Rockford, home to the nation’s winningest professional woman’s baseball franchise, begins a new era in women’s baseball. The international Women’s Baseball Center announced Saturday night that they will be moving their facility from California, to right across the street from Beyer Stadium where the Rockford Peaches used to play.
“This has got to be a dream come true for us,” Former Peach Player Shirely Burkovich said of Saturday’s announcement.
“Rockford is the focal point it is the center of not only the history of the all American Girls Professional Baseball League, but there’s a lot of baseball in this area and a lot of history in this area,” President of the IWBC Kat Williams added about the move.
Several former Peach players along with actresses who portrayed them in the move ‘A League of Their Own’ were on hand for the announcement, signing autographs and taking in this special moment.
“What a wonderful thing for the city of Rockford to recognize women’s baseball,” Burkovich said.
“The fact that I’m still involved with this that I get to hang out with these women who were pioneers, who were leaders in their own right, and then we got to play them… the whole thing is a big honor,” Anne Ramsay, who portrayed Helen Haley in the movie, said about being apart of the big announcement. And those involved in bringing the center to Rockford echo what an honor it has been,
“These are life long dreams for some of these women who are here tonight who are in their 80s and 90s, these are life long dreams,” Willimas said. “One of the things that I’m doing is helping to facilitate that and its a huge honor.”
“We started at somebody’s house at sunset beach and here we are today in Rockford,” Burkovich added. “[It’s a] culmination of that day.”
The center will also feature a museum with an educational center for girls to learn about the ins and outs of the game of baseball, including umpiring.