August 2, 2021

Ward Miller Dedication

August 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

On a sunny afternoon Sunday August 21, 2011, on the grounds of the Lee County Courthouse in Dixon, Illinois a monument dedication was held for former resident and baseball player Ward Miller.

Front of Ward Miller MonumentDixon resident and local baseball historian Mark Stach, addressed the crowd wearing a Chicago Cubs replica jersey, very similar to the one Ward Miller worn in 1912. Mark began by thanking all those who made the monument, and event possible. He let the good-sized crowd know that the monument was part of The Deadball Era Memorial Series, and Mr. Miller was the eleventh player honored thus far.

Stach continued telling the story of Ward Miller’s ties with Dixon and his major league baseball career. Starting with Miller playing for the Dixon Browns baseball team during his youth, with his minor and major league career, and finished with his civilian career. Returning to Dixon, Miller was the Lee County Sheriff, Chief Deputy Sheriff, Lee County Treasurer and Chief of Police-Dixon State School, as stated in the dedication bulletin.

Dixon has always had a large Chicago Cub fan base, which was evident with the colors sprinkled throughout the crowd. In fact, a beautiful bouquet of flowers set on a stand next to the monument, with the Cubs red, white and blue. Placed inside the flowers was a Chicago Cubs pennant. The city would have been incredibly excited rooting for their Cubbies while their hometown hero was playing for them, said Stach.

As stated on the monument, Miller played with the great Tinker, Evers and Chance. To everyone’s interest, the historian told the crowd that Miller brought the Cubs to play a local team in Dixon after the end of the 1912 season. This is most likely the last time the infield trio ever teamed together. Frank Chance joined the New York AL team in 1913.

Back of Ward Miller MonumentMark talked about his growing interest in Ward Miller, which led to his close friendship with Ward’s daughter, who he refer to as Mrs. Roundy. She passed away last year, just months short of turning 100, and one year short of witnessing the monument and dedication.
The collection that Mrs. Roundy received from her father was on display in the courthouse for public viewing before and after the dedication. Not having any children, she passed this down to Mark, and is very evident that she made the right choice. There are no plans for it to ever leave Dixon.

The collection includes many team photos that Ward played for before and during his major league career. Also displayed were portraits of Miller, baseball cards, postcards, replica jerseys and Miller’s sheriff’s memorabilia, which included his badge worn during duty in Dixon.

One of the photos was used for the portrait on the front of the memorial, and the image of   the rare T207 baseball card was used on the backside. The monument is now the first one in The Deadball Era Monument Series that utilized both sides for the same player.

We can only imagine the joy Mr. Miller would feel, if he could walk up the courthouse yard, and lay his eyes on this beautiful memorial honoring his life. Knowing, he will always be remembered, in the heart of his hometown Dixon, Illinois.

My thanks go out to Mark Stach, Lee County Courthouse and the folks of Dixon who made this a very special day me.  Artist Linda Boettcher, who amazes us with her talents, and Archie Monuments of Watertown, Wisconsin, as they donate their time, which helps me make this Deadball Era Memorial Series continue to grow.

–David Stalker

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