Water tower to become baseball-shaped museum in Joe Tinker’s hometown
by Clarke Davis
Major league baseball player Joe Tinker’s hometown of Muscotah is in the process of creating a baseball-shaped museum in his honor and in the process might create a tourist draw to northeast Kansas.
The townspeople are using their old watertower tank, which is round and will be painted to look like a large baseball.
The tank was moved to a downtown location on a vacant city lot Jan. 27. A town citizen, Jeff Hanson, said the spherical tank stood watch over the community for 55 years before a new one replaced it.
Muscotah (pop. 196), a town on the Delaware River about 25 miles north Valley Falls, has declined like most rural Kansas towns in the past few decades but Hanson believes the old water tower “will continue to witness the evolution of Muscotah in its reincarnation as [it creates] the largest baseball in Kansas — perhaps the world.”
“To celebrate our most famous resident — Joe Tinker — the water tower will become a local museum in the shape of a baseball,” he said. “It will welcome all those urbanites looking for what we have here — a good life — and those who just want to visit will also be welcome.”
Hanson said the vision is becoming a reality through leadership from the city council and help from the Banks Construction Company, whose truck and trackhoe were employed in the work Friday.
The city council has made numerous strides in recent times to clear some lots and work is under way to beautify the community.
Joe Tinker was born in Muscotah in 1880 and started playing professionally in 1900. He was signed by the Chicago Cubs and played shortstop from 1902 until 1912. The Cubs went to the World Series four times during his career with them and they won in 1907 and 1908.
Tinker was known as a base stealer. He is also best known for the “Tinker to Evers to Chance” double play combination in the poem “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” written by the New York columnist Franklin Pierce Adams.
Tinker was traded to the Cincinnati Reds but returned to the Cubs briefly in 1916. He died in Florida in 1948.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.
Find more info on Joe Tinker in the Baseball Hall of Fame here.
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