“There used to be locker rooms and of course we don't have that now. And there were cement stands,” says Charlene O’Brien, an original Peaches’ bat girl in 1953.
The last league game was played June 14, 1954 at Beyer Stadium. Since then, the landmark has gone from historic stadium to abandoned field. But with the Rockford Starfires bringing back the traditions of the Peaches, Beyer Stadium is in for some major changes.
“They're running the water line into the park so we're going to have running water here shortly. This year our biggest goal is try and get up a six foot rod-iron fence down Seminary Street and 15th Avenue with brick pillars in there,” says Starfires’ Coach Greg Schwanke.
Schwanke's overall goal is to make the surrounding area look like it did six decades ago.
“Behind the backstop where we want to build the bleacher sections and have concessions and bathrooms and locker rooms in there,” says Schwanke.
The changes to the stadium have already brought more fans, more tourists and more players.
“A lot of people come here because of the Rockford Peaches that are here to see where the Peaches played and now that we've re-installed the ball diamond there's a lot more people coming,” says Schwanke.
“When I saw it when I was ten years old, they still had some of the original stands. It was just all crumbled up and stuff but now seeing the difference it's just amazing,” says Starfires’ player Okeyma Lundin.
The Starfires will host a major tournament Labor Day weekend called the Peach Orchard Classic. Teams from Washington DC, Chicago and South Bend are already committed to playing in it. All Starfires games are open to the public and admission is one can of food to be donated to charity.
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