Play ball! Allison-Antrim Museum’s summer exhibition highlights the career of Franklin County’s own Nellie Fox, Major League baseball player. Jacob Nelson “Nellie” Fox (December 25, 1927 – December 1, 1975) lived in and grew up in St. Thomas, Franklin County, PA. He played for the St. Thomas American Legion baseball team. Nellie did not finish high school because at the age of 16, Connie Mack signed him to play for the Philadelphia Athletics minor league team. Included in the exhibit is the letter that Connie Mack wrote to Nellie’s mother Mae Fox.
Fox played for the Athletics for three years – 1947 through 1949; the Chicago White Sox – 1950 through 1963; and finished his playing career (1964 and 1965) with the Houston Colt .45s, which then changed its name in 1965 to the Houston Astros. Nellie’s Chicago uniform number “2” was retired upon his retirement from baseball.
In 1957, only one Gold Glove was awarded per position, between the National and American Leagues. Fox was selected to receive that “one” second baseman Gold Glove in 1957, for “superior individual fielding performance.” In 1958, Gold Glove awards began to be given within each major league. Nellie won two more Gold Gloves as second baseman in 1959 and 1960 and became the first, second baseman to win more than once from either league and the 1960 Gold Glove dubbed him the first, second baseman to win “three.” In 1959, he led the White Sox to the 1959 World Series and because of his performance that season, Nellie was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player. Fox was the third-most difficult hitter to strike out in Major League Baseball history. In 19 seasons, he only had 216 strikeouts. To date (2018), Fox holds the Chicago White Sox record of playing the most consecutive games, i.e. 798, which at his retirement, is the sixth most in the history of the Major Leagues. Nellie’s spectacular career led him to be selected for 13 All-Star Teams.
In 1975, Nellie Fox was diagnosed with cancer and died December 1, 1975. Jacob Nelson “Nellie” Fox was inducted into the Hall of Fame in August 1997. Joanne Fox, Nellie’s wife, received the award and upon accepting it said, “He played with all his heart, all his passion, and with every ounce of his being — that was the best way he could show his appreciation to all those who helped him learn the game that became his life.”
This exhibition has been made possible through the generosity of Joanne Fox, Fayetteville, PA and Justin Mayhue, Hagerstown, MD. The exhibit includes memorabilia from Chicago and Houston, game-used bats, a game-worn cap, many photographs including Nellie with Yogi Berre and Brooks Robinson, baseball cards, a 1961 Chicago White Sox team-signed ball, a letter from Nellie to Joanne while he was serving during the Korean War, and much more. In addition to Nellie Fox memorabilia, is Early Wynn’s May 25, 1954 ball and glove, noting Wynn’s 23rd, two-hit game, while playing for the Indians and a game-used Minnie Minosa bat. Wynn and Minosa were teammates with Fox in Chicago.
There’s no admission charge to the Museum but donations are accepted. The Museum is open regularly Tuesday to Friday, noon to 4 pm and Saturday, 11 am to 1 pm. For more information, please visit: www.greencastlemuseum.org, Facebook, on Twitter @greencastlemuzm, or call 717-597-9010.