Mr. Cannon was, indeed, a serious scholar, but the artifacts he collected invariably prompted a smile — as did his use, at his wife’s suggestion, of the word “reliquary,” which means a container for holy relics.
There is the jockstrap worn by the 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel, who appeared as a pinch-hitter for the St. Louis Browns in 1951 in a stunt conceived by Mr. Veeck. And there is the sacristy box that a priest used in 1948 to give the last rites to Babe Ruth, who died nearly a month later.
Then there are the curlers that Ellis wore on the field during batting practice at Three Rivers Stadium after Ebony magazine wrote about his hairstyle.
“I was interested in things that other museums weren’t interested in collecting,” Mr. Cannon told Pasadena Weekly in 2017. “Like, if they wanted bats and gloves, I wanted things to keep famous stories alive. It was more interesting to find a desiccated hot dog that Babe Ruth partially digested than a signed baseball or bat.”
Mr. Cannon had no physical museum to display the reliquary’s artifacts. He kept them at home (a life-size cardboard cutout of the former Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson still stands by his bed) and in a storage unit. He showed his wares at exhibitions he curated at local libraries. But this year Whittier College in Whittier, Calif., agreed to become the collection’s new home.
In 2015, Whittier became the home of the Institute for Baseball Studies, a center for research containing books, artwork, periodicals and historians’ papers about the national pastime, donated by Mr. Cannon and many other sources.
Mr. Cannon was a director of the institute, and he recently asked his co-director, Joseph L. Price, an emeritus professor of religious studies at Whittier who has also taught sports courses, to succeed him as executive director of the reliquary. Professor Price’s appointment needs the approval of the reliquary’s board.