TV Grapevine Interview with Lois Youngen

One of the amazing women behind A League of Their Own, Lois Youngen talks to TVGrapevine.

Tell me about yourself and your career.

 I grew up in Ohio playing ball with the boys in the neighborhood.  Had a tryout with the Ft.Wayne Daisies when I was sixteen and went to spring training with them during my senior year in high school.   I made the team and played in the AAGPBL for four years, 1951 – 1954, using the money I earned to pay for my college tuition. I graduated from Kent State with a B.S.,  then an M.A. from Michigan State University, was hired by the University of Oregon in 1960 to teach Women’s Physical Education, received my Ph.D. from Ohio State University,  retired from the U of O as Director Of Physical Activity and Recreation Services.   


What got you into baseball?

 Growing up there were few choices of “what to play”  in a small town…everyone played some type of softball or baseball.  So I played.


How does it feel knowing you set the bar for women in sports?

 I am not certain that “we” set the bar…I would say it was Title IX in 1972 that gave girls the push they needed  to excel at sports.   We came after the fact. If it had not been for the film-our film- no one would have ever known that we existed.


How did you feel when A League of Their Own came out and told your story?

After the film cam out the whole world knew that we existed  It was a wonderful feeling.


What was it like seeing yourself portrayed on the big screen?

Players depicted in the film were not replicas of actual players…although during the past 25 years we have had many players insist that a particular actress playing a particular role was based on them!  Ha Ha.


If they were to make the movie today, who would you want to play you and why?

I was a catcher and I think Ms Davis was excellent as Dottie.  I think it would take a unique actress to play any one of the real players.  My hat is off to Penny Marshall for making the actresses she selected look like ball players…I was impressed!


How do you feel knowing there are still fans of the movie after all these years?

 We love having fans…old and young.  We sign autographs at FanFest and at our Reunions and it never gets old.


What advice do you have for girls going into sports?

 My advice…follow your passion and give it all you have…But,  be certain that you get a good education because you can’t play forever.


What was the biggest challenge for you as a woman playing baseball?

The biggest challenge was playing every night, seven days a week with double headers on Sunday, in a one piece dress!


What would people be surprised to know about you? 

 OH…I guess one might be that I am an Opera buff.   


What are you watching on TV these days?

 Do you think it might be sports in general.


Anything else you want to tell America?

 America…it is too bad or unfortunate that you did not see the All Americans play baseball…we were really good!

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