Peoria lays to rest today the man many called 'Mr Baseball.' Pete Vonachen died Monday. He was 87. Vonachen purchased Peoria’s minor league baseball team about 30 years ago, and shared a great friendship with the late Harry Carey.
That is to say nothing of his time in the Navy during World War II, his Bradley University degree, his restaurant ownership and the birth of Junction City, or the downtown stadium now called Dozer Park.
Vonachen retired from the baseball business, leaving the team to his son. But he was rarely far from the ballpark until recently.
Monday night was a what many would consider a perfect night for baseball in the river city. Vonachen’s family was in a suite at the stadium for the game with the understanding it's where their dad would have wanted to be. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce talked with people at Dozer Park Monday night and prepared this remembrance.
The Peoria Chiefs won Monday night’s game. Pete Vonachen’s public visitation was Thursday night. There’s a visitation Friday from 11:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. followed immediately by funeral services at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Peoria Heights.