LAVONE "PEPPER" PAIRE DAVIS / by Molly Schiot

Lavone 'Pepper' Paire DavisShe was a star player of the All American Girls Professional Baseball Leauge, the pioneering women's league that kept baseball alive during World War II. When the league folded after the war ended, she, like other women players of the day, packed her groundbreaking history away, along with her glove, bat and baseball uniforms. Pepper was played by actress Geena Davis in "A League of Their Own."  The league was launched in 1943 by Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley and other major league baseball owners who feared that with star men's players going off to fight in World War II, baseball would be forgotten by the fans by the time they returned.Pepper grew up playing softball and baseball in West Los Angeles with her older brother Joe, was scouted, recruited and joined the league in 1944, when she was 19. Among only a handful of players from the West Coast, she played for 10 seasons, helping her teams, including the Racine Belles, the Grand Rapids Chicks and the Fort Wayne Daisies, win several league titles. Pepper was known for her aggressive catching style, strong arm and discipline at the plate. "We played every night of the week, doubleheaders on Sundays and holidays, and traveled on about a 1938 school bus," she told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in 1995. "When we left Grand Rapids, Mich., at midnight, we would ride almost 400 miles to Rockford, Ill., get there at 10 or 11 in the morning — if the bus didn't break down and we didn't have to push it — get into uniform and go out and play a Sunday afternoon doubleheader."

Lavone 'Pepper' Paire DavisShe was a star player of the All American Girls Professional Baseball Leauge, the pioneering women's league that kept baseball alive during World War II. When the league folded after the war ended, she, like other women players of the day, packed her groundbreaking history away, along with her glove, bat and baseball uniforms. Pepper was played by actress Geena Davis in "A League of Their Own."  The league was launched in 1943 by Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley and other major league baseball owners who feared that with star men's players going off to fight in World War II, baseball would be forgotten by the fans by the time they returned.Pepper grew up playing softball and baseball in West Los Angeles with her older brother Joe, was scouted, recruited and joined the league in 1944, when she was 19. Among only a handful of players from the West Coast, she played for 10 seasons, helping her teams, including the Racine Belles, the Grand Rapids Chicks and the Fort Wayne Daisies, win several league titles. Pepper was known for her aggressive catching style, strong arm and discipline at the plate. "We played every night of the week, doubleheaders on Sundays and holidays, and traveled on about a 1938 school bus," she told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in 1995. "When we left Grand Rapids, Mich., at midnight, we would ride almost 400 miles to Rockford, Ill., get there at 10 or 11 in the morning — if the bus didn't break down and we didn't have to push it — get into uniform and go out and play a Sunday afternoon doubleheader."