The Washington Senators were losing badly Tuesday afternoon, September 13, 1921, against the St. Louis Browns. The spitball delivery of Urban Shocker had restricted the Senators to one run on six hits through eight innings. With the score a lopsided 14-1 as the top of the ninth rolled around, the Washington fans had become aggravated, even irate. The home game at Griffith Stadium was the 139th of the 154-game season, and the Senators trailed the league-leading Yankees by 18 games.
Feeling the displeasure of the fans, Senators manager George McBride called on his fourth pitcher of the game, a new hurler, in fact, for the final inning. Vance McIlree took the mound in his professional league debut. The appearance of this new player pleased the crowd, which was “more than anxious to show McBride that they are done with watching veterans who have done little or nothing toward keeping the ball club out of the second division,” wrote Louis Dougher of the Washington Times.1
The six-foot, 160-pound Iowa right-hander, a month shy of 24 years old, received a “big hand,” Dougher wrote, as “the fans want to see the youngsters in the game and, judging from their complaints, they don’t care how soon Manager McBride begins using whatever untried players he has on his bench.”2
McIlree arrived only a few days previously to take a place on the Senators bench. His path to the nation’s capital took him through high school and university ball in Iowa as well as summer league ball in Iowa and northern Minnesota.
Born in Riverside, Iowa, on October 14, 1897, Vance was the third son and fourth child of Elmer Addison and Myrtle Zillah (Seaton) McIlree. Vance’s father was born in Johnson County, Iowa, January 5, 1865, and hailed from Scots-Irish stock, although his paternal grandfather, Linus, was born in Ohio and his grandmother, Ann Beam, in Virginia. Vance’s mother was born May 5, 1871, at Sigourney, Iowa, the daughter of Oliver and Harriet (Reed) Seaton.
Elmer McIlree became a printer early in life, working at age 16 in the shop of the Riverside (Iowa) Leader, a newspaper that he would eventually own. He worked at the Leader until 1886 and then headed to Kansas, where he proved a farm claim and worked in print shops in Dodge City and Garden City. He returned to Iowa in less than a year to work for his former employer, who was then publishing a newspaper in What Cheer. There, he also met his wife.
Elmer and Myrtle wed in December 1886 at What Cheer. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Des Moines, where Elmer worked for three years in the composing room of the Register newspaper. Elmer came full circle when the couple returned to Riverside, after he purchased the Leader in December 1890.
The couple’s first child, Paul Linus, was born April 4, 1888; a daughter, Ruth, arrived in 1893. A second son, Reed H., was born October 26, 1895. Vance was born in 1897. The McIlree family lived at Riverside and Elmer continued his newspaper work there until 1902, when he purchased a half interest in the Fayette County Union in West Union, Iowa. Six months later, he became the newspaper’s sole owner and publisher.
West Union’s newspapers (the town boasted two) chronicled the annual round of local events, and McIlree’s participation in summer camping trips, the county spelling contest, a local stage production as a teenager. At the Fayette County Fair in September 1911, he exhibited chickens and no doubt watched the baseball games popular with fair-goers.
The family’s move to West Union (population 1935 in 1900) fixed the town also as the place where McIlree would begin his athletic pursuits. The December 4, 1912, issue of the West Union Argo-Gazette recounted an exciting Thanksgiving night basketball game between West Union and neighboring Arlington, won by West Union 28-26. Both Vance and his brother, Reed, were members of the winning team.
At West Union High School, McIlree played football, basketball, track, and baseball. The baseball team’s first game of 1916 was played April 21 with McIlree as shortstop.
The preceding fall for the football team, he played at quarterback, right halfback, and kicker, and served as team captain. He was captain of the track team both in 1915 and 1916.
McIlree’s athleticism during high school was later remembered as he continued to excel in university sports. “Vance was one of the star athletes during his high school years and it is no surprise to his friends at home that he is making a superior record in the field of college athletics,” reported a 1918 news item in the paper published by his father.3 McIlree’s obvious contributions to the teams at West Union High School proved that these items were not simply a case of fatherly boasting.
He graduated May 25, 1916, from West Union High School, in a class of 31 members. The ensuing summer must have passed quickly for him. McIlree had been named the new chief clerk at the West Union post office in May before his graduation, and he assumed those duties in June. He passed the civil service examination earlier that spring. In this case, he followed his father who had been appointed West Union postmaster in March 1914, a position he held for nine years while also running a weekly newspaper.
