New Heritage Minute Celebrates Professional Baseball Player Mary “Bonnie” Baker
TORONTO – 26 October, 2023 – October is Women’s History Month and Historica Canada is marking it with the release of a new Heritage Minute.
This Heritage Minute tells the story of Mary “Bonnie” Baker, a professional baseball player from Regina, Saskatchewan. Baker was a catcher and utility infielder in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) for nine seasons. She was one of 68 Canadian women who played in the league. In 1950, she also served as the only regular female manager in the league’s 12-year history. She was known as a feisty character on the diamond and a vivacious personality off it.
“There were a lot of things women were discouraged from doing in her era,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President and CEO of Historica Canada. “But Mary “Bonnie” Baker made a name for herself by doing them in spite of that. She was regarded as the best defensive catcher in the league, served as the it’s only female manager, and would go on to become Canada’s first woman sportscaster; a legacy well worth celebrating in a Heritage Minute.”
The Minute was filmed in June 2023 in Ogema, Saskatchewan, hometown of another AAGPBL player Arleene (Johnson) Noga. The Minute was produced by Historica Canada, Danny Rockett Productions and Barbershop Films, and was made possible through funding from the Government of Canada with funding support from Creative Saskatchewan and in-kind equipment support from William F. White International.
This Heritage Minute was written by Joleen Ballendine with producer Brent Kawchuk, and was brought to life by director Anita Ayres and director of photography Kristin Fieldhouse. Michelle Mylett of Letterkenny plays Mary “Bonnie” Baker.
“I think like a lot of people I was surprised to find out so many Canadians played in the AAGPBL,” said Anita Ayres, director of the Minute. “I was a big fan of the film A League of Their Own and of course Geena Davis’s character Dottie Hinson was loosely based on Mary. Mary “Bonnie” Baker was a star of the real “league of their own”, she and 68 other Canadian women made history and we rightfully should be celebrating that!”
On this production, Historica Canada consulted with Tom Hawthorn (member of the society for American Baseball Research), Merrie Fidler and Maureen Ulrich.
Historica Canada is a charitable organization that offers programs in both official languages that you can use to explore, learn, reflect on our history, and consider what it means to be Canadian. The Heritage Minutes collection is a bilingual Canadian series comprised of 60-second short films, each depicting a significant person, event or story in Canadian history.