Published “Labor of Love: Reflections and Images from a Lifetime of Baseball Collecting…” for G. Richard McKelvey

I am very excited to share the recent publication of “Labor of Love” – a story of the unique baseball autograph collection assembled by my father and longtime Deerfield administrator, teacher and coach — G. Richard “The Rev” McKelvey.

While the title of this book – Labor of Love — captures the essence of our father’s lifetime hobby, it applies equally to the five years spent cataloging thousands of autographed baseball items – auctioned off over almost two years by Heritage Auctions – to determine those which would be most fascinating to baseball fans and collectors of all ages.

For over six decades, The Rev lived a life “silly on baseball” — playing for Delaware and coaching some of the great Deerfield teams – all while building one of the largest and unique private baseball autograph collections in the world. His “labor of love” was a meticulous approach to collecting themed autographed baseballs, team sheets and even first-day issue US Postal stamps he considered relevant to the culture of baseball. The collection celebrated everything from the game’s greatest milestones and memorable events … to its most noted characters, occurrences and relationships. It’s a genre of autograph collecting, known as “cluster collecting,” that he is widely credited with creating.

Deerfield Academy plays a significant backdrop for the stories of the collection, where it truly flourished “below Pocumtuck”. Letters and correspondence between former Headmaster Frank L. Boyden and Baseball Hall of Famers “Smokey” Joe Wood and Joe Cronin captured my father’s curiosity. The gracious folks at the Deerfield Library offered my Dad endless access to microfiche and research materials for the many books that he wrote later in life. Deerfield players like Steve Kiner and Mike Trombley played significant roles in the storytelling as well – they were among the many individuals that impacted his zest for research, collecting and sharing his love of baseball.

For our father, this book was our “Labor of Love”. Together with my brother Kevin M. McKelvey DA ’83, our goal was to capture the essence of his passion for the game – and his unique approach memorializing events, moments and characters of the National Pastime.

Stephen McKelvey


Frequently Asked Questions

Upon graduating from Deerfield, alumni enter a diverse network of former Deerfield students. Deerfield alumni have ventured into almost every area of employment, and many are at the top of their respective fields. The advantages of this vast network are numerous and significant, as every member of the Deerfield family receives the following:

Alumni are also eligible for alumni awards, such as the Ashley Award, Heritage Award, and the Mimi Morsman Award.

There are no membership fees or dues for members of the Deerfield family, but Deerfield does ask for assistance in a few areas. First of all, in order for Deerfield to have the most up-to-date records possible, we encourage members to keep us apprised of their current contact info. Alumni are also urged to direct all concerns and suggestions regarding Deerfield’s operations through the Executive Committee, the governing body of the Alumni Association. The committee acts as the voice of the alumni body, and works closely with the school administration. In order to keep tuition affordable and the quality of a Deerfield education at its highest, the Academy depends upon the continuing support of alumni and their families. This support can take the form of annual or capital gifts, or time spent volunteering on behalf of Deerfield.

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