The younger McIlree also played baseball for the town team that summer, handling right field in the lineup for the first game June 11 against Fayette. West Union won 11-1. At West Union’s Independence Day celebration, McIlree won the 100-yard dash, not a small feat perhaps, as attendees that day were numbered between 9,000 and 10,000. In the ball game that afternoon against Sumner, West Union defeated the visitors 3-0. More than 2,000 people saw the game, according to the Argo-Gazette, giving witness to the game’s popularity in that era in small-town America.
“…Vance McIlree will go tomorrow to Iowa City to enter the state university,”4 proclaimed a simple news items in the Argo-Gazette of September 13, 1916. His entrance into the University of Iowa, Iowa City, that fall lasted only the first semester. He returned home for a two-week break at Christmas, returned to the Iowa City campus in early January, but by mid-February had enrolled at Upper Iowa University, only nine miles from West Union.
That spring of 1917, McIlree played baseball for Upper Iowa, a move that would four years later limit his playing at the University of Iowa upon his return there. McIlree pitched for the Fayette team and contributed good defensive play at shortstop and offense.
After the semester closed, he was playing amateur baseball for the West Union team in June and again pitching. As summer finished, McIlree was pitching for town teams in Elkader, Aurora, Lawler and Waucoma, Iowa.
The Fayette County Union printed these revealing items in the September 6, 1917, issue: “Vance McIlree pitched…for Lawler at Fort Atkinson the first of the week, the score being 5 to 1. Oliver Anderson and Vance McIlree played baseball with Waucoma Monday, vs Lawler, at the patriotic day celebration.”5 Team affiliation seemed not to matter as long as he could pitch. One week later, McIlree returned to the Upper Iowa campus for the start of another school year.
The new year of 1918 brought a return to the University of Iowa, where he would stay and eventually graduate from in 1921. He’s pictured on both the freshman basketball and freshman baseball teams that spring. “Reports come from the state university in regard to the high-class work done by Vance McIlree in basketball,” stated the newspaper back home in West Union.6
The Hawkeyes’ freshman baseball team largely served as a form of batting practice for the varsity squad, but even so, McIlree’s skill on the mound was beginning to be noticed. A sub-head on a front-page story in the Daily Iowan announced, “Varsity Unable to Connect with McIlree’s Fast Ones.”7 The story went on, “The baseball team went through a three-inning game with the freshies last night on the grass court. The first-year men were able to push two counters across the pan, while McIlree, pitching for the freshman, held the varsity to one score.”8 Maury Kent, who pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1912 and 1913, coached the Hawkeyes varsity team that season.
The 1918 season was played while World War I raged in Europe, and by that summer the Great War touched McIlree, too. In July, he volunteered his service to shuck corn on Fayette County farms where labor was scarce due to enlistment of young workers in the Army. In August, McIlree himself enlisted in the military. He received his “traveling orders” late in September with directions to report to the hydroplane training school in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 15, for naval flying instruction. He spent his last evening in West Union, though, with the high school football team that he coached. Not only Vance but also his two brothers served in the military during World War I.
McIlree wrote from camp in a letter dated October 20, 1918, published in the local newspaper, in which he related his duties, daily drills and camp life. “I’d give a lead nickel to see some real Iowa sky right now,” he wrote.9 “The boys from the East talk with a sliding over their r’s, but they spread it on too much and it gets monotonous.”
Boston is a “bum town,” he added.
Little did he know that his days were numbered in Boston. The armistice ending the war was signed November 11, 1918, and he awaited his discharge. In a letter composed that day, McIlree wrote, “In the active service a month and now all done with the mad house. Will try for a furlough and go down to Fort Adams and see Reed (his brother) and then home for Thanksgiving. Today will be written in history….”10
He returned to the University of Iowa for the new term in January 1919, and turned his attention increasingly to baseball as the sport on which he would concentrate. The years of 1919 and 1920 were productive years for him on the Hawkeye baseball team.
