- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7", Weight 145 lb.
- Debut September 11, 1907
- Final Game June 30, 1913
- Born April 22, 1881 in Grand Haven, MI USA
- Died October 15, 1957 in Bridgeport, CT USA
"I am mighty glad I happened to be the one who was in the right spot and able to pull it off. Just think of the wonderful plays that Larry [Lajoie], Terry Turner and Bill Bradley have made since they have been in the major leagues, but yet they never had the chance to do what I, a utility man, a sub, did. It was just my good fortune to be in the game when such a chance was offered." - Neal Ball, in a postgame interview on July 19, 1909.
Playing with the Cleveland Naps, infielder Neal Ball completed the first unassisted triple play in Major League regular season history on July 19, 1909. Amby McConnell of the Boston Red Sox was the batter. Jake Stahl was the runner at first and Heinie Wagner at second. Ball caught a McConnell line drive, stepped on second to retire Wagner and tagged out Stahl to end the second inning for the Boston Red Sox at Cleveland's League Park.
In total, Ball played seven seasons in the American League spread among three teams, playing over 100 games in a season three times. The New York Times of March 18, 1911 says that Ball refused to report to Portland and planned instead to play semi-pro ball. He later managed the Augusta Tygers for part of 1922 and the New Haven Profs in 1925 and 1927, and the Pittsfield Hillies for part of 1926. After his baseball days, he worked as a hat salesman and as manager of a bowling alley. Source: The Deadball Era
In early 2022, his name popped back in the news as the ball with which he had completed the unassisted triple play turned up on the PBS show Antiques Road Show. He great-niece, Kathia, brought the artifact to be evaluated on the show, and there was little doubt about its authenticity as it was engraved with the date and had been in the ballplayer's family all these years. Kathia had no intention of selling the ball, especially as she had known her great-uncle quite well, as he was still alive when she was a young girl. His glove from that play is on display the Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY.
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1916||Bridgeport Hustlers||Eastern League||--||none||--||replaced by Mike Healy|
|1922||Augusta Tygers||South Atlantic League||--||none||--||replaced by Hick Cady|
|1925||New Haven Profs||Eastern League||81-73||4th||none|
|1926||Pittsfield Hillies||Eastern League||--||none||--||replaced by Rowdy Elliott|
|1927||New Haven Profs||Eastern League||74-80||5th||none|
- Elizabeth Muratore: "Legendary triple play ball found on 'Roadshow'", mlb.com, February 20, 2022.