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)