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For over 178 years, Aspen Grove Cemetery has been a final resting place for an impressive number of historical figures. We are pleased to introduce you to many of them here on our Historical Stories page.

Sports Stories

George Stovall - (November 23, 1877-November 5, 1951)

Nicknamed "Firebrand", was an American first baseman in Major League Baseball. He played for the Cleveland Naps and the St. Louis Browns in the American League, and he also played two seasons with the Kansas City Packers of the short-lived Federal League. He was the manager of the Naps for one season in 1911, and in 1912, he went to the Browns, serving as player-manager for two seasons. In 1914, he jumped to the Packers as a first baseman-manager. In 1916, he signed with the Toledo Mud Hens and played a season there before retiring from baseball at age 39.

In 5596 career at bats, Stovall had 1382 hits. He recorded 231 doubles and 142 career stolen bases. While for the most part a first baseman, he did play some second base and even third base, especially early in his career. In 1905, he played 46 of his 112 games at second base.. Every year from 1905 until 1910, Stovall recorded at least 13 stolen bases.

In late 1913, Stovall was suspended by the American League for spitting tobacco juice at an umpire. However, league president Ban Johnson did not think this went far enough, and ordered Stovall fired. He was succeeded by the relatively little-known (at the time) Branch Rickey. Branch was instrumental in breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson.

George is buried in Blk 323 (The Oaks) Lot 223 Grave 6

Vernon A."Tony" Baker (February 16, 1945 - August 9th, 1998)

Tony was an American football running back in the National Football League (NFL). He played from 1968 to 1975, and played for the New Orleans Saints, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Rams, and finally, the San Diego Chargers, and had one Pro Bowl appearance, in 1969.Baker graduated from Burlington Community High School in 1963, earning a scholarship to Iowa State University the following year, where he would graduate in 1966. He then played semi-pro ball for a season and a half with the Des Moines Warriors of the Professional Football League of America, before being discovered by a talent scout for the New Orleans Saints. He would sign a contract with the Saints, and begin his NFL career the following year, making an appearance in the Pro Bowl in his second season. It was during this rookie season that sports broadcaster Howard Cosell gave him the nickname Touchdown Tony. He would end his career in 1975, playing with the San Diego Chargers as a backup.

On August 10, 1998, Baker was killed in a car accident on U.S. Route 61, approximately 15 miles north of Burlington, Iowa following a high school class reunion. He was buried in Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington, next to his mother, with many of his old NFL teammates in attendance. His burial plot was chosen by his family with two trees in the distance appearing as though they were goal post uprights. A misprint on his headstone has him named Vernon G. Baker, instead of Vernon A. Baker.

 Mr. Baker was a graduate of Burlington High School, where he participated in football, basketball, and track.  He was a U.S. Army veteran.  He attended Iowa State University in Ames, where he played football for the ISU Cyclones in 1964 and 1965. He was inducted into the Iowa High School Football Hall of Fame in the early 1980s.

Tony is buried in BLK 327S (Garden of Cross South) Lot 59 Grave 6

James William Dunegan (August 7th, 1947 - October 20th,2014)

James was an American professional baseball player. Although he spent much of his early minor league career as an outfielder and first baseman, he converted to pitcher in 1970 and appeared in seven games, all as a relief pitcher, that season for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball. He threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet 1 inch  tall and weighed 205 pounds.

Dunegan was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 1967 Major League Baseball draft. He hit a career-high 18 home runs in 1968 for the Class A Quincy Cubs of the Midwest League. After appearing as a pitcher in 14 total games during 1967–1968, and none in 1969, he became a full-time hurler in 1970, splitting the year between the MLB Cubs and their two top farm system affiliates.

In his debut as a pitcher, on May 30, he entered a game against the San Diego Padres with the Cubs trailing, 4–0, and worked four innings of one-run relief, enabling Chicago to climb back into a 4–4 tie. But the Padres broke through for one run off Dunegan to take a 5–4 lead, eventually pinning Dunegan with the loss. He also lost his only other Major League decision, in June — and also against the Padres. Altogether, he pitched in 13+1⁄3 innings, allowed 13 hits and 12 bases on balls, with three strikeouts. He left baseball after the 1972 season with a 16–19 pitching record, an earned run average of 4.44, a .246 batting average and 37 home runs as a minor leaguer.

Jame is buried at BLK 327 (Garden of  Cross) Lot 220 Grave 2A

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