Rockford Peaches

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

75 years ago this week, the women of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League put on their skirts and cleats and trotted out onto four Midwestern ball fields for the first time. Now some of those players are in Rockford to celebrate their history and help push women’s baseball into the future. 

Back in 1943, chewing-gum magnate P.K. Wrigley decided that America needed more baseball to keep spirits up during World War II. Since the "boys" were away fighting, he called on the "girls" to do the patriotic thing and entertain the Home Front. And, boy, did they!

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

19,000 visitors are expected to swoop into the Rockford area, starting this weekend. Four major national conventions and events are underway.

Most of them are attending the annual convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses over the next three weekends at the BMO Harris Bank Center. But thousands of trappers also are expected at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds: It’s the 58th annual National Trappers Association convention, congregating in the region for the first time.

Susan Stephens

  The International Women’s Baseball Center dedicated its first brick-and-mortar site over the weekend.  

The nonprofit promotes women's baseball and works to preserve its history, and its physical location has particular significance.  It's across the street from Beyer Stadium, former home of the Rockford Peaches.  This World War II era-team was immortalized in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own.” 

Susan Stephens

  Rockford has a long and storied baseball history. Now, an international organization hopes to create a long and storied future for the sport there.

The International Women’s Baseball Center isn’t a place...yet. Right now, it’s a nonprofit that promotes women’s baseball and works to preserve its history. But this Saturday, the organization plants its feet on home plate in Rockford, right across the street from Beyer Stadium.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Rockford area has a long history of women’s baseball, from the Rockford Peaches in the '40s and '50s to today’s Starfires. Now it’s trying to capitalize on that history by wooing the International Women’s Baseball Center to build a museum there.

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