HOF Ump’s Heir Claims Sale Was in Error

The granddaughter of Hall of Fame umpire Tom Connolly says she wants to know who consigned her grandpa’s baseball memorabilia to an auction five years ago…and she wants it back.

Thomas Connolly

Tom Connolly

Peggy Sill has gone to court as an heir to the estate of Mary and Helen Connolly, her aunts and the daughters of the famous arbiter, who died in 1961 at age 90.

In the suit filed in Massachusetts state court and obtained by Sports Collectors Daily, Sill claims the estate had inherited the items after the deaths of her uncle Francis in 1986 and her aunts who passed away in 2003 and 2005.  She says the family plan had always been to eventually donate the memorabilia to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Instead, she says, her son discovered three years ago that the collection had been consigned to a 2005 auction conducted by Sotheby’s/ SCP without her knowledge and sold to various collectors.

1912 Fenway Park Opening Day baseball

1912 Fenway Park Opening Day ball

Included was the first ball pitched at Fenway Park in 1912, which sold to a private collector for $112,000, a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and a couple of opening day baseballs signed by President Woodrow Wilson and VP Calvin Coolidge.

Sill filed the suit because, she says, he brother Bernard Kilroy, executor of the Margaret and Helen Connolly estates, refused to do so.  She claims no one else in the family had given away or sold any of the memorabilia that once belonged to her grandfather.

Sill is asking for the memorabilia to be returned or a dollar amount equal to the auction proceeds from the Connolly collection, an amount that totals approximately $260,000 according to records.  She also wants the court to demand that she be told who consigned the items to the auction and the names of the buyers.