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.