This past Monday, one of the few days I have had off from baseball, I was able to take part in a fantastic restoration project. With the help of the people spearheading the operation (my host family), I was able to help in the reconstruction of historic Beyer Stadium here in Rockford, IL. Beyer Stadium hosted the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) from 1943 to 1954. Most people not from that era were unaware of the fact that there was a professional baseball league for women until the film, “A League of Their Own” was produced in 1992. This movie depicted the fictitious characters of the Rockford Peaches and was a commercial success. The famous quote, “There’s no crying in baseball” was also coined in this production. Before arriving in Rockford, this film was the only reason I had heard of a professional women’s baseball league .
The reconstruction plan for Beyer Stadium is to hopefully have it back to its playing day form by next summer. A reunion game consisting of the living ballplayers from the AAGPBL will then take place. Lucky for me, while I was putting in my labor an elderly woman hopped out of a car and approached us workers. Little did I know, I was about to be introduced to a living member of the Rockford Peaches. Her name was Helen “Sis” Waddell and she played two seasons for the Rockford Peaches in 1950 and 1951. It was amazing to meet an actual member of the AAGPBL and to hear her detailed stories about her playing days. I knew my hours of hard-work were well worth it once I saw her eyes light up as she was telling us how Beyer Stadium used to be. This special experience opened my eyes to the history surrounding the AAGPBL and specifically the Rockford Peaches. My only regret is that I do not have as many days off as I would like to help out with this project. You can find more information about the AAGBL and the Rockford Peaches by visiting the following website: http://www.aagpbl.org/