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Dorothy Kamenshek

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Dorothy Kamenshek (AP Photo)
CHICAGO (AP) — Dorothy Kamenshek, a former star of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League who helped inspire the lead character in the movie "A League of their Own," has died. She was 84.

Kamenshek died of natural causes Monday at her home in Palm Desert, Calif., according to the Riverside County coroner's office. She had been having lung problems, said Jeneane Lesko, vice president of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association.

Kamenshek, who also went by Dottie and Kammie, played for the Rockford Peaches in Illinois from 1943 to 1953. The left-handed infielder was a seven-time All-Star and chosen on of the top 100 female athletes of the century by Sports Illustrated.

"She was the greatest first baseman in the league," said Lesko, who also played for the Grand Rapids Chicks of Michigan. "She's been an inspiration to all the members in the association."

Kamenshek, and other league players, were the basis for Dottie Hinson, Geena Davis' character in the 1992 movie about women's professional baseball in the 1940s and 1950s.

Many players were consulted before the movie was made and several others made cameos, including Sarah "Salty" Ferguson, who played for the Rockford Peaches in 1953 and 1954.

Ferguson, 74, said she remembers Kamenshek as a laid-back person who was a great hitter and "slick first-baseman."

"She knew the game," said Ferguson, of Orangeville, Penn. "She was very, very good."

Private funeral services were planned Tuesday in Cathedral City, Calif.




Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press
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