Martin’s Ohio baseball memorabilia includes rare finds

From SABR member Bob Hunter at the Columbus Dispatch on February 10, 2012, on fellow SABR member Tracy Martin:

Tracy Martin’s treasure hunt at a German Village estate sale about 10 years ago mined an intriguing photo of an old baseball team. Its identity would have been lost to time were it not for the word Buckeye across the players’ chests.

But by itself, that was merely an invitation to try to solve the mystery.

“Immediately I started asking for background information, and they didn’t have anything,” Martin said. “They said it had been in the house for so many years.”

Martin knew enough, however, to know that he wanted it. The 49-year-old Grove City resident owns a remarkable collection of historic baseball items — material that has been on display at various places across the state and the nation, including Huntington Park, Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

It was that collection that brought me to his home, hoping to borrow a few items for the Columbus Historical Society bicentennial exhibit at COSI, which will open at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. One of those items is a suitcase-sized copy of that photograph that hung in Martin’s basement.

“I thought the team might be from Cincinnati,” Martin said. “I was aware of a Buckeye team they had there in the 1860s. I also knew a little about the Columbus Buckeyes. I started doing research and finally asked SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research) for help. They compared the photo with photos of other early teams and identified a few of the players.”

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Originally published: February 10, 2012. Last Updated: February 10, 2012.