Chadwick is credited with inventing the boxscore, but what he actually
did is expand it beyond its cricket—the national pastime before baseball
and Chadwick's sport of his youth—roots and into something that even a
modern day reader could recognize. He also introduced both the batting
average and Earned Run Average (ERA) to the game.
He wrote or edited dozens of baseball guides, starting with Beadle's
Dime Base Ball Player in 1860 and ending with the Spalding Guide of 1907.
He was on the rules committee for the NABBP
and fought for the adoption of the "fly rule" (which abolished
the old practice of awarding an out for a ball caught on the first
bounce). For the first fifty years of the game, he was the written
authority on the game.
Henry Chadwick is interred in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
There stands a tall marble slab surmounted by a huge baseball. On one of
its sides are carved two bats crossed over a glove. The small bronze
nameplate facing the low mound bears the simple inscription: "In
Memoriam, Henry Chadwick. Father of Baseball." This bronze tablet is
in the shape of a baseball diamond. In the center of the inscription are a
quill and fountain pen, in memory of the fact that Chadwick was the
sporting editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from the early days of
the quill until the advent of the fountain pen. His signature, "Old
Chalk," was much beloved by baseball fans.
His writings can be found throughout our site, but here is a sample
We also have two pieces written some twenty years apart on Chadwick
himself. The first is by Thomas William Herringshaw and was published in
the Biographical Review of Prominent Men and Women of the Day... in
Born in 1814.
The founder of the popularity of base ball, and
the "authority" in the game, is Henry Chadwick, of Brooklyn,
and an Englishman by birth. He is the improver of the game of base ball
when it needed improvement; and is the leading writer on the subject of
the great popular field sport of this country. Now, in life's decline,
he still occasionally takes part in a game of base ball.
In 1844 he entered the ranks of journalism as
contributor to a Long Island newspaper. His work throughout a long
career as newspaper man has been to report cricket and base ball
matters, and he is the author of well-known works on the national game.
|Chadwick (on the
far right next to Harry Wright) and his cricket-playing friends
It was in 1856,
he says of his first conception of the work that has made him famous,
"when, on returning from an early closing of a cricket match at Fox
hall, Hoboken, I chanced to go through the Elysian fields during the
progress of a base ball match between the then noted Eagle
clubs. The game was being sharply played on both sides, and I watched it
with deeper interest than any previous match of the kind I had seen.
From that period I became an ardent admirer of base ball, and I have
devoted my efforts to the improvement of the game and to fostering it in
every way I thought likely to promote the object I had in view, which
was to build up a national game for Americans, such as cricket was for
When Mr. Chadwick was chairman of the committee
of rules of the old National League,
he revised and improved the playing rules of the game. He continued
actively engaged as a member of association conventions until the
present National League was organized.
Alfred H. Spink published one of the first serious books on baseball
history in 1910. He included profiles of a number of prominent baseball
writers. His profile of Chadwick is included below:
In 1870 when I made my first visit to New York I
found the metropolitan daily press paying but little attention to
baseball. The daily press papers had up to that time devoted but little
space to the affairs of the National Game. The term sporting editor or
baseball editor was a thing unknown.
Coming to the Capitoline Grounds when a game was
to be played was an elderly gentleman, a little above the medium height,
who created some comment always by carrying a large score book under his
arm and being pointed out as the only man who knew how to score the game
in all ots details, and, according to the very latest and up to date
This elderly gentleman was Henry Chadwick,
subsequently known the country over as "The Father of
Baseball." The men who then knew how to keep the regular box score
could be counted on the fingers of the one hand.
Henry Chadwick, who then reported the games for
the Brooklyn Eagle; Al. Wright, who worked for the New York Clipper; J.
B McCormick of the Cincinnati Enquirer; William Macdonald Spink of the
St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Louis Meacham of the Chicago Tribune, Alfred
H. Wright of the Philadelphia Sunday Mercury and George T. Lanigan of
the Philadelphia Record, were about the only journalists then in America
who knew the game well enough to work out a box score of it.
The box score was really the child of Chadwick.
The man who later became the dean of baseball writers of America was in
his eighty-fourth year when on April 2, 1908, he passed away at his home
He had come to this country from England when a
lad of 13, so that he had spent all of his manhood on this side. He
brought with him from the mother country a love of outdoor sport that
was born in him and in 1856 when he went to work as a reporter on the
New York Times he broke away often from the regular routine to attend
some outdoor sport and to smuggle some reference to it into the columns
of his newspaper. His skill as a writer on sporting topics attracted the
attention of Frank Queen, who then owned the New
York Clipper, then the leading authority on all sports, and the
result was the engagement by, the Clipper in 1858 of Mr. Chadwick to
write baseball and cricket, something he did for that publication for
thirty years afterwards.
But while engaged on the Clipper from 1858 to
1888 Mr. Chadwick frequently reported the games for the daily
newspapers, being often a contributor to the New York Herald and the New
When he quit the Clipper in 1888 and moved across
the river Mr. Chadwick went to work for the Brooklyn Eagle, and he was
with that newspaper almost to the day of his death. While with the Eagle
he also acted as a free lance writing letters early and often for the
Sporting News, the Sporting Life and Other base-ball journals.
