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In 1953, Ruth Davis was invited to catch for the Peaches, an all-women professional baseball team in Rockford, Ill.

"I was called into the office and offered a contract, and I was just tickled out of my little spikes," Davis said. But because at age 15 she was too young for the team's insurance plan, her mother wouldn't allow it.

Davis was one of some 600 American women who, for a time in the 1940s and the early 1950s, helped keep professional baseball going during a time when many men were off fighting wars. That era of American baseball is depicted in the 1992 film A League of Their Own.

Davis, pictured at left at age 13, was a batgirl for the South Bend, Ind., Blue Sox and also caught for the Blue Sox junior team.

Now 67 and retired in Cheyenne, Wyo., Davis is also a lifelong sculptor and worked as an HIV/AIDS education officer for 17 years. She remembers her days of donning cleats and a miniskirt. "It was unlike anything that came before or anything since," she said. "I just never recognized there were boundaries I just couldn't cross."

On Wednesday, March 30, Davis will talk about her time in baseball at the Rampart Range Campus of the Pikes Peak Community College. The talk, which will be in the library from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., will include 10 minutes of film footage from a 1949 game between the Peaches, which was the featured team in A League of Their Own, and the Peoria Redwings.

"We didn't have much equipment and what we had was hand-me-down," she said. "The mitt I used was the mitt my father used. It resembled a Volkswagen tire."

Dan Wilcock

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