'A League of Their Own' Star Molly Ephraim on How Maybelle Is Based on Baseball Legend (Exclusive)

A League of Their Own is back as a television show that will premiere on Prime Video Friday. The characters in the show are different from the 1992 film, but one character is based on a legendary figure from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Molly Ephraim, who plays Maybelle in A League of Their Own, talked about how her character is similar to a baseball legend. 

"My Maybelle is based on Maybelle Blair, one of the original baseball-playing gals who is now 95," Ephraim exclusively told PopCulture. "You may see her about town with her bedazzled shades, Louisville Slugger cane, hair, nails. She's a force and is incredibly spunky and sassy. So I was trying to just inhabit some of that spunk and sass."

Blair played for the Peoria Redwings of the AAGPBL in 1948. She played just one season as she went on to play professional softball in Chicago. Blair then moved to California where she attended Compton Junior College and then the LA School of Physiotherapy. And after working at a treatment center in Los Angeles, Blair worked for the Northrop Corporation for 37 years and was one of only three female managers. When she retired, Blair became vice president of CELS, Central Extended Learning for Seniors, a program provider for Elderhostel. She also serves on the AAGPBL Players Association Board and helped the league receive recognition from the Baseball Ball Hall of Fame. 

Earlier this year, Blair publicly came out at 95 years old during a promotional event for the series. "The most meaningful, now this is a terrible thing to say, but at age 95 I came out and told everybody that I was a queer," Blair told LX News. "But I call it gay because I like that word better. But that was my most meaningful thing in my life because it gave me … really the most pressure in my whole life was when I told that I was gay."

Blair helped inspire both the film and TV version of A League of Their Own, and Ephraim is happy to be a part of the project. "Was a fan of the film, like everyone," Ephriam said. "Biggest difference, I think, is that we are taking the spirit, the original spunk and spirit of the film and expanding and going a little bit deeper into who those characters really were."