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High School Highlights
The last of the regular season basketball games between Normal Community High School and Normal Community West High School, during which a charity benefitted, was played on Jan. 16 at Normal West. The American Heart Association was the charity receiving the donations through the sales of T-Shirts at this event and many of the students were decked out in red in some form if they did not buy the ones on sale.
There was an annual “Pink Game” event at the girls’ basketball game between the Unit 5 rivals on Jan. 10 that benefited the American Cancer Society.
But getting back to the “Red Out” game, the sophomore boards of both schools pooled efforts, thus making this fundraising event possible. West teacher Peg Modglin is the Sophomore Board advisor at her school and Christy Engel is the Sophomore Board advisor at NCHS.
“I think the kids enjoy having games that are theme-based, like this one,” Modglin said of how successful efforts like this one have become over its five-year history. “I think the kids enjoy supporting a cause along with supporting the intercity competition.”
“We sold T-shirts in the week leading up to the game and tried to spread the word about what the American Heart Association does,” Engel added, in describing the efforts that went on at NCHS.
Being the visiting team for this game this year, NCHS mainly sold T-Shirts in the week leading up to this event, Engle said, while Normal West had some basketball-related games for students to take part in during their lunch hours in the school’s atrium. Modglin said one of the AHA’s themes, “Life Is Why…” was also incorporated for kids to get involved, taking goofy pictures of themselves wearing big hats and sunglasses, or Hawaiian leis or other such novelties.
If that tagline needed an explanation, Amy McKuhen, youth market director for AHA, provides it. “We need to pay attention to how we’re living our lives, making sure we’re exercising and eating healthy, and taking care of our bodies because it’s our life.”
“The theme was meant to help talk to kids about celebrating life and being healthy,” Modglin said. She said the T-shirts sold out for the first time this year at Normal West, an indication to her “that the interest is growing by the T-Shirt sales alone,” she said. When Normal West sold out of the $10 T-Shirts, they had raised $590, which is just a chunk of the money this event normally brings in for AHA. Modglin said this was the first year the school had completely sold all of their T-shirts in the five-year history of this event.
Over the course of the five years that this charity event has gone on with the two high schools being involved, a total of nearly $5,000 has been raised for AHA, explained McKuhen. McKuhen said she felt as though there was a larger crowd for the event this year than in past years. She said that could be an indication that “There’s more awareness of the event. More people are talking about it. I think, this year, we collaborated that much more with the Sophomore Boards from both schools. I think that’s really making a difference this year.”
“Keeping the students aware of unfortunate things that can affect their lives and the lives of their family members, such as heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and other such things is important to be aware of, and know that both of the high schools work as a community to support causes like this and try to bring awareness to our students so that they can grow up to be healthy adults,” Modglin said.
And clearly, it’s never too early to start. Just ask Normal West Special Education teacher Tonya Stillwell and her daughter, Myah, a sixth grader at George L. Evans Junior High School, both of whom were volunteering to help sell T-shirts during the game.
“I try to bring to the kids’ attention the importance of staying healthy and to exercise, and to bring awareness to what it means to have a healthy heart,” Tonya Stillwell said. Her son, Trey, is a sophomore at Normal West.
By my guess, I would say there were 2,200 people who turned out for the game, which meant they made a donation as they came through the door. “I’m ecstatic at the turnout we have tonight,” McKuhen said. “It’s also great to see the people coming in to the game who are already wearing red and black in support of this event, as well as seeing people making donations.”
On another subject, it may be winter, but I think we are all, already, itching for some outdoor activity, namely Normal CornBelters baseball. On Thursday, Jan. 22, the CornBelters will hold their 2nd Annual Hot Stove Dinner at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Carol A. Reitan Conference Center. The keynote speaker for the event is Lee Smith. A seven-time Major League Baseball All-Star, Smith has spent time with both the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. It ought to be a fun evening.
Lady Redbird Basketball Report
ISU’s Second-Half Surge Comes up Short against Wichita State, 46-41
The Illinois State women’s basketball team came up short, after a strong second-half surge, falling to Wichita State, 46-41, Friday, Feb. 20th at Redbird Arena.
Illinois State (1-24, 1-13 MVC) was led by Lindsay Smith, who recorded 11 points to accompany six rebounds. Seven of those points came from the charity stripe, where L. Smith was 7-of-8 from behind the line. Wichita State (21-4, 12-1 MVC) was led by Alex Harden, who led all scorers with 17 points.
