Rockford Register Star, April 4, 2017 by Adam Poulisse
ROCKFORD—If you asked Hattie Oberg what she thought of “A League of Their Own,” she’d tell you she liked the movie, but that it wasn’t very realistic.
She’d know. Oberg was a pitcher in 1948 and 1949 for the Rockford Peaches, the women’s professional baseball team immortalized in the film starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell, and Madonna, among others.
“She’d say they’d get on a bus and go play baseball, but it was not like the movie,” her daughter Sandy Hayden said.
Oberg, 86, died March 30 in her daughter’s Mt. Morris home from complications associated with lung cancer.
Family remembered her as an avid baseball fan who wasn’t afraid to lay down the law for her children. She is survived by her two children, several grandchildren and great-grand children.
“She was strict,” said Hayden, 59. “Maybe it was just the era, too. If you were told to do something, you did it.”
Oberg left the Peaches and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League after two seasons when she injured her arm. After that, the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Oberg worked in manufacturing for Motorola until she retired in the 1990s. She returned to Rockford in 2007.
Her stint with the Peaches wasn’t a big topic of conversation in the family until “A League of Their Own” came out in 1992, Hayden said. But Oberg’s love for baseball endured for a lifetime. An avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, she lived to see her team win the World Series last fall .
“She was all excited,” Hayden said. “In her last few days she said, ‘I can’t wait for the baseball season to start so there will be something on TV.”
Oberg also loved playing the accordion, a hobby she didn’t pick up until she was in her 40s.
Several plaques featuring players’ memories are incorporated into a monument at Rockford’s Beyer Stadium, home of the Peaches. That tradition started about five years ago.
Greg Schwanke, an organizer for the Friends of Beyer Stadium, said he hopes to add Oberg’s information to the memorial.
“People from all over the world go out there and know the Rockford Peaches play there, but now they’ll read about some of the players,” Schwanke said.
Farrell, Holland, Gale Funeral Homes, Oregon, IL
Former All American Girls Professional Baseball League player Hattie A. Oberg, 86, passed away on March 30, 2017, surrounded by loved ones at her daughter’s home in Mt. Morris, Illinois. Born on April 17, 1930 in Winnebago, Illinois, she was one of nine children of Walter and Hattie LaTour Peterson.
She played two seasons with the Rockford Peaches, immortalized by 1992’s A League of Their Own, although she would say the movie “was nothing like the real thing”. Her love of baseball was a lifelong passion and was capped when her beloved Cubs won the World Series in 2016. She also had a career in manufacturing until she retired from Motorola in the 1990s while she was living in Phoenix, Arizona. She returned to the Rockford, Illinois, area in 2007 where she lived most of her life.
An accomplished musician, she was active in accordion clubs and entertained fellow retirement home residents until a couple of years ago. She was proud of her Scandinavian heritage and passed down many holiday traditions and recipes to her children and grandchildren.
She is survived by her brother, five sisters, her daughter and son, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her sisters Ruth, Pauline, and Farrell.
The family gives special thanks to longtime friend Cathy for loving care and assistance over the last few weeks of her life, as well as to Serenity Hospice, a granddaughter Brittany and a sister
Services were held on April 22, 2017 at 2pm at VFW of Oregon, IL at 1310 W. Washington Street. In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society are suggested.
Author: Rockford(IL) Register Star & Farrell, Holland, Gale Funeral Homes, Oregon, IL
Contributed By: Carol Sheldon
Copyright: Rockford Register Star April 4, 2017 & Farrell, Holland, Gale Funeral Homes, Oregon, IL