Spalding/NYPL
McGreevy/BPL
Baseball Hall of Fame
Wills fakes & Frauds
RECOVERED
ITEMS/ARTIFACTS

Welcome to Hauls of Shame
This site is dedicated to investigative reporting related to the soon-to-be published book, Hauls of Shame. While the book deals with the wide ranging problems of fraud and corruption in the baseball collectibles and auction industries, its primary focus is on the mysteries of the considerable thefts of rare, historical baseball artifacts from the collections of the New York Public Library, Boston Public Library and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Hauls of Shame publishes breaking news, book excerpts, original essays and interviews with historians and those familiar with the investigations that have spurred earnest recovery efforts by the FBI, individual collectors and institutions. We offer an educational resource for the baseball collecting and research communities as the investigations yield evidence of items both suspected or confirmed as missing from the research archives of: NYPL's "Spalding Baseball Collection;" BPL's "McGreevey Baseball Picture Collection;" and the HOF's "August Herrmann Papers Collection."

Breaking News
Searching For Tommy McCarthy: The Hunt For The Last Will & Testament Of A Hall of Famer With An Autograph To Die For

By Peter J. Nash

December 12, 2014

The FBI and the Boston Police Department zeroed in on court officer Joe Schnabel and they knew they had their man.  The authorities arrested Schnabel in May of 1999 on two counts of larceny and when he finally admitted to stealing the wills of several Boston baseball legends whose estates were filed in the Suffolk County Probate Court, a bizarre baseball mystery appeared to have been solved.

It was in the early 1990s that Schnabel hatched his scheme to swipe the autographs of Hugh Duffy, George Wright, Tommy Connolly and other Baseball Hall of Famers from the Boston Probate Court where he worked.  Then he ventured outside of Massachusetts to pilfer the wills of other players like “Old Hoss” Radbourn in Illinois, Ned Hanlon in Baltimore, Harry Wright in Philadelphia and even Babe Ruth in New York City. Through a New Jersey fence named Jack Heir, Schanbel sold the documents to collectors for tens of thousands of dollars until researchers like Michael Bowlby and Don Hubbard realized that the wills were missing from Court files and alerted the authorities.

For investigators the arrest ended an embarrassing episode that had reached the national media and for Schnabel, a plea-bargain led to a sweetheart deal with prosecutors who sentenced him to just one year probation with a $5,000 fine.  The disgraced state employee even got to keep his pension.  But there was still one thing that didn’t sit well with the Feds and the researchers aiding them in the investigation.  One of the missing wills Schnabel was accused of stealing was executed by 19th century star Tommy McCarthy whose signature is considered one of the hobby’s most valuable prizes.

That being said, McCarthy is also considered by baseball minds like Bill James the “worst Hall of Famer ever” and he’s provided great material for arguments about undeserving Hall of Famers on websites like Baseball Past and Present. Of course, the substantial value of McCarthy’s signature is derived more for its scarcity due to his death in 1922 than for his skills as a ballplayer. Back in 1999, investigators were convinced that Schnabel had stolen the valuable McCarthy will but he denied doing so adamantly.  After he had admitted to stealing at least seventeen wills it wouldn’t have made much difference for him to admit to stealing just one more.  When the Associated Press reported that Schnabel was charged in the thefts, the McCarthy will was specifically noted as being part of the investigation.

Oddly enough, the will-swiper was telling the truth. Schnabel never had a chance to boost the death-bed scrawl of the diminutive Irishman who ended up with his own plaque hanging in Cooperstown. McCarthy’s will had already vanished from the court files long before he was on the prowl. But if that was the case, who smuggled one of the game’s rarest signatures out of the Boston Courthouse and when?

Read the full post




SAY-HEY: Chumlee Was Right! Uni-Historian Says Pawn Stars Bought A Bogus Willie Mays Uniform & Then Sold It At Beverly Hills Auction For $20K
By Peter J. Nash December 5, 2014 When a man walked onto the set of Antiques Roadshow in 2011 with an alleged 1961 Willie Mays uniform in his hands, Heritage Auction Galleries’ consignment director Mike Gutierrez was stunned by its pristine condition and told the owner it “would grade a 9 or [...]
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An All-American Case Of Consumer Fraud: How Panini America, MLB & The Baseball HOF Got Caught Up Selling & Endorsing Over 2,000 Phony Jim Thorpe Relic Cards (UPDATE)
By Peter J. Nash November 22, 2014 (FOR UPDATE SCROLL TO BOTTOM) When kids and collectors opened up their Donruss “Timeless Treasures” packs back in 2005, a select few were thrilled that they pulled “relic cards” celebrating the baseball career of Native American Olympic champion and Football Hall of Famer Jim Thorpe. [...]
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Boston Red Sox Photo Stolen From Baseball Hall Of Fame Is Removed From Auction; 1921 Image Of Hugh Duffy & Sox At Fenway Was Part Of The Richard Merkin Collection
By Peter J. Nash November 12, 2014 Hot on the heels of the recent auction withdrawal of the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirate photo that was stolen from the National Baseball Library in Cooperstown, another vintage image of the 1921 Red Sox, was removed from another auction after it was identified by Hauls of [...]
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Why Does Heritage Sell So Many PSA/DNA-Certified Fakes? Employees Jordan & Gutierrez Were Prolific Authenticators Of Forgeries; Source Alleges Collusion Between PSA & Auctions; Could Feds Regulate Autograph-Biz?
By Peter J. Nash November 6, 2014 Last spring, Heritage Auctions sold a bogus letter alleged to have been written by 19th century Hall of Famer John M. Ward.  The sale of the letter was a prime example of the auction house’s deceptive practices and its marketing of non-genuine autographed materials. Despite [...]
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CHIN MUSIC: SF Giants Owner Wants Mastro To Sing; MLB & HOF Endorse Phony Relic Cards; PSA No-Shows At Class Action Deps; Stolen HOF Doc Pulled From Heritage; REA-Ruth Updates; More JSA Football Problems
By Peter J. Nash October 27, 2014 Uniform collector and Giants minority owner, Dan Scheinman (top) wrote to the Judge about the sentencing of Bill Mastro (Forbes Photo) -Bill Mastro, Doug Allen and Mark Theotikos had a status hearing on October 15th in US District Court in Chicago as they await sentencing based [...]
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CHIN MUSIC: Yogi Berra Museum Heist Coverage; Fraud Alert For REA Sale; Net54 Fraudsters Make False Claims & Defend Halper; Orlando & Grad Deps Set In Class Action vs. RR (UPDATE)
By Peter J. Nash October 16, 2014 The Yogi Berra Museum (top left) was robbed last week and NYDN reporter Michael O'Keeffe (bottom right) went to Rob Lifson (top right) for an expert opinion on museum thefts. Lifson's current REA sale includes a bogus Jackie Robinson ring (bottom left). (Scroll to Bottom For [...]
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Anyone with information that can aid the recovery efforts
 may contact us at:
tips@haulsofshame.com

 We also suggest that those with important information regarding the thefts from the
BPL, NYPL and Hall of Fame collections contact the FBI at:
(For BPL: Boston@ic.fbi.gov)
(For NYPL: ny1@ic.fbi.gov )
(For Hall of Fame contact the FBI's Albany, NY office at 518-465-7551)

The services of Hauls of Shame and Peter J. Nash as a consultant and expert are available to collectors, auction houses, institutions, legal representatives and law enforcement. 
To inquire about details contact us at: info@haulsofshame.com