Cross Keys Village resident Paul Rudisill points out memorabilia related to Mickey Mantle and Johnny Unitas, part of his sports display at the village.
Cross Keys Village resident Paul Rudisill points out memorabilia related to Mickey Mantle and Johnny Unitas, part of his sports display at the village. (FLIPSIDE -- SHANE DUNLAP)
What do evangelist Billy Graham, gospel singer George Beverly Shea, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer and legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas have in common?

They are all prominently featured in dual memorabilia displays open to the public this month at Cross Keys Village - The Brethren Home Community.

The collection of books, records, photographs, autographs, bobbleheads and numerous other eye-catchers is just a slice of the countless items Cross Keys resident Paul Rudisill has assembled through the years.

One display, focusing on local sports heroes, is in the Harmony Ridge building, while the other, dedicated to Christian preacher Billy Graham is in the Gallery Lounge of the Health Care Center, otherwise known as the main building.

Graham preached the Gospel

to nearly 220 million people in

185 countries - more than anyone else in history. George Beverly Shea sang at nearly all of The Billy Graham Crusades over the years.

Rudisill, who grew up in Brodbecks, first saw Graham back in 1959, at a crusade stop in Baltimore and followed the inspirational preacher ever since, never missing a television event, he said.

The display contains several of Graham's books, a Bible-clutching bobblehead of the gray-haired evangelist and pictures of the 95-year-old Graham when he was a young man.

There are albums, by the Statler Brothers, Jimmy Davis and Porter Wagoner. Wagoner's items, including a purple-clad figurine, have more meaning for Rudisill.

"I met him in person. That's an authentic signature," Rudisill said proudly. "He was just awesome."

But Rudisill specifically wanted to display items related to Shea, who performed alongside Graham beginning in the 1940s. Shea turned 104 years old on Feb. 1.

"Every crusade Billy Graham had, Shea sang along," Rudisill said. "I wanted to put this in while they were both still living."

A few years ago, Rudisill took three overflowing boxes of his Graham memorabilia to Charlotte, N.

A bobblehead, calendar, books and a glass bottle are just a few items in Paul Rudisill s display of items related to evangelist Billy Graham and famous
A bobblehead, calendar, books and a glass bottle are just a few items in Paul Rudisill s display of items related to evangelist Billy Graham and famous gospel singers. (FLIPSIDE -- SHANE DUNLAP)
C., to donate to the Billy Graham Library there. The grounds were beautiful, he said, pulling out a picture of the Graham Family Homeplace from the display case as proof.

Even after the donation, Rudisill had plenty to pack several display shelves with magazines, musical cassette tapes and calendars related to Graham.

"This is what I had left," said Rudisill, who moved to Cross Keys with his wife Marlene more than

14 years ago.

A short drive across campus, in the Harmony Ridge building, Rudisill has his sports display set up in a doublewide glass case along a quiet, carpeted hallway featuring sports greats such as Unitas, Palmer and other Orioles Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. There are also small pictures of Hall of Famer Eddie Plank, a native of Gettysburg, and pitcher Bill Sherdel, from McSherrystown.

"It's since they are local and most fans around here are interested in them," said Rudisill, explaining why he chose his subjects. "I make it a point of collecting all local ballplayers too."

There are plenty of baseball cards, and buttons, drawings, a pennant and more books. There's a tin metal sign of Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams endorsing Moxie cola.

Rudisill, who worked at Glatfelter paper company for more than

30 years, has put together his vast collection of memorabilia from stores, shows and organizations he belongs to. The displays represent a lifetime spent collecting, both the hard-to-find and the more common items.

Some are souvenirs Rudisill

acquired at the many events he attended. He recalls seeing home-run champion Hank Aaron enter the Hall of Fame and that time in Hershey in 1962 when NBA great Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points.

"Nobody will break that record," said Rudisill, who lived in Hanover for many years after he got married.

Rudisill points out that Palmer became the youngest pitcher to throw a complete World Series game that year. One of Palmer's teammates was third baseman Robinson, a perennial Gold Glove winner and another Hall of Famer. Rudisill has statues of both in the display.

But there are some seemingly unrelated items mixed in, giving the display a "Where's Waldo" feel.

Cross Keys Village resident Paul Rudisill s display of sports memorabilia is packed with items related to Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Mickey Mantle,
Cross Keys Village resident Paul Rudisill s display of sports memorabilia is packed with items related to Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Unitas and others. (FLIPSIDE -- SHANE DUNLAP)
 There is a Jack Nicholas card, a couple miniature trucks, a picture of five living presidents in the oval office, a Lone Ranger lunch box and a card of Ravens current quarterback Joe Flacco, a nod to the recent Super Bowl champions.

"It's a little bit of everything," Rudisill explained.

There is more in storage, so much that a couple display cases doesn't come close to holding it all.

"It's just a drop in the bucket. I could have filled this whole thing up," said Rudisill, waving an arm to indicate the rest of the hallway.

Perhaps next time he'll showcase some of his thousands of old albums, or Joe Paterno, or Elvis Presley items. They'll have to wait until the display cases become available again.

And if Rudisill is nearby, he'll be glad to talk about the material. He might even point out one of his most treasured pieces, a collector's stamp of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. He might even recite an inspirational quote from the coach, who was known for his strong religious faith.

It's that faith that Rudisill truly admires.

"Of all the autographs, this will be the last one I get rid of," he said.

If you go

What: Two memorabilia displays featuring evangelist Billy Graham and area sports stars

When: During normal business hours, including weekends, through February

Where: Cross Keys Village - The Brethren Home Community, at the intersection of U.S. 30 and PA 94. The Gallery Lounge in the Health Care Center, on the second floor of the main entrance, and in Harmony Ridge, off Village Drive

Details: Call 717-624-5203