Central Illinois Major League Debuts- George Radbourn (Bloomington)

Central Illinois has had many major league baseball players in history. Let’s look at them from the 12 counties that we have selected to become Central Illinois. (Logan, McLean, DeWitt, Woodford, Fulton, Peoria, Mason, Tazewell, Cass, Morgan, Menard, Sangamon).

Check out previous Central Illinois Debuts



George Radbourn

Major League Debut May 30, 1883


George B. Radbourn was born on April 8, 1856, in Bloomington, Illinois to George and Emily Radbourn. The family left Bristol, England in the summer of 1851 along with George’s brothers James and Charles and his wife Caroline. They came on the ship Mary Ann Peter and arrived on August 22, 1851. This was several years before George was born.

They took up residence in Rochester, New York until the entire family group moved to McLean County, Illinois in 1855. George and Emily located in Bloomington, Illinois, and Charles and Caroline and their newborn son Charles (later became Old Hoss Radbourn) were in Martin, Illinois. The family soon bought a farm on West Washington Road near Bloomington when George was born in 1856.

George began to play baseball with his cousin Charles. In 1883, George made his debut with the Detroit Wolverines and played in 3 career games and finished with a 1-2 record and a 6.55ERA. Little is written about the years after baseball.

His cousin Charles would go on to a long and illustrious baseball career. George moved back to Bloomington and died on January 1, 1904. He is buried in Bloomington at the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.


There is a children’s book called, “How George Radbourn Saved Baseball” that has nothing to do with the actual player. It is a highly illustrated book and has the use of his name in the title.


Central Illinois Major League Debuts- Emmett Seery (Princeville)

Central Illinois has had many major league baseball players in history. Let’s look at them from the 12 counties that we have selected to become Central Illinois. (Logan, McLean, DeWitt, Woodford, Fulton, Peoria, Mason, Tazewell, Cass, Morgan, Menard, Sangamon)

Previous Articles:

Allyn Stout (Peoria)

Allan Simpson (Springfield)

Fred Beck (Havana)

Emmett Seery

Major League Debut on April 17, 1884


He was born John Emmett Seery on February 13, 1861, in Princeville, Illinois. From there, little is known of his life until he started playing baseball. He began playing in a semi-pro ball in Waltham, MA and then became a professional for the Baltimore Monumentals in 1884 where he hit .313 and was included in the top five of many statistical categories.

The next season saw him head to Kansas City and play for the Cowboys. He was a league leader again with nine triples and 43 runs scored. He pitched some games for them that year. In 1886, he rostered with the St. Louis Maroons for one year where he hit only .159 and was the subject of ridicule from some of his teammates. His main antagonist was Charlie Sweeney who was a known guzzler of whiskey.

Seery and Sweeney got into a huge fight in the dugout with many siding with Seery, even though Seery was 5’7″ and 145 pounds.  Later on during the season, Sweeney was walking down the street in St. Louis late at night and a band of thugs beat him an inch from his life. Many felt Seery hired the guys to beat him up.

He then played for several more teams which included Indianapolis Hoosiers, Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders, Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers, and Louisville Colonels from 1884 to 1892. In 916 career Major League games, Seery batted .252 with 893 hits.

Seery made his last professional appearance on June 12, 1892, for the Louisville Colonels.

After Baseball

Seery retired to Florida and began an orange grove which became very profitable. He died on August 7, 1930, and is buried in Jensen Beach, Florida.


Check out previous Central Illinois Debuts

Carl Vandagrift

Major League Debut May 19, 1914

He was born Carl William Vandagrift on April 22, 1883, in Cantrall, Illinois. He went on to enjoy his time in baseball as he made his major league debut with the Indianapolis Hoosiers on May 19, 1914. Primarily a second baseman, he played in 43 professional games. In his first at-bat, he produced a single. He hit in his first seven games in the major leagues and was batting .417 on June 23rd. Things went south from there and by the end of the season he was hitting a dismal .245 and he had no homers or triples. He did get four doubles but he was just a singles player. That was the end of his professional career.


He moved to Ft. Wayne Indiana and owned and operated a bowling alley in the city. He died on October 9, 1920, due to complications from appendectomy surgery. He was 38 years of age and left behind a wife and six-year-old son.

Career Numbers

Batting average .250
Home runs 0
Runs batted in 9
Indianapolis Hoosiers (1914)

Where is Cantrall, Illinois?

Cantrall is a village in Sangamon County, Illinois, United States. The population was 139 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Sangamon River State Fish and Wildlife Area is located 4.5 miles (7.2 km) southwest of Cantrall, on the banks of the Sangamon River.

