Did Dottie Hinson Drop the Ball on Purpose?

Did Dottie Hinson Drop the Ball on Purpose?

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For fans of the 1992 classic, ‘A League of Their Own’, this debate has long tortured them. Did Dottie drop the ball of purpose or was her younger sister, Kit, able to barrel over her sister at home to win the game? Let’s set the scene…We flash to Game 7 of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) World Series between Dottie’s Rockford Peaches and Kit’s Racine Belles. (You’ll remember that Dottie was the All-Star catcher, and Kit was the talented albeit hotheaded pitcher.)

After trailing 1-0 entering the top of the 9th, Dottie slugs home 2 runs against her sister to give the Peaches a 2-1 lead. The baseball gods, as they always seem to do, give Kit a chance at redemption though, because she comes up in the bottom of the 9th with a girl on. Dottie advises the pitcher to throw high fastballs.  Remember; Kit can’t hit em’ and she can’t lay off em’. A few pitches later, much to Dottie’s surprise, Kit lines a ball deep to center.  The tying run scores and Kit rounds third, blowing through the stop sign and crashes into Dottie at the plate who was waiting there for her with the ball. The both tumble to the ground and Dottie drops the ball and Racine wins.

Fast forward to about the 1:56 mark.

But did she do it on purpose?

To answer that question we have to dig a little deeper:Reasons For:
– She was a family first player, perhaps her only weakness. Remember, she leaves the team in a crucial part of the season to be with her husband who had just returned from war. You could make the case that she put family first this time as well.
– Dottie, all her life, had overshadowed Kit. She was the older, better looking sister, more superior player and Kit always seemed jealous. So much so that she was traded in season to the Racine Belles. Maybe this time, she wanted give her sister the glory and recognition.
– Related: Dottie knew she was retiring at the end of game and wanted Kit to take the spotlight and further her career.
– Dottie’s form on the final play at the plate, while somewhat unclear when viewing the movie, seemed poor, which would be unlike the All-Star. She catches the ball and just before impact it seems like she is holding the ball in her hand outside of the glove, which in turn leaves her hand exposed when they go to ground and the ball drops. Catchers at a young age at taught to catch the ball and hold the ball in the glove with their bare hand (not outside) and prepare for the collision. This would prevent the hand  from separating from glove.
– After coming off the field, she stands with her manager, the memorable Tom Hanks, and seems to almost half smile watching the Belles celebrate their championship. It almost like she’s happy her sister scored the winning run.
Reasons Against:
– If she was going to drop it on purpose, why tell the pitcher to throw Kit the one pitch she couldn’t hit? At that point she was committed to Kit striking out and ending the game.
– Some believe that Dottie makes the decision to let her sister score after Kit surprisingly lines a high fastball to deep center or perhaps once she runs through the stop sign at third.
– Dottie was the older sister and Kit did have a full head of steam, so perhaps the impact was enough to pry the ball from her hand.
– She would be letting down the rest of the team by making the selfish decision to let Kit score. The Peaches had worked hard all summer to get to the World Series, why do that to her teammates? From all accounts, she had a great relationship with.
– After the game, once Dottie is changed, she sees Kit outside the Belles locker room. They discuss the final play, and Dottie seems generally annoyed that she dropped the ball, even after Kit apologies for crashing into her…that of course leads into an argument.The Verdict:
I believe Dottie drops the ball on purpose; the evidence for that argument is just too strong. She was an excellent player, the best in the league; she wouldn’t get caught up in the moment and not use proper technique to block the plate. It also comes down to family and her love for Kit. As she demonstrated before, she puts family first. While she was genuinely shocked that Kit hit the ball, she wanted to give her a chance to finally have the spotlight.

So what do you think? Comment and vote below.


  • Hook

    I always thought her name was Dottie Henson. You forgot to mention that this was Dottie’s first game back after leaving the team to be with her husband. She was rusty. That piece of evidence makes this not so cut and dry.

    I still don’t know if she dropped it on purpose. That’s what makes this movie great, along with the countless quotable one-liners.

    • Sarah Z

      I think the answer is actually at the beginning of the movie as foreshadowing, instead of debating the actual events directly leading up to that scene. This often happens in movies and I found it to be the best tell tale sign to understand if it was on purpose.

      Grandma Dottie talks to her grand children before leaving for her trip. She calls over the older boy to have a talk with him in private. She says to her grandson, Remember, he’s (the younger grandson) is smaller than you. Give him a chance to shoot.”

