Now Commenting On:

All-American Girls Baseball star dies at 88

Paire-Davis was the inspiration for 'A League of Their Own' character


Lavonne "Pepper" Paire-Davis, who starred in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League around the time of World War II and was the inspiration for one of the main characters in the film "A League of Their Own," died on Saturday, according to an Associated Press report. She was 88.

According to Paire-Davis' son, William, Paire-Davis died of natural causes in Los Angeles.

Paire-Davis joined the pioneering league -- which played from 1943-54 to help keep the game alive while many male players enlisted -- in 1944 and played for 10 seasons.

She was the model for the character played by Geena Davis in the 1992 film, which also starred Tom Hanks, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell.

Paire-Davis played catcher and shortstop, and won five championships while with the Racine Belles, Grand Rapids Chicks and Fort Wayne Daisies. Teams in the league played 120 games over a four-month season.

"I know what it's like for your dream to come true, mine did," Paire-Davis told the AP in a 1995 interview. "Baseball was the thing I had the most fun doing. It was like breathing."

The All-American Girls Baseball League was founded by Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley, and featured mostly women from the Chicago area. Paire-Davis, though, graduated from high school and enrolled at UCLA to study English before working as a welder's assistant in Long Beach, according to the AP.

Paire-Davis told the AP in a prior interview she couldn't "honestly tell you I knew the history we were making back then." But, she added, "I can tell you we knew we were doing something special."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.‬ This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español