Inductees Marie Wadlow, the first woman elected to the National Softball Hall of Fame, was one of the most talented and fierce competitors to appear on the Greater Peoria sports scene.
Her softball pitching career started in 1929 in St. Louis and ended in 1950 with the Caterpillar Dieselettes. It was a truly amazing one.
Her all-time record was 341 wins against 51 losses and in her seven years with Caterpillar she won 103 games while losing just 18.
Chuck McCord, the long-time manager of the Dieselettes, called Wadlow "one of the greatest competitors I've seen anywhere."
One of her biggest thrills on the mound actually came in a game she lost. "We had a 17 inning 1-0 loss to the Phoenix Ramblers in 1950," she recalled many years ago. "That gave us third place in the national tournament at San Antonio."
Wadlow, who passed away in 1979, was elected to the National ASA Hall of Fame in 1957 and is also a member of the Illinois State Softball Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Hall of Fame.
Marie Wadlow, the first woman elected to the National Softball Hall of Fame, was one of the most talented and fierce competitors to appear on the Greater Peoria sports scene.
Paul Reatherford was the main ramrod in establishing Peoria's first Biddy Basketball program in 1951 at the old Salvation Army gym with 275 boys. He started as Coach and Director in that league in 1947 where he stayed for 23 years. That first year in the official Biddy program his team won the state title but lost its first game in the national tournament in Scranton, Pa., home of the Biddy program. In subsequent years, his teams would have first and third place finishes, plus one season where our town hosted the national tournament.