Mr. Chadwick was essentially a home person. I can
never remember seeing him away from his home at New York or Brooklyn.
When I started the Sporting News in 1884 Mr. Chadwick frequently wrote
me, but I always imagined that he had it in for me and for this reason:
Soon after we tried to put baseball on a
professional footing in this section we discovered that we could not
make the game pay without the Sunday games. Simply for the reason that
necessity compelled it I favored the Sunday games.
The proposition was abhorrent to Mr. Chadwick.
Brought up in the shadow of the Episcopal Church, Mr. Chadwick had been
taught to observe the Sabbath day and to keep it holy and he could not
for a moment condone so grave an offense as playing baseball on Sunday.
This at least was his position when I tried with others in 1882 to place
the first American
Association on a paying basis with the aid of the Sunday games.
Ten years later I met Mr. Chadwick one Sunday on
the old Ridgewood grounds at Brooklyn. He had come out with others to
see the game. I said nothing, but marveled at the appearance of the old
gentleman at such a time and place and wondered what had brought about
his change of heart. Perhaps, like me, he had bowed to necessity.
Mr. Chadwick had fairly earned the title of "Father of
Baseball" can be easily proven. In the interest a the game he did
wonderful work with his pen. Nearly fifty years ago or to he more exact in
1860 he edited Beadle's "Dime Baseball Player." From 1868
to 1880 he was the editor of DeWitt's "Baseball Guide." At
about the same period he found time to write "The Art of Batting
and Running," the "American Boys' Book of Sports," and
many works of the same kind.
In 1881 he became the editor of "Spalding's
Official Baseball Guide" and he held that office up to the time of
his death. He had written of baseball, championed its cause and helped
build it up for a period of fifty-five years, What other baseball writer
we should like to know Will ever equal this wonderful record:
As I have already stated Mr. Chadwick passed away
on April 20, 1908, and on April 20 1909, the monument erected in his
honor in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, was unveiled in the presence of
thirty persons. Among these were Miss Caylor, a daughter of O. P. Caylor,
at one time a famous baseball writer and the unveiling of the tribute to
the "Father of the Game" was performed by this young lady.
At the unveiling Mr. William Hudson, an old
friend of Mr. Chadwick, said: "To hold up an ideal and to adhere to
it with a fidelity that knows no lessening of grip, is to pursue the
pathway of progress and to be useful to your day and generation.
"This, it seems to me, to be the pertinent
reflection as we gather about this sculptured stone you have erected to
the memory of Henry Chadwick.
"You have inscribed on the shaft that he was
the father of baseball. From the beginning of the days of baseball to
the end of his own days, Henry Chadwick stood in the light of a loving
father who never evaded the responsibilities of parentage.
"I do not mean that he was such father
because he invented the game or made it. Nor do I believe that you who
have erected this monument mean that he was its inventor. Fifty years
ago the game was a development. And fifty years from now it will yet be
"Many minds have had their share in this
labor. It is by no means the work of one mind or of one pair of hands.
But in looking back over his career of more than half a century in the
light of forty years of intimate acquaintance with him, that insistence,
that doughty battle he waged with tongue and pen for a clean game,
honorably played, looms up to me as the great achievement of his life.
"From that day, when crossing a Hoboken
field to a game of cricket he stopped to watch some boys at play at
rounders and had that vision of an improved game, glorified in the
baseball of our day until he laid down his pen for the last time, our
departed friend ever held true to that ideal of a clean game, honorably
played, in which the manly qualities should be uppermost in a strife
that should see no abatement of endeavor.
"This monument has been erected by many
baseball leagues, and in doing so, they make acknowledgement of all
this. As the veil is drawn from its face, they pay this tribute to one
man's devotion to an ideal—to one who early assumed this watchful
attitude of an affectionate parent, who chided and corrected, praised
and inspired—a parent's work. You do well to write on this stone,
''The Father of Base-ball."
The committee which had charge of the building of
the monument over the grave of Mr. Chadwick consisted of, Chas. Ebbets
of Brooklyn, Charles Murphy, of Chicago, and George B. Dovey, of Boston.
The monument has been erected on a beautiful plot
suitable for three graves, near the Ninth Avenue Twentieth street
entrance to Greenwood cemetery.
The location was especially selected by Mr.
Chadwick and the plot was presented to the veteran baseball writer by
his lifelong friend, A. G. Spalding.
Pat Powers, President of the Eastern League,
suggested that a monument should be erected in memory of Mr. Chadwick
and as a result, Mr. Spalding, Pat Powers and other baseball admirers of
the departed writer contributed the amount necessary to build the
Henry Chadwick, known throughout America as the
"Father of Baseball," died on April 20, 1908 at his home in
Brooklyn, New York. He was born in Jessamine Cottage, St. Thomas Exeter,
England, on October 26, 1824. So he died in his eighty-fourth year and
after devoting more than fifty years to writing up happenings on home
and foreign baseball diamonds.