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Phil Dixon Tells Tales of Baseball History in the Illinois Valley Nearly a Century in the Making

Posted by wlpo on May 14, 2016

If you like the kind of sports stories you won’t find on Wikipedia, you’re going to want to make plans to hear Phil Dixon speak early next week.

He’s going to be in Spring Valley and Princeton talking about the Gilkerson Union Giants, one of the most famous African-American baseball teams of the 20’s and 30’s. Dixon says the team has a special connection to the Illinois Valley, because Robert P. Gilkerson was from Spring Valley.   

He’ll also be telling stories about the Peru Merchants, a white baseball team that would play the all-star teams that travelled the country. Dixon says he has some stories from a man who was a member of the team back when they played the Toledo Crawfords and their star player, Jessie Owens.

If you’re interested in hearing Dixon speak, you can catch him Monday at the Richard A. Mautino Memorial Library in Spring Valley at 6:00, and the Princeton Public Library at 6:30.

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