Eric's Special Finds
A short while ago, Eric Bowyer contacted me about some memorabilia he had that pertained to the Cincinnati Reds and Crosley Field. As it turns out, what he has is amazing and is being presented in this section of the Crosley Field website.
BUT, Eric has so much more to show that is more related to baseball in general, and that will be displayed:
IN SECTION 2 OF ERIC'S MEMORABILIA!
CLICK HERE TO GO THERE NOW!
Also, and this is a huge section, there are over a thousand items to display that came from Billy Sullivan's files that did not pertain to the Reds, but just personal business, baseball and otherwise, that are of significant interest.
THIS THEN BECOMES SECTION 3
CLICK HERE TO GO THERE NOW!
(This is a work in progress, so check back)
What follows below pertains to Crosley, the Reds, and Billy Sullivan, a 1935 Reds player.
"I identified the photos when I came across them at the local flea market and I knew they were special. I bought them and then inquired about how they had aquired them. The man who sold them to me did not know the significance of Powel Crosley. I had read the Powel Crosley biography shortly before I came across them and recognized Powel. Then I found some written info on the back of the frame which confirmed my find.
The Crosley photos were from the Powel Crosley home here in Sarasota. They were in the original frames. I think they are pretty rare. The photo of Powel Jr. was used as a likeness for a newspaper engraving with the headline 'Boy Genius'" - Eric Bowyer
Powel Crosley Jr. - 1928
Powel Crosley Sr. - Powel Jr.'s Father - c. 1882
Powel Crosley Sr. - Powel Jr.'s Father - Later in Life
Mrs. Crosley - Powel Jr.'s Mother
Mystery photo from the Crosley family album - We are not sure who these gentlemen are though
If you know, go HERE and tell us - reference Crosley skiing photo
Red's Ball Field (Palace of the Fans) in 1904
This photo of the Red's Field from 1904 came from my
Great Great Grandfather Sebastian Maag. - Eric Bowyer
Click on Photo to Zoom and Explore!
Beyond this point there is a lot of information about a ballplayer named Billy Sullivan Jr. Billy Sullivan Jr. was the son of the famous Chicago White Sox catcher, Billy Sullivan Sr. The references throughout this web section pertain to Billy Sullivan Jr., the son.
(photos of Billy appear below)
Billy began his Major League career in 1931 and played 12 seasons through 1947 for seven different teams. Billy did not play in the Majors in 1934 or during the war years of 1943-1946. His primary position was catcher, playing 414 games of his 745 total games at that position, but he also played 1st, 2nd, and 3rd base as well.
The only year he played in Cincinnati was 1935. For the Reds he never played a single game at the catcher's position, he and Hank Erickson being backup to Ernie Lombardi, the Reds' starting catcher. During Billy's tenure with the Reds he played 40 games at 1st, 6 games at 2nd, and 15 games at 3rd. His lifetime fielding percentage was .971 and his lifetime batting average was .289.
Before we go any further however, it is important to see how these wonderful artifacts, of a bygone era, were almost lost forever. .... In the words of Eric Bowyer:
"They had an advertised estate sale. I went at eight o'clock and I asked about the shed out back, which was locked. I bought a bunch of furniture and art. I came back at around noon to ask the name of the artist who painted the artwork (It was Billy's daughter Jill). They were getting ready to close the sale and I asked about the shed, which I had seen in the morning. They had found the key during the late morning and the guy told me I could go take a look. He said it was just full of old files. When I went back there a few people were looking through things, but it was so musty that nobody stayed long. There were lots of building construction and real estate files from the 50's and 60's. I wanted these files because of my interest in Sarasota architecture of the 1950's. The fellow wanted to close up so I asked him how much he wanted for the papers and files, and he said you can have them for twenty dollars, and he said it was all going to be bulldozed in a few months. He gave me the key and said to just put it under the brick by the door when I was finished loading up what I wanted. I guess the garbage collector had refused to take any more loads of trash from the house and I could see some of the old steamer trunks had been removed at some earlier time, and probably disposed of. I had to make a couple trips back and forth, just dumping the files into garbage bags and loading them into the trunk of my car. I began sorting through the papers in my courtyard outside and then I started to find Baseball related papers and photos. See Photo. I gave a large collection of Sarasota related papers to the local historical society, as the Billy Sullivan Archives, and I eventually was contacted by Billy's family, after the sale made the news. I sent them a large box of the personal family related items I found, such as birth certificates, Old family photos, love letters etc. Billy did not throw anything away. I wondered why the family didn't bother to look more closely through these papers, but as his daughter said later, 'That was Dad's office and business files, and who would have thought that these things would be there.' she then said that Baseball was business to Billy, and that's probably why they were there.
