Additional Statementsby Senator Barbara Boxer
Posted on 2013-03-05
BOXER. Mr. President, today I ask my colleagues to join
me in honoring Lavone ``Pepper'' Paire Davis, the baseball star and
pioneer in women's professional sports who died in Los Angeles last
month at age 88. Ms. Paire Davis was one of the models for Dottie
Hinson, the immortal Geena Davis character in the hit film ``A League
of Their Own,'' and she was a role model for millions of women and
girls across the country.
Lavone Paire was born in Los Angeles and grew up playing baseball with her older brother Joe on the streets of West L.A. By age 9, she was playing for an amateur team in Santa Monica and later she and her good friend Faye Dancer played together on a girls softball team known as the Dr. Peppers.
In 1944, Lavone was working as a shipyard welder and taking classes at UCLA when she and Faye were recruited to join the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, AAGPBL, which recently had been launched by Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley and other major league owners to help maintain fan interest while many major league players were away at war.
Pepper Paire quickly distinguished herself as an outstanding defensive catcher who could also play shortstop and third base, pitch when needed, and drive in runs in clutch situations. She also cowrote ``Victory Song,'' the AAGPBL's anthem, which was later featured in ``A League of Their Own.'' She helped the Racine Belles win the league championship in 1946 and was named to the AAGPBL all-star team in 1948.
In 1953, Pepper left baseball to marry Robert Davis, start a family, and establish an electronics business with her friend Faye Dancer. But ``A League of Their Own'' brought Ms. Paire Davis back in the public eye. A popular speaker, she used her renewed fame to promote women's professional sports and urge girls to fulfill their athletic dreams. In 2009 she published ``Dirt in the Skirt,'' a book about her adventures in the AAGPBL.
Lavone Paire Davis was a true inspiration both on and off the baseball diamond. On behalf of the people of California, I send my gratitude and condolences to her brother Joe, sons William and Rob, daughter Susan Gardner, four grandchildren, and great-grandson.