"Died In Freeport, Buried In Lanark"
By Alice Horner
When I wrote this biography in January 2007, I had no information about Jack Warhop’s parents and family.
In November 2009, Mitch Wauhop contacted me and shared his family’s history and information on Jack, some of which I’ve now added to this text.

Jack Warhop
New York Highlanders

Jack Warhop Photo Portrait
from the collection of Lucas Luecke

Imagine my surprise when I discovered Findagrave.com listed a famous person in the Lanark Cemetery! It didn’t seem possible. No one famous could be buried in Lanark and me not know it. And it seemed even less likely when I found out he’d died in Freeport in 1960. I was a teenager in Freeport in 1960, but I’d never heard of Jack Warhop, who must be in every “history of baseball” book ever written. Why? Because on May 6, 1915 he pitched the first ball Babe Ruth hit for a homerun.

The baseball legend known as Jack Warhop was born John Milton Wauhop on July 4, 1884 in Hinton, Summers County, West Virginia and he died on October 4, 1960 in Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois. His early personal history has been illusive. Wauhop was his original family name, and according to the Minorleaguebaseball.com website, Jack said he was of French-Irish descent. His parents were Walter Raleigh Wauhop and his wife Maggie Martin. Walter was born February 21, 1857 and died May 20, 1938. I have been unable to find much information about Maggie Martin, or to find a census on which she appears. I have only found connections between her and two sisters. One sister was Nannie Mae Martin, who married William Goff. The other was Ella Martin, who married Joseph Nihoof. Nannie and Ella’s parents were William Thomas and Sarah Martin, both of whom were born in Virginia. (And there were other children.) But I haven’t been able to find any source that links Maggie to these parents or provides her date of birth or death.

It appears that Joseph and Ella (Martin) Nihoof raised Jack Warhop. They were living in Hinton, Summers County, West Virginia when the 1900 US census was taken and Jack Warhop was living with them. Already Jack was spelling his name Warhop, or at least that’s how the census taker spelled it. Mitch Wauhop believes Jack may have changed it to Warhop because Wauhop was hard to pronounce. Jack had at least two other siblings, a sister named Jean, about whom I could determine nothing, and a brother William Sherman Wauhop, who was born March 6, 1883 in Hinton and died March 23, 1957 in Molino, Escambia County, Florida.

So how do you come out of boyhood in rural West Virginia and start pitching for the New York Yankees? In about 1947, when Warhop returned to Hinton, West Virginia for a visit he was interviewed by his hometown paper, the Hinton Daily News. The interviewer described how Jack had developed his talent. “Wauhop was an underhanded pitcher who was taught his unusual but effective style of delivery by Acey Peyton, a famous Negro ball player who lived here in the late 1800’s. He told us he and Acey used to work for hours together, until he could finally throw as hard and with as many curves as his teacher.”

According to his obituary in the Freeport Journal Standard, Warhop started his baseball career in Freeport in 1906 with the old Wisconsin - Illinois League. But before that, in 1902 he was playing with the local C & O (railroad sponsored) team in Hinton, West Virginia. In 1904, a Cherokee Indian baseball team, the Nebraska Indians, arrived in Hinton to play the C&O team. According to an undated article by Eugene L. Scott in a Beckley, West Virginia newspaper, the Indians star pitcher was sick and they asked if a local boy could fill in. Someone suggested Jack Warhop. He won the game, and the next day’s game, and the subsequent game and then joined the team. He left town with the Nebraska Indians and didn’t return for a visit for 20 years.

He had come to Freeport the summer of 1906 as a pitcher with the Nebraska Indians ball club. After he played a 12-inning 2-2 deadlock game, he was signed by the Freeport club at $80 a month. He won 26 out of 32 games in 1907 and 30 out of 36 games in 1908. In 1907, he struck out 339 batters in 325 innings.

Photo from the collection of Lucas Luecke

Obviously anyone with those statistics moves quickly to more important teams. He was acquired by Detroit in 1908 but was optioned to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The “Looking Backward” sections of several 1939 editions of the Freeport Journal-Standard (see references below) outline Warhop’s time spent in 1908-1909. He reported for duty with the New York Americans on September 14, 1908. (He played his first game with them on September 19, 1908.) He’d been sold to them by the Williamsport, Pennsylvania club for $2,000. (The period of time he spent with minor league teams seems to overlap.) Other sources claim Detroit released him to Williamsport for the 1908 season and he was allowed to remain in Williamsport until 1909. The New York Americans got him from Williamsport at the end of the 1909 season. On October 6, 1909 Jack Warhop had played the 1909 season with the New York Americans but had returned to Freeport to spend the winter. While there, on October 17, 1909 he pitched a game for the Beloit, Wisconsin team.

