TV icon, actress, producer, and director, Penny Marshall, died Monday night at 75. But throughout her momentous life, the Lavern & Shirley star had an enduring love of baseball.
The New York-born producer, who suffered long bouts of diabetes and cancer, was often seen in the stands watching her beloved New York Yankees, the New York Daily News noted Tuesday.
Marshall used to tell how she and her siblings would skip school to take the train down to see the Yankees play, and noted that they would thrill when they could get bleacher seats for seventy-five cents.
“Yankee Stadium was the only thing we had in the Bronx. It was an institution. They were so winning and they had all these legendary players — Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mantle and Maris — and to have them in the Bronx, which is not the fashion capital of the world, I think is pretty cool,” Marshall wrote in 2006 at the New York Times.
Marshall also became an L.A. Dodgers fan when she moved to California, but merely watching the game was not the extent of her fandom as she amassed a world-class collection of baseball memorabilia.
Marshall collected hundreds of bobbleheads and figures, but she also grabbed up game-used equipment and uniforms, baseballs autographs, bats, and just about anything you can think of.
Just a small taste of Marshall’s collection:
Then there were her baseball movies, most especially her 1992 hit about the 1940s women’s baseball league, A League of Their Own, starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Lori Petty.
Marshall noted that she was unaware of the women’s league until she saw a documentary on it. “And if I [didn’t] know, that means other people didn’t know, and I was going to change that,” she said of the reason she made the film.
Marshall was also set to direct a biopic about Effa Manley, who became the first woman to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sadly, that will not be made with Marshall’s participation.
The film, which was included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2012, led to accolades by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Hall also mourned Marshall’s passing.
The #HOF remembers actor/director Penny Marshall, who brought the @AAGPBL heroes to life through “A League of Their Own”. Marshall, who visited the Hall of Fame in 2002, passed away on Monday. Photo: Milo Stewart Jr. pic.twitter.com/XwOfBa21PA
— Baseball Hall ⚾ (@baseballhall) December 18, 2018
As did Major League Football:
We join the baseball community in mourning the passing of Penny Marshall, director of "A League of Their Own." pic.twitter.com/RITPLo5xN7
— MLB (@MLB) December 18, 2018
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.