Inductees Leo Schrall, the highly successful Bradley baseball coach who led the Braves to two appearances in the College World Series, enjoyed one of the most varied baseball careers in Peoria's history.
A Notre Dame athlete, he played minor league baseball, and after his playing days were over he became a manager. He ran the Hiram Walker entry in the Sunday Morning League for a number of years and also was manager of the Peoria Redwings in the All American Girls Baseball League.
But it was at Bradley that he achieved national fame. His teams won 346 games while losing only 189 in 24 seasons, and after his retirement, he was named to the Hall of Fame of the National Collegiate Baseball Coaches Association.
Schrall first took Bradley to the College World Series at Omaha in 1950. The Braves lost their first two games that year to be eliminated, but he took them back in 1956 for a fourth place finish.
Bradley joined the Missouri Valley Conference in Schrall's first season. Under his direction, the Braves won four Valley titles outright and shared a fifth.
Leo Schrall, the highly successful Bradley baseball coach who led the Braves to two appearances in the College World Series, enjoyed one of the most varied baseball careers in Peoria's history.
Hockey was a sport local fans could watch only if they went to Chicago or St. Louis until BardezBanian founded the Peoria Stars in 1959.
The two were with the Pekin Stars until 1970, when they formed the Peoria Blades, on the outdoor rink at Logan, in 1971. The Logan "bubble" went up the next year and the Blades, through membership in the Continental League, gave Peoria a solid taste of hockey.
BardezBanian played with the Blades for a few years, then became president while Olson always served as the team's general manager.
And the two gave hockey a boost whenever they could. BardezBanian coached the Bradley University club team for many years and both were instrumental in starting and maintaining youth hockey in Pekin and Peoria.
Both are now retired, Olson from Caterpillar's Mossville plant and BardezBanian from a management position with the City of Peoria.