NeveHarms Long-time former Peoria Heights mayor Ray PicI, who has devoted thousands of hours to the local sports scene, is the winner of the Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award for 1998.
PicI, in particular, has been synonymous with the Bradley Chiefs Club and the Chicago Cub Boosters of Central Illinois.
He has been a past president and currently on the board of directors of the Chiefs Club, a major fund-raising organization for the Bradley athletic program. Head man of the Chicago Cubs Boosters for 13 years, his efforts have made the appearance of the cub winter caravan a major event in Peoria with thousands attending the banquet each year. During his presidency the Cub boosters club has donated well over $100,000 to local sports programs.
He also has been coordinator of the Central Illinois Chicago Bears Fan Club and last year he finished second among 96 fan club coordinators in membership recruiting.
He was chairman of the committee that brought Junior League Football to Peoria Heights. Other volunteer duties over the years included public address announcer for Peoria Heights grade school sports and Peoria Heights High School football and basketball, official scorer for the Peoria Heights High School girls basketball team and coach in the Peoria Heights Junior Basketball League.
Long-time former Peoria Heights mayor Ray PicI, who has devoted thousands of hours to the local sports scene, is the winner of the Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award for 1998.
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.