Mr. Frank Van Rensselaer Phelps, Sr.

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“Frank's Family- I am so sorry for your loss and wanted to share a story with you. I live in Towne Center and had the pleasure of sitting next to...Read More »
1 of 4 | Posted by: Christine Huffman - Avon Lake, OH

“Mr. Phelps was a patron of the Montgomery Co.-Norristown Public Library (PA) who used our microfilm almost daily when researching tennis and baseball...Read More »
2 of 4 | Posted by: Kathie Fazio - Norristown, PA

“Frank was a kind and generous man, always willing to help, and would go out of his way to provide information and resources to fellow researchers. He...Read More »
3 of 4 | Posted by: Joe Dittmar - Norristown, PA

“Phelps, Frank Van Rensselaer, 92, of Avon Lake, Ohio died on Monday, January 4, 2010 at Olmstead Township, Ohio of natural causes. Formerly of King...Read More »
4 of 4 | Posted by: Geoffrey Felder - Northport, NY


Frank Van Rensselaer Phelps Sr., 92, of Avon Lake, died on Monday, January 4, 2010 at The Renaissance Nursing Home in Olmsted Falls of natural causes. Formerly of King of Prussia, PA., Lakewood & Bay Village, OH., Scarsdale, White Plains and New York, NY.

Frank was born December 16, 1917 in New York City, the son of Frank Van Rensselaer Phelps, M.D. and Esther Elizabeth (nee Atchison) Phelps. He attended Trinity School in N.Y. City for 12 years, graduating in 1936. After graduating from Hamilton College in 1940, Frank went to work for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He would be with Met Life from 1940 to 1982, in the Group Insurance division, rising to Regional Supervisor at Cleveland and Philadelphia. Service in the U.S. Army (1942-1945) would interrupt his career. He served 3 years in North Africa & Italy with the 16th Medical Regiment and 161st Medical Battalion. Frank always maintained a keen interest in genealogy with his paternal line descending from Edward Phelps, who was in Newbury, Mass. by 1651. Frank was a pioneer in sports research in the U.S. and had accumulated a wealth of information concerning the history of sports. He worked principally in baseball and tennis, acquiring books, magazines and guides, extracting statistics, keeping records and documenting the games from an early age. Known for being meticulous, he has written over 100 biographies for reference books and contributed his time and encyclopedic knowledge to countless authors for their projects. Frank was an ex-director of SABR (Society for American Baseball Research), founded its Bibliography Committee and chaired it for years. He was a founding member of the Tennis Collectors of America. In 2004, with Gordy Sabine, he was coauthor of the book, "Tennis Bibliography, 1874-2000". In 2005, Frank was inducted into the ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame as a Tennis Historian.

He is survived by a son, Frank and his wife, Dawn of Avon Lake, his grandchildren, Timothy and Jessica, of Avon Lake, his niece, Elaine (nee Cantwell) Massena and her husband, Ralph, of White Plains, NY. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 42 years, Helen (nee Richter) Phelps and his parents Frank and Esther (nee Atchison) Phelps, and sisters Esther Phelps and Eleanor Cantwell.

A memorial service will be held at 1p.m. Saturday February 13th, at the Avon Lake United Church of Christ, 32801 Electric Blvd, Avon Lake.