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St. Aubin, Helen Callaghan Candaele (3/13/1929 - 12/8/1992)

By San Jose Mercury News (CA)

Helen (Callaghan) Candaele St. Aubin, a star of women's professional baseball in the 1940s whose career inspired the hit film "A League of Their Own," has died. She was 63.

Mrs. St. Aubin, a longtime resident of Lompoc, died Tuesday night at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara after a lengthy battle with breast cancer, according to her son, Kelly.

Mrs. St. Aubin passed her talents on the diamond to another of her five sons, Casey Candaele, a player for the Houston Astros.

She was known as Helen Callaghan during her baseball heyday that began in Vancouver, Canada, where she and her sister, Margaret Maxwell, were recruited for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The league, which lasted about a decade, flourished in the 1940s when many major leaguers -- including Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams -- were called off to World War II.

The women played six days a week, plus doubleheaders on Sunday. The league began with four teams and expanded to 16.

Mrs. St. Aubin, an outfielder, spent five years with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Daisies, winning the batting championship in 1945. She also played a year with the Minneapolis Millerettes. Her sister played for both teams as well, Kelly Candaele said.

Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson produced a documentary called "A League of Their Own" that featured Mrs. St. Aubin, her sister and many of the women ballplayers. It aired in Los Angeles in 1988 and nationally on PBS the next year, he said. 

After seeing the documentary, Penny Marshall was inspired to make a feature film. A story line loosely based on Mrs. St. Aubin and her sister served as a basis for the screenplay by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, Candaele said.

''A League of Their Own," a Paramount Pictures film starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Madonna, was a box office hit last summer.

Mrs. St. Aubin is survived by her husband, Ronald J. St. Aubin; sons Kelly, Casey, Rick, Rocky and Kerry; and three grandchildren. Her first marriage, to Robert Candaele, ended in divorce.

Contributed by: Helen Nordquist
Submitted on: 03/23/2014
Copyright: San Jose Mercury News (CA) 12/10/1992

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