Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan tops the voting for the top athlete in Illinois history. Peoria native Jim Thome, recently inducted into the pro baseball Hall of Fame, was among the nominees but did not make the top ten in the latest voting conducted by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Chicago Bears greats Dick Butkus and Walter Payton followed Jordan in the voting with Chicago Cubs slugger Ernie Banks and track-and-field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee completing the top five.
Rounding out the top ten are: University of Illinois football legend Red Grange, Olympic speed skater Bonnie Blair, Cubs second baseman and former Peoria Chiefs manager Ryne Sandberg, Cubs third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo and Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champ.
The poll was the latest in the Illinois Top 200 project as part of Illinois’ bicentennial.
Prior to the state’s 200th birthday, Dec. 3, there will be voting on 20 different categories to make the Illinois Top 200.
Voting is now underway for top Illinois trailblazing woman. Included in the nominations is Bradley University founder Lydia Moss Bradley. Also among the nominees are Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton and the late Jane Byrne, the first female mayor of the City of Chicago and first female mayor of a major city in the U.S.
The deadline for voting is noon (CDT), Oct. 12. You can cast your vote HERE.