Reds player’s grave marked more than a century after his death
Theodore "Huck" Conover's final resting place went unmarked for 112 years
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – For more than a century–112 years to be exact–the grave of a Lexington-born pitcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds was unmarked at the Lexington Cemetery until now.
Theodore “Huck” Conover’s grave is now properly marked, thanks to a national effort to make sure former Major League Baseball players receive the proper recognition in their final resting place.
Tuesday, generations of Conover’s descendants gathered together to celebrate, including descendant Susan Goddard and her four-year-old grandson, Emmett Goddard, who’ll be following in Conover’s footsteps.
“We have baseball in the family…Emmett’s just starting to watch t-ball, and we’ve been watching the Cincinnati Reds all week, haven’t we?” said Goddard.
Identifying the grave, tracking the family down, and getting the gravestone made was a labor of love that started four years ago by David Shannon, who is part of an effort to help identify unmarked graves of Major League Baseball players.
“We discovered that it was an unmarked grave. So they gave me information on who was buried next to him. I came out so I knew where it was. I left kind of disappointed. At that point four years ago, I had absolutely no dream that I would ever be someone to help facilitate correcting that,” said Shannon.
Conover pitched for the Cincinnati Red Stockings for one day in 1889, but played for different minor league baseball teams across the region and country for more than 10 years. He died at 43 years old in July 1910 after a short illness, according to newspaper obituaries.
“He was a pitcher. And apparently he was pretty good, but the day he played for the Reds I guess he wasn’t up to speed so much and they didn’t keep him on. But I guess playing for the Reds for one day is better than most people do,” said descendant Edie McClellan, a Midway College professor who has done extensive research on Conover.
Despite his career and the notoriety that came with it, he was buried in an unmarked grave. Shannon says reasons for why the grave was unmarked is unknown.
“We have no way of knowing, being 112 years ago. We just don’t have that information,” said Shannon.
According to Conover’s descendant Edie McClellan, Conover had no family of his own and not much is known about him.
It took years of research, but Conover’s final resting place is now marked for the world to see.
“To know and to get to hear some of his experiences and what a colorful person was is really exciting and to be able to pass that tradition on down and give the future some hope,” said Goddard.
Conover’s grave is the first in a series of “Gone But Not Forgotten” projects for Major League Baseball players.
“It’s exciting that Huck’s is the first gravestone but very exciting that they’re going to continue to put gravestones on other graves that are unmarked for Major League Baseball Players. I think it’s a wonderful thing,” said McClellan.
Conover is buried at the Lexington Cemetery in section D-1.