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Mon Apr 27, 2020, 12:38 PM

She helped inspire 'A League of Their Own.' Now a former Chicagoan's secret gay relationship is...

She helped inspire ‘A League of Their Own.’ Now a former Chicagoan’s secret gay relationship is the subject of a new Netflix doc.

Terry Donahue, an infielder-turned-catcher for the Peoria Redwings women’s professional baseball team, met Pat Henschel in 1947 while spending the off-season in Canada. They fell in love and lived together in the Chicago area for nearly six decades before coming out to their families in 2009, when they were in their 80s.

“They just started telling us their story, dating back from the 1940s,” Donahue’s great-nephew, Chris Bolan, told the Tribune. “I was just absolutely amazed, and at the end of it they started dancing in the living room together. I remember thinking, ‘Ohmigod, I have to tell this story.’”

Bolan teamed up with producers Alexa L. Fogel and Brendan Mason for “A Secret Love,” which is due out Wednesday on Netflix. The 82-minute documentary follows the couple as they debate getting married after many years of telling family members they were just good friends who lived together because they feared the reaction if they told the truth.

The film recalls Donahue’s time in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the inspiration for the 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” and gives a special peek at the couple’s budding romance. Bolan said this footage, shot decades ago, was discovered after production on the documentary had already started.


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