Mary (Bonnie) Baker rarely spoke of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, at least until 1992 when the Hollywood film A League of Their Own brought wartime women back to the field.
“She just said she played professional baseball in the [United] States during the war years, and that was kind of it,” her daughter Maureen said. “Until this movie came out, and all hell broke lose. People started asking, and people started bringing her things [memorabilia from her career].”
Now nine years since her passing in 2003, and 60 years since her last professional ballgame, Baker’s winsome eyes are once again peering through her rickety catcher’s mask at The SPORT Gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District, as part of the Women of SPORT exhibit, running until May 31.
Baker’s likeness, part of an exhibit that includes tennis icon Althea Gibson and LPGA charter member Marlene Bauer Hagge, has been crafted into a canvas print-acrylic painting, in the “Covers that Never Were” collection.
“It’s a way of giving these women the covers that history never gave them,” gallery manager Cayleigh Parrish said.
Many, including Maureen, believe Baker’s life and career provided at least part of the foundation for A League of Their Own’s protagonist Dottie Hinson, played by actress Geena Davis. (Photo courtesy of the SPORTS Gallery)