1948 Bradley Baseball Team
Front Row: (from left) Bobby Garber, Harry Wilcoxen, Guy Ricci, Tom Peterson, Chuck Rager, Don Ashley, Gene Meichiorre, Jim Robertson, Don Shelton, Adolph Friederich, Fred Parks, John Wilson.
Back Row: (from left) Assistant coach Charles Orsborn, Hal Willett, Harmon Groover, Ed Zilm, Jack Mallory, Tony Behrens, Bill Manker, Don Alford, Ken Schwab, John Bjorkman, manager Ray Krumrey and coach A. J. Robertson.
Not in picture: Fred Weeks.
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BRADLEY BASEBALL TEAM in the school's long diamond history, the 1948 team that was the 25th and last team coached by the late A. J. Robertson, simply did not want to quit playing.
In a season that saw them win their final 23 games, the Braves, who produced a 30-5 season for an all-time best winning percentage of .857, scheduled several games with out-of-state semi-pro teams after the collegiate portion of their season was over and kept on winning.
During the historic season Bradley whipped such teams as Alabama, Wisconsin, Loyola of New Orleans, Iowa, Notre Dame, Creighton, Drake, Louisiana Tech and St. Louis U.
Four pitchers won all 30 of the games: Harmon Groover finished 7-0; Ed Zilm was 9-1; Don Shelton, former Peoria Central star athlete, was 7-2, and lefty Bill Manker was also 7-2.
At the plate, the Braves batted .297 as a team and hit 21 home runs. Don Ashley, also from Peoria Central, hit .365; Jim Robertson of Central, who would later play big league baseball with the Philadelphia and Kansas City A's, .330; Guy Ricci, .322; Harry Wilcoxen, .315; Adolph Friedrich, .297; Tony Behrens, .282; and Gene Melchiorre, .279.