Warren "Hick" Carpenter

19th-century baseball star Hick Carpenter receives grave marker in San Diego

Warren "Hick" CarpenterSABR’s San Diego Ted Williams Chapter and the 19th Century Grave Marker Project honored 19th-century baseball star Warren “Hick” Carpenter, one of the game’s top third basemen of his era and a rarity as a left-handed fielder, with a graveside dedication ceremony on August 4, 2022, at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego, California.

The purpose and goal of SABR’s 19th Century Grave Marker Project is to identify 19th-century baseball notables who either lack a grave marker or whose headstone is in dire disrepair, and then rectify those issues. Since the project was established in 2015, new grave markers have been installed for seven baseball pioneers: Ed Williamson (Chicago, IL); Luis Castro (Flushing, NY); Hicks Hayhurst (Philadelphia, PA); Bob Caruthers (Chicago, IL); Pud Galvin (Pittsburgh, PA); Andy Leonard (Mattapan, MA); and James Whyte Davis (Brooklyn, NY). Carpenter’s marker was the Project’s eighth, and the first where it has collaborated with a local SABR chapter for a grave marker.

“With every dedication, our project helps ensure that another piece of baseball history isn’t forgotten,” said Sam Gazdziak, chair of the 19th Century Grave Marker Project. “One of the ways that SABR gives back to the game we all love is to help honor the pioneers from the 1800s and re-tell their stories for new generations of fans.”

Warren Wilson “Hick” Carpenter was born on August 16, 1855, in Grafton, Massachusetts. Widely known by his nickname (short for Hickory), he made his National League debut in 1879 and played 11 full seasons in the major leagues, including eight with the Cincinnati Reds, all as a left-handed third baseman. In an age when fielders played without gloves, his athleticism made him a star and fan favorite at his off-handed position.

Carpenter’s tenacious style of play gave rise to the term “hot corner” for third base. Also known for his hard hitting, Carpenter helped lead the Reds to their first American Association pennant in 1882. In retirement, he moved to San Diego where he enjoyed fishing and watching baseball with his old Cincinnati sidekick, Hall of Fame infielder Bid McPhee.

Hick Carpenter died in San Diego on April 18, 1937, at the age of 81 and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery. For more than 80 years Carpenter remained in an unmarked grave there.

Last year, SABR’s Ted Williams Chapter funded the placement of a grave marker for Joe Quest, another 19th-century ballplayer also at rest at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Hick Carpenter grave marker at Mt. Hope Cemetery in San Diego (COURTESY OF TOM LARWIN)

Originally published: August 4, 2022. Last Updated: August 5, 2022.