KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Doris Sams, a pitcher and outfielder from Knoxville who helped inspire the movie A League of Their Own, has died at age 85 after a battle with Alzheimers.
The Stevens Mortuary Chapel in Knoxville said Sams died Thursday and her funeral service was Sunday. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, she had been battling Alzheimers for three years.
Sams, also called Sammye, was a leading player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
According to the leagues website, she was a five-time all-star during her eight-year pro career. She played for the Muskegon Lassies, later the Kalamazoo Lassies.
Despite all her honors, Sams remained humble.
In a 1997 interview, she said her perfect game wasnt so perfect.
They hit me like a drum, she said. But it was one of those days when everybody was on their toes. They were catching line drives. You know, the pitcher doesnt do it alone, lets face it. They caught line drives and everything else – just unreasonable catches that day.
Frances Rader, who had known Sams since childhood, said that when producers of the 1992 movie A League of Their Own wanted Sams to help promote it, she declined because she didnt want to be in the spotlight.
Sams 88-year-old cousin says her legacy will continue to shine.
She made women more a part of public sports, Gordon Sams told the newspaper. She was an interesting lady and I hope she will never be forgotten.