The Obit For Dottie Key

Dottie Ferguson Key dies

Saturday, May 10, 2003

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP-CP) -- Canadian Dottie Ferguson Key, who played 10 seasons with the Rockford Peaches in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and was supposedly the basis for a character in the film A League of Their Own, has died. She was 80.

 Key died Thursday at the home of her daughter, Dona Ericksen. She said her mother had cancer.

 Key appeared in several clips featured in the 1987 Ken Burns-produced documentary A League of Their Own, and was supposedly the basis for the Mae (All the Way) Mordabito character played by Madonna in the 1992 movie.

 Dottie joined the Peaches in 1945, two years after the formation of the league. She had been a standout softball player in Winnipeg and was recruited by a league scout in 1944.

 Her road uniform with the No. 12 is part of the Women in Baseball exhibit in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

 "She was strictly a baseball player, she loved it," said Helen (Sis) Waddell Wyatt, a member of the 1950 and 1951 Peaches.

 Key, who played second base and centre field, was a member of all four of Rockford's league championship teams in 1945, '48, '49 and '50.

 "I'd rather play ball than eat or sleep," Key said before boarding a bus bound for a league reunion in 1986.

 The Second World War prevented Key from making an Olympic appearance for Canada after she became the North American women's speed skating champion in 1939.

 The Peaches drafted her in 1945, and she remained with the team until the league disbanded in 1954.

 In 1998, Key was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. In April, she won the YWCA's Janet Lynn Sports Award.