A League of Their Own
Starring: Tom Hanks and Madonna
Directed by: Penny Marshall
Year of original release: 1992
Genre: comedy drama with sports background
A League of Their Own is based on a true story and starred popular actor Tom Hanks and newly crowned Queen of Pop, Madonna. It tells the story of a team of American women baseball players in the new All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during the second world war. The women's teams are set up because many male professionals are in the army and so they cannot play. Yet to succeed, the women not only had to play well but also needed to overcome deep-seated prejudices.
A League of Their Own opened strongly in July 1992 on the weekend before the Fourth of July holiday. Soon the movie became number one at the US box-office and also did well worldwide.
It is 1943 and professional baseball is in a bad way. The Major League is on the point of closing down for lack of players. Millionaire businessman Walter Harvey comes up with the idea of a women's league until the men return home from the war.
The women are a mixed bunch but are all keen to play for the Rockford Peaches, a team whose coach is a drunken former professional called Jimmy Dugan (Hanks). With three other teams on board, the girls professional baseball league is good to go.
At first, hard-line baseball fans dismiss the women's league as a joke. But the women persist and even make it onto the cover of Life magazine. Suddenly, interest in women's baseball takes off.
The Real League
The girls professional league was started as a stop-gap in 1943, but went on to play nine successful seasons. The women's teams played a mixture of softball and baseball. Their ball was bigger, the pitcher's square was nearer to the batswoman, and the distance between the bases was almost eight metres shorter than in real baseball.
The players wore a short-sleeved tunic dress with a belt round the waist and a logo on the front. They also sported baseball caps, long stockings and baseball shoes. The players were expected to behave well on and off the pitch. They were not allowed to smoke or drink alcohol in public. The league's theme song included the line 'Each girl stands, her head so proudly high, her motto 'Do or Die'!'
In 1936, American publisher Henry Luce came up with an idea that would change popular magazines forever: a picture magazine. Luce was convinced that photographs could tell a story by themselves rather than just serve as illustrations for texts.
Life, which employed top-class photo editors and photographers, was an instant hit. During the second world war, the magazine's photographers captured some of the most dramatic pictures of combat ever taken.
In the 1960s, however, Life began losing ground to competitors. Finally in December 1972, it was shut down. Yet Life has continued to have an impact on magazine publishing to this day.
Lawrence Yogi Berra (born 1925) is one of America's most famous baseball players. He is a larger-than-life character who has become immortalised for his odd pearls of wisdom. The player has even lent his name to the wisecracking popular cartoon character Yogi Bear.
Some of Yogi Berra's 'yogiisms' are true classics. 'It ain't over till it's over' is probably his most famous quote. Once the great man was asked why he stopped visiting his favourite restaurant. He replied: 'Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.'
Two other gems: 'Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours.' And: 'You can observe a lot by watching.'
Take me to the ballpark
Most baseball fans agree that the game's greatest stadium is Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies. This mecca of ballparks was built in 1995 near Union Station in downtown Denver.
Coors Field boasts 63 luxury viewing suites, 4,526 club seats and top-class spectator facilities. Seats in Coors Field are painted dark green except for those in the 20th row in the upper deck, which are purple. It marks Denver's 1.6-kilometre elevation point above sea level.
During the park's construction, workers unearthed several dinosaur bones and the stadium's owners even considered calling it 'Jurassic Park'. During less exciting games, spectators in the right-field stands can gaze out at the scenic Rocky Mountains nearby.