The 1919 team, coached by Howard Jones, was the season in which McIlree “proved his caliber as a varsity moundsman.”11 He was given his first starting opportunity to occupy the pitcher’s box April 21 against Coe College, Cedar Rapids, and allowed but three hits while striking out 11 hitters. He and teammate Carter Hamilton largely shared the starting pitching work that season. When he wasn’t pitching, he was stationed at third base for the Hawkeyes, who finished the season with a 10-6 overall record and a 5-3 conference mark, good enough for third place in the Big Ten. He received his first letter “I” that year in baseball.
In correspondence to the Fayette County Union years later, at the request for information on Vance from its editor Richard Westerfield, Paul McIlree wrote, “To protect his amateur standing while he was attending University of Iowa, he (Vance) played semi-pro ball under an assumed name around Iowa City. I know he played at New Hampton, Iowa, also under an assumed name during 1919. That was the year I spent my vacation in West Union.”12
Verification of this date with other newspaper items from that summer leads one to believe that Paul might have been mistaken on the year, as Vance was attending summer school at Iowa City in 1919.
It should also be noted that it was not uncommon for university ball players to sign on with semiprofessional teams during the summer with an assumed name to escape notice. New Hampton appears to be a hotbed of such activity. “During the summer of 1920, John (Mohardt) and the entire Notre Dame baseball team played semi-pro ball in New Hampton, Iowa. This was against the college regulations of the time, but enforcement was not strong.”13
Summer school at the state university opened June 16 and McIlree was there. He also pitched for the West Union team. The distance put him in a bind at times, as the newspaper related on one occasion:
“Vance came seventy-five miles by auto from Cedar Rapids to pitch the game (against Upper Iowa University, June 12), arrived after the game had been begun and apparently lost, with the college boys way in the lead. He stuck and hung with his strikeout tactics while his mates were slowly pulling up from behind and tieing the count.”14 West Union rode McIlree’s coattails to the 10-7 victory in 10 innings. The paper jokingly labeled McIlree’s rush to get to the game a “Sheridan’s ride stunt,” in reference to the Civil War general.
In late September, he returned to Iowa City for his junior year at the university. Also that fall, he served as a groomsman at the wedding of his brother, Reed, to Adalene Englesby.
The 1920 baseball season got under way in April. The team was frequently called the Ashmores, after James Ashmore who coached the team, the third coach in as many years. He came to Iowa in the fall of 1919 as coach of basketball and track, and assistant coach in football. In 1920, he coached basketball as well as baseball.
“McIlree is going on his second year on the team and is already working out in the gym,”15 noted a news brief in early February. He would be joined on the team that year by fellow West Union boys George Woodard and Leon Layton.
“Iowa had two of the best pitchers in the conference — Captain Hamilton and McIlree — who formed the nucleus of the squad. Iowa’s successful showing was largely due to the ability of these two men, both being formidable men at the bat as well as an invulnerable hurling combination.”16
“McIlree turned in one of the prettiest games one could wish,”17 wrote the Iowa City Citizen in an article, reprinted by the West Union paper, about the Hawkeyes’ April 14 game against the Moline (Illinois) Plowboys of the Three-I (Illinois-Indiana-Iowa) League. “He had the leaguers eating out of his right hand all the way through and not until the last round when he eased up did (Moline manager) Earle Mack’s men have a chance to score. Until then he had given but a pair of hits while his control was perfect. He sent nine of them back to the bench by the strike-out route—not so bad for early season form. Manager Mack, himself, stated that the Hawkeye pitcher had a lot of stuff on the horsehide.”
The Hawkeyes defeated Moline, 6-4. Not too bad for the university team, considering that the Plowboys had two days earlier defeated the Chicago White Sox, 7-1, in an exhibition game at Browning Field, Moline. Earle Mack was the son of owner/manager Connie Mack and played professional ball for his father’s team, the Philadelphia Athletics, in 1910, 1911, and 1914.
McIlree fanned 15 men in the April 30 tie game against Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana. The game was called in the 12th inning due to darkness. He struck out seven Hoosiers and allowed only five hits in the May 8 victory over Indiana University. He allowed only four hits in the May 15 12-3 pounding of intrastate rival Ames (now Iowa State University).
The zenith of the 1920 season for McIlree occurred May 24 in a home game and return clash with Purdue. He pitched superb ball for the Hawkeyes and allowed only one hit, which was made by the last man up in the ninth inning, robbing him of the no-hitter. Iowa won the game 2-0 despite the disappointment for McIlree.
