Inductees Amy Applegren was getting a paycheck for playing professional baseball before she was out of high school.
Graduating from Peoria Manual in 1945, Applegren had already played one full season in the All-American Girls Baseball League in 1944, the second year the league, founded by late Chicago Club owner Phil Wrigley, was in existence.
The league lasted for a dozen seasons, from 1943 through 1954 and Applegren, a lefthanded pitcher and first baseman who earlier had pitched for the Caterpillar Dieselettes, played in all but the first and last seasons.
This was major league baseball for women and only a few played as long as Applegren or saw as many changes in the game. Over the years the pitching rules were changed nine times while she was hurling: the size of the ball was reduced four times and the mound was moved back five times.
She began playing for the Rockford Peaches in 1944, one year after the team that was featured in the hit movie "A League Of Their Own". Later she was with Muskegon, went back to Rockford and ended with South Bend in 1953. And during her eight-year pitching career they kept changing pitching rules. In 1944 the ball was 12 inches in circumference, pitchers pitched underhand and the distance to home plate was 40 feet. In her final years the ball was 10 inches, pitching was overhand and the distance was 55 feet.
In all, she pitched in 205 games, played in a total of 386, had a 94-91 pitching record with an ERA under three her first three years and then two of 1.06 and 1.76.
Peoria was part of the league from 1946 through 1951 but Applegren never had a chance to play for her hometown, just against it.
Amy Applegren was getting a paycheck for playing professional baseball before she was out of high school.
A 1974 Bradley University graduate and longtime financial consultant for MassMutual Financial Group, Paul Herzog has served as the public address "Voice of the Braves" for nearly 600 Bradley men's basketball games for the past 39 seasons, including every game the Braves have played at Carver Arena and Renaissance Coliseum. In addition to his volunteer service for Bradley, Herzog has served as the volunteer public address announcer for every game the Peoria Civic Center has hosted in the IHSA Boys Basketball State Tournament during its 20-year run in the River City.
While "PA" Paul is well-known for his role with Bradley Basketball and the IHSA, his community service extends far beyond Carver Arena. A Braves Club Board of Directors member for 20 years and a past president (1992-94) of the organization, Herzog also served as president of the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter (1983-85) and the Bradley University National Alumni Association (1990-91). He also has began emceeing the IHSA State Cross Country Championships awards ceremony in 1996.
Closer to his home in Germantown Hills, Herzog has coached in youth baseball and basketball house leagues and from 2006-13 he was a member of the Germantown Hills Athletic Association Board of Directors. He served as a committe co-chair in the effort to acquire land for the expansion of youth sports in Germantown Hills, which led to the addition of 20 acres to school district property. Herzog also brought a little of the Bradley Basketball experience to the Germantown Hills Grade School Boys Basketball program by serving as the public address announcer from 2008-12.
Herzog is the recipient of numerous service awards, including the Bradley Varsity Club Billy Stone Service Award, the Bradley University Lydia Moss Bradley Award, the IHSA March Madness Volunteer of the Year and the IHSA Distinguished Service Award. He was inducted into the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.