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Women who inspired "A League of Their Own" tour Baseball Hall of Fame

By JOLEEN FERRIS

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - The women who inspired the movie, "A League of Their Own", were at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Friday for a special reunion.

Forty seven of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League were honored at the hall with a special morning program. Then, they spent the afternoon visiting the Hall of Fame, including the "Diamond Dreams" exhibit that they inspired.

Chicago Cubs owner William Wrigley created the league in order to fill stadium seats when young men were going off to fight in WWII. Major League Baseball survived the war, but so did the all-girl league-for 12 years-until 1954. Most of the female players realized they were good at the game when their brothers grudgingly let them play with them growing up. Convincing mom and dad to let their 17-year-old daughters leave home and travel the country to play baseball was challenging at first.

"So we come home and the first thing my mother says, 'no way my daughter's leaving this house. There is no possible way'. But he says, 'Mrs. Blair you don't understand, we're going to pay her $65 a week to play baseball'. So my mother says, "George, go crank up the car, I'm gonna go pack her suitcase," says Maybelle Blair, pitcher for the Peioria Red Wings.

The girls were as young as 15 when they were recruited to play in the AAGPBL and many earned more than their fathers.

The players on Friday also got to see a special, "A League of Their Own" display at the hall, commemorating the 20-year anniversary of the release of the movie they inspired.

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