Perhaps I am overly sentimental about such things, but as a grave hunter I find it particularly annoying when I stumble upon an unmarked grave. During the past several years of searching out the graves of former American Association players, I’ve been fortunate to have found only a minimum of unmarked graves.
Two such graves are noteworthy, for they lie within the same cemetery, Mount Olivet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And each plot is located within a few hundred feet of one another — in a line! These are the graves of Dan “Bud” Lally, an accomplished outfielder and Donald “Dan” Marion, a pitcher, both deadball era players, Lally having started his career in 1887 in New England while Marion’s heyday was from 1910-1915. Both were American Association players at one time; Lally hit .400 for the 1895 Western League Minneapolis Millers, quite an extraordinary accomplishment!
This past September while in Milwaukee I made it a point to determine the exact location of each of these graves, taking twine and wooden pegs for roping off the plot site with the aid of one of the office managers at Mount Olivet named Matt. It was an unusually warm day for the third week of September, as the temperature climbed past the 90˚ mark with a blustery wind. But we accomplished our goal and I took multiple photos of each site (now if I could only get WordPress to publish my photos!).
I resolved to have grave markers installed at the sites of these two graves. As a member of SABR’s Ken Keltner Chapter in Milwaukee I emailed each member of the Keltner group asking only who might be interested in having more information about the project. One person replied. I was dejected.
My next plan was to submit a letter to my Almanac subscribers with the Fall issue which went out about 10 days ago. The results have been impressive. One subscriber immediately came forward and promised to donate the money for the entirety of Lally’s grave. As the result of a second substantial donation, I am 80% of the way toward funding a marker for Marion.
It gives me a great deal of satisfaction knowing that these two graves will soon have markers so these old-time ballplayers will never be forgotten. I do wish there was a philanthropic society dedicated to such things. If anyone knows of an organization which might be willing to work with me, I know of other graves which could use a headstone.
And please feel free to leave a comment, question or suggestion!