The Redbirds shot 33 percent from the field, while the Shockers found the bottom of the net on 36 percent of their shots. ISU won the three-point battle, shooting 25 percent from behind the arc, while WSU was scoreless from three-point range.
The Redbirds struggled to get their offense going in the first half, as they netted just nine points by the 5:00 mark. Illinois State’s points came from three field goals and a pair of free throws. ISU had several scoring droughts and WSU’s press forced 11 Redbird turnovers in the first 15 minutes of the game. WSU’s Harden netted 11 of Wichita State’s first 13 points, including eight-straight points to open the game.
With 1:47 left in the half, the Redbirds scored four-straight points to pull within four, 19-15, forcing a Shocker timeout, marking the first run of the game for Illinois State. Octavia Crump extended the run with a free throw, while Wichita State was scoreless for nearly four minutes. The Shockers regrouped and scored a layup with 12 seconds left before the break to take a five-point lead, 21-16, going into the locker room.
At the half, Mary Sims led the Redbirds with five points, while Taylor Stewart added four. Illinois State shot 32 percent from the field, while Wichita State connected on 37 percent of its shot attempts. Crump grabbed five boards, while L. Smith collected four to give ISU a slight advantage, pulling down 16 compared to WSU’s 15. The Redbirds had 14 turnovers in the first half, while the Shockers committed nine.
Wichita State opened the half with an 8-3 run, taking a 10-point advantage, 29-19. During WSU’s run, ISU committed four turnovers in two minutes and went scoreless for nearly four minutes. Then, the Redbirds regrouped and netted five-straight points to cut the Shocker lead to five, 29-24. ISU kept its offensive momentum going and tied the game with a three-point basket by Stewart, 37-37, with 6:49 left to play. ISU worked its way back thanks to a 13-5 run.
The Redbirds had a two-point lead, but four-straight points and free throws down the stretch gave the Shockers a 46-41 win. ISU ended the game with a four-minute scoring drought.
Women’s Hoops Falls to Missouri State in Home Finale, 90-78
Lindsay Smith led the Illinois State women’s basketball team with a career-high 21 points, as four Redbirds recorded double-digit scoring performances in the 90-78 loss to Missouri State Sunday, Feb. 22nd at Redbird Arena. Smith was 6-of-9 from the field, including three shots from beyond the arc. She was also a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. It was just the second time this season ISU had four players in double figures.
Katy Winge netted 19 points, while Octavia Crump and Stekara Hall added 11 apiece. Illinois State (1-25, 1-14 MVC) shot 44 percent from the field, while Missouri State (12-13, 9-5 MVC) poured in 50 percent of its shot attempts. The Lady Bears grabbed 37 boards, as the Redbirds pulled down 33. Crump led ISU with eight boards, including two offensive rebounds, while Mary Sims collected four. Illinois State dished out a season-high 15 assists. Sims led ISU in the category with a career-high six assists.
The two teams traded points to open the game, before ISU took an 11-7 lead. Then, the Lady Bears used a 13-2 run to take a seven-point advantage, 20-13, with 10:27 left in the first half. During the run, the Redbirds were scoreless for more than three minutes, while MSU found its rhythm, connecting on 7-of-8 field goal attempts.
Illinois State used a 6-0 run to pull within two points, 23-21, but Missouri State regrouped and increased its lead to nine points, 32-23, off of a 7-0 run. The Redbirds were not able to score in the final three minutes of the half, while the Lady Bears increased their lead to 10 points, 37-27, for the second time in the opening half. Hall hit a pair of free throws, sending ISU into the locker room trailing by eight, 37-29.
At the half, Winge led the Redbirds with eight points, while L. Smith added seven, shooting 3-of-4 from the field, including a 3-pointer. ISU shot 39 percent from the field, while MSU drained 50 percent of their field goal attempts. The Lady Bears also had the advantage on the boards, pulling down 18. ISU grabbed 14 rebounds and were led by Crump, who had three boards.
The Lady Bears opened the second half with a 6-0 run and maintained its offensive attack, as they took a 20-point lead, 53-33. ISU used a 10-5 run to pull within 15 points, 63-48, off of 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Then, both teams traded baskets in the middle of the half, before L. Smith and Winge hit back-to-back threes to pull ISU within 11, 73-62, with 5:10 left to play.
ISU scored four-straight, cutting MSU’s lead to 80-68. With two minutes left in the game, Sims went 1-of-2 from the free throw line. ISU got the offensive board off of the miss, and L. Smith hit a three in the corner, pulling the Redbirds within 10 points, 82-72. Despite several late efforts, Illinois State ran out of time and fell to Missouri State, 90-78.
