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Real-life inspiration for ‘A League of Their Own’ continues to push boundaries

Maybelle Blair has continued to work in growing female participation in baseball. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Prime Video)

Maybelle Blair, one of the women’s baseball players who helped inspire the 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” still seeks to pave the way for other girls and women in sports.

At 95 years old, Blair came out as gay for the first time in June during a promotional event for the upcoming Amazon Prime series reviving the story of “A League of Their Own.”

“I think it’s a great opportunity for these young girl ball players to come to realize that they’re not alone and you don’t have to hide,” she said at the time. “I hid for 75, 85 years, and this is actually, basically the first time I’ve ever come out.”

Blair, who pitched for one season with the Peoria Redwings in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, told the New York Times that the admission brought relief.

“I could see their struggles and little eyes and love of the game,” Blair told the New York Times. “I said: ‘You know, Maybelle, at 95, maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe your family won’t disown you. You got to do it.’”

Since retiring, Blair has dedicated her life to furthering opportunities for women and girls in baseball. For example, she met with participants in the first Women’s College Club Baseball national championship put on by Baseball for All in March.

Blair also is the founding director of the International Women’s Baseball Center in Rockford, Ill. The IWBC hosts several events and is raising funds to open a museum and activity center.

“These girls deserve it; they need help,” Blair said. “For some of these girls, there’s no place for them to play baseball. We will be running a league of our own again.”