SABR historians restore grave of pioneering Brooklyn pitcher Jim Creighton

From Phil Helsel at the Wall Street Journal on April 16, 2014, with mention of SABR members John Thorn, Tom Gilbert, Keith Olbermann, Eric Miklich and Ralph Carhart:

stands beside the restored grave marker for Jim Creighton, baseball's first superstar, at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.A 19th-century Brooklyn pitcher known for his fastballs – and untimely death after a particularly hard swing – took another curtain call of sorts on Tuesday.

Green-Wood Cemetery unveiled a restored memorial to mark the grave of Jim Creighton, a hurler for the Brooklyn Excelsiors in the early 1860s whose speed and control defined the position for all who followed, historians said. He died at 21 years old from what was likely an undiagnosed hernia aggravated by a bat swing.

“Creighton was our first baseball hero,” Major League Baseball historian John Thorn told a dozen fans gathered at the pitcher’s gravesite in drizzling rain. “Baseball is a game of heroes; it was not a game of heroes before Creighton. He entered into the stuff of legends by dying young.”

The marble baseball carved in the “lemon peel”-style used by pitchers of that era, which had been lost in the years after Creighton’s death in 1862, was replaced. And a new bronze plaque proclaiming him “America’s First Baseball Star” was added to the grave’s base.

Keith Olbermann donated the $7,500 used to pay for the marble baseball topper, Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman said.

Read the full article here:

Related link: VIDEO: Watch Keith Olbermann’s ESPN segment on the Jim Creighton ceremony (YouTube)

Originally published: April 16, 2014. Last Updated: April 16, 2014.