Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Peaches, Rockford get ready to celebrate 75th anniversary

ROCKFORD — While Rockford was once on the western frontier of the early days of men’s professional baseball, it’s the women who played here who have since grabbed the recognition for their contribution to the sport.

Now, the city is gearing up to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Rockford Peaches, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team immortalized in A League of Their Own.

The 1992 film, starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, focused on the Peaches and the launch of the AAGPBL during World War II.

The city of Rockford is planning a series of celebratory events starting on May 30, the anniversary of the league’s first games. Events include an exhibition game and an outdoor screening of the movie.

“The celebration will remind us of that summertime family fun that we like to hark back to,” Sheryl Hall, one of the celebration co-chairs, said at the City Hall announcement. “It will give us all a chance to have fun in a family-friendly environment.”

The events coincide with a $7 million capital campaign to establish the International Women’s Baseball Center, the Register Star reported. The planned museum and training facility will be across the street from Beyer Stadium, the former playing field of the Rockford Peaches.

“There are a lot of people who want to see this (project) succeed,” said Kat Williams, the center’s president.

Sponsors who contribute $5,000 will have the opportunity to team up with stars of A League of Their Own during the events and play against the Rockford Starfires in an exhibition game at the stadium.

Some of the confirmed cast members attending the event include Megan Cavanagh, Renee Coleman, Anne Cusack, Patti Pelton, Anne Ramsay, Tracy Reiner and Bitty Schram.

–Staff reports; Associated Press; Photo, National Baseball Hall of Fame

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