Inductees Howard Maple was one of the most amazing athletes ever to come out of Peoria. A football, basketball and baseball standout at Central High School, he went on to become a brilliant quarterback at Oregon State in the late 1920s and later played in both the National Football League and in major league baseball with the Washington Senators.
Playing at 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds, Maple was such a high school football star he was named captain of the All-State team.
At Oregon State he proved a West Coast sensation. In his junior season in 1926 he was selected to the second team on four West Coast teams and was an honorable mention all-American on teams picked by famed coaches Knute Rockne and Pop Warner.
The next season he was picked on six all-American second teams and was named to six West Coast first teams. He was a fine runner, an outstanding passer, an excellent kicker and a sure tackler on defense where he played safety.
In 1930 he appeared in eight games with the Chicago Cardinals of the NFL as a wingback. Two years later he was in the big leagues with Washington, playing in 44 games as a catcher. He hit .244. He was also in the Chicago White Sox farm system and played in the Three-I League with Springfield and Bloomington, with Keokuk in the Western League and with Harrisburg, N.Y. in the New York-Penn league. He managed both Harrisburg and Keokuk.
He later coached at both Oregon State and Willamette College, being head basketball and track coach and assistant football coach at Willamette.
A very successful businessman and civic leader in Oregon after his playing and coaching days were over, he died in Portland in 1970.
Howard Maple was one of the most amazing athletes ever to come out of Peoria. A football, basketball and baseball standout at Central High School, he went on to become a brilliant quarterback at Oregon State in the late 1920s and later played in both the National Football League and in major league baseball with the Washington Senators.
1948 Pekin Basketballl Team
Back row, left to right: Don Ehrett, Bill Nelson, Dave Skillman, Coach Lewis, Don Hannan, Herbie Raab, Jim Ennis.
The 1947 and 1948 Pekin Basketball Teams had many similarities at the time. Both teams were led by head coach Jim Lewis and assistant coach John Moss. Both teams won more games combined (59) in a two year period than any other Pekin teams at that time. Six players; Don Ehrett, Herb Gerecke, Howie Harris, Bert Van Horn, Chuck Busby, and Jay Nelson played on both squads that placed 4th in state in 1947 and 3rd in state in 1948. Both teams were their respective season’s Greater Peoria Conference Champs and were ranked in the top ten in the regular season basketball poll; #10 in 1947 and #1 in 1948. In 1948, Herb Gerecke was named to the Chicago Daily News all-state team and 6-2 senior, Chuck Busby (top vote getter), Bob Watson, Jay Nelson, and Herb Gerecke were voted to the all-state tournament squad.