NeveHarms Jim Watson has devoted more than forty years to the youth and public of our community. He is recognized throughout central Illinois as an excellent official, coach, administrator and league organizer.
An enthusiastic volunteer in Peoria, he's been a superb role model for our youth. Instrumental in a variety of sports essential to Peoria, Jim spent twenty-seven years in service as a coach, official and director of the Junior Football League. Primarily associated with basketball, he's served as a longtime scorer for Peoria Manual, helped to establish the Moonlight Basketball League, worked as chief statistician for both Bradley basketball and WMBD radio, and supervised activities for the Boys and Girls Club as well as Taft and Warner Homes.
Numerous other contributions have been made to such activities as YMCA 1-ball, soccer and touch football, Carver Center, IBCA All-Star basketball, and every job imaginable for the success of the Gus Macker Tournament.
Due to his tireless dedication and outstanding example to our community, we are honored to bestow the Neve Harms Award on Jim Watson.
Jim Watson has devoted more than forty years to the youth and public of our community. He is recognized throughout central Illinois as an excellent official, coach, administrator and league organizer.
A two-sport star (baseball and basketball) at both Limestone High School and Illinois Central College, Thome went on to a legendary baseball career as one of the top sluggers in Major League Baseball history. A 13th-round selection by the Cleveland Indians in 1989, Thome made his MLB debut in 1991. After a 22-year career with Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles, Thome ranks seventh in Major League history with 612 home runs and 24th with 1,699 runs batted in, while boasting a .276 career batting average. He was a five-time All-Star and received Most Valuable Player votes in nine different seasons. Thome helped Cleveland to World Series appearances in both 1995 and 1997 and he hit 17 career postseason home runs. Thome led the American League in slugging in 2002 (.677) and the National League with 47 home runs in 2003 and he received a 1996 Silver Slugger Award. Thome also was the 2006 Americal League Comeback Player of the Year. Recognized for his integrity, sportsmanship and community involvement, Thome received the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2001 and 2004, as well as the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2004 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The Cleveland organization dedicated a statue of Thome outside Progressive Field following his official retirement in 2014.