Nellie Fox’s bowling alley up for sale

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

The bowling alley that baseball great Nellie Fox built in 1956 between Marion and Chambersburg is going to auction.

Born in St. Thomas, Jacob Nelson "Nellie" Fox built the bowling alley while he was an all-star second baseman for the Chicago White Sox.

He was one of the best second basemen and the third most difficult hitter to strike out in major league history. Fox went on to become the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1959 and an AL Gold Glove winner for three seasons. He led the AL in singles for seven consecutive seasons and in fielding for six. He died in 1975 of cancer and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.

Fox lived in the Chambersburg area during and after his baseball career.

“I know when people come in from Chicago they want a picture of the sign and his picture … I guess younger kids don’t know. The older folks say how much fun he was and how they joked around with him,” said Rudy Goetz, current owner who purchased the bowling alley from Fox’s partner, Joseph Wertime. “In the wintertime he bowled all the time.”

After 31 years, Goetz is retiring. The passing of his wife and co-manager, Deborah, earlier this year has speeded up his retirement.

“I put in too many hours.” said Goetz who started in the bowling business by pushing a broom at the age of 13 at Buchanan Lanes in Mercersburg. “I started off as a janitor and after a couple of months ended up as a mechanic.”

He taught several people years ago how to bowl and their game improved to be even better than his, but he has since given up bowling.

Matthew Hurley of Hurley Auctions was asked to handle this auction of the 27,000-square-foot commercial building on 3.4 acres at 3587 Molly Pitcher Highway.

Today, the 20 ten-pin bowling lanes at Nellie Fox are no longer wood, but synthetic with automated scoring systems. Bids are being accepted through Oct. 18. For more information, call Hurley Auctions at 866-424-3337 or visit