Hazel Grove, Stockport, Cheshire born inside left Jack Ball began his football career with Silverwood Colliery in 1918 before joining First Division Sheffield United in November the same year. He made his Football League debut at Manchester City in August 1919 but struggled for opportunities at Bramall Lane, making only 6 appearances in the first two peacetime seasons after the First World War. In May 1921 he joined Third Division (South) Bristol Rovers, where he scored 4 goals in 26 appearances before returning to non league football with Wath Athletic. In May 1923 he joined Second Division Bury for £350, firing 16 goals in his debut season to help The Shakers to promotion in 1923-34 as Second Division runners up, and being the club’s top goalscorer.
He was a regular goalscorer throughout his time at Bury, being top scorer in 1924-25, 1926-27 and 1927-28. His career best 23 goals in 1926-27 earned him a call up to the England squad, and he won his only England cap in a 2-0 defeat to Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast, in October 1927, in a match notable for the fact that Ball spent most of the second half in goal deputising for the injured Ted Hufton, although he only conceded once.
In May 1929, after 99 goals in 216 appearances for The Shakers, Ball joined West Ham United, scoring 9 times in 15 appearances during a single season at Upton Park. Exactly a year later he moved to Coventry City, where he scored 4 goals in 26 appearances during 1930-31 before moving to non league Stourbridge in the summer of 1931. He then played for Hinckley United in 1932 and Atherstone Town in 1933 before finishing his playing days with Coventry Gas in 1935.