Flashback Friday: Green-Wood Cemetery Fields Formidable Baseball Lineup

Flashback Friday: Green-Wood Cemetery Fields Formidable Baseball Lineup
brooklyn atlantics
The Brooklyn Atlantics Baseball Club in 1865. Players Fred Crane (far left), Jack Chapman (second from the left), Manager Peter O’Brien (center), and Charles Smith (to the right of O’Brien) are all buried in Green-Wood Cemetery. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

In the September 4, 1865 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a letter was printed concerning the Atlantic Baseball Club, also know as the Brooklyn Atlantics:

“I am beginning to take an interest in our national game. Which is baseball. Our noble city, third in population and first in Base Ball, has been glorified in field sports by the Atlantic Club, who have whipped everything in the ball line. As a Brooklynite, I am proud of the Atlantics. There are nine of them. They are wonderfully smart fellows. Stand six feet two in their stockings, can run two miles a minute, jump over a forty foot fence, or through a knot hole, turn a somersault and catch anything from a base ball to the measles. They are an honor to Brooklyn.”

The Atlantics are considered by many baseball historians to be the first “baseball dynasty” in the history of the game. The team was formed in 1855, and won championships between 1859-1861.

The team continued to their winning ways soon after, and went undefeated during their 1865 season, going 18-0.

That 1865 winning team boasts star players who are now residents of Green-Wood Cemetery. Those residents include players Fred Crane, Jack Chapman, Charles Smith, and manager Peter O’Brien.

Of the players who now reside in Green-Wood, Jack Chapman was one of the most impressive. He was considered an excellent hitter, fielder, and pitcher. The New York Clipper described Chapman as “a quick batsman, a long distance thrower, a sure catch and an effective slow pitcher.”

Fred Crane was known to be a master of the double-play, turning them with teammate Dickie Pearce. In 1865, Crane scored 71 runs over 18 games.

The photographer for the above photo is also part of Green-Wood lore. Charles Williamson, who died in 1874, is a current resident of the cemetery.

It may still be early in our current baseball season, but the sport exists year round in our gem of a burial ground.

Sources: Baseball in the Air! by Jeff Richman and Baseball Legends of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery by Peter Nash.

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