Gary: Momentum building for women’s baseball museum in Rockford

From Alex Gary at the Rockford Register-Star on July 9, 2019:

The International Women’s Baseball Center announced Tuesday that it had secured more than $125,000 to build a museum honoring women’s baseball and plans to raise an additional $100,000 by honoring movie director Penny Marshall in August and September.

Marshall, who died in December, was the creative force behind the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” which immortalized the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and made the Rockford Peaches a national brand.

Clara Swenson Hellemann, who was a bat girl for the 1952 Rockford Peaches team, said at a news conference announcing the funding that it is fitting for Rockford to honor Marshall because “A League of Their Own” is the gift that keeps on giving.

“All these years later, I’m asked to do autograph sessions,” Helleman said. “I never thought someone would want a bat girl’s autograph. That was such a great movie and so many good things are happening in Rockford because of it.”

The Peaches played in the AAGPBL from 1943 to 1954, every year the league was in existence, and won the “All-American” championship four times. The 1992 movie starred such Hollywood heavyweights as Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna and remains the No. 1 baseball movie in terms of gross revenue at $107.5 million.

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Originally published: July 11, 2019. Last Updated: July 11, 2019.