Four local notes on the national pastime ahead of Independence Day

Independence Day and baseball go well together. It's the national pastime, after all. Before you fire up the grills and watch the sky light up on Wednesday night, sports editor Matt Daniels takes you around the horn with four items:

Go, Cubs, go

Illini baseball signs Marine

CHAMPAIGN — Josh Harris will arrive at Illinois with just one season of junior college baseball experience. But likely more world experience than many of his future teammates.

Illinois announced Thursday that Harris, a 24-year-old from Beecher, signed with the Illini baseball program on Wednesday after pitching this past spring at Kankakee Community College.

Massey wins Gold Glove

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois second baseman Michael Massey was named the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner for second base, Rawlings announced Wednesday on Twitter.

Massey edged out three other finalists, including Louisiana's Hunter Kasuls, Oregon State's Nick Madrigal — the fourth-overall pick in this month's MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox — and Duke's Max Miller.

Build it or 'get lapped'

The night before Friday's Hall of Fame Gala in Chicago, heavyweights from Illinois basketball gathered for a Champions Summit.

The message:

"We need to get busy," senior associate athletic director for development Howard Milton said. "You don't get passed in this, you can get lapped in the Big Ten in terms of facilities."

Oakwood's inaugural Wall of Fame class talk of town at meet and greet

OAKWOOD — It was a challenge for Darrin Fletcher to cast his gaze upon the plaque he received Monday evening.

Pictured on it were the former University of Illinois and major league catcher, along with late grandfather Glen, late father Tom and son Casey. The imagery was a token of appreciation for the first family of Oakwood baseball.

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: June 17, 2018

Jimmy Cook just might be one of the greatest Fighting Illini multi-sport athletes you've never heard of. Cook, who died on this date 69 years ago, lettered three times as a halfback and receiver on Illinois' football team, but it was as a baseball player where he made his most significant imprint.

Radio special: Illini in Chicago

A slew of Illini Hall of Famers took part in a special three-hour edition of "Saturday SportsTalk" live from Chicago.

Among the guests who joined Steve Kelly and Loren Tate: Josh Whitman, Lou Henson, Dana Howard, Jim Grabowski, Darrin Fletcher, Dave Downey, Tara Hurless, Kendall Gill, Bruce Douglas, Deron Williams, Nancy Brookhart Cherin and Scott Langley.

VIDEO: Illinois hosts Hall of Fame Gala at Field Museum

Illinois hosted its second Hall of Fame Gala at the Field Museum in Chicago on Friday. Check out highlights and hear from several inductees in the video below.

Howard 'having a ball' ahead of induction

CHICAGO — Dana Howard has a busy Hall of Fame year. Beside his Illinois honor, the superstar linebacker is entering the College Football Hall of Fame in December.

Poulter, Spillane take Eddleman honors for Illini

CHAMPAIGN — Jordyn Poulter and Bren Spillane joined an illustrious club on Thursday.