At the end of the game, ISU recognized Winge and three managers in a senior night ceremony.
Normal CornBelters announce weekly promotions for season
The Normal CornBelters, presented by Illinois Corn Farmers, announced their weekly promotion schedule for the 2015 season. Every day of the week features a special promotion. The CornBelters will play their first home on Tuesday, May 19 at 6:35 p.m. versus the Gateway Grizzlies (“CEFCU Opening Night”).
Mondays are going to be “Merchandise Mondays”. A select merchandise item will be 50% off online every Monday during the regular season (Monday, May 18 – Monday, August 31). Visit http://store.normalbaseball.com to take advantage.
Tuesdays are “Busey Bank Kids Night.” Every Tuesday home game will feature the Busey Bank Reading Program, kids 12 and under can purchase ˝ price Box Seat tickets (only $6.00 each) and all kids in attendance can run the bases after the game.
Wednesdays are “Meijer Tail Waggin’ Wednesdays.” Every Wednesday home game the CornBelters fans are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends to the ballpark. Also, the first 25 fans who present their Meijer receipt (dated May - September) at the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office at The Corn Crib each Wednesday will receive four (4) FREE Reserved Bleacher with Back tickets (based on availability). Plus, one lucky fan presenting a receipt will also receive a free $100 Meijer gift card.
Thursdays are “Miller Thirst Quenching Thursdays.” Every Thursday home game is brought to you by Miller and will feature $1.00 beers, $2.00 margaritas and all craft beers will be $2.00 throughout the night as well.
Fridays are “CEFCU Fireworks Fridays.” Every Friday home game fans can witness a fantastic firework show from the field after the game courtesy of CEFCU. Plus, there will be a “Salute To Armed Forces” in which the CornBelters recognize active military members and veterans in attendance.
Saturdays are “State Farm Saturdays”. Every Saturday home game, State Farm agents, employees and policy holders can purchase ˝ price Box Seat tickets (only $6.00 each). Just show your employee ID card or your insurance card at The Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office to take advantage of this offer.
Sundays are “Heartland Bank & Trust Family Fun Sunday” at The Corn Crib. Every Sunday home game will start at 3:05 p.m. and will feature post-game, on-field autographs from your favorite CornBelters coaches, players and mascot (Corny) all kids in attendance can run the bases after the game.
“In my 20 plus years of professional baseball I have never been more excited for a season. We are doing a lot of exciting things this season here at The Corn Crib and now we have what I believe is the best promotional entertainment schedule in minor league baseball,” said CornBelters President/General Manager Steve Malliet.
New for the 2015 season, the CornBelters will start all Tuesday through Saturday home games at 6:35 p.m., and Sunday home games will begin at 3:05 p.m. For the third season in a row, they will play no home games on Mondays. Gates will always open one hour prior to game time. All game times are subject to change.
CornBelters full season tickets for the 2015 season are currently on sale! Please contact the CornBelters today at (309) 454-2255 (BALL) or stop by The Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office at The Corn Crib during normal business hours.
Photo Galleries from Alan Look Photography - Bloomington - Normal's Best Look in Sports Action Photography
20141206 Northern Iowa at Illinois State - Images by Alan Look
20150110 Carthage Reds at Illinois Wesleyan Titans Men's and Women's basketball photos - Images by Alan Look
20150128 Missouri State at Illinois State - Images by Alan Look
20150130 Bradley at Illinois State women - Images by Alan Look
20150124 Boys Championship Game - Fieldcrest v Ridgeview photos - Images by Alan Look
Once the 2nd Annual “Hot Stove Dinner” on Thursday, Jan. 22 was over, it must have seemed appropriate to many who attended that former Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals closing pitcher Lee Smith was the featured speaker. After All, for many years in the majors, he was considered the premier closer. He was expected by his managers to shut down opposing batters.
And as the closer, or really, the keynote speaker, for this event in the Redbird Room in the Carol A. Reitan Conference Center at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel in Uptown Normal, he did just that, captivating 200 attendees with stories from his 18-year career, which began with the Chicago Cubs in 1987, and included a stint with the St. Louis Cardinals, too, from 1990-1993.
