Lesley’s ex-wife, Chiho Svimonoff, told the website that the former athlete had been living in a nursing home, where he was receiving dialysis for kidney problems, for the past seven months. According to Svimonoff, the “Little Big League” star was rushed to hospital on Saturday night, and later died there from kidney failure.
Lesley made his Major League debut on July 31, 1982, pitching for the Cincinnati Reds, and was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1984 and let go from the team in 1985.
The former 6-foot-6-inch athlete went on to showbusiness, appearing on the Japanese game show “Takeshi’s Castle” in 1986, and furthered his credits in a number of movies in the 1990s, including “Mr. Baseball,” “A Boy Called Hate,” “Big Monster on Campus” and the 1994 film “Little Big League,” in which he played an angry pitcher.
Moviegoers will see the hardships Robinson endured during his endeavor to integrate an all-white sport, including repeatedly being called racial slurs like the n-word.
Ford says the n-word was tastefully used in 42, and was necessary in telling the story of Robinson.
“It’s historically accurate,” Ford told theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon. “This is a film about a period of time, and about redeeming that period of time in which it was conventional and common to hear that word and others in characterization of people. The characters that we played worked hard to create circumstances in which that word couldn’t be used, but you can’t make a movie about applesauce without talking about apples.”
When asked if he thinks audience members from 42 will be offended by the when they hear the n-word in the film, Ford said, “No. I don’t think they will.”
“Just to hear the word is a powerful emotional reaction from many people… me included. If the circumstances that we’re talking about and the character that I play hadn’t worked with Jackie Robinson to change white baseball, the civil rights movement wouldn’t have happened as quickly as it did. So this is about racism, it’s about civil rights.”
Lavonne “Pepper” Paire-Davis, a star of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s and an inspiration for the central character in the movie “A League of Their Own,” has died, her son said Sunday.
Paire-Davis died of natural causes in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles on Saturday, her son, William Davis, told The Associated Press. She was 88.
Paire-Davis was a model for the character played by Geena Davis in the 1992 hit “A League of Their Own,” which also starred Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna and Tom Hanks as the crusty manager who shouted the famous line, “there’s no crying in baseball!”
In 1944, Paire-Davis joined the league, created out of fear that World War II would interrupt Major League Baseball, and played for 10 seasons.
She was a catcher and shortstop, and helped her teams win five championships. She chronicled her baseball adventures in the 2009 book “Dirt in the Skirt.”