'A League of Their Own,' Then and Now
Happy birthday, Geena Davis! The famed actress turns 60 on Thursday. In celebration of Davis’ big day, let’s take a look back on one of her most beloved projects, catching up with the stars of A League of Their Own, then and now.
Tom Hanks (Jimmy Dugan)
THEN: Early in his film career, Hanks joined A League of Their Own as baseball manager Jimmy Dugan. He took on the part of the Peaches’ questionable leader after making appearances in Dragnet (1987), Big (1988), and Joe Versus the Volcano (1990). The role gave Hanks the opportunity to drop the unforgettable wisdom that “There’s no crying in baseball,” and led into his famed turn in the following year’s Sleepless in Seattle.
NOW: The beloved star’s career only took off from there. Just a few years after League, Hanks took home an Oscar for his starring turn in Forrest Gump, and spent 1995 bringing the character of Woody to the big screen in Toy Story and playing Jim Lovell in Apollo 13. The decades since have included Oscar-nominated roles in Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Cast Away (2000), and recent gigs as Captain Richard Phillips in Captain Phillips and as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, both in 2013.
Geena Davis (Dottie Hinson)
THEN: Geena Davis led the baseball comedy as Dottie Hinson, a small town girl who becomes a big league star. Davis played the team’s catcher after getting an early start on television. She spent the ’80s picking up gigs in Buffalo Bill, Sara, and Family Ties, before landing her now-famed role as Thelma in 1991’s Thelma and Louise.
NOW: After hanging up her catcher’s glove, Davis chased Olympic dreams in 1999, competing to place on the U.S. team for archery. While she fell short of reaching the acclaimed international stage, the actress had more than enough to fill her schedule. She starred in the short-lived Geena Davis Show on ABC in 2000, played the president in the network’s Commander in Chief a few years later, and made her debut in a talked-about arc on Grey’s Anatomy in 2014. She also established The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, focusing on equality in representation.
Lori Petty (Kit Keller)
THEN: Tennessee native Lori Petty took on the role of Oregon dairy girl Kit Keller for A League of Their Own. She played the sister to Davis’ Dottie, offering the spitfire drive to the Peaches before she’s traded to the Racine Belles. Petty came into the gig with a few previous credits to her name, including TV cameos in The Twilight Zone (1986), The Thorns (1988), and Booker (1989), and big-screen appearances in Cadillac Man (1990) and Point Break (1991).
NOW: Just months after she stepped off the field, Petty charmed as Rae in Free Willy, going on to appear in 1995’s Tank Girl, and star in, write, and direct the 2008 drama The Poker House. She is, however, best known for her television work in recent years, playing inmate Lolly Whitehill in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black.
Madonna (Mae Mordabito)
THEN: In the midst of her pop career, Madonna picked up a bat to play center fielder Mae Mordabito. The famed singer brought the retired taxi dancer to the Peaches’ diamond, picking up one of her most successful acting projects. Her previous film credits included a turn as Susan in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), and roles in Shanghai Surprise in 1986 and Who’s That Girl the following year. She was already a well-established performer when League hit theaters with four studio albums to her name.
NOW: Madge continued to act in the years that followed, appearing in Body of Evidence and Dangerous Game in 1993, and famously starring in the ’96 flick Evita. While Madonna’s roles have dwindled in recent years, her singing career continued with a vengeance. She has released nine original albums since 1992, seeing particular commercial success with the 1998 project, Ray of Light. She picked up six more Grammys during that time, also busying herself with world tours.
Rosie O’Donnell (Doris Murphy)
THEN: Then a rising star still making a name for herself, Rosie O’Donnell nabbed the role of Doris Murphy, the Peaches’ third baseman. She had just two acting projects to her name at the time: the role of Maggie in Gimme a Break! from 1986 to 1987 and an arc as Lorraine in Stand by Your Man. She spent the years prior largely focusing on her comedy work, competing on Star Search in the mid-’80s.
NOW: League was just the beginning for Rosie, who soon hit the level of stardom that requires only one name. She starred in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), The Flintstones (1994), and Now and Then (1995), before she kicked off The Rosie O’Donnell Show in 1996. After the gig wrapped in 2002, she made mid-2000s television appearances in Queer as Folk, Nip/Tuck, and Drop Dead Diva. In the 2010s, she returned to the talk show stage with both The Rosie Show and The View.
