Four former Belleville American Legion Baseball players will be inducted to the Hilgard Hall of Fame at Whitey Herzog Field on Saturday, June 24.
Started in 1938 under the leadership of former major league pitcher Bob Groom, the Hilgards are believed to be the oldest American Legion baseball team in the nation. As such, the induction will be the centerpiece of a day's worth of history-based events beginning at 10 a.m.
The junior team will play a game at 11 a.m. followed by the Hall of Fame inductions at about 1 p.m. rain or shine. The Hilgards take on Highland afterward beginning at 2 p.m.
The Hilgard Hall of Fame Class of 2017 includes:
▪ Jim Bedwell, a 1976 graduate of Belleville West and three-year Hilgard under long-time manager Barney Elser from 1974-76. He was part of the 1975 state championship team before moving on to Belleville Area College and Illinois State University.
▪ Steve Hausmann, a 1979 graduate of West, also played three seasons under Elser from 1978 to 1980. He went on to play at McKendree under Van Smith from 1980-1983.
▪ Jim Hill was a member of the 1972 Hilgard team that finished as Illinois runners-up. He played for Elser in 1972 and 1973, the year he graduated from West. Hill was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1973 but chose not to sign and went on to play baseball at Western Illinois University from 1973-1976.
▪ Greg Steen graduated from Althoff in 2004. He played three seasons under manager Mike Harris from 2003 to 2005 and at Webster University from 2005-2008.
A barbecue lunch will be available until the game starts.