I started the Flick Friday feature as a way of getting to watch some baseball during the winter. But now that spring training is in full swing, the Cubs are already fighting with one another, and opening day is less than a month away, today's movie will be the last one. I've got several more baseball movies in my collection, so maybe next winter I'll pick this up again.
Today's flick is A League of Their Own, which tells the story of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. The movie is a fictionalized story of the actual league. None of the characters in the movie were real people, though the teams featured were actual teams in the league.
The movie revolves around the best player on the team, Dottie Hinson (GIna Davis) and her relationship with her sister Kit (Lori Petty), her manager, former big league star Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), and the rest of her Rockford Peaches teammates. It's a well-told and believable story.
There is plenty of baseball action in the movie, and the actors did a nice job. They were more believable than many male actors in other baseball movies (Tim Robbins....I'm looking at you!). The set designers also did great work recreating the ballparks. Everything about them looked authentic; you really felt like you were in 1943.
Huge! In fact, without the Cubs, the AAGPBL and the movie wouldn't exist. The league was the brainchild of Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley, who feared a loss of baseball revenue during the war. In the movie, the chewing gum magnate becomes the fictionalized candy bar magnate Walter Harvey. Wrigley's original plan was to have the league use major league stadiums when the MLB teams were on the road. But he didn't get much support from the other owners, so the league turned to smaller, Midwest towns.
The original tryouts for the league were held at Wrigley Field in May, 1943. The movie shows this by using Wrigley Field in the tryout scenes. Some things that weren't at Wrigley in 1943, like the message board under the scoreboard and the sky boxes, were covered up, while other things, like the lights, bleacher baskets and the TV camera shed, were shown.
Here is a panomara shot of Wrigley
In this picture you can see the TV camera shed and a tarp covering up the scoreboard message board.
The character of Jimmy Dugan was loosely based on a former Cub, Hack Wilson. Dugan is shown to have hit 58 homers in a season (Wilson hit a then-NL record of 56). Both players had their careers derailed by a problem with alcohol. Dugan had a 53 second experience at the urinal trough; I don't know if Wilson did.
And Dugan had the most famous quote of the movie.
During the war years, there weren't too many baseball cards made. So in creating cards for a few of the players, I used the design of Play Ball's 1940's era sets.