Why does a women’s baseball league not exist today?

-How would you rate A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN?

About AFI Movie Club

I hope the AFI Movie Club brings some inspiration and entertainment during this uncertain time. AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies where each day’s film – announced by a special guest – is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to bring the viewing experience to life. As a non-profit, AFI Movie Club is a member-powered organization, dependent upon the support of its movie fans. To support AFI Movie Club please consider becoming a member or donating.

AFI Movie Club is a newly launched free program to raise the nation’s spirits by bringing artists and audiences together – even while we are apart. AFI shines a spotlight on an iconic movie each day, with special guests announcing the Movie of the Day. Audiences can “gather” at to find out how to watch the featured movie of the day with the use of their preexisting streaming service credentials. The daily film selections will be supported by fun facts, family discussion points and exclusive material from the AFI Archive to enrich the viewing experience.


(Source: AFI News Release)


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