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A League of Their Own: Alums of Women’s Baseball League have reunion in Cincinnati

Alums of Women’s Baseball League have reunion in Cincinnati (WKRC) 

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Some two dozen former ballplayers are having a reunion in Cincinnati this weekend.

It seems appropriate, considering the city's history in the national pastime.

But these ballplayers are not former Reds. They made baseball history in another way.

“A League of Their Own” is 25-years-old, but that’s just the movie. The real-life league is older.

The women are alumni of women's baseball. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of 1943-1954 that was made famous by the movie.

“The movie was actually composites. They weren't particular players, but Penny Marshall had interviewed players and specific incidents were included in the composites,” said AAGPBL Alumnus Jeneane Lesko.

The main character of that movie was named Dottie Henson.

She is based on a ballplayer from Norwood: The late Dottie Kemenshek.

The league played in 15 Midwestern cities, not all at once.

The idea was to fill a void. Because so many men were off in the war, women started doing men's jobs at home, much like the famed Rosie the Riveter, and playing men's games.

“I know as a kid I always wondered why the boys had all the fun. So I joined in and in doing what they did that's how I got started playing baseball and other sports,” said

“I tried out and I made it. I was so tiny they didn't have a uniform so they had to make something. But I was short and mighty,” said AAGPBL Alumnus Toni Palermo.

“We knew we were going back to school, but in the summer, we looked forward to it. Here we are today with friends from 60-70 years ago,” said Dolly Niemiec Konwinski.

When a “League of Their Own” came out 25 years ago, Local 12 Jeff Hirsh’s daughters were of the age where they watched it over and over, so he has seen a league of their own a lot and knows all the classic lines. “You see cowgirls the train moves, not the station.” and “This is our daughter Dottie, this is our other daughter, Dottie's sister.” and then there’s the most famous line of all: “There's no crying in baseball.”

No crying, but the women who played the game became role models for other female athletes and proved the expression “you throw like a girl” is a compliment.

The convention is at the Westin Hotel. There is a public autograph session on Saturday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

600 women played in the league over its history.

It was founded by Chicago Cubs owner and chewing gum magnate PK Wrigley.

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