Maybelle “Mae” Blair, 95, recently came out publicly for the first time during the Tribeca Festival premiere of the Amazon Studios series A League of Their Own. She was a member of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League that the 1992 film and the new series are based on.
At a panel discussion, Blair — also known as "All The Way Mae" — said she was happy to see players not having to hide their sexual orientation any longer and the acceptance found in the sport.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for these young girl ball players to come [to] realize that they’re not alone, and you don’t have to hide,” Blair shared. “I hid for 75, 85 years and this is actually basically the first time I’ve ever come out.”
A video of her coming out during the panel was posted to A League of Their Own’s Instagram account.
The post reads, “For the majority of her life, sports legend 95-year-old AAGPBL player, Maybelle Blair felt like she had to hide her authentic self. Today she came out publicly for the first time. We couldn't be happier for her, and continue to push for love, acceptance, and education on and off the field.”
Blair pitched for the Peoria Redwings in 1948. She then went on to play for the National Women's Softball League in Chicago during the 1950s. Blair has spoken across the U.S. in support of women’s baseball and has appeared on national morning shows and has been honored at baseball stadiums including Fenway Park in Boston, Wrigley Field in Chicago, and both Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium in Los Angeles, according to Amazon Studios. She also consulted on the new series.
Borrowing its premise and name from the beloved Penny Marshall film that starred Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell, and Madonna as baseball players in the all-women’s league that sprouted up while men were away in World War II, the very queer A League of Their Own series goes where viewers wish the movie could have gone. The show, created by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Will Graham, features several queer characters, including a Black transgender character who shows up partway into the series. In another departure from the movie, the series tells parallel stories about the white women baseball players who’ve won coveted slots in the women’s league on teams like the Rockford Peaches while Chanté Adams’s ringer of a pitcher, Max Chapman, is shut out and forced to land a spot playing with the Black male league.
Costarring with Jacobson (Carson Shaw) is out actor Roberta Colindrez of Vida and Fun Home fame as Lupe; D’Arcy Carden, known for The Good Place, Broad City, and Barry; Search Party’s Kate Berlant as Shirley; and Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman as their coach. Meanwhile, O’Donnell returns to the League of Their Own world as Vi, a character whose role in the series is under wraps for now.
A League of Their Own premieres on Amazon Prime August 12.