Penny Marshall’s life was filled with notable acting roles spanning her time as Myrna Turner on The Odd Couple through a starring role on Laverne & Shirley. She followed that with a career directing iconic films like Big (1988) starring Tom Hanks and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) starring Drew Barrymore. The American pop culture icon died of complications from diabetes at her home in Hollywood Hills, California on December 17, 2018. She was 75.
While her life will be remembered for countless memorable moments she created, one stands out for this sports fan among all the rest. In 1992, Marshall directed A League of Their Own, and with the help of writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, they delivered one of the most memorable sports films, and iconic quotes, of all-time.
Starring Tom Hanks as uninspired former Cubs slugger Jimmy Dugan, the Columbia Pictures film details the rising of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). With Major League Baseball struggling during World War II, Chicago Cubs owner Walter Harvey (played by Penny’s brother, Garry Marshall) invests in the upstart league that creates eight baseball teams, one of which are the now-famous Rockford Peaches.
During one AAGPBL game in particular, Dugan approaches right-fielder Evelyn Gardner (played by Bitty Schram) and proceeds to ask why she made a particular play in the outfield. Channeling a rage from Rogers Hornsby, who managed Dugan in the past, he blames Evelyn for costing the Peaches the lead.
Evelyn begins to cry, and Tom Hanks delivers an iconic line that has stood the test of time, and we can’t get enough of.
“There’s no crying! There’s no crying in baseball!” — Jimmy Dugan
From the first time this movie aired, and every one that followed, A League of Their Own shattered stereotypes about women competing at a high-level in sports and has grown into one of the most iconic baseball movies of all-time.
Looking back now, it’s hard to imagine putting together a more impressive group of star-studded actresses and actors.
— Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan (Peaches’ Manager)
— Geena Davis as Dottie Hinson (Catcher)
— Lori Petty as Kit Keller (Pitcher)
— Madonna as Mae Mordabito (Center Field)
— Rosie O’Donnell as Doris Murphy (Third Base)
— Tracy Reiner as Betty Horn (Left Field/Pitcher)
— Bitty Schram as Evelyn Gardner (Right Field)
— David Strathairn as Ira Lowenstein (League Manager)
— Garry Marshall as Walter Harvey (Cubs Owner)
— Jon Lovitz as Ernie Capadino (Recruiter)
— Bill Pullman as Bob Hinson (Dottie’s Husband)
— Téa Leoni as the Racine Belles’ 1B
Penny Marshall’s life was full of memorable moments that it’s hard to justify choosing just one, but from a baseball player growing up who heard “There’s no crying in baseball” without knowing where it actually came from, the power of this movie justifies singling it out time and time again.
Sure, if an MLB player wins the World Series, I think we can make an exception for crying in baseball. Until then, I’m planning to get a copy of the movie, sit back, and enjoy one of the best sports films ever to honor the life of a legendary Hollywood star.