sports

Renee Slone and Jill Briles-Hinton Shine Among Peoria Golfers

Jul 8, 2018
Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame

The Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame includes only 8 golfers. Three men and three women were local players.

Metamora native Renee Slone is the most successful female golfer in University of Illinois history. Renee played five professional golf seasons before returning to Illinois as women’s golf coach.

Marcus Pollard

Jun 17, 2018
Getty Images

Sports fans appreciate multifaceted players. The rookie exploits of Japanese import Shohei Ohtani thrill American baseball fans looking back to Babe Ruth as the last Major Leaguer to star as both hitter and pitcher.

Mickey Schallau

Jun 3, 2018

Jugglers use balance to do many things at once. This story shows that sports leaders often concentrate on many things. 

From 1968 through 1975, Mickey Schallau played third base for the Pekin Lettes, this country’s longest-standing Amateur Softball Association squad. 

In 1973, Mickey started the girls’ sports program at Peoria’s Spalding & Academy of Our Lady High Schools. This pioneering work began one year after Title IX went into effect: teaching golf skills and leading girls in competitive sports was uncharted territory.

All in the Family: Runner's Success Shows a Mother's Influence

May 27, 2018

This story illustrates that obvious athletic achievements often mask subtle influences.

While at Peoria Notre Dame High School, Caitlin Comfort won the 2006 Illinois AA cross-country championship, was a four-time conference champion who earned All-State four times, and was twice chosen the Illinois Track and Cross-Country Coaches Association runner of the year.

At the University of Wisconsin, Comfort earned cross-country honors as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2008 and first-team All-Big Ten two years later.

Jim Thome's Unexpected Road to the Hall of Fame

May 20, 2018

Three players from the 1989 Major League baseball draft are now in the Hall of Fame. Frank Thomas was drafted in the first round; Jeff Bagwell in the 4th.

To say that 16th round draftee Jim Thome was lightly regarded is an understatement. The Cleveland Indians choosing him as the 331st player Put Thome in the top third of the draft, but well under the radar.

Thome was not drafted at all after playing at Bartonville’s Limestone High School. So instead of pro ball, Jim played one season of junior college baseball at ICC in East Peoria.

Royce Elliott

May 6, 2018

This story details the athletic facets of a life not usually associated with baseball diamonds, basketball courts, and football fields.

Comedian Royce Elliott was known, throughout a long and storied career on stage and radio, as “America’s Funniest Clean Comedian.”

Peoria Stadium Revival Plans Revealed

May 1, 2018
Tanya Koonce / Peoria Public Radio

The aging Peoria Stadium could have new life and a cricket field could be created under a student plan. Peoria Public School students, with assistance from school district officials, offered the latest proposal last night for restoration of the 80-acre site. Richwoods High School student Mariah Cooley says plans include stadium and track renovation and an enlarged fitness trail.

 

Shaun Livingston

Apr 29, 2018

This story illustrates the challenges of tough decisions in athletic careers.

It is hard to imagine choosing not to play basketball at Duke University for one of the most successful college coaches in history, Mike Krzyzewski. But that is exactly what Shaun Livingston did after being named Illinois Mr. Basketball, and winning two State Championships, with Peoria’s Central High Lions. Some pundits and fans doubted the wisdom of Livingstons’ decision.

Lorene Ramsey - ICC Women's Athletic Pioneer

Apr 22, 2018
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

This episode honors premier athletic achievements not always recognized, but impossible to ignore.

The records of the top ten coaches in women's college basketball history, range from Pat Summit's 1098 wins, to Robin Selvig's 865.

Lorene Ramsey would be number eight, having led teams to 887 basketball wins. Ramsey coached junior college, so her name does not appear on that list.

Basketball Siblings

Apr 20, 2018

Many pairs of male siblings have played in the NBA.

Steph and Seth Curry bring to mind Tom and Dick VanArsdale; Jon, Brent, and Drew Barry; Dominique and Gerald Wilkins; and the Grant brothers, Horace and Harvey.

Pau and Marc Gassol are among more than five dozen brothers-in-baskets.

Only four brother and sister pairs have played in the NBA and the Woman’s professional basketball leagues—a select group.

The Meyers: Ann and Dave; the Parkers: Candace and Anthony; as well as Ime and Mfron Udoka; and Rudy and Marta Fernandez.

Peoria Area Athletes Reflect on Home Town Origins

Apr 8, 2018

It's been written that you can't go home again.

While some people think of me as a hometown athletic hero, not everyone remembers my time as a high school basketball player in Peoria or a collegian at Indiana. This helps me to concentrate on my work today, and planning for the future, rather than reflecting on former glory.

Yet, we cannot forget the forces that formed us.

Reflecting on his first ballot election to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, Jim Thome noted that “Everything starts at your roots."

Rick Telander: From the NFL to Writing to Medicine

Apr 1, 2018

This story surveys the very soul of sports and asks the question:  What really matters about what fans watch and players play?

Our guide is Rick Telander. Rick played quarterback for Peoria’s Richwoods High School, Defensive back for Northwestern University, and started training camp with the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs.

31: A Number With A Distinguished Bradley Basketball Legacy

Mar 25, 2018

In over a century, the uniform numbers of only seven Bradley University basketball players were retired. Only twice has the same number been retired.

Bradley retired the number 33 in honor of Bob Carney and Hersey Hawkins.

The number 31 was retired in honor of Joe Allen and Chet Walker. 

Allen and Walker were not the only great players to wear number 31 at Bradley. Levern Tart and Joe Billy McDade further elevated 31 to distinction.

Perseverance Leads to Success in Sports

Mar 4, 2018

This is a story about perseverance.

Michael Jordan is held by many as the NBA’s greatest player.