For 18 seasons, Smith did his best to keep opposing batters from helping their teams make headway. From his debut season with the Cubs in 1980 until his retirement in 1997 as a member of the Montreal Expos, Smith proved a challenge to any opponent stepping up to the plate. He spent from 1980 through 1987 with the Cubs. That was followed by a stint in Boston from 1988 until May 1990 when he was traded to St. Louis, where he played until August 1993 when the Cardinals traded him to the New York Yankees. In October that year, Smith was granted free agency by the Yankees. From there, he signed and played with the Baltimore Orioles for the 1994 season, being declared a free agent at the end of that season. He played for the California Angels and Cincinnati Reds for the next two seasons before finishing his career with the Expos in 1997.
In 1,022 games pitched, Smith amassed a career 71-92 record and a 3.03 Earned Run Average, striking out 1,251 batters and walking 478.
I got the chance to chat with Smith before the “Hot Stove” event, and he’s still in the game, as the roving pitching instructor for the San Francisco Giants organization, where he has been since 1999.
So what’s it like to play on both sides of this area’s most storied rivalry? Smith provided some insight we fans of the game may have wondered about. “When I came up with the Cubs, I was a rookie, and so, I was trying to learn the ropes of pitching and the ropes of the Major Leagues, and things of that nature, with all the travel,” the 57-year-old Smith began. “Once I got to Chicago, the Cubs fans embraced me. Every time I go back there, it not like going back to a team for me, it’s like going back to my family. And St. Louis is even so the same way.”
Smith said there is a distinct difference between the fans of the Cubs-Cards rivalry, too. “Cubs fans are, sort of, really on edge and hungry and want to get a winner and I can understand that,” the right-hander explained. “The Cards fans are a little more laid back “ Smith said he found the dynamics of having family members with divided loyalties between the two clubs interesting in that, other close rivalries, like between New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox fans, doesn’t involve the same internal struggle among family members that you find with the Cubs-Cards rivalry.
“Cubs-Cards games are really a fun atmosphere for the players,” Smith said. “When you’d go to Wrigley Field, the Cards have almost more fans there than the Cubs, at times,” Smith admitted. He said the same was true when North Siders’ fans ventured to Busch Stadium. “At times, you’d have to ask yourself, ‘who’s the home team here?’”
Upon being hired as the new Cubs manager after last season, Joe Maddon promised fans the team would win the National League Central Division pennant in 2015. Such an assurance from Maddon didn’t shock Smith. “That doesn’t surprise me,” Smith said. “And it won’t be for lack of trying.” Maddon, a former manager for the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League under the Cardinals, was a bench coach for the then-California Angels when Smith was with that organization during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
“Barring any injuries with the young club they’ve got, I just think the Cubs need one more good hitter in the middle of their lineup,” Smith advised. His number one piece of advice to pitchers is that “they have to control the strike zone with their fastball. You don’t get to use your other pitches, otherwise.”
Finally, Smith said he is hopeful about receiving the ultimate call-up – to the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, N. Y. “The wait for the names to be announced is frustrating,” Smith admitted, partly because “Your percentages for getting in change. It also has to do with who else is on the ballot,” Smith said. “That’s because my stats aren’t going to change.” To make things more frustrating for these players, there were no Hall Of Fame inductees in 2013. Smith said I probably couldn’t publish some of the words or thoughts that were expressed by a number of retired Major Leaguers when that decision was reached.
Whatever decision the Baseball Hall Of Fame Selection Committee makes, and considering the stats he put up, there is one more thing Smith ought to go in for: Being an engaging, likable, personable player who mixed well with fans during his playing days and showed that he still has that touch with them when he was at the “Hot Stove” event. Here’s hoping that call from The Hall comes soon.
Proceeds from the “Hot Stove Dinner,” which included a silent auction event, went to the Miracle League of Central Illinois. The Miracle League has been around since 1999 and its local version has been around for five years. They will play at a newly constructed complex on property near The Corn Crib ballpark beginning this season. Their website states the “Miracle League of Central Illinois provides physically and mentally challenged children a safe and spirited program in which they can play on a baseball field just like other kids. Miracle League baseball offers a unique and memorable opportunity these children would not otherwise have.”
In Miracle League play, all players get the opportunity to run the bases, score and win at every Miracle League game. Players who need help with hitting, catching and throwing the ball are paired with a “buddy” who helps them to do so.
As to the Normal CornBelters of the Frontier League, Manager Brooks Carey enters his third year at the helm of the club with the bulk of the roster players he had in the 2014 season that kept the team in the playoff hunt, finishing in third place, with a 48-47 record. Carey wants to bring a championship to Normal, he said. He wants to do it with familiar faces whom fans have grown to know and cheer for. That would mean having the following players returning: Infielders Santiago Chirino, Aaron Dudley, and Richard Lucas; Outfielders Sam Judah, and Mark Micowski; and Catcher Tyler Shover.
