I was reading an article in The New York Times today: “No Casual Fans At World Series of Baseball Trivia.” The article was about the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), which has a membership of 6,000 baseball geeks, and its annual convention. Midway in the article, in a discussion about the aging of its membership, this appeared:
Formed in 1971, SABR is facing a bit of a crisis because its median member age has climbed to the late 50s. (This provided some levity on Saturday night when the trivia moderator yukked that several SABR folks roomed with Jim Creighton on the 1860 Brooklyn Excelsiors.) Yet there were a few youngsters in the crowd, enjoying a father-son moment playing trivia.
It is the reference to Jim Creighton that caught my eye. Jim Creighton, who is of course interred in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, was the first national baseball star. Before Creighton, pitchers lobbed the ball across the plate. But Creighton, ever-competitive, would have none of that. He became famous challenging hitters to hit his best pitches. Creighton died the death of a baseball hero–hitting a long fly, racing around the bases, then collapsing at home, and dying a few days later. The first baseball monument erected in America was James Creighton’s monument at Green-Wood.