Baseball Player That Inspired ‘A League of Their Own’ Dies at 88
Lavonne “Pepper” Paire-Davis – the inspiration that spawned the Hollywood movie ‘A League of Their Own’, which was filmed in part at Bosse Field here in Evansville, reportedly has died due to natural causes, according to reports from a family member. She was 88.
Paire-Davis’ experience with the All American Girls Baseball League was the basis behind the hit 1992 movie ‘A League of Their Own’ starring Geena Davis (whose character was modeled after Paire-Davis), Tom Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna.
After joining the league in 1944, Paire-Davis, who played as a catcher and a shortstop, went on to lead her teams the Racine Belles, the Grand Rapids Chicks and the Fort Wayne Daises into five championships during the league’s 10 seasons stretch – the league was “temporarily suspended” in 1954 and simply never continued.
Prior to joining the league, Paire-Davis attended UCLA as an English Major and worked as a welder’s assistant in the shipyards of Long Beach, while devoting much of her free time to playing softball in local leagues. However, as much as she enjoyed playing softball, her true passion was competitive baseball.
During an interview in 1995, Paire-Davis said that while none of the girls in the league had any idea that they were making history, “I can tell you we knew we were doing something special.”