Fred Beck

Major League Debut April 14, 1909

    He was born Frederick Thomas Beck on November 17, 1886, in Havana, Illinois. He spent all of his life in and around Havana when he wasn’t gone for baseball. His start came in the Illinois 3-I League which consisted of teams from Illinois-Iowa-Indiana. He was expected to pitch for the team from Bloomington, Illinois. He had trouble throwing strikes and was converted to the outfield to keep his strong bat in the lineup.

He was sold in the middle of the 1908 season for $750 to the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League and played outfield and first base for them. He was signed in 1909 by the Boston Doves and made his major league debut on April 14th of that season. He was 2-for-5 in the game with one run scored. He got his first home run on October 2, 1909, which was a game winner as his team won 1-0 against Philadelphia. He went on to be the home run leader in 1910 with TEN home runs.

The Cincinnati Reds purchased him in February of 1911 and he played for them for part of the season before being sold to the Philadelphia Phillies. He stumbled a bit with them and was in the minor leagues until 1914 when he was signed by the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. He went back to the minors and played ball until 1918 when he joined the service during World War I.

He officially announced his retirement in 1926 and finished his professional career with a .262 batting average. He also had 33 home runs and 251 runs batted in. He went back to his hometown in Havana and became a clerk at the Taylor House. He died at the age of 75 on March 12, 1962, and is buried in Havana at Laurel Hills Cemetery.


Central Illinois has had many major league baseball players in history. Let’s look at them from the 12 counties that we have selected to become Central Illinois. (Logan, McLean, DeWitt, Woodford, Fulton, Peoria, Mason, Tazewell, Cass, Morgan, Menard, Sangamon)

Previous Articles:

Allyn Stout (Peoria)

Allan Simpson (Springfield)

Central Illinois Major League Debuts- Allan Simpson (Springfield)



Central Illinois has had many major league baseball players in history. Let’s look at them from the 12 counties that we have selected to become Central Illinois. (Logan, McLean, DeWitt, Knox, Woodford, Fulton, Peoria, Mason, Tazewell, Cass, Morgan, Sangamon)


Larry Allan Simpson

MLB Debut May 17. 2004


Simpson was born in Springfield, Illinois on August 26, 1977. It appears he moved out of the area before he got to high school. Records show he attended high school in Las Vegas and was drafted out of Taft College in California in the 8th round of the 2017 draft by the Seattle Mariners. He labored in the minor leagues with Seattle as a righthanded pitcher for about 6 years before getting to move to the Rockies where they gave him the call to the major leagues.

He played for Colorado in 2004 and 2005 before going to the Cincinnati Reds late in the 2005 season. He hooked up with the Brewers in 2006 then played two more years in the minor leagues before retiring from baseball. He ended his career with a 2-2 record with 57 strikeouts and a 6.06 career ERA. He played his final major league game on June 6, 2006.


Coming Soon

May 19- Carl Vandagrift (Cantrall)

May 20- Dan Dugdale (Peoria)



May 15 Debut- Allyn Stout 



Central Illinois Major League Debuts- Allyn Stout (Peoria)

Central Illinois has had many major league baseball players in history. Let’s look at them from the 12 counties that we have selected to become Central Illinois. (Logan, McLean, DeWitt, Knox, Woodford, Fulton, Peoria, Mason, Tazewell, Cass, Morgan, Sangamon)


Allyn McClellan Stout

born in Peoria, Illinois on October 31, 1904


He was brought in to the game in the bottom of the 8th inning to pitch for the first time. The Cardinals trailed the New York Giants 7-5. He pitched a perfect inning as all three batters ground out to the infield. It was a success for the righthander from Peoria. BOXSCORE

In his first season, he pitched in 30 games for the St. Louis Cardinals and finished with a perfect 6-0 record. The first win of his career came on June 9, 1931, facing the Brooklyn Dodgers at home. He tossed 6.2 innings and allowed five hits, one earned run, 3 walks and he fanned four batters. He pitched his first complete game on September 14, 1931, facing Philadelphia. He finished with 9IP/14H/5ER/3BB/5K.

He played for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants and Boston Braves after being traded for future Hall of Famer Leo Durocher. His career numbers have him winning 20 games and losing 20 games. He struck out 185 batters and sported a 4.5 ERA. He played his final game on June 27, 1943 while with Boston.

He died on December 22, 1974, and is buried in Sikeston, MO.