I collect a lot of things, but I do not really collect Baseball things, but I suspected they had value. I had to work very hard organizing and sorting the salvagable things from the mess, and I thought it would be best to put everything up for auction, and archive it for myself, so it could get it all out to the real collectors. In the last few years I have continued to find interesting Baseball related items, and I still have quite a lot of non-Baseball related Billy Sullivan documents. He was a fascinating guy.
These are photos of the unfolding discovery of the Billy Sullivan Files. After my initial find I was able to take photos of the discovery. You can see how interesting it was, but you can't imagine the mold and mildew smell. I think I damaged my respitory system. I had to sort through the debris outside on my courtyard.
The house and sheds were bulldozed about three months later and all of this would have been lost. Most people at the sale took a peak into the shed, took a wiff of air, and went running. I had to fight off snakes, bugs, and rodents to save these things. I was not much of a Baseball fan, but I love history, and I just suspected there was something of value to be saved. I learned so much about the innocence of early baseball, and I am glad you are able to share it on your site."
This is the former Sarasota home of Billy Sullivan Jr.
The next eight photos are of the discovery, in a shed, in wooden trunks, behind Billy's home
Inside the shed... decaying files
Sorting the files
Organizing the files
Typical moldy files
As you can see from the photos, the wonderful and valuable documents from the "Golden Age of Baseball" were truly almost lost forever. Fortunatley, Eric Bowyer saw the significance of them, and now we can gain an interesting insight into the past.
Now, begin scrolling down through history, and watch for the link to even more, at the bottom of the page.
1935 Telegram from Lou McKenna (Billy's lawyer or agent?) to Billy Sullivan
informing him of his new contract with the Cincinnati Reds.
Cliff, from White Plains, New York adds this interesting information:
"You have a telegram from Lou McKenna to Billy Sullivan, Jr., amongst your marvelous collection. McKenna wasn't Sullivan's agent or lawyer; he was the secretary/business manager of the St. Paul Saints, to whom Sullivan had been traded in November 1934. Sullivan refused to report to St. Paul, and they sold his contract to the Reds."
In Section 3, starting on Page 8, there are letters from Lou McKenna to Billy, and Billy's replies, concerning placing Billy on the suspended list for not reporting to St. Paul.
Here is the contract
Billy Sullivan - Brooklyn Dodgers - 1942
Billy Sullivan - 1935 Reds
Billy Sullivan - 1935 Reds
Billy Sullivan - 1931-1933 White Sox
Billy Sullivan - 1936 Indians
Here is Larry MacPhail's telegram to Billy Sullivan
Billy Sullivan with his Pierce Arrow at Chicago White Sox Field - Comiskey Park (c. 1932)
From here we go to a series of pages you can scroll through as you enter the world of Eric Bowyer's collection of mostly Billy Sullivan Reds related baseball memorabilia. CLICK HERE to enter...
In most cases I will make no attempt to explain an item, as the serious baseball officianado will be able to figure it out for him or herself.
In case you missed seeing "Section Two" of Eric's memorabilia items, a work in progress, and related to baseball in general GO THERE NOW
In case you missed seeing "Section Three", also a work in progress, and related to Billy Sullivan's non-Reds related items GO THERE NOW