They have an exhibition game slated for Thursday, May 7 against Joliet at The Corn Crib with a 10a.m. first pitch. They will open on the road Opening Day, May 15 at River City, and play their first home game of the new season Tuesday, May 19 at The Corn Crib against River City, starting with a 6:35p.m. first pitch.
I don’t know about you, but I have had enough winter already (even if it is just half over). See you at the ball park.
Redbird Mens Basketball Report
Redbirds Beat Bradley, 60-47; Sweep Regular-Season Series
Daishon Knight led Illinois State with 15 points in a 60-47 victory over Bradley Wednesday night at Carver Arena. ISU secured its fourth Missouri Valley Conference road victory for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Knight was one of three Redbirds who reached double-figures in the winning effort, as ISU swept the regular-season series versus BU for the first time since 2011-12. Illinois State (16-11, 8-7 MVC) combined to shoot 44.2 percent from the field while holding Bradley (8-20, 3-12 MVC) to 29.6 percent. Omari Grier was the only Brave to tally double-digits, with 10 points.
Deontae Hawkins netted ISU’s first five points of the game, and Knight scored the Redbirds’ next five to build a 10-5 advantage. Knight’s points sparked a 14-3 run over 9:19, and Illinois State took a 16-8 lead on a MiKyle McIntosh layup at the 7:36 mark. ISU held Bradley without a field goal from 17:35 until 7:59, as the Redbirds built an eight-point advantage.
Bradley pulled within 25-20 on a 3-pointer by Grier with 2:56 remaining, and ISU held on for a 28-22 halftime lead. Hawkins led all first-half scorers with 10 points plus four rebounds, as the Redbirds shot 39.3 percent from the field compared to BU’s 38.1 mark.
ISU started the second half on a 7-0 run, holding the Braves without a field goal until the 12:57 mark. After the Redbirds established a 25-22 advantage, Bradley answered with seven-straight to pull within 35-29. A two-handed alley-oop dunk by Reggie Lynch lifted Illinois State ahead, 40-30.
BU proceeded to trim the Redbird advantage to 40-34.on a pair of free throws by Warren Jones with 7:35 remaining. After Illinois State responded, Tramique Sutherland pulled the Braves back to within six at the 5:18 mark. However, that was as close as the Braves managed to get, as ISU outscored Bradley, 16-9, over the final 4:39 to secure the victory.
Redbirds Sweep Loyola With 67-60 Win
Senior guard Daishon Knight led Illinois State with 21 points Saturday, Feb. 21st against Loyola, as the Redbirds (17-11, 9-7 MVC) pulled away for a 67-60 victory over the Ramblers (16-12, 6-10 MVC) on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. ISU secured its fourth MVC regular-season sweep of the year over a Valley opponent with the win.
Knight led a trio of Redbirds in double figures with his game-high 21 points, marking his seventh game of the season with 20 or more points. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell finished with 14 points and seven rebounds and MiKyle McIntosh added 10 points and eight boards for the Redbirds in the victory over the Ramblers.
Loyola opened up the first half with a 6-2 run to take the lead at 14-8 early at the 13:29 mark. Reggie Lynch scored a field goal to cut the lead to 11-14 with 11:47 remaining in the first-half, and the Redbirds later went on a 5-0 run to tie the game at 18-18 on a jumper by John Jones.
McIntosh then drained a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Redbirds their first lead of the night at 21-18 with 5:51 remaining in the first half, and ISU would never relinquish the lead. A 3-pointer by Akoon-Purcell extended the Redbirds’ lead to 26-20 and Loyola added a basket before the buzzer, as ISU took a 26-22 lead into halftime. McIntosh led the Redbirds in scoring in the first half, scoring seven of the Redbirds’ 22 points.
Deontae Hawkins connected on a 3-pointer at the beginning of the second half to widen the Redbirds’ lead over the Ramblers coming out of the break, and that basket was followed by another 3-pointer by Akoon-Purcell. Knight extended the lead in the second half with a 3-pointer of his own to make the score 35-31, before back-to-back buckets by Akoon-Purcell staked the Redbirds to a five-point lead at 40-35 with 13:55 remaining in the contest.