      I think this says it all. She dropped it in purpose because she wanted to give her younger sister the chance to have the glory.

      • Hook

        good point Sarah Z, I never even thought about that. then again, (if I’m remembering correctly) she tells the younger grandson to “kill ’em”, knowing that it would take the younger sibling’s best effort to compete with the older sibling even when he’s not trying hard. this means she knows the older sibling is the better player no matter how hard the younger sibling tries, and that even when Dottie was giving less than her best, she was still better than Kit.

    • Dave

      My wife and I argue this everytime we watch this movie. I say she didn’t drop the ball on purpose. My main reason is before Kit bats, Dottie visits the pitcher and says “High fastballs, can’t them, can’t lay off them.” And saying she dropped on purpose seems to take away from Kits play. My wife says that I’m crazy and “a boy” and just don’t get the sister angle. We may never know the answer and probably don’t want to. It’s a fun argument to have.

      • Brandi

        I’m a girl and I agree with you, I think at that point like wanted it more. I think Dottie is to strong of a competitor to just give it to her. I mean why did she even turn around to compete in the final game if she was just gonna let her sister win. But I agree, the arguments fun. My husband feels the same as your wife and we have fun with it.

    • Tom

      Don’t forget that earlier in the movie she had a similar collision at home plate with the Racine catcher, a much bigger and stockier woman, and she held on.

  • matt

    I thought about that, but I think her leaving the team is more about her putting herself first.

    As far as being rusty, I’m not sure a player of Dottie’s caliber would run into that problem.

    I liken it to ARod hitting a home run in his firt game, at-bat and pitch after surgery in 2009. He, like Dottie, was playing on emotion.

    • karolina rodriguez

      he was playing on steroids.

  • dreek

    Fuk this movie

    • David Sanchez

      Hahahaha…. it’s a good movie… hahhaa… but that was unexpectedly funny

  • Alvera Zenisek

    I think she did not drop the ball on purpose but was not sorry she did.

  • stovetop

    If she can hold on to the ball while falling in the dugout then shecan hold on to it after a hit from her kid sister

  • jeff

    I always thought she dropped the ball on purpose.. I watched it today and agree there were a lot of reason’s to believe she wanted her sister to strike out. I’m going with 70 % she dropped the ball on accident… however.. why in the hell did she hold the ball in her hand.. it should have been in her glove with her hand around the glove.

    • Missy

      Ok, so here is what i think since you asked! yes Dottie is the older the wiser the better player, the spot light, you name it. Kit had to work harder at things that came natural to Dottie. Yes, Kit was traded and yes Dottie had left to be with her husband. Yes Dottie went to the pitcher to tell her to pitch them high, “she can’t hit them and she can’t lay off them.” But, who’s to say that wasn’t a pitch Kit worked on after being traded knowing there’s a chance they might use that against her? That, and Kit also had two pitches before that to time it up. May be the both had in mind what their mom used to say to them and now Dottie’s children. Are we even sure the person who wrote this story knows for sure if she dropped it on purpose?! 🙂 Maybe it was meant for us to decide on our own what we think happened. I defiantly can see why Dottie would drop it and why she wouldn’t have on purpose.

      Another thing I just thought of, was if you look back at the time before impact and even right before she hits the ground, her hand was in her mitt. When someone goes flying through the then headed for the ground in any situation, the natural instinct is to try and catch themselves. Yes I know she was the best player, but even the best sometimes “mess” up.

  • Muggsi

    Personally, I don’t think she dropped it on purpose. Three things happened on that play. Kit FINALLY hit a high fastball, Evelyn FINALLY hit a cutoff (wo)man, and because instinct to win in any competition will take over, the collision forced the drop, and Kit FINALLY beat her sister. Dottie never let her sister win before. Besides…at that point, the game was tied. Just my opinion.

    • Missy

      Agreed Muggsi! Like I have said in an earlier response, there are a lot of reasons i believe she might have and that she might didn’t purposely drop the winning run in a HUGE game.

