ROCKFORD (WREX) — On Tuesday, famed actress and director Penny Marshall died at the age of 75. Now, the Friends of Beyer Stadium in Rockford remember Marshall, and are thanking her for reviving a part of Rockford’s unique history through “A League of Their Own.”
“The movie came out and it featured the Rockford Peaches, and then with Beyer Stadium being the home of the Rockford Peaches, that brought Rockford even more to the forefront once we brought baseball back to this field,” says Greg Schwanke of Friends of the Beyer Stadium.
Penny Marshall made Beyer Stadium come to life on the silver screen through the critically-acclaimed movie back in 1992, but Schwanke actually didn’t watch it until 2006. He said the movie, and its focus on Rockford, inspired him to start a movement to restore Beyer Stadium. By 2007, there was a plan in action. Now, the iconic field hosts several events, women’s baseball games every other weekend, and the Baseball for All tournament that brings thousands of girls to the area.
Leaders with Friends of Beyer Stadium say that movie changed the course of women’s baseball and restored some hometown pride in Rockford.
“If the Rockford Peaches wouldn’t have played here, this would have been just another city park,” Schwanke said. “And if Penny Marshall hadn’t made the movie, this would still be just another city park without a ball diamond because nobody was interested in restoring this place. When we found out about it, we took the bull by the horns.”
Schwanke says things are still in the early planning stages, but there could be a tribute to Penny Marshall on Labor Day at Beyer Stadium. 13 News will keep you updated on any developments.