If you’ve ever seen A League of Their Own (you know, the movie that made Madonna almost look like she was a human), you’d understand what an epic individual Lavonne Paire-Davis was. Better known as Pepper, Paire-Davis was a superstar in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940’s. Her career as a shortstop and a catcher actually inspired A League of Their Own.
Pepper was kind of a badass. Originally from Los Angeles, Paire-Davis began playing baseball as a child, at a time when girls were supposed to be anything but athletic. She used her athletic talents to secure her a professional career in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which I’m going to assume was the precursor to softball. Later in life, she became an entrepreneur, opening an electronics business with her BFF Faye Dancer, and she became an author of the autobiographical work, Dirt in the Skirt.
Lavonne was a pioneer in women’s sports. Without her, I’m fairly confident intramurals would not be the same today. She used her talents to get everything she wanted in life. She became a spokeswomen, a successful businesswoman, a wife, and a mother of three. Oh yeah, and her life also inspired one of the best-known movies of all time. So there’s that.
Unfortunately, Lavonne died at 88 years old of natural causes on February 3 in Los Angeles. She certainly led a life of significance, and made a great contribution to the world of softball, and to all female athletes.
While Tom Hanks said, “there’s no crying in baseball” in a League of Their Own, I’m sure a few tears can be justifiably shed for the late Lavonne, who’s life inspired Geena Davis to put on a baseball uniform.
[via NBC Sports]
Image via sportsartifacts.com