Springfield Sports Hall of Fame 2016 Inductees

Donnie Beechler

Beechler began his racing career at Springfield Speedway and wound up as one of only two Springfield drivers to compete in the Indianapolis 500. He had a lot of success with less than state-of-the-art-equipment, which led to invitations to drive in some United States Auto Club midget and Silver Crown races.

In the late 1990s when Indy Race League was started, Cahil Racing invited him to join their team, and after a couple of years he was recruited to drive for the legendary A.J. Foyt's team. He raced four times in the Indy 500, finishing as high as 12th place.

Gregg Finigan
The 1974 Lanphier graduate won varisity letters in golf, basketball and baseball and was an all-city basketball player as a senior. He attended Springfield College in Illinois and played both basketball and baseball, earning NJCAA Section 6 first-team honors in both sports and was NJCAA Illinois All-State as a sophomore.

He attended Milikin and played basketball as the sixth man as a junior and an every-game starter as a senior. He earned first-team Academic All-State (college division) and first-team Academic All-American (college division) honors as a senior.

He was one of the best slow-pitch softball players in the Springfield area from 1977-1994. He won the Springfeild Cardinals Home Run Derby in 1983 and 1985. He was the USSSA Illinois State Tournament MVP in 1986. He's also an accomplished golfer who has four top-10 finishes at the Men's City Golf Tournament and 16 top-10 finishes in the Round The Town.

Dr. Amanda Kocis

The 1998 Lanphier graduate played volleyball, basketball and softball, earning all-conference honors in all three sports. She was the CS8 Softball player of the year as a junior, was a two-time Chicago Tribune All-State Selection in softball and All-CS8 in basketball as a junior and senior.

She received a scholarship to play softball at Colorado State and was a four-year starter, earning All-Western Athletic Conference academic honors twice and All-Mountain West Conference academic honors twice.

She received her doctorate of physical therapy degree from Regis University in 2005. Now residing in Kewanee, she has won the Women's City Am Golf title four times as well as the Hog Days Labor Day Golf tournament four times, holding the scoring record (1-under-par 71).


Tyron Lee

The 1993 Springfield High graduate scored 1,656 career points, which ranks in the top 10 in city history. He was a first-team all-state selection by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Associated Press, Champaign News-Gazette, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune.

He was MVP of the Carbondale Holiday Tournament twice, Central State Eight Conference Player of the Year as a senior and first-team All-Mid-State Nine as a sophomore and junior.

He attended Wabash Valley Community College, where he was a junior college All-American, and then played two seasons at Missouri where he averaged 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds a game over two seasons.

Bill Seman

The 1962 Springfield High graduate was an all-city football lineman who received a scholarship to play at Northeast Missouri State (now Truman State). He was all-conference three years, made the Dean's List for six quarters and was named to the school's All-Century Team (1990-99).

He was drafted in the 16th round by the NFL's New York Giants in 1967 after graduating from Northeast Missouri State, and he played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. He was a starting offensive lineman when the Tiger-Cats won the Grey Cup.

He served as both an assistant football coach and the head coach at Southeast in the late 1970's, and in his only season as Southeast head coach he finished with just the third winning record in school history.

Joe Slusarski

The 1984 Griffin graduate earned all-city honors as a senior. He pitched at Lincoln Land 1985 and 1986, striking out 57 in 60 innings as a sophomore, and also pitched for the Springfield Rifles in the Central Illinois Collegiate League.

He got a scholarship to New Orleans, and by his senior year he was a first-team preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine and a preseason All-American by Baseball America. When he graduated he was No.4 on the UNO all-time list in games started, complete games and innings, third in school history with 26 career wins and second all-time with 246 strikeouts.

He was a member of the United States Pan American Games team and won three games for the USA's silver-medal team. He was drafted in the fifth round by Seattle in 1987 but didn't sign, then was taken in the second round of the 1988 draft by Oakland.

Before signing he played on the 1988 United States Olympic team along with Robin Ventura, Mickey Morandini, Jim Abbott and Andy Benes that won a gold medal.

He made his major league debut in 1991, and he spent seven seasons in the big leagues with Oakland, Milwaukee, Houston and Atlanta and also coached in the minor leagues.

Tim Torricelli

The 1982 Springfield High graduate played football, basketball and baseball in high school, but baseball was his specialty. He earned all-city and All-Big 12 Conference honors in football and baseball and all-state recognition in baseball.

He got a baseball scholarship to Eastern Illinois and was considered a top-notch defensive catcher. In addition he finished 10th in career batting average (.335) and tied for second all-time in walks. In 1985 he tied for the team lead with seven home runs, and as a senior in 1986 he led the team in batting (.365), walks (41) and RBIs (49) in earning All-Mid-Continent Conference honors.

He signed as free agent with Milwaukee Brewers and played four professional seasons, making it as high as Triple-A. When his playing days were over he spent 10 years as a professional coach and minor league manager.


No Team Selected

No Team was selected in 2016


Paul O'Shea

O'Shea, a local architect, has been a pillar of the Springfield sports world for five decades and has spent decades volunteering for causes ranging from athletics to education. His volunteer effort was capped in 2012 with his selection as the State Journal-Register First Citizen.

He served on the advisory board of minor league baseball teams the Springfield Redbirds and Springfield Cardinals as well as Khoury League baseball and the Springfield Rifles. He was part of the Springfield Capitols' ownership group.

He is a former member of the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors and is very active in the University of Illinois' Stars Club.


Frank 'Beaver' Schwartz

The 1952 Cathedral graduate was an all-city pitcher in high school who attended the University of Illinois and pitched on the Illini baseball team as well as for the United States Army baseball team while stationed in Okinawa during a two-year military hitch.

As a junior at Illinois he compiled a 6-2 record, and that summer he pitched for the Bismark Barons of the collegiate Man-Dak League.

In the 1960s he co-founded the Springfield Caps of the Central Illinois Collegiate League with Tony Blanco and Charlie Lochbaum. He also helped reactivate the U of I Alumni Association in Springfield and served on its board of the directors.


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