Bellwether buddy Bill Osinski spotted the ball and snapped a picture the other day at Cooperstown while on a pilgrimage. He also passed along some interesting Ohio trivia about the national pastime:
"Sure, Dayton Ohio's Orville and Wilbur Wright invented the airplane. Big deal. Just down the road in Cinncinnati, two other Wright boys -- Harry and George -- invented professional baseball. You can look it up, or you can see it in the museum galleries.
"Harry Wright was the manager, co-owner and centerfielder for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, America's first pay-for-play baseball team. George played shortstop. In 1869, the Red Stockings barnstormed the nation, traveling 12,000 miles, playing -- and winning -- 57 games. Upon their triumphant return, a grateful group of Cincinnati fans gave them a 27-foot-long bat to commemorate their achievment.
"A few years later, Harry took his team and , with slight modification, their nickname, to Boston, where they became the Red Sox.
Cincinnati fans can find plenty of other exhibits in the Hall that mark their team's long history. There's a colorized photo of the 1882 Red Stockings, an 1888 scorecard cover bearing a portrait of pitcher Billy Serad, an 1887 jersey worn by star catcher Buck Ewing, an official World Series program from the 1919 series won by the Reds but tainted by the Black Sox scandal, and a ball pitched by the recently-deceased Joe Nuxhall when he broke into the big leagues at the historically young age of 15.
"Sorry, Orville and Wilbur. How can simply starting the era of manned flight stack up against all that?"