ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — One of our most beloved Rockford Peaches will be turning 90 years old later this week. She is Helen ‘Sis’ Waddell.
She played on the Peaches’ 1950 championship team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Waddell left her home in Pennsylvania as a young woman to come to Rockford for a tryout. She has made Rockford her home ever since.
She has been one of the most visible Peaches since the movie ‘A League Of Their Own’ was released. She has made numerous public appearances including autograph signings.
Waddell currently lives at the Heritage Woods senior assisted living facility on the east side of Rockford just north of the ShowPlace 16 movie theaters. Since she isn’t allowed to have visitors during the pandemic her son and daughter-in-law would like the public to participate in a birthday parade this Saturday.
People can drive by Heritage Woods through the circular drive in front of the building while Waddell watches from her window.
Greg Schwanke, one of the biggest supporters of the Peaches and a member of the ‘Friends of Beyer Stadium’ is helping Waddell’s family make the birthday parade happen by publicizing the event. He told me what he’d like to see happen on Saturday.
“Have you ever seen the end of ‘Field of Dreams’ when the cars are lined up for miles? That would be the ultimate goal, but you never know what will happen.” “Sis’s room, her window is right next to the parking lot. We’re going to have a drop-box for birthday cards. We’re going to have music from the movie ‘A League Of Their Own’ playing the whole time, and we’re going to give Helen a mic inside her room, so she can talk to people (via speaker).”
Schwanke also suggests that parade participants could make signs or banners to show from their cars wishing Waddell a happy birthday or wishing her well.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. this Saturday, April 25. Again it’s at Heritage Woods senior assisted living facility at 202 North ShowPlace Drive on the north side of State Street just north of Showplace 16.