Howard Maple was one of the most amazing athletes ever to come out of Peoria. A football, basketball and baseball standout at Central High School, he went on to become a brilliant quarterback at Oregon State in the late 1920s and later played in both the National Football League and in major league baseball with the Washington Senators.
Playing at 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds, Maple was such a high school football star he was named captain of the All-State team.
At Oregon State he proved a West Coast sensation. In his junior season in 1926 he was selected to the second team on four West Coast teams and was an honorable mention all-American on teams picked by famed coaches Knute Rockne and Pop Warner.
The next season he was picked on six all-American second teams and was named to six West Coast first teams. He was a fine runner, an outstanding passer, an excellent kicker and a sure tackler on defense where he played safety.
In 1930 he appeared in eight games with the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL as a wingback. Two years later he was in the big leagues with Washington, playing in 44 games as a catcher. He hit .244. He was also in the Chicago White Sox farm system and played in the Three-I League with Springfield and Bloomington, with Keokuk in the Western League and with Harrisburg, N.Y. in the New York-Penn league. He managed both Harrisburg and Keokuk.
He later coached at both Oregon State and Willamette College, being head basketball and track coach and assistant football coach at Willamette.
A very successful businessman and civic leader in Oregon after his playing and coaching days were over, he died in Portland in 1970.