Inductees BRADLEY, which began playing baseball in 1898, made its most serious bid for national attention up to that time in 1956 when Leo Schrall's hard-hitting team finished in a tie for third in the NCAA College World Series at Omaha.
Finishing with a 24-8 record, the Braves hit .306 for the season, produced 19 home runs and a total of 87 extra base hits.
Bradley scored 10 or more runs 16 times and were led at the plate by Del Bireline (Peoria Woodruff) who hit .434, Lee Utt (Decatur) .367 and a team-leading five home runs; Karl Gottlieb (East Peoria) .350 and Ed Taylor (Manual) .365.
The team's leading pitcher was Wyman Carey, later to play minor league ball, who went 11-2 and produced 120 strikeouts in 113 innings and a 2.05 earned run average.
After going 19-6 in the regular season, the Braves whipped Oklahoma A&M 13-10 and 16-12 to win the Missouri Valley Conference championship after finishing first in the Eastern Division with a 7-2 record.
North Dakota State was bombed 11-2 to win District 5 and put the Braves in the World Series.
Playing without Utt, team captain and most valuable player for the season, and Taylor, not eligible in the NCAA tourney because they were playing their fourth varsity seasons, the Braves edged Washington State 4-3 in the first round (Don Wyss drove in the winning run in the top of the 9th inning), fell to Mississippi 4-0 in their second game, kept alive with a 12-8 win over Wyoming and then were ousted 8-3 by Minnesota.
BRADLEY, which began playing baseball in 1898, made its most serious bid for national attention up to that time in 1956 when Leo Schrall's hard-hitting team finished in a tie for third in the NCAA College World Series at Omaha.
Jim Lewis served as Athletic Director, head football, golf, basketball, and baseball coach at Pekin Community High School during his career from 1933-1955. Jim received his BA from the University of Illinois and a masters from the University of Iowa. During his days at the University of Illinois he played football and basketball. Jim also served in the military. Jim Lewis started his coaching career at Pekin in 1933 with the baseball team. He compiled a record of 118-71-1 in eleven seasons under his direction. Lewis led Pekin to six regional titles in his seven seasons as basketball coach, including state trophies in 1947 (4th place) and 1948 (3rd place). Jim coached football for eleven seasons with a 71-30-1 record. The 1951 unbeaten Pekin football team was the first team in the history of the school to win ten games. The 1951 team was considered the mythical Number 1 team in the state. Pekin won both the Greater Peoria Illini Conference and the Big 12 Conference titles that year. Jim's golf teams excelled, winning a 3rd place (1948) and a 2nd place (1949) in the state tournament during his seven years as coach. Jim Lewis was one of the driving forces behind building Pekin Memorial Stadium. Jim was a member in three Halls of Fame, the Pekin High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and the IBCA Hall of Fame. Even by today's standards, Coach Lewis' coaching achievements are legendary.