You know there’s no crying in baseball, but here are 25 things you might not know about the 1992 classic, A League of Their Own.
1. The movie inspired a very short-lived TV show of the same name.
It ran for one season in 1993 and although none of the marquee names from the movie came back for the small screen edition, Megan Cavanagh and Tracy Reiner reprised their roles as Marla Hooch and “Betty Spaghetti” Horn, respectively; Garry Marshall stayed on as Walter Harvey and even Jon Lovitz came back for one episode.
2. The real life founder of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) made his fortune selling gum, not chocolate bars.
In the movie, the league’s owner and founder is a candy bar mogul; the real AAGPBL was started by Philip K. Wrigley, of the chewing gum and the Cubs.
3. The original four-hour cut of the movie gives a lot more backstory for all the girls.
For instance, in one cut scene, Kit (Lori Petty) and Dottie (Geena Davis) discuss how after dating for a preposterously-long five years without commitment, Dottie married Bob the night he got drafted.
4. The mansion that serves as Walter Harvey’s house has a secret bar hidden behind a trick wall.
Originally, a scene was made up specifically to incorporate the bar, but it was cut.
5. Also cut? Some very retro feelings about premarital sex.
The slimmed down version of the film lets Madonna’s Mae keep her “All the Way” nickname, but a deleted scene shows Dottie advising Kit not to hang around such a bad influence. Dottie isn’t sure if going “all the way” is something married women “get to” or “have to” do.
6. The scene at the Suds Bucket bar was originally much longer.
The lengthier version shows Kit striking out a would-be-suitor who bets he can get a hit off her in exchange for little quality time out in his truck. Oh, and Tom Hanks’ character, Jimmy Dugan, follows the girls to the bar and gives Kit some timely advice to win the wager.
7. Two Thousand girls converged on University of Southern California’s campus for the auditions.
But none of them got to read for director Penny Marshall until they passed the baseball portion of the audition. Well, except for Geena Davis, who showed off her then-lacking baseball skills in Marshall’s backyard at their first meeting.
8. Garry Marshall, who plays Walter Harvey, is Penny Marshall’s brother.
He joined the cast when someone dropped out and they needed a last minute actor.
9. Rosie O’Donnell originally read for the part of Marla.
When Megan Cavanagh proved to be perfect as Marla, a new part was written for O’Donnell, who was not only hilarious but one of the more talented ballplayers.
10. The only other part written with a specific actor in mind was the curmudgeonly scout, Ernie Capadino.
It had to be Jon Lovitz.
11. Marla’s husband, Nelson, makes cheese.
It was among the details lost when the Suds Bucket scene was shortened. But I think it really adds something to the movie.
12. Before filming even began, the actresses all had to hone their baseball ability.
They spent eight hours a day, six days a week for seven and half months participating in baseball training.
13. Madonna worked at least as hard as everyone else, but still struggled with some of the more technical aspects of the game.
Her character, Mae, had to be moved from third base to the outfield because she couldn’t master fielding ground balls.
14. Some of the people on production wanted Jimmy and Dottie to end up together, and when that idea was scrapped, so were the key scenes of romantic tension.
Their conversation on the bus that stayed in the film may have seemed to hint at something more than friendship, but it’s nothing compared to a cut scene in which Dottie watches Jimmy hit batting practice late at night. Jimmy tells Dottie how much he loves watching her play, claiming that she rivals Ty Cobb and Ted Williams. After Dottie admits how much she loves baseball, he kisses her. She runs into the clubhouse and, originally, this is where she starts packing her things and tells Ira Lowenstein, the AAGPBL general manager, that she has to go home.
15. During their training camp, the actresses learned to slide on a Slip ‘N Slide.
But that idea was scrapped after three of them ended up with concussions.
16. Each character had a “clean” and “dirty” uniform that they would wear depending on if the scene they were filming took place at the beginning or end of a game.
To get the “dirty” uniforms, they just went out and rolled around on the base paths.
17. Everything was authentic, for better or for worse.
Between the hot wool uniforms, the un-webbed mitts and the lack of batting gloves, the period costumes made the baseball that much more difficult—and dangerous.
18. The 1700 extras also had to suffer through the extreme Indiana heat in period costume.
To entertain them during down time, Rosie called a comedian friend of hers, who spent 10 weeks with the production. O’Donnell and Hanks also took turns entertaining the “fans.”
19. In a cut scene, we see post-marriage Marla playing with Kit on the Racine Belles.
She’s pregnant at the time and, although desperate to keep it secret from management, the players on both her team and the other teams agree to accommodate her. During the game, Dottie and Jimmy get into a fight about their relationship and she doesn’t notice Marla playing second base. On a double play ball, Dottie slides hard and takes out Marla who is removed on a stretcher. The other players accuse Dottie of stopping at nothing to win. Later, we learn that both Marla and the baby are fine but, in the original version of the movie, it is guilt over her actions that has Dottie in tears when Bob unexpectedly arrives.
20. O’Donnell really does throw two balls to two catchers at once.
It’s a trick she learned on set from one of the actual original members of the AAGPBL.
21. Similarly, Geena Davis really does catch a pop up behind her back.
It was supposed to be done by a stunt double, but the double was having trouble. So Davis gave it a go and, well, you’ve seen the result.
22. A lot of actual baseball was played on set.
Marshall had the actresses play real games with multiple cameras running to get extra footage for in-game montages.
23. During the scene where the scout approaches Dottie and Kit in the barn, a calf was actually born on set.
The calf was named “Penny” after the movie’s director.
24. Madonna’s character catches a ball in her hat in one scene, but technically, that wouldn’t have counted as an out.
Rules specifically state that for a fly ball to be an out, it has to be caught in the glove or hand.
25. The extras in the Hall of Fame scene are the actual players from the AAGPBL.
As for Dottie and the rest of the Peaches, it’s older actresses you’re seeing, but the dialogue is dubbed with the younger actresses’ voices.