Deborah Winger says she quit ‘A League of Their Own’ after training with the Chicago Cubs for months because Madonna was cast

A still from Madonna as center fielder Mae Mordabito in 'A League of Their Own' with an inset image of actress Deborah Winger.
Madonna’s casting in ‘A League of Their Own’ caused Debra Winger to quit the film. Greg Allen/Invision/AP; Columbia Pictures
  • Debra Winger revealed she left the 1992 film “A League of Their Own” after Madonna was cast.
  • The “Terms of Endearment” star said director Penny Marshall was making an “Elvis film.”
  • Winger also said that the “Like a Prayer” singer’s acting career “has spoken for itself.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Debra Winger revealed she left the 1992 sports comedy “A League of Their Own” after director Penny Marshall cast Madonna as center fielder Mae Mordabito.

In a new interview with the Telegraph, Winger explained that she actually trained for several months with the Chicago Cubs – but stepped away from the project when the “Like a Prayer” singer signed on.

Winger said that Marshall ended up making an “Elvis film” that didn’t actually honor the real-life players of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The actress said she ultimately “doesn’t begrudge” any of the film’s stars, but told the Telegraph that Madonna’s acting career “has spoken for itself.”

“As entertaining as [the final film] was, you don’t walk away going, ‘Wow, those women did that.’ You kind of go, ‘Is that true?'” the “Terms of Endearment” star said.

A League of Their Own
The film was nominated for two Golden Globes. Columbia Pictures

And according to Winger, film executives “agreed” with her decision to step away.”It was the only time I ever collected a pay-or-play on my contract,” the actress explained. “In other words, I collected my pay even though I did not play, and that’s very hard to get in a court.”

Winger was supposed to play star pitcher Dottie Hinson before departing the project. Geena Davis later stepped in to fill the role (Winger told the Telegraph that Davis “did OK.”)

Based on the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League – which was created in the 1940s as a response to most male MLB players fighting in WWII – “A League of Their Own” follows all-female baseball team, the Rockford Peaches, from their inception to their first playoff game.

In addition to Davis and Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Lori Petty, and Tom Hanks starred in the film.

After a 1993 short-lived TV series, based on Marshall’s film, Amazon Studios recently greenlit a reboot of the original, which will focus more on race and sexuality.