The Sad Story of Alan Hill

31 Aug

Alan J. Hill seemed destined for the major leagues.

Nicknamed “Mooney,” he had a mediocre first season as a 20-year-old with the Richmond Colts in the Virginia League (Thirty-five year-old teammate Chief Bender went 29-2 with a 1.06 ERA for the Colts that season).  Hill followed that up with three excellent seasons with the Toledo Mud Hens in the American Association.

As a reserve outfielder in 1920 he hit .366.  In 1921, playing in the same outfield as Jim Thorpe, Hill hit .318 in 137 games, and hit .296 in 152 games in 1922 for a terrible Mud Hens team that went 65-101.

Hill moved to the Columbus Senators in 1923 and was the starting centerfielder.  A month into the season he was struggling, hitting .204 through 23 games when he suffered a nervous breakdown.

Nothing is known about the cause of his illness or what his prognosis might have been.  Hill was committed to the Woodville State Hospital in Collier Township, Pennsylvania.

On February 25, 1924 Hill wandered away while working on the grounds with other residents.  The next morning his body was found on the train tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  He was 25.

Hill was most likely buried among the nearly 700 graves marked only with numbers on the grounds of the hospital, which was closed in 1992.

Update:  As noted in the comments, a relative of Alan Hill informed me that he is buried at McKeesport and Versailles Cemetery in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

7 Responses to “The Sad Story of Alan Hill”

  1. Pat September 7, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Actually, Allan J. Hill, my father’s 1st cousin on his mother’s side, is buried at the McKeesport_Versailles cemetery.

    • Thom Karmik September 7, 2012 at 11:11 am #


      Thanks for for the information. I was unable to find any burial records.

      • Pat September 7, 2012 at 11:24 am #

        Where did you get your other info? I just happened to stumble on this by accident so now I want to get obit info from McKeesport. I forgot to add that the cemetery is in McKeesport, PA. Thanks.

      • Thom Karmik September 7, 2012 at 11:36 am #

        As with most of these posts, I discovered the story while doing other archival or newspaper research. Most of the information for this story came from the Beaver Daily Times (Which I believe is now the Beaver County Times) 2/27/1924. I was unable to find an article in the McKeesport Daily News microfilm collection.

  2. Pat September 7, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Thanks. This is more than we knew before! Pat

    • Thom Karmik September 7, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      I was unable to locate any photographs of Alan. If you are aware of any that could be scanned I’d love to add one to the post. Thanks again for the correction, I’ve updated the post accordingly.


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