Scroll To Top
People

Billie Jean King sends birthday love to 97-year-old 'A League of Their Own' inspiration Maybelle Blair

Vintage Lesbian sports legends maybelle blair billie jean king
Shutterstock

Maybelle "All the Way Mae" Blair is still slinging as she marks her 97th birthday.

Even at 97 years old, Maybelle "Mae" Blair is still slinging it.

Blair — also known as "All the Way Mae" — was an original member of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which inspired the 1992 film and recent Amazon series A League of Their Own. The out baseball legend marked her birthday January 16, prompting celebratory messages from other beloved athletes and groups

Baseball for All, a nonprofit that provides access to opportunities for girls and women in the sport, posted a recent video of Blair throwing and catching in honor of the icon's birthday, which drew praise from tennis trailblazer Billie Jean King.

"97 years young and look at that arm! Happy birthday to Maybelle Blair," she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Blair pitched for the Peoria Redwings in 1948, before going on to play for the National Women's Softball League in Chicago during the 1950s. She has since dedicated her career to enfranchising women in baseball, including serving on the board of directors and as chair of the fundraising committee for the AAGPBL Players Association, which, among other accomplishments, spearheaded the "Women in Baseball" display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Blair publicly came out for the first time in 2022 at the age of 95, during the Tribeca Festival premiere of the series A League of Their Own. A video of the moment was posted to the show's Instagram account at the time.

"I thought I was the only one in the world. ... I think it's a great opportunity for these young girl ball players to come realize that they're not alone, and you don't have to hide," Blair said. "I hid for 75, 85 years, and this is actually basically the first time I've ever come out."

Blair shared after an event in her honor hosted by the New York Mets last year that the reaction to her coming out was overwhelmingly positive, which came as a welcome surprise.

“I never expected that I would get the response that I did, especially from so many straight people," she said. "No one turned against me, and I was afraid that my family might, but it never happened. I’m thrilled about it and so happy that people in this day and age realize that gay people have hearts filled with love and that we are part of the world and part of everyday life with the lives that we lead.”

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.