ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford is celebrating the Rockford Peaches and the 30th Anniversary of the movie “A League of Their Own” this weekend.
There are tons of activities all weekend. Things kicked off Friday night with a showing of the movie and continued on Saturday with a host of baseball activities for people of all ages.
About 160 kids followed in the footsteps of the Peaches Saturday morning as part of a Major League Baseball’s “Playball” event at Beyer Stadium, 245 15th Ave. Kids ran the bases, hit balls and learned how to throw and catch.
Kat Williams, president of International Women’s Baseball Center, said that the “Playball” event embodied everything the Peaches were about.
“That feeling of independence and empowerment, and how do you win and how do you lose, and ‘I’m part of something bigger, I’m part of a team,'” Williams said. “Being part of a team is crucial, no matter your race, no matter your class, no matter where you’re from, it matters and that’s what we want them to do. We want them to be introduced to baseball, and the first thing we’re going to do out here is build a baseball center, an activity center for this community and for surrounding communities.”
The kids got to meet one of the actresses from the movie after they were done on the field, and then it was the adults’ turn to take the diamond. Megan Cavanagh, who played player Marla Hooch, signed autographs along with Maybelle Blair, a former pitcher for one of the Peaches rivals.
All of the money raised at Saturday’s event went to raising money for the $10 million museum for the International Women’s Baseball Center. Cavanagh, an Illinois native, said that she loves coming back to Rockford and doing anything she can to keep the memory of the Women’s Baseball League alive.
“I think it’s very significant to have a museum, because before we did this movie we had no knowledge of this important group of women that played from 1943-1954, so no, we’re going to have a bigger venue to keep all of those stories and all of the pictures and all of the everything,” Cavanagh said. “It’s huge.”
There was also a celebrity baseball game Saturday afternoon to raise money for the IWBC center. Eyewitness News’ own Eric Wilson and Whitney Martin took part.
The IWBC hopes to build the community and activity center in the next year and a half. The museum will come later.