Legendary baseball icon and part of the inspiration behind the 1992 film A League of Their Own, Maybelle Blair has publically come out at 95 years of age.
A TV adaptation of the sporting comedy has been in production since last year, with an emphasis on the queer history of the All-American Girl Baseball League (AAGBL).
Maybelle Blair was joined alongside show producers for a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival this week. She praised the increased level of LGBTQ+ representation before publicly coming out to the audience.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for these young girl ball players to come to realise that they’re not alone, and you don’t have to hide,” she told the crowd. “I hid for 75, 85 years, and this is actually basically the first time I’ve ever come out.”
Speaking from experience, Blair spoke of the isolation she felt growing up as a young lesbian in 1950s America; “I thought, oh my gosh, Maybelle, what’s wrong with you? Because I had a crush on this girl in high school and finally, we sort of had a little thing you know how you do.”
For the majority of her life, sports legend 95-year old @AAGPBL player, Maybelle Blair felt like she had to hide her authentic self. Today she came out publicly for the first time. We couldn't be happier for her, and continue to push for love and acceptance on and off the field. pic.twitter.com/BEaCisO2RH
— A League of Their Own (@LeagueOnPrime) June 14, 2022
“It was really bad because in our day you wouldn’t dare tell your family or hint to anybody that you were gay. It was the most terrible thing in the world. I thought I was the only one.”
Blair went on to praise the community she found within her first softball team, the Peoria Redwings.
“I went back to Chicago, and I got on the team, and I’ll tell ya it was the most amazing time of my life because they asked me to go out to a bar,” she explained. “Well, it turned out to be a gay bar, and I was never so happy in my life.”
She pitched for the team until 1948 before going on to play for the National Women’s Softball League in Chicago during the 1950s. The AAGBL started during World War II to upkeep publicity for the sport while men were away at war. The League has a giant, hidden queer history that was largely ignored in the film.
Amazon Prime’s 2022 series is bringing queerness to the heart of the show. A major plotline will be the romantic relationship that unfolds between Carson Shaw (Abbi Jacobson) and Greta (D’Arcy Carden). Jacobson is also co-writing the show. The first episode will be released on August 12.
Watch the teaser trailer that dropped just this week below.
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