NeveHarms Dr. Pat Cusack was the Spalding Irish team physician from the early 1940's until 1966 when he was succeeded by Dr. Kenny (also a Neve Harms recipient). He was associated with the legendary Ennio Arboit (a previous Hall of Fame Inductee) during the years Irish teams were Peoriarea "monsters of the gridiron."
Known simply as "Doc", even to his nine boys and two girls, Dr. Cusack, the long-time, easy recognizable East Bluff resident, graduated from Elmwood High School. He worked his way through Bradley University where he was captain of the baseball team.
Following graduation from the Loyola Medical School in Chicago, Dr. Cusack began his medical career as a General Practitioner on Peoria's Southside, where $2.00 office calls and $3.00 house calls (remember them?) were the norm. He abhorred cigarette smoking, and would never set foot in a tavern.
He was attending physician for just about every type of sporting event in Peoria, and was a fixture at the old "top of Main Street" Arena (a grocery store parking lot). As part of a battery of doctors at the Golden Glove finals in Chicago, he examined Mohammed Ali (then Cassius Clay). "Doc" regularly examined most of Peoria's Golden Glove participants.
When Spalding revived baseball in 1945, Dr. Cusack anonymously donated money for the program, including replacement of the twenty-year old uniforms Coach Father Sylvester pulled out of mothballs tattered and worn with a huge "Gothic 5" across the chest.
He was a friend and great admirer of A. J. "Robbie" Robertson. His closest doctor friend was Dr. C.V. Ward, whose son Clarence is also being honored with the Neve Harms award. From "Doc's" son Pat,"Dad would be most proud to be in Clarence's company."
Dr. Pat Cusack was the Spalding Irish team physician from the early 1940's until 1966 when he was succeeded by Dr. Kenny (also a Neve Harms recipient). He was associated with the legendary Ennio Arboit (a previous Hall of Fame Inductee) during the years Irish teams were Peoriarea "monsters of the gridiron."
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.