Henry Chadwick, sportswriter, historian

Henry Chadwick (1824 – April 20, 1908) was a sportswriter, baseball statistician and historian, often called the “Father of Baseball” for his early reporting on and contributions to the development of the game. He edited the first baseball guide that was sold to the public.

He was born in England and moved to Brooklyn with his family at the age of 12. He began to write music and to teach piano and guitar, somewhat against the education he received in commerce and finance. As an adult he played cricket and rounders for amusement and began writing about the games for local newspapers.  He came across organized baseball in 1856 as a cricket reporter for The New York Times; watching a match between New York’s Eagles and Gothams. By the next year, he devoted his writing to baseball coverage for the New York Clipper and Sunday Mercury newspapers.

Chadwick helped establish the keeping of statistics and promoted individual players. He was on the rules committee and influenced the early development and coverage of the game. His devotion to and promotion of the game led him to be referred to as the “father of baseball.” In his 1861 Beadle guide, he listed totals of games played, outs, runs, home runs, and strikeouts for hitters on prominent clubs, the first database of its kind. In 1868 he wrote the first book on baseball, The Game of Baseball.

Chadwick continued editing the Spalding Base Ball Guides and producing a column for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and The New York Times. He was struck by a car in 1908, bedridden for weeks, but made it to the opening game of the season at the Polo Grounds and Washington Park in Brooklyn. He caught a cold which worsened his condition. A fall while moving furniture that year brought him to his end.

He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

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