  • Diana

    Nope, I disagree.
    1. When Dottie did a similar play before, she hurt her shoulder. The other player also wasn’t running quite as fast.
    2. Dottie has a moment when she sees her sister runnign towards her, and she loses her cool. She was cool as a cucumber with the other player. And she was surprised twice in like a minute with her sister hitting the ball at all.
    3. The original cut of the film goes deeper into Kit’s success with the other team, but we still see some real interested screens of news clippings telling us what a good job Kit did. Dottie was the success resting on her laurels, Kit kept working at it while Dottie was casual. Without the distraction of her sister getting credit for team wins, and even for her pitches, she comes into her own and pitches a shut out. That means she wasn’t just an OK player, she totally beat every member of another team, and she only let a few go from her old team.
    4. I think Dottie didn’t want to give it up at the tim, but gave that wistful smile at the end because she realized her sister really did earn it. I think though, that she saw what it did for her sister and then counseled her grandchildren to create the same result later. Not because she did it before, but because she learned the value of making sure both kids were encouraged.
    But I think attempts to film that scene caused Penny Marshall to make it ambiguous. We may never really know.

  • maryann

    I would have dropped the ball for my sister

  • Matt Campbell

    I don’t think it matters as to wether she dropped it on purpose or not. The point of that scene was to show that women should never play a mans game

    • Betsy Ross

      You’re an idiot.

    • Missy


    • Kevin

      Matt, I’m with ya, Bro. Great movie, no doubt. But the final scene, game 7, is flawed and definitely proof that a woman wrote this movie, or at least had a major say in it…
      Why do I say this??? Lol! The final scene with Kit running over Dottie should of never happened! Lol! Racine, who was leading 1-0 in the top of the 9th should have and would have won that game 1-0 if a man is writing the script. Why? Ladies!!! When you are leading 1-0, in the 9th inning in a game 7, or any huge, meaningful game, and you have 2 outs, with runners at 2nd and 3rd base (with first base open) and the best, most feared hitter in the league is coming to the plate!….WALK HER!!!! PUT HER ON FIRST BASE! DONT PITCH TO HER! SHE IS DOTTIE FU***** HINSON!!! LOL!!! … Racine wins then, and there is no drama, no collision, no hard feelings in the bottom of the 9th!!!!….Lol! Great movie, but when I first saw that movie, and that scene when Kit pitches to Dottie with 2 out and 2 on leading 1-0 in the ninth, I yelled out…WALK HER! YA DUMB A**! THANKS

      • David

        Yeah. Because Kit would’ve walked Dottie if you told her? Get out of here with that nonsense. Also, do you really the think the audience would have liked that? The league did not have the kind of support where it could make risky plays like that. They needed to keep the audience engaged, and what’s more engaging than sister vs sister in that scenario. The manager knew that and let it play out. Nothing to do with a women writing it you sexist asshole. If a man wrote nonsense sports logic in a movie, would it be because he’s a man? Idiots.

  • Michelle

    I think she dropped it on purpose. They show a close up of her hand and it was clear as day she let the ball go, and that the fall didn’t knock it out of her hand.

  • Mr. Marvin

    She dropped on purpose. The call for the fast high pitches, was for Kit to keep trying to hit them. It was to challenge Kit. Dropped ball was for Kit to have the Spot Light… Think about how many times the Peaches won Championships (4)…

  • Deborah

    I hadn’t even gotten all the keywords into Google before everyone else’s search “Did Dottie Hinson drop the ball on purpose?” flashed up! So I finally have a place to read every other fan’s thoughts on this same question and, yes, I think also that she did indeed drop the ball on purpose. It happened just a bit too effortlessly, and her soft smile watching Kit being carried off the field was the clincher. Kit would finally connect with a high ball…and her sister gave her the full gift of success.

    • Missy

      Yes and no, I feel the smile she gives her sister is a, “you deserved this.” Not really meaning it was intentional, but she was proud of her sister. Anyone with a sibling would be happy for their success even if it meant the other had to lose.

  • Frankie

    to much family stuff enters Dottie’s head during the season. Husband, love for Kit, needing to be the face of the peaches,etc. In the beginning of the movie it’s win at any cost with her. But life happened in that one season. That play can not have any outside distractions. It was a clean play,but Kit wanted it more. She does not drop that ball for. And she never will.

  • Jenn

    I think she dropped it on purpose, honestly. She told the pitcher to do the fast high pitches because she knew she couldn’t lay off of them, giving her a better chance of hitting the ball; she would never swing for the ones down the middle, or miss even when she did and would just strike out. It wasn’t as important for Dottie. Dottie just wanted to start a family and fix things with Kit. Plus, Dottie wouldn’t hold the ball in her bare hand away from her body like that. IMHO.

