St. Marys - Mary Baker, inducted into The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in 1998 as one of 64 Canadian women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, died Wednesday of respiratory failure at age 84. The AAGPBL was immortalized by the 1992 movie "A League Of Their Own," starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell. While all characters in the movie were fictitious, it has been said that Davis's character "Dottie Hinson" most resembled Baker.
Baker was an all-star catcher who played for the South Bend Blue Sox from 1943 to 1949 before managing the Kalamazoo Lassies for three seasons. Her sister, Gene McFaul, also played in the AAGPBL. McFaul, who died last year, also played with South Bend in 1947. "Geena Davis was Mary Baker," her son-in-law Darrell Baker insists. "She was beautiful both on the outside and on the inside. She was a humble person who would do anything for anybody. She was a big fan of Canadian sports teams like the Blue Jays, Expos and the Saskatchewan Roughriders."
Arleene Noga, another Saskatchewan native who played in the AAGPBL, has often represented the Canadian AAGPBL players at Hall of Fame events and threw out an opening pitch at SkyDome last year. Noga, who will turn 80 on January 1st, didn't know Baker growing up, but remembers her as "a complete player with all five tools - a real competitor."
Baker, nicknamed Bonnie, is survived by her daughter Maureen (nicknamed Chick), two brothers (Andy George and Pat George), two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her husband, Maurice Baker, died in 1962. She will be memorialized tomorrow at 1:00 PM at the Wascana Coutnry Club in Regina, and the family is in discussions with The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in regards to honouring her during the year 2004.
Contributing to this article was Rob Vanstone, Sports Editor of the Regina Leader Post.
ST. MARYS 19 December 2003
Please mark your 2004 calendars:
February 27 Announcement of 2004 Inductees
May 1 Museum Opens
June 25 8th Annual Celebrity Golf Classic
June 26 2004 Induction Ceremony
Please note: KIDS ON DECK 2004 SUMMER CAMPS FOR BOYS & GIRLS:
* Week-long camps (drop off Sunday, pick-up Saturday), includes accomm. & meals
* Focus on baseball FUNdamentals & other sport activities (e.g., swimming, trip to SkyDome)
* Social Justice and Cultural Awareness programs incorporated
* Baseball Celebrities to take part