At the season’s end, he was elected captain of the Iowa team for 1921, when he would be a senior, and made plans to spend his summer as pitcher for the New Hampton, Iowa, team.
But one other major event would take place that summer. A June wedding was announced between McIlree and Willian Willits, daughter of Mrs. Ada Willits. The couple wed Tuesday, June 29, at 6 PM at the home of the bride’s mother in Des Moines, with the Rev. Dr. Harris of Highland Park Presbyterian Church reading the service.
“The acquaintance was begun at Iowa City when both were students at the university,” stated the newspaper announcement.18 Mrs. McIlree studied vocal music. “They will make their home at New Hampton for the present,” added the announcement. Vance had baseball business to tend to in that city.
Another major change occurred in September, however, when he decided to not return to the University of Iowa in order to take a job in the chemical department at the Waverly (Iowa) Beet Sugar factory. He expected to finish his liberal arts courses at Iowa the second semester. The newlyweds moved to Waverly in October.
Bad news arrived in late autumn in the form of an announcement that McIlree had been ruled ineligible to compete on the baseball team in spring by the Big Ten Conference board.
“Coach James M. Ashmore made the unhappy discovery that he will have to do without the services of his captain-elect and pitching ace when the diamond squad reports for work next spring. McIlree is ineligible because he played in the nine at Upper Iowa in his freshman year and on the Iowa team two seasons.”19 Three years of intercollegiate athletics was the limit.
Additional bad news came when the beet sugar plant, where he was paymaster, closed its doors. The couple remained in northeast Iowa until February, when McIlree re-entered the state university for his final semester.
Despite his ineligibility to compete in conference contests, McIlree was still allowed to pitch in varsity games that were not against conference teams and was elected coach of the freshman baseball squad in April. He took the mound in Iowa’s games against Three-I League opponents –Moline, the Cedar Rapids Rabbits and the Rock Island Rox.
In May, the newspapers carried the report that a scout from the American League Detroit Tigers would be watching McIlree’s pitching performances in the series with the Cedar Rapids team of the Three-I League.
Graduation day arrived June 14. McIlree received his bachelor of arts degree, one among 650 graduates, and he already had a familiar job lined up for the summer — he had been hired as pitcher for the New Hampton ball team. One unusual outing for him that summer was a pitching assignment against Gilkerson’s Union Giants June 25. The Union Giants were a semipro, Negro League team based in Chicago. New Hampton lost the match, 3-1. McIlree struck out five Giants, walked three, gave up nine hits, and caught two baserunners stealing.
“Saturday’s game with the Union Giants was very interesting, and if New Hampton’s infield work had been as successful as that of the Giants, McIlree would have had a good chance of winning his game,” reported a New Hampton newspaper.20 The New Hampton squad committed five errors in the game.
He did semipro work for teams at West Liberty and Oelwein, Iowa, also during the summer of 1921.
On July 21, he headed north, to Virginia, Minnesota, to pitch for the semipro Virginia Ore Diggers in the Mesaba (Mesabi) Range League. Beside Virginia, the four-team league comprised the Hibbing Colts, Eveleth Reds, and a team from Chisholm. Virtually all the league men were former major or minor leaguers.
McIlree’s pitching reputation preceded him to northeast Minnesota. He was called one of “four new stars”21 who had arrived for the Ore Diggers.
“McIlree, one of the best pitchers ever produced by the state of Iowa, appeared in the Virginia uniform yesterday for the first time, and fans are unanimous in the declaration that he is one of the best twirlers who has ever appeared on the range.”22
Although no individual statistics were reported in the paper, McIlree performed well, so well in fact that he was offered a position by Clark Griffith, owner of the Washington, D.C., American League team, at $500 per month. In addition, a proposition from the Detroit Tigers was made to him. The Detroit ball club had been interested earlier in giving him a tryout.