Jack Warhop baseball card 1909-1911

His apparent reason for returning to Freeport is that he had married Grace C. Nichol on November 23, 1907 in Stephenson County. She was the daughter of Thomas Scott Nichol and Fannie (Clair) Nichol, and born January 8, 1886 in Lanark, Carroll County, Illinois. By 1900 she lived on State Street in Freeport with her mother and younger brother Lloyd and was going to school; her mother worked as a clerk in a confectionary store. I don’t know how she met Jack Warhop but she would have been 21 years old when they married in 1907. Both Jack and Grace seemed to have eluded the 1910 census, which was taken most places April - May 1910. Jack left Freeport on March 3, 1910 for Athens, Georgia to join the New York Americans on their training trip. If Grace had accompanied Jack to Athens, Georgia, or to New York for the baseball season, there is no evidence the census takers made it into either city’s baseball park or the ball players residences.

Jack Warhop pitching 1910

Jack Warhop’s major league baseball history was widely known to baseball fans in that era. He pitched his entire major league career with one team, the New York Highlanders, who changed their name to the New York Yankees at the start of the 1913 season. He had at least three nicknames: “Chief” because his surname sounded like “war hoop,” “Crab,” because of his bad disposition, and “the Little Flea,” referring to his short stature; he was barely 5’ 9” tall. Warhop held impressive baseball records. He was one of the few pitchers in Major League history to ever steal home twice (on August 27, 1910 and July 12, 1912). In 8 years with New York, his record was 69-93, with 7 saves. (stats quoted from Frank Russo in the findagrave.com source). The Yankees Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition, by Mark Gallagher & Walter LeCo (September 5, 2000) states that Warhop led the Yankees in complete games pitched 4 times and he led them in games saved 3 times. He is 11th all-time in Yankee history in games pitched (105), 13th in ERA (earned run average) with 3.12, and 16th for innings pitched (1413). He also holds the New York Yankees’ season record for hit batsmen (26). Jack pitched against some of the best hitters ever to play baseball. He not only pitched Babe Ruth’s first home run, he pitched Babe Ruth’s second home run too, on June 2, 1915. He also pitched Shoeless Joe Jackson’s first home run, in 1910 when Joe played with the Cleveland Naps.

From the collection of Lucas Luecke.
It was probably taken while Babe Ruth was both a player and assistant manager
of the Brooklyn Braves in 1935 and decades after Jack had left the Yankees

But what of Jack Warhop’s personal life? Eugene L. Scott told his readers that in 1915 (and who knows how long before that) Jack Warhop lived in an apartment at 145th and Amsterdam Avenue in New York City and walked to the Polo Grounds on game day. He loved to talk to people along the way, and being a Yankees player he was well known. Warhop played his last game with the New York Yankees on August 12, 1915. He and 2 other teammates were released to the Richmond Club of the International League.

I don’t know where Jack and Grace had been living together when he left the Yankees, but by September 2, 1918, when Jack signed his World War I Registration Card, the constant travel that is part of baseball may have taken a toll on his marriage. Although the registration card gives John Milton Warhop’s address as 148 Stephenson Street, Freeport, Illinois and shows Mrs. Grace Warhop as his nearest relative (who also lived at the same address), it gives his occupation as an iron worker at the Robinson Dry Dock Company in the Erie Basin of Brooklyn, New York. That would be quite a commute for any time, but especially for 1918. He signed the registration card in New York City (and it is stamped with a registration office at a NYC address) but apparently the card was sent later to Freeport because it is overstamped Stephenson County. There is no indication Warhop actually served in World War I. Being an iron worker probably exempted him, since ship building was a war industry. There seems to have been a baseball angle to this. Charles Clark, writing about Warhop on June 13, 1958, possibly for the Freeport paper, reports that Jack Warhop worked for the Erie Basin Shipywards and hurled their baseball team to two straight championships. After that he was a player-coach of the Hoboken Fletcher Shipyard.

By January 1920, Jack and Grace Warhop were divorced. Grace Warhop appears on the 1920 US Federal Census for Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois as divorced and living on South Chicago Ave. (near Stephenson Street) with her two daughters, Betty J. Warhop and Nancy B. Warhop. Betty J. Warhop was born December 9, 1914 in Illinois (date provided by Social Security Death Index) and she died in Freeport in November 1980. She did not marry. Her sister Nancy B. Warhop (sometimes called Natalie Warhop) was born June 29, 1916 in Illinois Sometime later in 1920, Grace C. Nichol Warhop married Robert C. Schofield, who was born July 22, 1879 in Freeport, a son of Silas Charles Schofield and Mary Adelia Whitney. He had operated Schofield Manufacturing in the west side of Freeport, a factory which made potato planters and diggers. He discontinued the business at about the time of the First World War.

