Baseball At Green-Wood

Green-Wood is rich in baseball history. Not just one, but several men, who thought of themselves as “The Father of Baseball” are interred at Green-Wood. We often host Opening Day tours of Green-Wood. Peter Nash wrote a book several years ago: “Baseball Legends of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery.” And baseball historian Tom Gilbert is now working on a book, yet to be titled, telling the story of baseball’s formative years through the lens of men who are interred at Green-Wood. As Tom has researched his book, he has been amazed at how much material he has found about baseball and Green-Wood’s permanent residents. Green-Wood will publish that book in 2015.

Recently, Mike Pesca and Josh Levin came over, during Slate’s National Gabfest Tour, to record material for an “Hang Up Extra” podcast (an additional segment for the “Hang Up and Listen” sports podcast). I drove them to the graves of Charlie Ebbets and Henry Chadwick. Ebbets, of course, owned the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers and built Ebbets Field for them a century ago. Chadwick invented baseball’s scoring system, championed it as the ultimate American sport, got box scores published in newspapers, was the arbiter of baseball rules, and coined many of the words and phrases that make up baseball’s vocabulary today.

Here we are at the grave of Henry Chadwick, who was dubbed “The Father of Baseball” by none other than President Theodore Roosevelt:

That's Mike Pesca, host of Slate's daily podcast, "The Gist," and contributor to NPR, at left; Slate's executive editor Josh Levin at center; and Green-Wood Cemetery's historian (that's me!) at right.
That’s Mike Pesca, host of Slate’s daily podcast, “The Gist,” and contributor to NPR, at left; Slate’s executive editor Josh Levin at center; and Green-Wood Cemetery’s historian (that’s me!) at right.

Note the carved granite baseball at the top of Chadwick’s memorial. The bronze plaque between Mike and Josh has Chadwick’s epitaph inscribed on it; it is in the shape of a baseball diamond. And notice the baseballs at Pesca’s feet (and even one tucked under the granite globe at top), left by fans as a tribute to Chadwick.

Here’s their podcast. I hope you enjoy it!

1 thought on “Baseball At Green-Wood”

  1. As a tour guide, I love to take visitors to the Chadwick monument, for its play-full variations on traditional themes. A sphere often tops funeral monuments, representing eternal life (no end, no beginning). Here, some discreet carving makes it a baseball. The plot markers, usually small, square stones, are here shaped liked bases, including pentagonal home plate.

    The bronze ornaments include a catcher’s mask, a fielder’s mitt, and other baseball equipment. Best of all, as the photo shows, visitors who come to pay tribute leave not flowers but baseballs.

    Worth the trip!


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