“Vance McIlree of West Union and freshman baseball coach, is being considered by the Detroit Tigers of the American League for a tryout,” reported the university newspaper in late May.23 “The Indianapolis American Association team, the Des Moines Western League team, and the Rock Island and Cedar Rapids clubs of the Three I League have all made offers to McIlree…McIlree is awaiting the outcome of his negotiations with Detroit before making any decision as to his professional career.”24
“Professional ball does not appeal as strongly to Vance as a steady job in some other line, but he will make his decision within a few days,” reported his hometown paper after the offer by the Washington Senators in September.25 He finished the summer-league season at Virginia, pitching for the Ore Diggers as they picked up two wins over the Labor Day weekend.
McIlree accepted the Senators’ offer, which set him up for his September 13 relief appearance in the game against the St. Louis Browns. He was one of 12 new players obtained by the Senators late that summer in an attempt to boost their lagging efforts and to answer the fans’ calls for new faces on the team, since the old ones weren’t doing so well. Fellow Iowa natives Patsy Gharrity and brothers Bing Miller and Ralph Miller were already on the Senators’ team.
McIlree’s one inning of work that afternoon in the nation’s capital would be his “cup of coffee” in the major leagues.
George Mogridge opened the game on the mound for the Senators that day. The 32-year-old left-hander lasted six and two-thirds innings and gave up 10 runs on 10 hits. He faced 35 batters, walking four of them. The score was a somewhat respectable 5-1 lead for St. Louis after six innings, but things fell apart for Mogridge and the Senators in the seventh inning, when seven runs crossed the plate.
Mogridge was replaced by Jose Acosta, a 30-year-old Cuban right-hander, who finished the seventh inning after two more runs had scored. He gave up two hits among the three batters who came to the plate. Eric Erickson pitched the eighth inning for Washington. A 29-year-old right-hander, born in Sweden, Erickson allowed two more runs on two more hits.
“After those princes of relief work, Acosta and Erickson, had pranced about on the stage for a brief bit, young McIlree…was offered up as a sacrifice.”26
“McIlree is a sturdy lad with plenty of coolness under fire. He uncorked a good curve ball and his speed was satisfactory. His pitching motion is more suitable to Virginia, Minn., than to Washington, but he can be taught the big league fashion,”27 wrote the Washington Times sports correspondent in summing up McIlree’s performance.
In the bottom of the ninth, he faced five batters and allowed one hit and one run. He walked none and struck out no one. Two bases were stolen off McIlree. He was granted no further opportunities to pitch in the club’s remaining 15 games.
Shocker pitched the entire game for the Browns, giving up only one run on six hits. He struck out five Senators and walked one. The Browns scored one run in the first inning, three runs in the fourth, one run in the fifth, seven runs in the seventh, two more in the eighth, and the aforementioned single run in the ninth during McIlree’s appearance on the mound. The Senators’ only run was scored in the sixth inning by right-fielder Clyde Milan, batted in by second baseman Bucky Harris.
Vance and his wife arrived back in northeastern Iowa on October 24, and he was working with his brother, Reed, in publishing the Fayette County Union during the first week of November.
No mention of his big-league game appeared in the West Union newspapers, but late the following winter a piece in the University of Iowa paper mentioned McIlree’s next assignment.
“Vance McIlree of West Union, star varsity pitcher in 1919 and 1920 for the University baseball squad, has been notified by the manager of the Washington, D.C., American League team to report at Shreveport, Louisiana, on March 10, to commence training for the baseball season. McIlree was with the same team for a short time last year but got a chance to pitch but one inning. He was able to hold his own in delivery but fell down in holding men on bases as new players often do when entering a big league.”28
McIlree claimed he was not given a chance to show his stuff at Shreveport. The Louisiana squad tried out 19 hurlers that spring and he remained until the possibilities had been pared to eight. Then, he was cast aside.
By early May, however, he was working out with the Des Moines Boosters, a Class-A minor-league club of the Western League. The team signed him on May 10.
By the end of June, however, it was reported that McIlree had decided to leave pro ball after going from the Des Moines team to Denver’s Western League club. “Vance McIlree, former Iowa State university pitcher, who played a few games with Des Moines and later went to the Denver Western League club, is back in Des Moines. McIlree states that he is through with professional baseball. ‘It might be all right with a winner, but there’s nothing to it when you’re with a club that knows it’s beaten before it starts,’ he said. McIlree expects to pitch a semipro game now and then, but has turned down several professional offers.”29
According to correspondence from his brother, Paul, to the Fayette County Union, Vance “developed a sore arm. I think it was in 1922 that Vance quit professional baseball.”30 Whatever the reason, this year was the termination of his participation in professional ball.
