Top Sports Moments: 5-1

Top Sports Moments: 5-1

We take a look at the top five sports moments in Central Illinois.
PEORIA -2013 was another great year for sports fans in the area....

We want to take a look at the year's top-ten central Illinois sports moments

Let's take a look at FIVE through ONE.

5. How close the Peoria Chiefs were to extinction... we may never know... but the team needed a seven-million dollar reorganization plan approved by the city... the plan included debt forgiveness... and naming rights to the team's home... which is now called 'Dozer Park'... after Caterpillar paid two million dollars to keep baseball in the downtown the ballpark.

4. Manual, Richwoods, Central and Notre Dame were hoping this football season would be the first step in a merger with schools in Quincy, Galesburg and the Quad Cities.. but after one year, those out-of-town schools decided against forming a Midwest-10 Conference with Peoria... leaving the city schools to look east on I-74... where they have found new league partners in the Twin Cities... Champaign and Danville... in the soon-to-be 11 team Big 12 Conference.

3. In March... the St. Louis Blues announced they were pulling their Triple-A hockey team out of Carver Arena... fans faced the possibility of being without pro hockey in Peoria for the first time in 30 years... but a local ownership group -- including ex-Rivermen owner Bruce Saurs -- bought franchises in Peoria and Bloomington... and put them in the Class A Southern Professional Hockey League... where they are league rivals for the first time ever.

2. In the days following November 17th... Washington high school athletes helped residents sift through wreckage of a F-4 tornado... the football team became the face of "Washington Strong".... schools lined up to help the unbeaten Panthers prepare for the state semifinals... their opponent bused fans to the playoff game... and members of the Chicago Bears gave up a day off to visit the tornado-ravaged town... the Panthers didn't win that playoff game... but they did win the hearts of people across the state and the country.

1. One of the biggest names in Peoria sports history died at 87 in June... but Pete
Vonachen's legacy lives on with the team he brought to town three decades ago -- the Peoria Chiefs... hundreds of people lined up to pay their respects to Peoria's 'Mr. Baseball'... the popular man who was known as Harry Caray's best friend... and the friend of anyone who's ever enjoyed a minor league baseball game in the River City since the early 80's.

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