Earlier this month I wrote about the Fred Merkle/Johnny Evers baseball going up for auction with Robert Edwards Auctions. This is a great piece of baseball history. Personally, I think it belongs in a museum for everyone to see and learn from.
I got in contact with John Evers in August, 2008 after writing an article for the Beckett web site. John Evers is the great, great nephew of Cubs Hall of Famer Johnny Evers.
We've exchanged a emails since then (he's actually a Red Sox fan now) and he allowed me to blog about our exchanges. I'm thankful for the conversations we've had and I hope to meet him in person and talk about his great, great uncle. He's done a lot of research on Johnny Evers. Here's a recap of our exchanges:
Q: How do you feel about Johnny Evers/Fred Merkle ball being auctioned?
A: I have mixed emotions about the ball being auctioned. It would never have made it to Christy's for auction to begin with if not for the bad times that feel on the Evers brothers back in the early 1990s. So much of Johnny's memorabilia was lost over the years.
Q: What is your background on the baseball? How did you get in contact with the baseball?
A: The ball itself was a company asset that we found in a box in a file cabinet in the late 1980s or early 1990s. My father and two uncles and I didn't quite know what to make of it. I did some research and connected the dots. It had written on it "Merkle, Sept 23, 1908" in handwriting. I assumed it was Johnny's handwriting. The ball itself was old and brown. Nothing else was written on it. We knew that Johnny kept some of his artifacts around but we didn't know what happened to them.
Q: What did you do with the baseball when you found it?
A: I had kept the ball for a while on my desk. When we found it may be worth something we put it in a safety deposit box.
Q: Why did the family originally sell it?
A: It was originally sold to keep the family business going: “Johnny Evers Sporting Goods Company.”
Q: Who worked for the Johnny Evers Sporting Goods Company in your family?
A: My father worked there from 1966 until 1992. Johnny Evers had a younger brother, Joe, who did a lot of the work. Johnny brought in the business by doing the speeches, school talks and such. Joe sold the equipment.
Q: Did you have any other family members play professional baseball?
A: My great-grandfather Joe Evers played only 1 game in the pros.
Q: What do you do today in upper New York?
A: I run the state food bank association in NY.
Thanks again Johnny. I really appreciate your time.