A League of Their Own in Rockford Illinois

One of my favorite movies of all time is “A League of Their Own,” the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that kept baseball alive during World War II.

Best line in any movie ever: “There’s no crying in baseball!”

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Real Rockford Peaches in Rockford, Illinois

The story of the Rockford Peaches at the Midway Museum in Rockford Illinois.Although much of the movie was shot in Indiana, the northern Illinois town of Rockford was home to the real Rockford Peaches, coached in the film by Tom Hanks, starring Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell. Jon Lovitz was fabulous! David Strathairn and Garry Marshall – adorable. The whole cast was perfect!

 

Trophies from the Rockford Peaches in Rockford Illinois.

Midway Museum in Rockford Illinois

Exhibit explaining the All American Girls Baseball League in Rockford Illinois.The Rockford Peaches were real and two of them were alive and well, living in Rockford, at the time I visited. They were seen often signing autographs and throwing out the first pitches at many of the softball and baseball tournaments held in Rockford.

I learned all of this while visiting the Midway Village Museum in Rockford that interprets the history of Rockford. The city was once called Midway, because it was half way between Chicago and Galena, Illinois, where a portion of another good baseball movie was shot (Field of Dreams).

The Rockford Peaches played at Beyer Stadium, which has since been demolished for other purposes in the growing community. But the ticket stand of what was affectionately called “The Peach Orchard” still stands at 15th Avenue and Seminary Street.

Baseball exhibits of the Rockford Peaches in the Midway Museum in Rockford Illinois.I’m told that the movie was quite true to life. Yes, there was an “All-the-Way Mae” and if you look closely at the pictures on display at the Midway Village, you can easily pick out the Marla Hooch and other lovable players from “A League of Their Own.”

The Rockford Peaches won the League Championship four times in the 12 years the women played professionally, the best record in the league.

I would have liked to seen the Peaches play and I’m sure I would have cheered them on, but if they ever matched up against my St. Louis Cardinals?  Hmm, dunno know what I would have done about that.

 

 

Tip: If you visit the Louisville Slugger Museum in Kentucky, you’ll find another fun exhibit about members of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League and their use of those famous bats – in the movie and in real life. 

 

 

  Go Peaches!  Go Cardinals!

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Another memorable scene in A League of their own is this one. If you’d like to learn about the three black women who were playing professional baseball, visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.