Inductees Jack Brickhouse, in a remarkable career which has spanned 45 years and over 5,000 Major League baseball broadcasts, has received virtually every honor the broadcasting profession has to give, including the nation's "Best Sports Announcer" award by the American College of Radio Arts and Sciences.
A local product who was educated in the Peoria school system and at Bradley University, Brickhouse went on to great things at WMBD radio in Peoria before being hired by WGN in Chicago in 1940. He first gained prominence in broadcasting the games of Bradley's Famous Five in the late 1930s.
Brickhouse soon became the number one announcer of Chicago Cubs baseball before short stints in the United States Marines and as a broadcaster in New York. In 1947 he returned to Chicago where he broadcasted White Sox games from 1948 to 1967 and Cub games from 1948 through this past season -- in all, more than 5,000 broadcasts. And in the process he became Vice President and Manager of Sports at WGN, the leading independent station in America.
That number alone puts Brickhouse above most other broadcasters in America, but dedication and professionalism will be the reasons he will rank as one of the best in the history of athletics. Jack will always be remembered as a man who took pride in his roots and never forgot that Peoria and Bradley University gave him the start to a career which earned for him the respect of millions of sports fans.
Jack Brickhouse, in a remarkable career which has spanned 45 years and over 5,000 Major League baseball broadcasts, has received virtually every honor the broadcasting profession has to give, including the nation's "Best Sports Announcer" award by the American College of Radio Arts and Sciences.
Jim Lewis served as Athletic Director, head football, golf, basketball, and baseball coach at Pekin Community High School during his career from 1933-1955. Jim received his BA from the University of Illinois and a masters from the University of Iowa. During his days at the University of Illinois he played football and basketball. Jim also served in the military. Jim Lewis started his coaching career at Pekin in 1933 with the baseball team. He compiled a record of 118-71-1 in eleven seasons under his direction. Lewis led Pekin to six regional titles in his seven seasons as basketball coach, including state trophies in 1947 (4th place) and 1948 (3rd place). Jim coached football for eleven seasons with a 71-30-1 record. The 1951 unbeaten Pekin football team was the first team in the history of the school to win ten games. The 1951 team was considered the mythical Number 1 team in the state. Pekin won both the Greater Peoria Illini Conference and the Big 12 Conference titles that year. Jim's golf teams excelled, winning a 3rd place (1948) and a 2nd place (1949) in the state tournament during his seven years as coach. Jim Lewis was one of the driving forces behind building Pekin Memorial Stadium. Jim was a member in three Halls of Fame, the Pekin High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and the IBCA Hall of Fame. Even by today's standards, Coach Lewis' coaching achievements are legendary.