Birthplace: Exeter, England
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Remains: Buried, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Journalist, Baseball
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Father of baseball
Henry Chadwick grew up in England, where he played cricket and rounders, but after immigrating to America in 1837 he developed a fondness and eventually a fanaticism for the developing game called baseball. He authored the sport's first rule book, and devised the batting average, batter's box, box score, earned run average, and the basics of the scoring system still used to record every play in every game.
Though he is called the father of baseball, he never seriously played the game, and instead made his mark as a writer. Covering cricket for the New York Times, he began reporting on baseball as well, and also wrote about baseball in the Brooklyn Eagle and other papers. He wrote the first guidebook to baseball, Beadle's Dime Baseball Player in 1860, and he later edited A. G. Spalding's Official Base Ball Guide for several decades. An influential member of early rules committees, Chadwick argued for extra innings instead of letting games end in ties, and for elimination of the bound catch, wherein batters could be retired if the batted ball was caught on the first bounce, establishing instead that the ball must be caught in flight. He coined the term "in the best interests of baseball" as he railed against players drinking, gambling on games, and the suspected practice of occasionally losing games on purpose to sell more tickets to rematches. When not writing or arguing about baseball, he also worked as a piano teacher and drama critic.
Attending two different games on a drizzly grey opening day of the 1908 season, he caught a cold that grew into pneumonia, and died two weeks later. Chadwick and his wife are buried at Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery, where the tall marble pillar over their shared grave is adorned with bronze glove and bats, and crowned by an enormous granite baseball.
His father, James Chadwick, was a writer, reporter, and botany tutor to John Dalton, and took over as editor of a radical London paper, The Statesman, when its previous editor was imprisoned for sedition in 1812. Henry Chadwick's half-brother, Edwin Chadwick (1800-90), was knighted for his service as Sanitary Commissioner of London, where he maintained that cholera and other diseases were spread by stench, not by germs, and thus advocated frequent bathing with soap and water as a principle means of disease control.
Father: James Chadwick (journalist)
Mother: Teresa Chadwick
Brother: Sir Edwin Chadwick (public health official, b. 24-Jan-1800, d. 6-Jul-1890)
Sister: Rosa Chadwick
Wife: Jane Botts Chadwick (b. 24-Jul-1819, d. 19-May-1915, two daughters)
Baseball Hall of Fame 1938 (posthumous)
The New York Times 1856-62
The Brooklyn Eagle 1856-94
The New York Herald 1862
The New York World (13 years)
The New York Sun (6 years)
New York Press Club
Naturalized US Citizen
Author of books:
Beadle's Dime Baseball Player (1860, and subsequent annual editions)
Beadle's Dime Book of Cricket and Football (1866)
Haney's Base Ball Book of Reference (1867)
Spalding's Official Baseball Guide (1881, and 27 subsequent annual editions)
The Sports and Pastimes of American Boys (1884)
How to Learn to Play the Game of Chess (1905, with Charles A. Gilberg)
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