Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Lavonne Paire-Davis -- inspiration behind 'A League of Their Own' -- passes away at age of 88

She was a professional ballplayer, mother to a wonderful family and inspiration behind a critically-acclaimed Hollywood movie. It's safe to say Lavonne "Pepper" Paire-Davis had a pretty successful life.

Paire-Davis, who passed away on Saturday of natural causes, was critical in putting the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League on the map.

The catcher/shortstop joined the organization in 1944 and went on to win five championships with the Racine Belles, the Grand Rapids Chicks and the Fort Wayne Daisies. The league was founded in 1943 out of fear that the war might cease Major League Baseball operations and featured a 120-game schedule, 15 teams and skirt uniforms.

Paire-Davis went on to write "Dirt in the Skirt," a 2009 book chronicling her experiences in pro baseball and in 1992, the California native was a model for the character portrayed by Geena Davis in the film "A League of Their Own." The movie highlighted a cool era of the game with "interesting" managers, large crowds and women who simply loved playing baseball. As Paire-Davis once said in a 1995 AP interview: "Baseball was the thing I had most fun doing. It was like breathing."

-- Matt Monagan /