Rock Island, IL: Before the Quad City River Bandits, local baseball fans filled the stands at Douglas Park, Browning Field, and what was then Davenport's Municipal Stadium to catch games by the Rock Island Islanders, Moline Plow Boys, and a host of Davenport teams.
Historian Bill Kemp will field a talk on the history of the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League, also known as the Three-I, or even the Three-Eye League, at 6:00 pm, Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the Rock Island Main Library, 401 19th Street. His "Batter Up: Three-I League and Professional Baseball, 1901-1961" presentation is part of the library's Smithsonian Hometown Teams project.
Kemp, a librarian and archivist with the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, has researched and written on the Three I League for 15 years. He has a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Illinois Springfield and a master’s in history from Illinois State University. Since late 2005, Kemp has written a weekly local history feature in the Sunday Pantagraph, Bloomington’s longtime daily newspaper.
The program is free and open to the public. Local exhibits on baseball at Douglas Park and the Rock Island Islanders are also available for viewing at the Rock Island Main Library. Additional baseball exhibits in the community include a display on noted American League player William "Baby Doll" Jacobson at the Rock Island Historical Society and professional baseball memorabilia at The Karpeles Museum, in Rock Island.
The Rock Island Main Library will house the Smithsonian "Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America" exhibit until Saturday, Oct. 25. Offered in collaboration with the Illinois Humanities Council, the Smithsonian exhibit covers how sports shapes our lives, unites us, and celebrates who we are as Americans. Highly interactive exhibit sections encourage visitors to reflect on their own experiences. Local exhibits include memorabilia loaned by local residents, and panels on the Rock Island Independents football team, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Illinois high school and college teams and historic stadiums and fields.
Additional programs in the series include:
Tuesday, Oct. 14:Classic Arena, Big Time Basketball: Tri-City Blackhawks of the NBA. 6:30 pm, Rock Island Main Library. Prof. Curtis C. Roseman presents on the history of the Tri-Cities Blackhawks team of Moline, a charter member of the National Basketball Association.
Thursday, Oct. 16: Rock Island: Center of the Softball Sixties, 6:00 pm, Rock Island Main Library. Historian and lifelong softball fan Tom McKay presents on the teams, players, and organizational efforts that made Rock Island a center of fast-pitch softball for nearly a decade.
Monday, Oct. 20: Girls Got Game: Title IX & New Opportunities for Women, 6:00 pm, Rock Island Main Library. Dr. Jane Simonsen of Augustana College leads a panel discussion on the historic act that changed America forever, with remarks by Quad Citians who benefited from it first-hand.
Rock Island Library and the surrounding community were expressly chosen by the Illinois Humanities Council to host Hometown Teams as part of the Museum on Main Street program, which brings exhibitions and programs around the country. As the central host of Hometown Teams, Rock Island Library has also partnered with the Moline Public Library, the Rock Island County Historical Society, and the Karpeles Manuscript Museum to extend historical exhibits and programs to sites around the Illinois Quad Cities.
The exhibit's final Illinois stop after Rock Island is with the Friends of Hancock County, Carthage, IL, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 14.
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Exhibit Venue: Rock Island Main Library: 401 19th Street, Rock Island, IL 61201, 309-732-READ (7323), www.rockislandlibrary.org.
Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. Support for the Illinois Humanities Council provided by National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois General Assembly. Local sponsors include the Illinois Humanities Council, Rock Island Community Foundation, Modern Woodmen of America, Rock Island Public Library Foundation, and Sedona Staffing, along with media sponsorships from WHBF TV/CBS 4, Townsquare Media (ESPN Quad Cities 93.5, The HAWK 104.9, 97X WXLP, and B100 ), Mickle Communications, The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus and the River Cities' Reader. In kind support has been received from Bill's Moving and Storage, Victory Enterprises, and Midwest Graphics Management.