His death at 21 shocked the baseball world. He never signed a contract. He is not a member of the baseball Hall of Fame.
But in the early 1860s, Jim Creighton revolutionized the game of baseball. He threw the first fastball, making the pitcher a weapon and transforming the game itself from a hitting contest into today’s sublime battle for control of the strike zone. His baseball-themed grave monument was from its earliest days — and still is — a place of pilgrimage for ballplayers and lovers of the game.
Today, Jim needs us. Over the years, the marble pedestal and “lemon peel” baseball that once crowned Creighton’s grave have disappeared. Green-Wood Cemetery has established a fund to recarve this missing piece and restore the monument to its original state. To date, enough money has been raised that we are optimistic that with a little help from SABR’s Casey Stengel Chapter in New York City and friends, we can reach our goal of completing the work – and inviting donors back for the unveiling — in 2014.
On October 18, 2013, exactly a century and a year after Jim Creighton’s death, Green-Wood will offer a unique tour for SABR members and their friends.
- To reserve your place on the tour and to donate to the Jim Creighton Monument Restoration Fund, click here.
Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman and author Tom Gilbert will lead a tour of the graves of Creighton, Henry Chadwick, James Whyte Davis, Charles Ebbets and other early baseball heroes. They will give graveside talks on topics such as the “Mystery of Jim Creighton’s Demise,” “Baseball’s Baffling Paternity Case,” and “What Happened at Charles Ebbets’s Funeral That May Have Doomed the Brooklyn Dodgers.”
Guests will also be treated to a rare look inside Green-Wood’s archives, including a letter on early Dodgers stationery signed by Charles Ebbets, and a note signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, who dubbed Henry Chadwick “The Father of Baseball,” as well as other signatures of early baseball greats.
The tour is limited to 60 participants (warning: this event is expected to sell out quickly).
Through September 23, ticket sales will be limited to SABR members only. After that date, any remaining tickets will be available for purchase by the general public.
Guests will ride in comfort in Green-Wood’s trolley. The tour will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 18, 2013. Along with a bit of baseball time travel, guests will enjoy stunning fall foliage, breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, and the sunset over New York Harbor. Afterward, please join us for — what else? — beer and hot dogs (the inventor of the hot dog is at Green-Wood!) in the cemetery’s Historic Chapel.
Tickets to the tour are $125, of which all but $25 is tax-deductible. Additional contributions are gratefully accepted.
To reserve your place on the tour and to donate to the Jim Creighton Monument Restoration Fund, click here.
Originally published: September 5, 2013. Last Updated: September 5, 2013.