Hersey Hawkins, the 1988 AP, UPI, and Sporting News College Player of the Year, is Bradley University’s all-time leading scorer and played thirteen years in the NBA.

James Donaldson is Washington State University’s all-time leader in blocked shots, is in the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame, and played 16 in the NBA.

Kirby Puckett earned two championships, six gold gloves, six silver slugger awards, one AL batting title, and is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Legislation that would ban tackle football for children under 12 narrowly advanced in the Illinois House today.

Supporters of the ban gave lengthy testimony before a House committee — complete with a child-sized dummy in football gear being repeatedly hit over the head. But several questions remain about the research and details of the proposal … like why age 12?

Former college football player Chris Nowinski, of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, says research suggests 8-13 is a critical age for brain development.

Picking Baseball's Hall of Famers

Feb 18, 2018

This is a story about selecting players for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

In order to vote, members of the Baseball Writers Association of America and must cover baseball for ten consecutive years. Voters are either writers who work in a major-league city following a team or those who do not.

Dave Reynolds was a regional major league baseball reporter writing about the Cubs, Cardinals, and White Sox from 1987 through 2002. Reynolds no longer covers a team regularly but has been an active Hall of Fame voter since 2002.

Dave Kindred's Search for the "Essence of Sports"

Feb 11, 2018

This is the story of a successful quest for the essence of sports.

Dave Kindred is the recipient of sports journalism’s highest honor, the Red Smith Award. Kindred is a member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. The PGA of America awarded Dave its Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award.

Kindred is the author of nine books and has written and reported for the Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sporting News, Golf Digest and many other publications.

The 1976 summer Olympics were the first held in Canada. Many remember 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, Finnish distance runner, Lasse Viren, Leon and Michael Spinks, and Sugar Ray Leonard. These athletes, and the American men’s basketball team, took home gold medals.

1976 was also the first year for women’s Olympic basketball.  Peoria native Charlotte Lewis teamed with Ann Meyers and Nancy Lieberman to capture the silver medal.

Ralph Lawler

Jan 29, 2018
Bradley University

This is a story about basketball broadcasters, and following in the footsteps of professionals you admire.  And in the end, it’s about building your own legacy.

Growing up in Peoria Illinois, Ralph Lawler spent many nights listening to Chick Hearn, who was then the radio voice of the Bradley Braves.

Lawler played basketball through high school and once played in a state basketball tournament with Chick Hearn at the mic.

A new plan in Illinois aims to end youth tackle football programs, and it bears the name of Dave Duerson, a 1985 Chicago Bear who killed himself. 

The proposed law bans tackle football for children under 12 throughout the state, with the goal of preventing CTE, a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repetitive brain trauma.

Tregg Duerson, Dave’s son, says his father shot himself in the chest so that his brain could be studied.   

Childhood Dream Leads Steiner To Role as Voice of the Dodgers

Jan 21, 2018

This is the story about baseball broadcasters and a little boy’s dreams.

Hall-of-fame announcer Vin Scully began calling Brooklyn Dodger games in 1950.

Before the 1958 season, Scully headed west with the Dodgers.

After sixty years---at the end of the 2016 season, Vin Scully put a wrap on his Hall of Fame career as the Voice of the Dodgers.

Growing up in New York a young Charlie Steiner often listened to Vin Scully’s radio broadcasts of Steiner’s favorite team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Bobby Knight

Jan 12, 2018

This is a story about books, basketball, and lessons learned on my journey to becoming the best version of myself.

On an August day in 1989, I walked into Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana to start my first year as an Indiana Hoosiers basketball player under coach Bob Knight. Coach Knight approached me with a copy of Tom Clancy’s The Sum Of All Fears in hand. 

Coach loaned me the book because he thought I might enjoy it as much as he had. This was not the only book coach that passed along.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
Sakuto / Flickr

Aurora officials will host a major ultimate Frisbee event this summer when USA Ultimate brings its 2018 Masters Championships to the area. The July 20-22 event will be at the Stuart Sports Complex in Montgomery.

USA Ultimate is the national governing body for the sport and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. It's working with the Aurora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau , the Aurora Area Sports Alliance , Ultimate Chicago and the Fox Valley Park District.

The Story of the First Wrigley Field

Jan 5, 2018

This is the story of two baseball fields, two teams, and two brothers.

Wrigley Field in Chicago is home to the 2016 World Champions Chicago Cubs. While that Wrigley Field is the major’s second oldest ballpark it was not the first Wrigley Field to bear that name. The first Wrigley Field was in Los Angeles, California.

In 1925, William K. Wrigley Jr. built a new ballpark for the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels. That ballpark opened, in 1925, with the name Wrigley Field. Two years later, in 1927, Cub’s Park in Chicago was renamed Wrigley Field.

Steve Bartman is getting a World Series championship ring from the Chicago Cubs. 

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.

Rich Sauget is the owner of the Gateway Grizzlies, a minor league team in the East St. Louis area. He wants his players, coaches, and trainers to be added to that list.

Hoping to highlight the pro football history of the Quad Cities, a group of dedicated volunteers will play a 1920's style game this weekend. 

Southern Illinois University leaders hope the cuts coming in next year's state budget won't be as deep as Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed but say sports will be among the programs affected.

South Side Little League Team To Play in Williamsport

Aug 12, 2014

For the first time in more than 30 years, a Little League team from Chicago will take the field in the Little League World Series this week. The Jackie Robinson West Little League All-Stars beat a team from southern Indiana over the weekend to earn the Great Lakes Region’s slot in the series. 

East Peoria is hoping to secure a state grant to expand its reach of recreational trails north of the I-74 bridge. The city is applying for a $400,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. City Planning Director Ty Livingston says the grant would pay for vegetation removal and concrete recreation trails along the 13-acre peninsula jutting out on the Illinois River:

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