baseball

Peter Medlin

Running is more than exercise, it’s therapy. That’s what Jonah Garcia says. So he’s training now harder than ever. Garcia’s a senior distance runner on Auburn High School’s track & field team in Rockford.

Like so many spring athletes, Jonah had his final high school season stolen by the COVID-19 pandemic. He says he was feeling good about the season and had personal records he figured he could easily break.

“I was hoping to go Division-1 and maybe try and get a scholarship based off of my times this year,” he said.

On this episode of Statewide, we learn why some colleges say there is too much emphasis on standardized tests in the admissions process.  There is a growing movement to drop the requirement or place less of a priority on scores. 

Is an historic home a good fit for you?  Many are bypassing newly built houses for ones that have more character.  But they can be a lot of work.  We'll find out more. 

And a new proposal threatens to end minor league baseball in some Midwest communities.   These stories and more on Statewide.   

Logo design by Spencer Tritt

This week on Teachers’ Lounge, Illinois High School Baseball Hall of Fame Coach, Neal Bertram! He’s been a coach and P.E. teacher at Rockford Lutheran for over 30 years. He talked to Peter about the joy of watching his kids gain confidence, the huge impact his P.E. teacher and basketball coach had on him, and baseball as an allegory for life.

Christine Hatfield

It’s a Saturday morning at Prairie Grove’s Village Hall Park, and a few members of the McHenry Independents are getting ready for their next game.

But the Independents are not your average baseball team. 

Kurt Begalka is the administrator of the McHenry County Historical Society, and he also manages the Independents. The team plays the game by its 1859 rules.

“This is a way to get a piece of history back out there to different communities,” Begalka said.

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!

frontierleague.com

Minor league baseball players are suing Major League Baseball, claiming unfair pay. But a new proposal in Illinois would protect independent leagues from a similar lawsuit. 

The state’s minimum wage law applies to most workers, but there are a few exceptions: farm hands, children of small business owners, and outdoor salesmen to name a few.

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.

"14 Ernie Banks Medal of Freedom White House" by White House photographer

The public memorial for Cubs legend Ernie Banks will be held on Wednesday in downtown Chicago. A statue of Banks will stand at Daley Plaza from Wednesday until Saturday.

Banks died Friday from a heart attack at the age of 83. He was a Baseball Hall of Famer, two-time National League MVP, and the first African-American to play for the Cubs, where he spent his entire major league career.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

It has been 60 years since the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League’s players hung up their spikes. Now, a new book profiles one of the league’s greatest, who played for the Rockford Peaches. 

Sue Stephens Wins National Award

Jun 23, 2013

WNIJ's Sue Stephens has won first place in the nationwide Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI) Awards for Best Writing, presented Saturday night in Cleveland OH.

She won the award for her story "Rick's Picks: Cheap Trick guitarist's life on display in Rockford," a feature which aired during Morning Edition on August 13, 2012.

The story chronicled the Burpee Museum of Natural History exhibition of guitars and other memorabilia from the collection of Rick Nielsen, founder of the Rockford-based rock band Cheap Trick, and interviews with Nielsen and his son Miles.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Rockford has a long, proud baseball history:  it’s where sports pioneer Albert Spalding got his start. It’s where every company in town had its own industrial league team. And during World War Two, the most famous women’s professional baseball team drew thousands of fans. Now there’s a new team trying to revive the tradition of women playing hardball.

kccougars.com

It’s official. The Kane County Cougars are now affiliated with the Chicago Cubs.

The science of baseball (plus extras)

Apr 15, 2012
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Baseball season is well-underway. For St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra, that means it’s time to talk about the science behind America’s national pastime. Washington University aerospace engineer David Peters was happy to join in.