Earl Ball
No. None     
Personal information
Date of birth: 1885
Date of death: 1947
Career information
College: None
Debuted in 1917 for the Muncie Flyers
Last played in 1921 for the Muncie Flyers
Career history
Career highlights and awards
NFL Co-Founder

Earl Wayne Ball (1885–1947) was a co-owner of the Muncie Flyers from 1917 until 1922, as well as a co-founder of the American Professional Football Association (renamed the National Football League in 1922).

As the owner of the Ball Company, located in Muncie, Indiana, was a sponsor of the Flyers along with Earl Miller and Bill Connelly. Earl first took over as the team's manager in 1917 and lined up some former college players, including Al Feeney of Notre Dame and Dick Abrel of Purdue. However, Ball was forced to cancel the 1918 season due to World War I. However in 1919, Ball and team quarterback, Cooney Checkaye reorganized the Flyers and guided them to a 4-1-1 record. The following year, Ball and Checkaye traveled to Canton, Ohio attended the organizational meeting of the American Professional Football Association located at Ralph Hay's Hupmobile dealership. The pair renamed their team, the Muncie Flyers, and the franchise became a charter member of new the league.

The Flyers lost their first scheduled league game, to the Rock Island Independents, 45-0. Because of the team's poor showing, the Decatur Staleys canceled their game against Muncie, scheduled for the following week. Ball couldn't find any other APFA teams willing to play against a struggling team. Such a match-up would not draw many fans, or gate receipts. The Flyers only other scheduled game, against the Dayton Triangles in early November, was rained out. However the Flyers did win three non-league games before the season ended.

Muncie returned to the league in 1922. However, the Flyers lost to the Evansville Crimson Giants and the Cincinnati Celts to open the season. A scheduled game against the Green Bay Packers was also cancelled, and Checkaye and Ball folded the team and left the AFPA.

References[edit | edit source]

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