He joined the Real Silk Hosiery Company, based in Indianapolis, in 1922, soon after its founding that same year by J.A. and L.L. Goodman. The company ran knitting mills which manufactured hosiery, lingerie and underwear. At its peak, the company’s sales volume averaged more than one million pair of women’s hosiery a year. McIlree was transferred to Fargo, North Dakota, as a promotion to branch manager for Real Silk and later was promoted to management of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) office.
The only child of the McIlrees, a daughter, Janet, was born May 16, 1923, in Dubuque, where Vance took employment as head of the sales department for the Higley Chemical Co. Janet became the wife of Gerald Campbell, and the couple eventually settled in California, where they raised their 10 children.
Vance was hired by Parker Higley, company president, and continued employment there until his death. He was a salesman for Higley Chemical for more than 30 years. During those years, he was a member of the Dubuque Elks Lodge, Dubuque Traveling and Business Men’s Association, Dubuque Post No. 6 of the American Legion, and the Masonic fraternity.31
McIlree’s interest in the sport at which he excelled continued with him although he had turned from participation in it.
“While he was in our employ, he had no contact with the baseball profession other than intense interest,” wrote Higley about McIlree following his death.32
That end came May 6, 1959, while McIlree was on work assignment for Higley Chemical in Kansas City, Missouri. According to his death certificate, he died of a heart attack while staying at the Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas City. He was 61 years old. Funeral services took place Saturday, May 9, at Egelhof Funeral Home, Dubuque, with burial in Linwood Cemetery, Dubuque.
This biography was reviewed by Bill Nowlin and fact-checked by Rod Nelson.
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also consulted Baseball-Reference.com, Retrosheet.org, SABR.org, as well as websites Geni.com, Iagenweb.org, and Pressdemocrat.com. He also consulted the 1922 Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guide, the Upper Iowa Collegian, and the player file for Vance Elmer McIlree from the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.
1 Louis Dougher, “Urban Shocker Won’t Be on Hill Today; We Cheer,” Washington Times, September 14, 1921.
3 “Local High School Notes,” Fayette County Union, February 28, 1918.
4 “Personals,” West Union Argo-Gazette, September 13, 1916.
5 Fayette County Union, September 6, 1917.
6 “Local High School Notes,” Fayette County Union, February 28, 1918.
7 “Kerwick’s Proteges Beat Regulars 2-1,”Daily Iowan, April 24, 1918.
9 “Vance McIlree at Cambridge Camp,” Fayette County Union, October 24, 1918.
10 “Awaiting Discharge from Boston Tech,” Fayette County Union, November 14, 1918.
11 The Hawkeye 1921 yearbook.
12 Correspondence from Paul McIlree, dated December 15, 1962.
13 Cappy Gagnon, Notre Dame Baseball Greats: From Anson to Yaz (Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia, 2004).
14 “Defeat College Team,” West Union Argo-Gazette, June 18, 1919.
15 “S.U.I. Sends Out Spring Schedule,” Fayette County Union, February 5, 1920.
16 The Hawkeye 1922 yearbook.
17 “West Union Boys Make Good at S.U.I.,” Fayette County Union, April 22, 1920.
18 “McIlree-Willits Wedding,” West Union Argo-Gazette,” July 7, 1920.
19 “V.E. McIlree, Iowa’s Captain, Is Ruled Out,” Fayette County Union, December 9, 1920.
20 “Poor Week for Base Ball Team,” New Hampton Tribune, June 29, 1921.
21 “Virginia Will Win Honors in Range League,” Virginia Daily Enterprise, July 23, 1921.
23 “Detroit Considers McIlree,” Daily Iowan, May 25, 1921.
25 Fayette County Union, September 1, 1921.
28 “Varsity Man Will Pitch Professional Ball,” Daily Iowan, February 28, 1922.
29 “McIlree Says He’s Through with Professional Ball,” New Hampton Gazette, June 28, 1922.
30 Correspondence from Paul McIlree, dated December 15, 1962.
31 Obituary, Dubuque Telegraph Herald, May 7, 1959.
32 Correspondence on file with Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York.