Women's baseball star, movie inspirer Davis dies

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LOS ANGELES — Lavonne “Pepper” Paire-Davis, a star of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s and an inspiration for the central character in the movie “A League of Their Own,” has died.

Paire-Davis died of natural causes in Los Angeles on Saturday, said her son, William Davis, on Sunday. She was 88.

Paire-Davis was a model for the character played by Geena Davis in the 1992 hit “A League of Their Own,” which also starred Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna and Tom Hanks.

In 1944, Paire-Davis joined the league, created out of fear that World War II would interrupt Major League Baseball, and played for 10 seasons.

She was a catcher and shortstop, and helped her teams win five championships. She chronicled her baseball adventures in the 2009 book “Dirt in the Skirt.”

“I know what it’s 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. It was like breathing.”

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