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.
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.