Born in Jacksonville- Harry Staley

Born in Jacksonville- Harry Staley

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)

Allyn Stout (Peoria)

Allan Simpson (Springfield)

Fred Beck (Havana)

Carl Vandagrift (Cantrall)

Emmitt Seery (Princeville)

George Radbourn (Bloomington)


Harry Staley

Major League Debut June 23, 1888


Harry Eli Staley was born on November 3, 1866, in Jacksonville, Illinois and went on to become a major league baseball player. He made his debut on June 23, 1888, with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. His first few years, he started slow. In 1889, he led the league in pitching losses with a 21-26 record and led with 30 wild pitches.

He went on to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates and later the Boston Beaneaters where he had good success. In his last year in baseball, He played for the St. Louis Browns in 1895. His last game was on June 30, 1895. He finished with a career record of 136 wins and 119 losses along with a 3.89 ERA. He was a known strikeout pitcher an finished with 746.

His one real claim to fame came on June 1, 1893, when he drove in nine runs batted in off his bat, a record for most RBIs in a game by a pitcher that stood for over 70 years until equaled by Atlanta Braves pitcher Tony Cloninger in 1966.

Staley died on January 12, 1910, in Battle Creek, MI.



Born in Lincoln- Dick Reichle- Professional Baseball and Football Player

Born in Lincoln- Dick Reichle- Professional Baseball and Football Player

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)

NOTE: This is posted on June 13th, 52 years after his death. 


Richard Wendell Reichle was born in Lincoln, Illinois, on November 23, 1896, to George and Anna. His family resided on a farm in Logan County in Illinois after immigrating over from Germany. He had three sisters and a brother that all worked on the farm along with a servant named Samuel.

Dick graduated from Lincoln High and went on to the University of Illinois where he played baseball and football. He was part of the 1921 championship baseball team in 1921. He did have some time away and he served in World War I. After his graduation from college, it didn’t take long before his baseball talent was discovered and signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers on June 7th.

He began in the lower levels by playing first base in the Three-I League (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana) and hit .337 with six homers and 11 stolen bases in 93 games. He was brought up, thanks to scout Mike Donlin’s insistence, to the Brooklyn team on August 17th. He made his major league debut on September 19th in the first game of a doubleheader.

He went 0-for-4 in the contest but got two hits the next day and a double the game following. He batted .250 in six games before the season ended. He had no errors in those games. In 1923, he became the regular center fielder and on May 18th drove in three runs with a triple and a double. He had another game where he was 4-for-5 and knocked in two runs.

During the offseason, he played in the National Football League in six contests at the end position (he was named 2nd team all NFL pros by Colliers Magazine) and in 1924 he played for the San Antonio Bears. However, he broke his leg at Spring Training and it appeared to heal quickly but his baseball abilities appeared to diminish. He retired in 1925.

Not content to lie around during the winter reflecting on a good first season of major-league baseball, Reichle trained with the Milwaukee Badgers of the National Football League and played as an end in six of the team’s games, one of the few men to play both baseball and football at the highest level of play.

Reichle lived his retirement years in the St. Louis area with his wife and three children until his death on June 13, 1967.


Check out more Central Illinois biographies HERE.



Eliza Green – First Female MLB Official Scorer – Hired by the Cubs, But it Was a Secret

Eliza Green – First Female MLB Official Scorer – Hired by the Cubs, But it Was a Secret

Who Was Eliza Green?

Note: The Chicago White Stockings in this biography eventually became what is known today as the Chicago Cubs. 





  Eliza Green was born in 1852 in Rochester, New York to parents that migrated to the United States from Nottinghamshire, England which is the home of Robin Hood. On her street in Rochester was the Anthony family where she was taught by the youngest sister of the group Mary (she went on to be a headmistress at several schools). Eliza became close friends with Mary’s sister Susan B. Anthony. Later in life, Susan B. Anthony would become a leader of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. It is documented through newspaper articles that Eliza was a frequent visitor at the Anthony home and quite possibly had some pointers on women’s rights.


