Mary Pratt, Baseball Player Who Helped Inspire A League of Their Own, Dies at 101
Trailblazing female athlete Mary Pratt has died. She was 101.
The baseball player is believed to have been the last surviving member of the 1943 Rockford Peaches, the team that was part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which inspired the sports movie A League of Their Own in 1992.
According to the league, which confirmed her death on Twitter, Pratt died on Wednesday, May 6.
"We are terribly sad to report that former Rockford Peaches and Kenosha Comets pitcher, Mary Pratt passed away on May 6th. She was 101 years old," tweeted the league. "Mary was the last known original Peaches player that played on the 1943 team. Her stories, her energy will be missed for a long time."
Pratt's nephew Walter confirmed her death to The Patriot Ledger, telling the outlet that she died peacefully at the John Scott nursing home in Braintree, Massachusetts.
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“Mary was a wonderful and a very unique person,” a friend of Pratt, Rose Somensini, 89, told the newspaper. “We won’t see her kind again; it was just wonderful knowing her.”
She added: “And as for physical education and coaching girls and women’s sports, she was a wonderful promoter of girls and women’s sports.”
David Allen Lambert, chief genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, told the Ledger that the loss of Pratt was “a sad day in baseball.”
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“She was such a wonderful lady to chat with,” said Lambert. “She brought the days of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League alive to those who were not alive to see these ladies play ball.”
Pratt celebrated her 101st birthday in November. Ted Spencer, former chief curator of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, told The Washington Post that the legendary pitcher kept the league's legacy alive all her life.
“As some of the other former players will tell you, once she was on the stage you couldn’t get her off,” said Spencer. “She was very dedicated to telling the story that young women and girls deserve an equal chance in all sports, not just baseball.”