A+League+of+Their+Own


A classic baseball film and a classic baseball player are headed to this year’s Riverside Saginaw Film Festival—running Wednesday, Nov. 2, through Sunday. Nov. 6, at the Temple Theatre.Penny Marshall’s 1992 drama A League of Their Own plays at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. And all softball/baseball players showing up in their 2011 team uniforms/jerseys—from Little League players to the Saginaw Old Golds—will receive a free ticket at the box office. Actually, members of the league-winning Old Golds, who play by 1800s baseball rules, will serve as greeters and ushers that day.

The movie tells the story of the women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, formed during World War II as a way to keep baseball alive while the majority of able-bodied men were serving in the military. The league existed from 1943 until 1954. Starring in League are Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell. And appearing in several scenes at the beginning and the end of the film is Michigander Mary Moore, who played for two teams during the league’s existence.

Following the showing, 78-year-old Moore will appear on stage to tell stories about life in the women’s league and answer questions. She played second base between 1950 and 1952—leading the Springfield Sallies in hits, home runs and RBI’s in 1950. The Lincoln Park native played two additional seasons with the Battle Creek Belles before an ankle injury cut short her career. And in 1988 she was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

“It was great doing something you loved and getting paid for it,” she recalls of those three years. “The pay was good, $25 a week with the Sallies, then $55 a week with the Belles, and $21 a week for meals. Plus traveling all over the country (22 states and Canada). Also the life-long friendships that were made.” But the players also were kept on a short leash, she says, subject to chaperones, curfews and bed checks. And whenever they appeared in public, they were required to wear skirts.

Moore, who now lives in White Lake, says as a kid she played the game in vacant lots, with the boys, and in high school for a fast-pitch team in Wyandotte. She was only 17 when she joined the Springfield Sallies. One of the highlights in her three years with the league, she says, was playing in Yankee Stadium before one of the Yankee games and meeting Casey Stengel, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford and Billy Martin.

After her baseball career ended, Moore worked for Michigan Bell for 35 years, as a central office supervisor—and continued to play for amateur fast-pitch and slow-pitch teams.

The movie repeats at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6—but not with the free admission for players or Moore. However, Lou E. Loon of the Great Lakes Loons will greet people at the door that day. 

The showing of League and Moore’s visit is sponsored by the Public Libraries of Saginaw.

This year’s Riverside Saginaw Film Festival is showing 25 independent, foreign and documentary films on four screens at the Temple, 203. N. Washington. Single tickets are $6 and festival passes $40. For a list of the films, show times and other information, log on to www.riversidesaginawfilmfestival.org