Award-winning filmmaker and baseball documentarian Jon Leonoudakis presents
his latest film celebrating women in baseball in the South Pasadena Public
Library Community Room on Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. The LA Premiere
screening is part of a statewide tour the filmmaker has initiated to
coincide with Women’s History Month.
“Shutout! The Battle American Women Wage to Play Baseball” chronicles over
a century of gender discrimination infecting the national pastime, the women who’ve
succeeded in spite of it, and considers the path forward to make baseball more
accessible to women. “American women have a long history in the game, dating back to
the 19th century,” said the filmmaker, “but their role in the 20th and 21st
centuries has been diminished by crippling gender bias. It’s a fascinating,
complex, and a deeply troubling story that strikes at the core of what it
means to be American.”
Leonoudakis knows about telling stories, having spent a decade producing
attractions for Disney theme parks and hit documentaries like “The Wrecking Crew”. He
has six films in the permanent collection of the National Baseball Hall of
Fame but feels this story might be the most meaningful. Jon was looking for
a theme for the third season of his acclaimed Amazon streaming documentary
series, “The Sweet Spot: A Treasury of Baseball Stories,” and women in
baseball was a strong fit. The nine episodes he created for that effort
have been turned into a feature-length documentary film for this tour.
Leonoudakis will be joined by a quintet of ‘All Stars’ who appear in the
film for a post-screening Q&A session: pioneering umpire Perry Barber,
eleven-year-old Cameron Ely, and her mother, Lisa. Cameron is the only girl
playing in the Valencia Pony League. Two former players from the
All-American Girls Professional League (aka “A League of Their Own”),
Maybelle Blair and Shirley Burkovich, will share their perspectives of
playing the game 70 years ago.
Some of the most accomplished women to play the game share their stories in
the film, from Blair and Burkovich in the 1940s to former pro pitcher Ila
Borders, Colorado Silver Bullet “Rocky” Henley in the 90s, and Team USA
players Ozzie Sailors, Alex Sickenger Oglesby, and Lilly Jacobson.
Political scientist Jennifer Ring and former *LA Daily News journalist*
Lisa Nehus Saxon provide insight and analysis, along with their own stories of facing discrimination in baseball.