Monday, May 24, 2010

Sad Day For Baseball

Dottie Kamenshek, the female baseball player who served as inspiration for Geena Davis' character in the movie classic "A League of their Own" died last Monday, from natural causes. She was 84.

Dottie was one of a kind. As many suspected Davis' character in the movie was a composite of many different players from the All-American Girls Pro Baseball League in the 40s and 50s. Yet Kamenshek was honored by the movie's producers through the name of the movie's lead role.

Many named Dottie as the "Babe Ruth" of the womens league. She is the leagues all time leading batting leader (.292 avg), a mark that some say is the equivalent to a man hitting a career .400. Also she was once described by a member of the New York Yankees as the "fanciest-fielding first baseman I've ever seen, man or woman". She was a seven-time All Star and named in the top 100 female athletes of the century by Sports Illustrated in 1999.

Dottie was a true inspiration not only to the women in the league with her but she was an inspiration to generations of women after her. I will say that she defiantly inspired my life in ways that she will never know. When I was 12 I was the only girl on my little league all star team. I was told time and time again that baseball was not a sport for a girl and that I should find my place with the other girls cheering on the sidelines. Yet I never did, I stuck with it (and was pretty damn good too). When the movie came out I was 10. It instilled in me this fact that women could do anything, be anything, do anything that they ever wanted. It gave me the courage and the strength to stick with the sport that I loved no matter who made fun of me or told me I was wrong. Ask my brothers, I forced them to watch this movie at least once every 3 days. Every time it comes on the tv to this day, I stop and watch it. Almost as if it was made especially for me and my experiences.

As a final note. My last at bat during that all-star season (which was technically the last time I ever played baseball), I stepped up to the plate, looked out into a field of boys and hit a home run over the center field fence (my first). Rounding those bases, seeing the shock on these boys faces, proved to me that I could do anything that I wanted.

So Dottie Kamenshek thank you for persevering when people told you not to. Your name will always be remembered with those who made it possible for me and my future children to live in a world where we are not judged by our gender. And that if we wanted to, we could really do anything we wanted.

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