Central Illinois Major League Debuts- George Radbourn (Bloomington)

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 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.

 

Central Illinois Major League Debuts- Carl Vandagrift (Cantrall)

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
Teams
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.

Central Illinois Major League Debuts- Fred Beck (Havana)

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 Major League Debuts- Allan Simpson (Springfield)

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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

BOXSCORE

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)

 

PREVIOUS DEBUTS

May 15 Debut- Allyn Stout 

 

 

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