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February 4, 2013

"League" Inspiration Dead at 88

Lavonne “Pepper” Paire Davis loved baseball. So when she was 18 she jumped at the chance to join Philip K. Wrigley’s All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the spring of 1944.

Davis, a catcher by trade, was first assigned to the Minneapolis Millerettes and would spend the next ten seasons in the AAGPBL.

A defensive specialist with a .997 lifetime fielding percentage (meaning that she made all by 0.3% of all plays she handled behind the place), she would win a championship in 1946 with the Racine Belles and finish second three other times (1951-1953).  Hitting only .225 over her career, Davis had 400 runs batted in, good for fourth all-time in league history.

But Davis’ contribution to the AAGPBL went beyond the diamond.

She was the co-writer of the league’s official "Victory Song" along with Nalda “Bird” Phillips. The song was performed during the film.

Davis’ experiences and personality also earned her the role of technical advisor for "A League of Their Own". The lead character, Dottie Hinson, played by Geena Davis was a composite of Davis and two other stars of the AAGPBL: Dorothy Kamenshek and Dottie Schroeder.

“Pepper” Paire Davis, who published her memoir Dirt in the Skirt in 2009, died Sunday at the age of 88.

***Obituary above courtesy of Hall contributor Josh Eisenberg from Obit of the Day.***

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