ROCKFORD (WREX) — In 1992, the movie “A League of Their Own” threw Rockford into the spotlight as it highlighted the history of the Rockford Peaches. Today, that movie still resonates with many in the forest city, and it’s nostalgia is fueling a comeback for women’s baseball.
On Friday night, Rockford City Market transformed its indoor market space to the Penny Marshall Market. Marshall directed the famous film and passed away last December.
In honor of her, members of the original Rockford Peaches, as well as the actresses from the film, came together at the market to sign autographs and kickoff a weekend of celebration for Marshall.
“Penny would be very humbled by it,” said actress Patti Pelton who played Marbleann Wilkenson in the movie. “It meant so much to her to tell women’s stories at a time when no one was doing that. It became, ’til this day, one of the biggest box office successes.”
Pelton was joined by fellow co-stars Anne Ramsay, who played Helen Haley, and Marshall’s daughter Tracy Reiner, who played Betty “Spaghetti” Horn.
“I think that she opened the door for things like this to happen,” said Reiner. “I don’t know that she would have thrown a party like this but she would have really liked it.”
The market comes on the heels of an effort to bring the International Women’s Baseball Center Museum to Beyer Stadium, where the original Rockford Peaches played. The entire weekend is acting as a fundraiser for the future museum, and Reiner said she couldn’t be more thrilled with the enthusiastic response from the people of Rockford.
“The event is pretty huge and I’m really appreciative that Rockford as a town has really shown up for the event and for the museum and for the opportunity for girls to play baseball,” she said.
The first design for the outdoor museum at Beyer Stadium is scheduled to be unveiled Saturday, Sept. 14.