Megan Cavanagh (Marla Hooch)
THEN: Megan Cavanagh made her big-screen debut as second baseman Marla Hooch. She had a memorable turn as the daughter of a baseball coach, reprising the role in the short-lived A League of Their Own spinoff series on CBS.
NOW: Cavanagh is still perhaps most associated with the role of Marla. Following the 1993 end of the TV series, she starred in I Love Trouble and Junior in 1994, and played Luisa — a former classmate of Rachel and Monica’s who now works in Animal Control — in a 1995 episode of Friends. Her film projects in the years since include That Darn Cat (1997), Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001), and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous in 2005.
Tracy Reiner (Betty 'Betty Spaghetti' Horn)
THEN: League found its Betty Spaghetti in actress Tracy Reiner. She came into the role of the Peaches’ left fielder after appearing on Laverne & Shirley in the late ’70s, and starring in Big and Die Hard in 1988, When Harry Met Sally… in 1989, and making a 1990 cameo in Pretty Woman.
NOW: Reiner played Betty once more for the spinoff series, going on to reunite with Hanks in 1995’s Apollo 13 and 1996’s That Thing You Do!. Her later roles include appearances in The Princess Diaries, Riding in Cars with Boys, and Raising Helen in the 2000s. Her most recent role was a small part in the 2010 ensemble feature Valentine’s Day.
Bitty Schram (Evelyn Gardner)
THEN: In the second role of her career, Bitty Schram played Evelyn Gardner, the team’s quiet right fielder. Her character made further contributions to the Peaches by writing the team’s song, but was shown to have passed away at the end of the movie when the women reunite as adults.
NOW: While League is still one of Schram’s most famous gigs, she had a busy run in the ’90s, with roles in Chasers, The Pallbearer, Marvin’s Room, One Fine Day, and Kissing a Fool. Her recent work has largely been on the small screen, including a part as Sharona on Monk in the 2000s, and a 2009 cameo on Ghost Whisperer.
Ann Cusack (Shirley Baker)
THEN: The sister to John and Joan Cusack, Ann Cusack joined A League of Their Own as Shirley Baker. She played the illiterate left fielder as her first onscreen role.
NOW: Cusack continued to act throughout the ’90s, making small screen appearances in Love & War, Murder, She Wrote, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, and Maggie. She also reunited with Petty in 1995 for Tank Girl, and starred in The Birdcage in 1996 and alongside her brother John in Grosse Pointe Blank in 1997. In recent years, she played Susan in Private Practice until 2011, had a 2012 arc on Hart of Dixie, and made a cameo in a 2015 episode of Fargo.
Anne Ramsay (Helen Haley)
THEN: First baseman Helen was portrayed by Anne Ramsay. She played the young woman with baseball dreams after picking up late ’80s television gigs in Mr. Belvedere and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
NOW: The same year League hit theaters, Ramsay made her debut as Lisa on Mad About You. She kept the role for seven years, going on to appear in Woman on Top in 2000 and Planet of the Apes in 2001. Ramsay returned to television in the mid-2000s with The L Word, Six Feet Under, and Dexter. In 2010, she began her role as Nora on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, also starring in Hart of Dixie as Winifred Wilkes until 2015.
Jon Lovitz (Ernie Capadino)
THEN: Jon Lovitz played Ernie Capadino, a leader for the women’s league who finds players across the country. He came into the role after spending five years as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and picking up comedic roles in ¡Three Amigos! (1986) and Big (1988).
NOW: Lovitz played Ernie in one episode of the movie’s spinoff series, going on to appear in Matilda in 1996 and hit television in The Critic, Friends, Just Shoot Me!, and Las Vegas. The funnyman’s recent work includes voice work in 2012’s Hotel Transylvania, a 2013 gig in Grown Ups 2, and appearances in New Girl and Hawaii Five-0.
Bill Pullman (Bob Hinson)
THEN: Bill Pullman joined the cast as Dottie’s husband Bob Hinson, a member of the military who has been serving overseas. Before playing Bob, Pullman hit the big screen in Spaceballs in 1987, Sibling Rivalry in 1990, and Newsies in 1992.
NOW: Pullman starred with Hanks once more in 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle, also appearing in While You Were Sleeping and Casper in ’95, Independence Day the following year, and Lake Placid in ’99. In recent years, Pullman played President Dale Gilchrist in 1600 Penn from 2012 to 2013, starred in Cymbeline in 2014, and appeared in American Ultra in 2015.