The Ramblers cut the Redbirds lead to just three points at 42-39 with 9:52 to go in the second half, before the Redbirds went on an 8-3 run as two free throws by Knight gave Illinois State a 48-40 lead at the 7:43 mark. The Ramblers fought back with a 9-3 run to pull within a basket at 51-49 on a 3-pointer by Devon Turk with 4:20 left.
Illinois State responded with a 7-0 run to take a 58-49 lead on a 3-point play by Knight and then went on a 9-2 run, capped off by a McIntosh layup with 1:53 left, to take a 10-point lead 60-50. Loyola went on a 5-1 run, taking just 30 seconds off the clock, to cut ISU’s lead to 61-55 with 1:13 left, but the Ramblers could not get any closer and suffered the seven-point defeat.
Additional ISU Hotel Packages Offered for Arch Madness
Illinois State fans have two additional hotel packages to choose from during the upcoming 2015 Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament, Thursday, March 5, through Sunday, March 8, in St. Louis.
Because ISU’s Embassy Suites room block has already sold out for Friday and Saturday night of Arch Madness, Illinois State Athletics partnered with Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark and Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch to offer more lodging options for Redbird fans.
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark - 1 South Broadway, St. Louis.
A limited number of rooms are available at $155/single or double occupancy, and all reservations are subject to an early departure fee. The reservation deadline is Feb. 19, 2015, or until the block sells out. Reservations can be made by calling (877) 845-7354 and referencing the ISU MVC Fan Block.
Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch - 315 Chestnut, St. Louis.
A limited number of rooms are available at $149/single or double occupancy, and all reservations are subject to a two-night minimum stay. The reservation deadline is Feb. 12, 2015, or until the block sells out. Reservations can be made online at https://resweb.passkey.com/go/IllinoisStateUniversity, or by calling (314) 342-4600 and referencing the ISU MVC Fan Block.
All-session tickets to the 2015 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament are on sale now through the Illinois State Athletics ticket office by either calling (309) 438-8000, or by visiting GoRedbirds.com.
Illinois State Baseball Legend Dave Bergman Passes Away At 61
Former Illinois State baseball All-American and 1980 Percy Family Illinois State Athletics Hall of Fame honoree Dave Bergman passed away Monday after a battle with cancer. He was 61.
“We are saddened to hear of Dave’s passing and he will be missed,” Illinois State Director of Athletics Larry Lyons said. “He was a gifted athlete during his time here, had an incredible career in pro baseball and moved on to a very successful business career when his playing days were over. Dave was very proud of his Redbird heritage and grateful for what it helped him accomplish on the baseball field and in life. We hope the Bergman family can find peace during this difficult time.”
One of three players in ISU baseball history to have his number retired (No. 12), joining his former coach Duffy Bass (No. 13) and Lee “Buzz” Capra (No. 9), Bergman rewrote the record books in his time at Illinois State and solidified his place among the best athletes in ISU history.
During the 1973 season, Bergman amassed a .400 batting average which ranked No. 28 in the nation that season. Following his sophomore season, Bergman led the prestigious Cape Cod League in hitting with a .342 batting average during the summer. He followed up an impressive sophomore season by being named an All-American outfielder by The Sporting News as a junior in 1974, when he hit .351 and led the team in home runs, runs scored, hits and stolen bases. In three seasons with the Redbirds, Bergman hit .366 with 63 RBIs.
Bergman was drafted by the New York Yankees following his junior season, and went on to win Minor League Player of the Year awards from the National Association of Baseball Writers in both the New York Penn League and the Eastern League in his first two professional seasons. Bergman was well-known for his nine-year career playing for the Detroit Tigers from 1984-92, but amassed a lifetime batting average of .258 in 17 big-league seasons with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants and Tigers.
“It is with heavy hearts we extend our condolences to the family of Dave Bergman,” the Tigers said in a released statement. “Dave was as spirited as a person as he was a player. He will forever hold a special place in Tigers history for the versatile roles he played and his significant contributions as a member of the 1984 World Champion Tigers. We will miss seeing Bergie at the ballpark and in the community.”
During the 1984 season, Bergman hit .273 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs and as a key member of the Tigers’ championship team. His most notable moment that season was a game-winning home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 4 at Tiger Stadium. Bergman fouled off seven pitches, and on a full count, hit the 13th pitch of the at-bat into the upper deck at Tiger Stadium for a walk-off, three-run home run on national television.
The Evanston, Illinois, native is survived by his wife, Cathy, and children, Troy, Bria and Erica. Funeral arrangements have not been finalized; however the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Grosse Pointe Redbirds baseball organization.
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