    • Missy

      I always thought during that scene that….ok, tell the pitcher to give her the high ones because she can’t lay off them nor hit them, but, on the third pitch you totally throw her off by throwing her one right down the middle while she is thinking, “they obviously want to strike me out pitching me the ones they know I cannot hit.” BAM!

  • Lisa

    Another ?, IN the barn scene, Dotting says that Kit didn’t pitch that day, because she pitched the day before. If she wasn’t pitching, why was she batting?

  • Danielle

    I think, going with her history, Dottie never just lets Kit win. She pushes Kit to be better by making her earn any success between the two of them. I also don’t think she would let her teammates down by throwing the win away just like that. In that final moment, the ball dropped by accident. BUT Being the family person she is, she can recognize the moment of victory for her sister, and is proud of her–hence the bittersweet, half smile.

  • Jack

    Having just watched this again, it is a tough call. One thing that no one has mentioned is that in that Kit just gave up a run and was having a meltdown in the dugout. And Dottie was watching at her, with hurt in her eyes. But as Dottie told the pitcher throw her high fastballs, she at that time wanted her out, to win the game…and to beat her sister. But then when kit hit the ball, I think she was in shock. Then she caught herself when kit was on around second and got into position. When kit her, I think she was shocked kit hit her so hard, then falling backwards. Now the answers, she could easily have dropped the ball, an when your elbow and hand hit the ground, the ball could have come out. And believe me, I have changed my mind so many times. But I think reading the above, in the end, after getting hit and falling backwards, I imagine so many things, go through your mind. And also considering she never had a bad attitude in the 5 conversations, towards the end of the movie. So I think, her heart won out and also as she told her sister, I got you on the train, you got yourself in the league. So I think she dropped the ball, for her sister who she loved, but also deserve it for the first time over Dottie…SO IMO DOTTI DROPPED THE BALL…..

  • Louis Teceno

    After rewatching the scene for probably the 50th time, Dottie was holding the ball in the glove with her hand. Kit runs not only into Dottie, but into her glove and pushes it away from her body. The way Dottie falls with her feet in the air, landing on her butt forced backwards is a perfect scenario for hitting the back of her head( which they conveniently do not show) knocking her out for even a couple seconds could loosen her fingers on the ball. I agree with others too, why would Dottie ruin it for everyone on the team. I know what I want the answer to be, but will never be satisfied by either one, I think that’s the intent. As far as Penny Marshall saying she did drop it on purpose, I don’t buy it. She probably felt under pressure to satisfy the fans and made a bad judgment call.

  • Anthony

    I think that she dropped it on purpose to get her sister something she needed, Love! Dottie clearly caught the ball in the glove before Kit got there. No need to pull the ball out unless you want to drop it.

  • Ira

    Kit was already the heroine. A two out hit to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth in a Championship game isn’t too shabby. NO way that Dottie’s competitive nature would have given her the thought of dropping the ball on purpose. She was surprised she tried to score, she tried the best to brace herself, and dropped the ball after she was barreled over by her sister. Case closed

  • O'C

    Also, there’s an identical play that is shown earlier in the movie where Dottie is run over at the plate and holds on to the ball. I think this was shown on purpose to support that she does it on purpose.

    Also, the line Kit has earlier in the film, “why you gotta be so good?” Can’t help but think of that when she looks at Dottie in the final game after Dottie drives in those 2 runs against her. Then Dottie sees Kit struggling in the dugout.

    I definitely agree with you that Dottie dropped it on purpose

  • Jane Lee

    My belief is that a seasoned player of Dottie’s caliber doesn’t blow THAT play in THAT game by mistake; it was intentional; she dropped the ball out of love for her sister. While I can appreciate the reasoning, as a life-long player, this is the only part of the movie I don’t like; there is never a good enough reason to ‘throw’ a game; it’s called cheating (in this case, her teammates out of the win they earned).

  • Ellis Perrin

    If she wanted to let he Kid Sister win then why didn’t she just strike out in the top of the ninth with 2 outs, down 1 run. This would have been the perfect moment to let her sister have the spot light. Instead you want me to believe that she was going to take the chance of all those circumstances to happen to end up in that position to let the ball go on purpose? This is a movie about a younger sister rising up against the odds to earn the spot light she felt she deserved over her older sister. Let me guess you are going to tell me Venus Williams let Serena win too…. Come on

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