Sharing a Great Experience!!

Sharing a Great Experience!!

Joined: December 27th, 2004, 5:35 pm

August 12th, 2005, 8:52 pm #1

Hi all. I want share what has probably been the most enjoyable experience I have had in collecting so far.

Back in April I picked up this Lafayette baseball uniform on eBay. Seller didn’t know where it came from and had no knowledge of its history. When it arrived I was pleased to find the name “Fillmore” written in the tag, which had not been mentioned in the ebay listing.

I really wanted to find out who this Fillmore was. I knew that the Spalding tag specifically dated the uniform from 1911 -1913. I have been trying to track down a Lafayette yearbook from that time, and last week I saw one from 1912 sell on ebay. I contacted the seller to see if they could send me a scan of the baseball team....thus the adventure began.

The seller, Jim, turned out to be one of the most helpful and pleasant individuals I have come across. Turns out he is an historian of local Easton PA history (where Lafayette is) and an expert on genealogy…In fact he is obsessed with genealogy. Over the past week he has made it his mission to help me learn who Fillmore was.

The 1912 yearbook contained a picture of the 1911 varsity baseball team, but Fillmore was not on it. The yearbook did however list two Fillmore brothers. One Theodore “Ted” Sanderson Fillmore, Class 1911, and the other George Benjamin “Ben” Fillmore, Class 1912. Ted Fillmore was a start football player, his younger brother Ben played baseball for the 1912 Class team, kind of like intramural.

In researching Lafayette alumni directories we found no other Fillmores from that period, but we did find Harry Fillmore Class 1919, Ted and Ben’s younger brother, and George Benjamin Fillmore III, Class 1967, Ben’s grandson.

We were pretty much convinced Ben had to be my Fillmore, but lacked any picture or information confirming he played varsity baseball for Lafayette. Jim went into a genealogy frenzy and dug up volumes of information on Ben and his family. He uncovered census records dating back to 1900 listing all the family members, newspaper clippings showing weddings, obituaries, and the like. We were able to piece together 5 generations of the Fillmore family.

I suspected that Ben played varsity on the 1912 team but needed confirmation. In the obituary for George Benjamin Fillmore Jr., Ben’s son, who died in 2003, it listed his grandson, George Benjamin Fillmore III, as living in Erie PA.

I tracked down Ben’s grandson’s phone number in Erie PA. and called him. We had a great long conversation. He is now 60 years old. His grandfather Ben was born in 1888. He couldn’t believe I called. He confirmed his grandfather played baseball for Lafayette in 1912. He was shocked that I had his uniform, and all that I had learned so much about his family in a 72 hour period. He didn’t have any pictures but he knew his mother, who is still living in Syracuse, had scrapbooks with Ben playing baseball because his father had shown them to him. He agreed to get them next time he was in Syracuse. We exchanged information and agreed to stay in touch as we gathered more info on Ben’s playing days.

The only thing I was missing was a picture of Ben on the team in uniform. I contacted the Easton Public Library and was able to locate a copy of the 1913 Lafayette yearbook which contained a picture of the 1912 team…..and there was Ben!!. The librarian couldn’t scan the picture but mailed me a decent photocopy. I have included the picture of Ben in uniform with his team on my site. Scroll all the way down to view the pictures of Ben.

http://www.geocities.com/vintagesportsc ... ent16.html

George Benjamin Fillmore: 1888 – 1973.
Lafayette College , Class of 1912.
Member of Varsity Baseball Team, 1912
Member of “1912 Class” Baseball Team, 1909-1911.
Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.
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Joined: January 14th, 2005, 8:01 pm

August 12th, 2005, 9:14 pm #2

As collectors of "anonymous" uniforms, it's a real rarity to be able to tag a team name to one of them, much less to i.d. the specific player.
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Joined: January 13th, 2005, 12:21 am

August 12th, 2005, 9:24 pm #3

Hi all. I want share what has probably been the most enjoyable experience I have had in collecting so far.

Back in April I picked up this Lafayette baseball uniform on eBay. Seller didn’t know where it came from and had no knowledge of its history. When it arrived I was pleased to find the name “Fillmore” written in the tag, which had not been mentioned in the ebay listing.

I really wanted to find out who this Fillmore was. I knew that the Spalding tag specifically dated the uniform from 1911 -1913. I have been trying to track down a Lafayette yearbook from that time, and last week I saw one from 1912 sell on ebay. I contacted the seller to see if they could send me a scan of the baseball team....thus the adventure began.

The seller, Jim, turned out to be one of the most helpful and pleasant individuals I have come across. Turns out he is an historian of local Easton PA history (where Lafayette is) and an expert on genealogy…In fact he is obsessed with genealogy. Over the past week he has made it his mission to help me learn who Fillmore was.