In 1869, Eliza married Silas Grover Williams who was a decorated Civil War veteran as he served with General William Sherman and was part of the “March to the Sea” led by the general. After the war, they moved to Chicago, Illinois and purchased a house that was directly across from the baseball field where the Chicago White Stockings played baseball. They had two children, Charles Green Williams in 1871 and Sarah Estella in 1876. “Stella”, as she was called, died in her youth. Charles would become treasurer of the ball club in his later years.

Eliza loved baseball and would attend as many games as she could. She would always strike up conversations with people and they would debate whether plays were to be deemed a hit or an error. These people were known as “kickers.” She was so knowledgeable about the game that Eliza was on a first name basis with owner Albert Spalding. He noticed that even the players that were complaining would seek out Eliza and ask her thoughts on the scoring of certain plays. Spalding had the idea that maybe he should name her the official scorekeeper of the team. There had never been a female in the role in the major leagues. The issue for Spalding was that Eliza was a female and fans, news reporters and the entire world would ridicule him if he hired her to be their scorekeeper. So they concocted a plan that would allow her to do the job without anyone else knowing it. Eliza became the official scorekeeper for the Chicago Cubs and she filed her scorebook as E.G. Green (no one seemed to know that Green was her maiden name).

Cap Anson, the manager of the team, was not given the details of who the scorekeeper was and Eliza would sit at most games with Cap’s wife, Virginia, and discuss the game without any notice of her doing the job. She always kept the score even before being hired. After the games and when she went home, she would have her son take an envelope to be mailed and it went back to the stadium as the official scorekeeper’s decision. He didn’t know until years later that his mom was doing the job. She did the job from 1882 through 1891. During that time, many players would still seek her out to see if she agreed with the scorekeeping decisions being made. She would give her rationale and the players went away satisfied. They had no clue that they were talking to the actual scorekeeper of the team.

Eliza’s husband died in 1895 and she married John Albert Cole Brown in 1896. He was Secretary-Treasure of the team at the time of her marriage. He died two years later and her son, Charlie, had the fortune of being Secretary-Treasure for the Chicago Cubs when they won the World Series in 1908.

She married Homer M. Daggett in 1903 who came from a prominent political family in Massachusetts. Eliza had always had a keen interest in politics and was National Secretary of the Women’s Relief Corps for seven terms and was its president in 1918-1919. She became an alternate delegate to the 1920 Republican Convention which was being held in Chicago and was selected to be part of the committee to inform Warren G. Harding he had the nomination for President of the United States. Women received the right to vote on August 26, 1920.


Following the teachings of her best friend Susan Anthony, she became the first woman to run for mayor in Massachusetts but lost. She has been photographed in front of the White House with President Coolidge. Her husband died in 1925 and she continued her cause for women until she died in 1926 of breast cancer. She is buried in Chicago, Illinois.



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Central Illinois Major League Debuts- Billy Rogell (Springfield)

Next: June 13, 2019- Dick Reichle born in Lincoln, Illinois


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 Bios Include: 

Allyn Stout (Peoria)                  Carl Vandagrift (Cantrall)

Allan Simpson (Springfield)   Emmett Seery (Princeville)

Fred Beck (Havana)                  George Radbourn (Bloomington)


Billy Rogell

Major League Debut April 14, 1925


   Born William George Rogell on November 24, 1904, in Springfield, Illinois as the fifth child and first boy in his family which would later increase to nine. His family moved to Assumption, Illinois where his father went to work in the mines. In 1911, at the age of 7, he lost his father to a mining accident and then at age 10, his mother dies. He was raised by his oldest sister for the majority of his childhood.

He made his major league debut with Boston on April 25, 1925, as an infielder. He played shortstop, second base, and third base. In 1930, he moved over to the Detroit Tigers and found a home there for six seasons where he played in the World Series. His final season he played a few games for the Chicago Cubs. He was released on August 28, 1940.