By 1930, Robert C. Schofield appears on the Freeport census operating a clubhouse. He and Grace had two children of their own, Robert C. Schofield Jr. and Jeanne B. Schofield. Robert C. Schofield (Sr.) and Grace C. Nichol Warhop Schofield are both buried in Oakland Cemetery, Freeport. He died July 21, 1941 in Freeport. The Oakland Cemetery office only has burial records (not death records); it shows Grace was buried March 12, 1963. Robert C. Schofield Jr. died March 22, 2005 in Freeport, Jeanne B. Schofield Gundry died March 5, 2004. (The Social Security Death Index is the source for both.) Jeanne is buried adjacent to Betty J. Warhop in Gund Cemetery, east of Freeport.

Nancy B. Warhop married Arno Zimmerman and lived in Wisconsin in 1960. Their son John Milton Zimmerman was born September 15, 1943 and was married. He died September 8, 2003. Nancy B. Warhop died December 5, 1984 in Glendale, Arizona.

Jack Warhop married Frances M. Helsinger in about 1918, apparently after he signed his WWI Registration Card in September 1918, when he gave his first wife Grace as his nearest relative. She was the sister of Grace’s brother Lloyd Nichol’s wife, Esther Helsinger. The parents of the Helsinger sisters were Ira Francis Helsinger (1871 - 1927) and Dora Althea Sarber (1876 - 1908). The sisters spent their early years in Lanark, which probably explains why Jack and Frances are buried in the Lanark Cemetery. The 1920 US Federal Census for Islip Township, Suffolk County, New York shows John M. Warhop and Frances living on Grand Avenue and he gives his occupation as “Ball Player, Pro Ball.”

The Minorleaguebaseball.com website fills in Jack’s baseball playing history after he left the Yankees. “…Warhop pitched for Salt Lake City and Baltimore before arriving in Toronto during the 1917 season. He was out of Organized Baseball in 1919, pitched for Norfolk and Columbia in 1920-21-22 and played semi-pro ball from 1923-26. On June 8, 1927, six weeks into the season, Warhop signed with Bridgeport (Eastern). In his third start for the Bears, June 22, two weeks before his 43rd birthday, he pitched a complete 17-inning game, losing to Hartford 4-3. On August 10 he became possibly the oldest man to pitch and win a complete double-header. In the first game he beat Albany, 5-3 in nine innings, then pitched a ten-inning 1-0 six-hitter in the nightcap. For the season he was 11-7, 2.49, ninth in ERA, pitched 177 innings and completed 15 of his 18 starts. Warhop pitched one more season before retiring.”

The 1930 census for Islip,Suffolk County, New York, shows them living on Columbia Avenue in the village of Islip and gives his occupation as chauffeur for the highway department. But he didn’t leave baseball entirely. By 1937, Jack Warhop played the occasional exhibition game; the June 2, 1937 edition of the Appleton Post Crescent reports Jack Warhop “can still go to town….He’s 55, but stepped in and hurled four innings of shutout ball for a semi-pro team here Sunday. Jack spends most of his time umpiring and coaching sandlot teams on Long Island.” And the March 16, 1939 edition of the Freeport Journal Standard reported he was living in Islip, Long Island and umpire-in-chief of the Bay Shore circuit. Charles Clark states that Warhop played his last game in 1939, an all-star game at Bay Shore.

By the 1950s, Warhop worked as a caretaker on a large Long Island estate. Sometime during the 1950s, probably about 1955, he appeared as a mystery guest on the popular TV show “What’s My Line?“ Relatives who knew him then remember him for his great sense of humor. He enjoyed playing practical jokes on his family and friends. Jack loved to cook and also had a big garden. He could grow any kind of flower. He smoked cigars and saved the ashes to put on his plants! He said it helped them grow. He also had a lot of little sayings people just loved. Jack Warhop was a joy to be around.

In early 1958, Warhop’s health began to fail. So about June 1958, he and Frances moved back to Freeport where they had relatives to look in on them. They moved into an apartment at 621 South Chicago Avenue. Frances died first, in 1959, from a heart attack probably brought on by the strain of the move. Jack lived a little longer, until October 4, 1960. His funeral was held in Freeport and he was buried in the Lanark Cemetery, next to Frances.

Residence of Jack Warhop (Early 2000's)

Burial at Lanark Cemetery Carroll Co IL

August 30, 1938, October 6, 1939, October 17, 1939 editions of the Freeport Journal Standard (available through Ancestry.com)

“The Horner Family Of Carroll County, Illinois (And Nearly Everyone Else)” family tree on Rootsweb.com.

Professional Baseball Players, 1876-2004 (with images) Record, available through Ancestry.com.

The Appleton Post Crescent newspaper is available through Ancestry.com.

Inexplicably, the census taker for the 1920 US Federal Census for Freeport’s 13th District, 4th Ward, where Grace Warhop and her two daughters lived, did not date any of the census pages he completed. Other census takers for Freeport appear to have taken their censuses during January 1920, so presumably this census taker took Grace Warhop’s information then also.

And special thanks to       Baseball Library