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Lavonne Paire Davis (5/29/1924 - 2/02/2013)

Los Angeles (AP)--Lavonne "Pepper" Paire Davis, a star in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s and an inspriation for the central character in the movie, "A League of Their Own" has died, her son said Sunday [2/3/13]. Pepper Paire Davis died of natural causes in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles on Saturday [2/2/13], her son, William Davis, told the Assoicated Press. She was 88.

Pepper was one of the models for the character, played by Geena Davis, in the 1992 hit 'A League of Their Own," which also starred Rosie ODonnell, Madonna, Lori Petty and Tom Hanks.

In 1944, Pepper joined the league created out of fear that WWII would interrupt Major League Baseball. She played in the league for 10 seasons as catcher and short stop and helped her teams win five championships. She chronicled her baseball adventures in her 2009 book "Dirt in the Skirt."  "I know what it is like for your dream to come true, mine did," Paire-Davis said in an AP story in 1995, when she was 70." Baseball was the thing I had the most fun doing."

Pepper was an English major , worked as a welder's assistant at the shipyards in Long Beach and spent every spare moment playing in local sofftball leagues. Her heart, however, belonged to baseball. "Don't get me wrong, I was glad to be playing softball", she said in 1995, "But I'd rather have played competitive baseball."

Pepper was one of a half dozen players scouted from California and chosen to join the league. The players maintained a genuine big league lifestyle playing 120 games over 4 months. "We played every night of the week," Pepper said, "and double headers on Sundays and holidays."

Pepper played on championship teams with the Racine Belles, Grand Rapids Chicks, and Fort Wayne Daisies but never actually played for the Rockford Peaches which was the featured team in the movie. 

Excerpts from Associated Press Release

Pepper is also credited with being the author of the famed AAGPBL “Victory Song” which the players from all the teams over the entire 12 year span of the League share as a common bond that “Binds Us All Together" even to this day. We will all miss her.

Posted on Tuesday, February 5, 2013

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