In the 1934 World Series, Rogell was involved with an incident with colorful Dizzy Dean. After driving in a run with a single to right in the fourth inning of game four, Spud Davis was replaced by Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean as a pinch runner at first base. Pepper Martin then stepped in and hit a ground ball to Gehringer at second. Gehringer turned and threw to Rogell who forced out Dean at second, and then fired the ball squarely into Dean’s forehead on the relay throw to first. The ball ricocheted off Dean’s head and landed over a hundred feet away in the outfield. Dean, always known for his quick wit and humorous nature, remarked after a visit to the hospital, “The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing.” Rogell would say of the play later, “If I’d have known his head was there, I would have thrown the ball harder.”

Some Rogell’s final stats include 5148 at-bats, 1375 hits, 42 home runs, a .267 career batting average, and 610 RBI’s. His top salary as a player was $11,000.

After baseball, Rogell went back to Detroit and served on the city council for 36 years. He was instrumental in many projects including the building of the airports and several bridges around the city. In his time during retirement, he always looks after other former players that were down in their luck. There were several players he helped get out of a jam and straight with the world.

On August 9, 2003, he died of pneumonia at the age of 98. He is buried in Sterling Heights, Michigan. After his death, the Detroit City Council made this statement former County Executive Edward McNamara, “Billy Rogell was not only a great athlete but also a great politician, he always fought for what he thought was right and then stuck to his guns. His vision and unwavering hard work helped Metro Airport grow into one of the world’s most important air transportation gateways.”









Born in Peoria- Daniel Dugdale- “Father of Seattle Baseball”

Born in Peoria- Daniel Dugdale-  “Father of Seattle Baseball”


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)

Daniel Dugdale “Father of Seattle Baseball”

Major League Debut May 20, 1886


   Dugdale was born in Peoria, Illinois, on October 28, 1864, to Irish immigrants (they are on this ships list of passengers coming to the United States) Edward Dugdale and Rebecca Lyons. His youth is not documented until he begins playing baseball. In 1884, he signs as a catcher for the Peoria Reds of the Northwestern League. From there, he lays on a multitude of teams (Hannibal, Leavenworth, Keokuk, and Denver) in the Midwest League. It was in 1886, he signs a major league contract with the Kansas City Cowboys in the National League. In his debut, he collected two hits as the Cowboys won 5-4 despite three passed balls from “Dug”.



His defense behind the plate wasn’t very good and he converted to third base and the outfield. But at 5’8″ and 180 lbs., he had trouble moving around the field. It was his bat that kept him employed. He was able to stick around the game through the 1895 season. He was a back-up player and that gave him a reason to leave. He was also unhappy with the sportswriters talking about his weight which had ballooned to almost 300 lbs. He left the major leagues and return to his hometown in Peoria.

Back home, he purchased a share of the Peoria Distillers and became their manager and they finished second in his first year. He spent some time in Minneapolis in the off-season but returned to Peoria to manage again. The Distillers did poorly and Dugdale decided to move west and follow the gold where he was part of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. His move to Alaska stopped in Seattle and he took a job as a brakeman for the railroad. While there, he made several attempts to begin a baseball team in Seattle.

By 1902, he was deeply entrenched in Seattle baseball and got a team in the Pacific Coast League. He became a celebrity and a successful baseball owner. He funded the construction of Yesler Way Park in 1907 and became friends with Connie Mack. This got him into the door of the major league ownership group. Things were moving and it wasn’t long before Seattle had a major league franchise. This was all due to the work and money of Daniel Dugdale. Those efforts afforded him the title of “The Father of Seattle Baseball.






He got involved in politics and was appointed to the Washington Legislature in the 34th District from the Democratic Party. His wife Mary died in 1933 and he moved in with his sister for a short period of time prior to his death.

On March 9, 1934, he was crossing the street on Fourth Avenue South in Seattle when he was hit by a city light truck and died at Providence Hospital three hours later. He was 69 years of age at his death.


For more information, check out the Society of Baseball Research information on Dugdale.


Other Central Illinois Bios:

Allyn Stout (Peoria)   Larry Simpson (Springfield)  Fred Beck (Havana)  Carl Vandagrift (Cantrall)

Emmett Seery (Princeville)



Bios Coming:

George Radbourn (Bloomington)

Eric Weaver (Springfield)

Daniel Dugdale (Peoria)

Billy Rogell (Springfield)

Harry Staley (Jacksonville)



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