Mary Pratt, 'A League of Their Own' Inspiration, Dead at 101

Mary Pratt, a member of the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), has died, her nephew Walter Pratt confirmed to the Patriot Ledger. She was 101. Mary Pratt was famously a pitcher for the Peaches in 1943. She moved on to the Comets in 1944, where she posted 21 wins and a 2.50 ERA with 26 strikeouts. The Peaches were one of the teams featured in the 1992 film A League of Their Own.

"It was in 1943 that I had the opportunity to become a member of the AAGPBL," Pratt wrote on the AAGPBL official website. "In June of that year, I was contacted by personnel in Chicago and flew out to Chicago after the close of school. I was met by Mr. Ken Sells, appointed by Mr. Philip Wrigley as President of the AAGPBL. I was escorted to Rockford and joined that team. That evening, Rockford was in the process of playing a league game at the 15th Ave. stadium. That was my introduction into the All-American and the start of five wonderful summers as a member of the league, 1943-47."

The Patriot Ledger reported Pratt died peacefully in her sleep on May 6 and was buried the following day. "It is a sad day in baseball this week," David Allen Lambert of Stoughton, chief genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, said to the Patriots Ledger. "I met Mary over 20 years ago at the Stoughton Historical Society when she gave a talk. She was such a wonderful lady to chat with. She brought the days of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League alive to those who were not alive to see these ladies play ball."

The AAGPBL released a statement about Pratt's death on May 8. "We are terribly sad to report that former Rockford Peaches and Kenosha Comets pitcher, Mary Pratt passed away on May 6th," the statement read. "She was 101 years old. Mary was the last known original Peaches player that played on the 1943 team. Her stories, her energy will be missed for a long time."

The AAGPBL began in 1943 and ended in 1954. The Peaches were the most successful team in the league, winning four titles during that span. A League of the Their Own, which focused on the Peaches, was a critical and commercial success earning a 78 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and making over $132 million. The film stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell, Madonna and Lori Petty.