NeveHarms Tom Lowery, long-time Peoria Youth Sports figure, has been named co-winner of the 1991 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award. He has a Masters Degree from Sangamon State University and works as a Management Analyst.
A life-long Peorian, Tom is a graduate of Manual where he lettered in three sports. He developed his baseball skills under the late Ed Stonebock, beginning as an eight-year-old little leaguer and lasting through a State Tournament Championship his senior year.
Lowery has served as Director of the Averyville and Woodruff Youth Baseball programs since 1971. His involvement as founder of the program grew out of his desire to involve Northside youth in sports rather than the streets. His teams have won over 50 League and Tournament titles, including Peoria City Little League and Pony League Championships. He was the driving force in youth programs in the Averyville area for many years, offering year-round activities for the neighborhood youth in baseball, basketball, bowling and table tennis. He also coached grade school basketball at Christ Lutheran School and led his team to the title game of the prestigious Lutheran Tournament. Lowery-coached men's basketball teams won 8 Peoria league titles, 15 tournament titles and in 1976 finished in the top 8 at the National men's Lutheran tourney.
Lowery has been a long-time participant in the Illinois Central College Basketball program with Lorene Ramsey and Carroll Herman, serving in several capacities including Radio and TV announcer, PA announcer, Statistician, Sports Information Director, photographer, and promotional services ó all as a volunteer. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Old Timers Baseball Association.
As Youth Baseball Director, Tom is now involved in the drive to develop the Riverfront Youth Athletic Field at Woodruff Park. This ambitious endeavor will provide a centralized lighted baseball facility for Peoria's youth for the first time - a veritable "Field of Dreams" for Director Tom, who has had over 3500 boys and girls participate in his programs.
Tom Lowery, long-time Peoria Youth Sports figure, has been named co-winner of the 1991 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award. He has a Masters Degree from Sangamon State University and works as a Management Analyst.
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.