The 1912 yearbook contained a picture of the 1911 varsity baseball team, but Fillmore was not on it. The yearbook did however list two Fillmore brothers. One Theodore “Ted” Sanderson Fillmore, Class 1911, and the other George Benjamin “Ben” Fillmore, Class 1912. Ted Fillmore was a start football player, his younger brother Ben played baseball for the 1912 Class team, kind of like intramural.

In researching Lafayette alumni directories we found no other Fillmores from that period, but we did find Harry Fillmore Class 1919, Ted and Ben’s younger brother, and George Benjamin Fillmore III, Class 1967, Ben’s grandson.

We were pretty much convinced Ben had to be my Fillmore, but lacked any picture or information confirming he played varsity baseball for Lafayette. Jim went into a genealogy frenzy and dug up volumes of information on Ben and his family. He uncovered census records dating back to 1900 listing all the family members, newspaper clippings showing weddings, obituaries, and the like. We were able to piece together 5 generations of the Fillmore family.

I suspected that Ben played varsity on the 1912 team but needed confirmation. In the obituary for George Benjamin Fillmore Jr., Ben’s son, who died in 2003, it listed his grandson, George Benjamin Fillmore III, as living in Erie PA.

I tracked down Ben’s grandson’s phone number in Erie PA. and called him. We had a great long conversation. He is now 60 years old. His grandfather Ben was born in 1888. He couldn’t believe I called. He confirmed his grandfather played baseball for Lafayette in 1912. He was shocked that I had his uniform, and all that I had learned so much about his family in a 72 hour period. He didn’t have any pictures but he knew his mother, who is still living in Syracuse, had scrapbooks with Ben playing baseball because his father had shown them to him. He agreed to get them next time he was in Syracuse. We exchanged information and agreed to stay in touch as we gathered more info on Ben’s playing days.

The only thing I was missing was a picture of Ben on the team in uniform. I contacted the Easton Public Library and was able to locate a copy of the 1913 Lafayette yearbook which contained a picture of the 1912 team…..and there was Ben!!. The librarian couldn’t scan the picture but mailed me a decent photocopy. I have included the picture of Ben in uniform with his team on my site. Scroll all the way down to view the pictures of Ben.

http://www.geocities.com/vintagesportsc ... ent16.html

George Benjamin Fillmore: 1888 – 1973.
Lafayette College , Class of 1912.
Member of Varsity Baseball Team, 1912
Member of “1912 Class” Baseball Team, 1909-1911.
Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.
Awesome research. It's fun to come up with the story of an item and this is one of the better. Nice Job

Rob L
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Joined: January 19th, 2005, 12:37 am

August 12th, 2005, 11:21 pm #4

Stunning deication and research, Joe. Thanksfully not one person along the way thought you were nuts.

--Aaron
http://aaronsroom.blogspot.com/
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Joined: January 19th, 2005, 12:37 am

August 12th, 2005, 11:22 pm #5

Awesome research. It's fun to come up with the story of an item and this is one of the better. Nice Job

Rob L
Stunning dedication and research, Joe. Thankfully not one person along the way thought you were nuts.

--Aaron
http://aaronsroom.blogspot.com/
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Joined: July 16th, 2004, 7:07 pm

August 13th, 2005, 1:02 am #6

Stunning deication and research, Joe. Thanksfully not one person along the way thought you were nuts.

--Aaron
http://aaronsroom.blogspot.com/
What a difference your work has made Joe. That was an incedible jersey already, but now...WOW. To me, the picture and history of the player along with the shirt make it a collection cornerstone. The photocopy looks pretty good. I'll bet you can track down an original yearbook. Call some antique shops in that area and put them to work. Keep us posted as this story develops. Congratulations again.
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Joined: December 13th, 2004, 5:18 am

August 13th, 2005, 3:57 pm #7

Stunning dedication and research, Joe. Thankfully not one person along the way thought you were nuts.

--Aaron
http://aaronsroom.blogspot.com/
Joe, are you a SABR member? That uniform and your research would make for a great story for either The National Pastime or the Baseball Research Journal. It could also be helpful to others in how to go about researching vintage uniforms.
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Joined: December 27th, 2004, 5:35 pm

August 14th, 2005, 2:34 am #8

Thanks Dan. I am not a SABR member but I am always delighted and anxious to share my experience and knowledge I have gained with others. I have learned so much from so many people over the years..its great when an opportunity arises to give a little back and help others.
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Joined: January 14th, 2005, 8:01 pm

August 15th, 2005, 2:54 am #9

Their proponents on the vintage card board were less than impressive, but I joined anyway and have had a blast exchanging information with some true experts in baseball history and memorabilia.
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Joined: May 25th, 2004, 1:08 am

August 15th, 2005, 4:25 am #10

Joe

I agree with Scott and his assessement SABR (although I can recall whether I was one of the proponents to get Scott to join )

Check out the website at http://www.sabr.org

The proquest newspaper search feature is only worth the membership. It gives you the ability to do on-line searches of a number of newspapers-- great for baseball research.

Max
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