Stories Beyond the Scores

Each week on Stories Beyond the Scores, host Dr. Chris Reynolds shares a brief moment in sports history. Our stories are off-beat and, at times, moving. They're sometimes hidden and oft times forgotten tales of the people, places and events that enliven the world of sports. These are just some of the stories you’ll hear:

  • a look at the first Wrigley Field, built in Los Angeles, and how two brothers and Gene Autry were involved in it.
  • Vin Scully’s six-decade career as the voice of the Brooklyn (and Los Angeles) Dodgers, and how Scully’s career inspired a young Charley Steiner to pursue sports broadcasting.
  • The story of Peoria native Charlotte Lewis, who helped make history as a member of the first women’s Olympic basketball team at the 1976 Summer Olympics.

Stories Beyond the Scores is produced by the Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication at Bradley University, and is a joint venture with Peoria Public Radio. Dr. Chris Reynolds is Bradley University’s Director of Athletics.

Stories Beyond the Scores airs Saturdays at 8:04 a.m. and Sundays at 4:04 p.m. on Peoria Public Radio.

Credit Bradley University

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.

This is the story of two major league baseball records that will never be broken, and a notable image in American journalistic history.

Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn was 1 when his family moved to Bloomington Illinois. At the age of 24, “Hoss” joined the Peoria Reds, an early barnstorming team and he later pitched in the Major Leagues between 1881 and 1891. His career featured two seasons, and two records, that will stand forever.

In order to appreciate Hoss’ exploits, compare these facts:

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.”

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.

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.

This story traces sometimes-hidden trails leading to a pinnacle of sports recognition.

Central Illinois baseball fans join the sports world celebrating native son Jim Thome’s 2018 entry into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

Let’s recall another Peoria Illinois native recognized there.

Amy Irene “Lefty” Applegren played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League for 9 years. The league, and Applegren’s Rockford Peaches, of A League Of Their Own fame, were recognized in 1988 by the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

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.

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.

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.

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.