7 Baseball Hall of Famers with ties to the Peoria area
In a rare occurrence, the Baseball Hall of Fame elected no new members on Tuesday — the fifth time since 2013 and the ninth time overall.
Curt Schilling was the highest vote-getter, with 71.1 percent of the vote.
In light of this historic election cycle, we take a look back at Baseball Hall of Famers with known ties to the Peoria area.
Jim Thome, Class of 2018
The Peoria native and former Limestone and Illinois Central College player is among the best to ever swing a bat in Major League Baseball. The five-time MLB all-star is among the top 10 all-time with 612 home runs to go with 1,699 RBIs and 2,328 hits in his 22-year career (1991-2012).
Greg Maddux, Class of 2014
The former Peoria Chiefs pitcher is among the best to ever pitch in the big leagues. The former Chicago Cubs ace won 355 games, four Cy Young Awards and 18 Gold Gloves in 23 seasons (1986-2008). In his lone season in Peoria in 1985, Maddux was 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA in 27 starts.
Ryne Sandberg, Class of 2005
The beloved and legendary Chicago Cubs second baseman never played in Peoria. Instead, the nine-time Gold Glove winner and 1984 NL MVP is part of River City baseball history because of two seasons as manager of the Midwest League's Peoria Chiefs in 2007 and '08.
Kirby Puckett, Class of 2001
The Calumet native and career Minnesota Twins outfielder (1984-1995) spent a season on the Bradley baseball team before transferring to Triton College in River Grove. He also played in the Central Illinois Collegiate League. Puckett batted .378 with 41 RBIs for Bradley in 1981, his lone season with BU. The two-time World Series champion won an American League batting title in 1989 and led the AL in hits four times.
Mike Schmidt, Class of 1995
The famed Philadelphia Phillies slugger is an Ohio native, but played for the Peoria Pacers of the Central Illinois Collegiate League in 1969. The three-time NL MVP and 1980 world champion finished with 548 home runs and 1,595 RBIs in his 18-year career (1972-1989).
Jim Bottomley, Class of 1974
The 16-year first baseman (1922-1937) played most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was born in Oglesby, located about an hour north of Peoria in LaSalle County, but grew up in Nokomis, about two hours south. Bottomly was the 1928 National League MVP, batting .325 with 31 home runs, 136 RBIs and 20 triples. He still holds the NL single-game mark with 12 RBIs, set in 1924.
Joe McGinnity, Class of 1946
One of the most durable pitchers in MLB history, McGinnity was born in Cornwall Township, located about an hour north of Peoria in Henry County. The 10-year MLBer (1899-1908) was nicknamed "Iron Man" not only because he worked in an iron foundry during the offseason but because he had career-highs of 44 complete games and 434 innings pitched in 1903 — and 314 complete games overall. He also pitched for the Peoria Distillers, at one point pitching every inning of a 21-inning game in 1898.
Wes Huett is Journal Star sports editor. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @WesHuett.