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)
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.
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.