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 Page 13 

THE MAY 2011  



By Carlton Hendricks


16 pages - 16,521 words - 33 photo pages

Pg. 1 Pg. 2 Pg. 3 Pg. 4 Pg. 5 Pg. 6 Pg. 7 Pg. 8
Pg. 9 Pg. 10 Pg. 11 Pg. 12 Pg. 13 Pg. 14 Pg. 15 Pg. 16

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Harvard Square and  University grounds

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Leavitt & Peirce 

Tobacco Shop

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Basketball Hall of
Fame, Springfield MA

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Harvard University Sports Trophies at Murr Center

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Yale Univ. Trophy Room
at Payne Whitney Gym

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Museum of 
Fine Arts Boston



 Part 2 

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click photos


Inaugurated 1894

Entire room lined with period display cabinets

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Left side as entering

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Right side as entering

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The room was about 50 feet wide by 16 feet deep. It was entirely lined with 7 foot tall antique oak display cases brimming with 19th- 20th century artifacts. You enter from a doorway in the center so as soon as you step in you're completely surrounded by memorabilia. When I first walked in there was so much it was overwhelming. Somehow I ended up on the left side of the room from the entrance way. I recall I was very drawn to two different cases there....Remember you're on overload and your head is spinning so it's interesting that of everything there, I landed where I did. Somehow those two cases had probably the two best pieces in the room, so I basically started right at the top of the heap. 




The cabinet at the left corner had about a hundred 19th century hand painted trophy baseballs displayed in two areas, upper and lower. On the back wall of the case hung three baseball championship silk banners for 1881, 1909, and 1918. In the bottom lower MullerCDV_75.jpg (116611 bytes) corners I zeroed right in immediately on a pair of the Muller baseball batter and pitcher statues. From what I could tell looking at them behind glass, they appeared to be bronze. Assuming so, they would be the only bronze examples I know of. Over the last twenty three plus years I've seen maybe six or seven Muller's surface on the market, but believe all have been white metal spelter casts. I have an 1867 cart de visite trade card that advertises The Pitcher for $6.00 and lists John Deacon as the sculptor. However, the ones I've seen have been marked "N. Muller" under the base 



Muller Baseball Batter and Catcher

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Muller baseball 

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Cabinet where Muller 

Statues were

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Muller baseball 

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The Muller baseball statues were the first baseball statues of merit produced in 1868 by brothers Nicholas and Karl Muller of New York City. The Muller brothers were best known for their decorative clock casings. Today you can see the Muller name on many antique clocks. Speaking of which, they made a baseball clock as well that you can read about in a story I did on them back in 2003 which goes into detail about the brothers. You can also see a spelter example on my baseball page. The description cards for the Muller statues said they were given by Francis P. Garvin





Won from the Montreal F.B. Club by Harvard November 1875

Presented by Harvard to Princeton 

Won from Princeton by Yale November 30, 1876 Thanksgiving Day


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Engraved as follows 

This Ball

won by HARVARD from the


Representing all Canada



Yale from Princeton


Thanksgiving Day 1876



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The other cabinet I was drawn to had lots of great looking football stuff but I zeroed in immediately on the greatest thing there...It was an ancient looking oversized melon type trophy football with an engraved presentation plate which gave it's history. It had been won by Harvard from the Montreal Foot Ball Club, then "presented" to Princeton by Harvard, then won from Princeton by Yale on Thanksgiving day 1876. My initial impression was that it was off the chart....an incredible and incredibly rare relic from American football's earliest days. I'd never seen a football like it surface in the hobby! 


click photos

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Examples of First Rugby Footballs Used in American Colleges

Compare to Round Association Ball left photo


One of it's most exciting aspects was seeing an example of a football from that early. It was the most rounded football I'd ever seen in person, the epitome of a melon ball. In the hobby the term "melon ball" is bantered about loosely. If it's the least bit rounded in relation to a modern football they say it's a melon ball...Until seeing this the references were team photographs and sports equipment catalogs. It looked just like the balls in the earliest football team photographs. I'll put it like this...there's rounded footballs then there's really rounded footballs...and this was "really rounded"....like it had fallen out of one of those photographs. And it wasn't even inflated to mass!



So I was very impressed....like I say after all these years in the hobby I finally saw the real thing....And it had the date right on it...Just seeing it thru glass was a milestone...Now if I could have examined it in hand, that would have been even more far reaching, to see if there was a maker...and to see how it was constructed. As I recall the first footballs used in the colleges were imported from England from the Lillywhite sporting goods concern. I speculate Peck and Snyder would have been the biggest supplier at that time and may have imported the Lillywhite ball and sold them thru their catalog...So all that was exciting and great and all...but then the hammer really dropped...


I had a generalist knowledge of American football's development from basically soccer to what is now American football...I vaguely knew that somewhere between the first intercollegiate football game in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton and 1879 the game morphed from association football (soccer) to rugby and then evolved to what it is now. So I knew the 1876 date on the ball was pretty close to the birth of football but I didn't suspect how close to the nucleus it was until I started doing some casual research for this story.



continue to part 3





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