Commissioner of Baseball – Ford Frick – Part 3 of 6

Part One – Judge Kenesaw Landis

Part Two – A.B. “Happy” Chandler


Ford Frick Become Baseball Commissioner

In 1951, some baseball owners had become displeased with Happy Chandler’s service as the commissioner and did not want to renew his contract. In September, the owners elected Frick to replace Chandler in a twelve-hour meeting that the Chicago Tribune called “their all-time peak in dilly-dallying”. The owners were able to quickly narrow the candidates down from five unnamed candidates to two frontrunners, Frick and Warren Giles. The owners deadlocked until Giles decided to remove his name from consideration. Giles, who had been president and general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, succeeded Frick as NL president.

Frick agreed to a seven-year contract worth $65,000 each year. When he assumed the office, Frick said that he was surprised to be elected even though he knew he was a candidate for the position. Just before his announcement, the major league team owners voted that the commissioner’s office should be located in a city with two major league teams. Frick decided to relocate the office from Cincinnati to New York.

Removed Two from All-Star Team

In 1957, Frick addressed an organized campaign of ballot stuffing for that year’s All-Star Game in which most of the ballots originated from Cincinnati and had stacked the NL team with Reds. In response, Frick overruled the fan vote, removed two Reds from the starting lineup and appointed two replacements from other teams, and then took the vote away from the fans and kept it that way for the remainder of his tenure.

Frick presided over the expansion of the American and National Leagues from eight to ten teams. Faced with a Congress threatening to revoke baseball’s antitrust exemption, Frick had initially favored the development of a third major league within organized baseball but relented when the established league owners objected and pursued their own expansion plans. Following expansion, the regular season was extended to 162 games from 154 in order to maintain a balanced schedule.

Known as the Asterisks Commissioner

Frick’s most highly criticized decision as commissioner was to request baseball record-keepers to list the single-season home run records of Babe Ruth and Roger Maris separately in 1961, based on the length of the season played. Frick called a press conference to issue a ruling that a player must hit more than 60 home runs in his first 154 games in order to be considered the record holder. Writer Allen Barra points out that MLB had no direct control over any record books until many years later, and within a few years, all listed Maris as the single-season record holder. He writes that Frick and Ruth had been friends and that Frick was with Ruth on the player’s deathbed.

In 1960, Frick said that he would probably retire when his contract expired in 1965. He said that his remaining goals for his term as commissioner were to complete the expansion process and to convince Congress to allow each baseball league to set its own television policies.


Frick’s Early Life

commissioner of baseball #3  Frick was born on a farm in Wawaka, Indiana, and went to high school in Rome City, Indiana He took classes at International Business College in Fort Wayne, then worked for a company that made engines for windmills. He attended DePauw University, where he played first base for the DePauw baseball team and ran track. He graduated in 1915. He had been a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Frick came to Colorado to play semipro baseball in Walsenburg.


After his stint as a baseball player, Frick lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He taught English at Colorado Springs High School and at Colorado College. Frick moonlighted for The Gazette, covering sports and news until he left to work for the War Department near the conclusion of World War I. When the war was over, Frick worked in Denver for the Rocky Mountain News. Frick returned to Colorado Springs to take a job with the Evening Telegraph, which later merged with The Gazette. Around this time, he had given some thought to starting his own advertising agency.

In 1921, a flood devastated much of Pueblo, Colorado. When other reporters had flown in to cover the flood, their airplanes had become stuck in muddy conditions and they had been stranded in Pueblo. Frick had a pilot fly him there, but instead of landing, they circled low over Pueblo while Frick took notes and photographs. He was able to file his story a day earlier than other reporters. The recognition from the Pueblo flood helped Frick get a position with the New York American in 1922.

In 1934, he became the NL’s public relations director, and then became president of the league later that year.

In June 1937, Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean began to publicly criticize the NL and Frick. In response, Frick said that he was suspending Dean until the pitcher issued a written apology. Dean indicated that he would not apologize and that he would boycott the 1937 All-Star Game, suspended or not. The Cardinals made peace with Frick so that Dean could return to play. He appeared in the All-Star Game, but he sustained a toe injury in the game. The injury altered his delivery and he later injured his arm, never returning to All-Star form.

An American Communist Party newspaper known as the Daily Worker asked Frick in 1937 about the feasibility of racially integrating baseball. Frick said that there was no rule discriminating against players on the basis of race. He said that professional baseball required ability, good habits and strong character. He asserted that he was not aware of a case in which race had played a role in the selection of a major league player.

In the late 1930s, Frick played a central role in establishing the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He gathered a team of representatives from the major news wire services, including Davis Walsh of the International News Service, Alan J. Gould of the Associated Press, and Henry L. Farrell of United Press International. They took the idea to the Baseball Writers Association of America and that organization became the voting body for Hall of Fame elections. Later, during his tenure as NL president, when several members of the St. Louis Cardinals planned to protest Jackie Robinson’s breaking of baseball’s color barrier, Frick threatened any players involved with suspension.