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Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna star in this major-league comedy from the team that brought you Big. Hanks stars as Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up ballplayer whose big league days are over. Hired to coach in the All-American Girls Baseball League of 1943, at the same time as the male pros are at war, Dugan finds himself drawn back into the game by the heart and heroics of his all-girl team. Jon Lovitz adds a scene-stealing cameo as the sarcastic scout who recruits Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis), the baseball dolly with a Babe Ruth swing. Teammates Madonna, Lori Petty and Rosie O’Donnell round out the roster, taking the team to the World Series. In keeping with the real story of the pioneering women who blazed the trail, at the fields and off, for generations of athletes.
Penny Marshall’s popular 1992 comedy sheds light on a little-known chapter of American sports history with its story of a struggling team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league used to be formed when the recruiting of soldiers all through World War II resulted in a shortage of men’s baseball teams. The AAGPBL continued after the war (until 1954), and Marshall’s movie depicts the league in full swing, beginning when a savvy baseball scout (Jon Lovitz) finds a pair of promising new players in small-town Oregonian sisters (Geena Davis, Lori Petty). The sisters are signed to play for the Rockford Peaches near Chicago, whose new manager (Tom Hanks) is a former home-run king who wrecked his career with alcoholism. They are all a bunch of underdogs, and Marshall (with a witty script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel) does a fine job of establishing a colorful team of supporting players including Madonna and (in her movie debut) Rosie O’Donnell. It is a conventional Hollywood sports story (Marshall’s never been one to take dramatic risks), but the stellar cast is delightful, and the movie’s filled with memorable moments, witty dialogue, and agreeable sentiment. And just take into account that: there is no crying in baseball! –Jeff Shannon