159 years ago TODAY, Jim Creighton, whom many consider baseball’s first superstar reportedly had something strange happen to him. As the story goes, he hit a home run, and internally ruptured something, passing away four days later. The events of this fateful day will be argued until the end of time, but nevertheless, it is a great legend.
Creighton is credited as “weaponizing the ball” as a pitcher, that is, he developed a delivery that made it difficult for batters to hit, in a time when pitchers were supposed to pitch so balls could be hit. Creighton drew crowds because of his controversial, yet effective method.
Pictured above is an original woodcut of Creighton from November 4th, 1865 – 3 years after he passed away. You can also see one of (if not the) first depictions of the Father of Baseball, Henry Chadwick. Let’s not forget all of the baseball players depicted who literally look like they stepped off the field of the Civil War!
This is considered by many to be the holy grail of woodcuts. Keep in mind this is a good two decades before baseball cards really were a “thing”, which makes this extra special. You won’t find any Old Judge, Gypsy Queen Allen & Ginter, or Goodwin cards of Jim Creighton, because they didn’t exist!
Woodcuts in and of themselves are fascinating. To learn more about them, you can go here: https://tanmanbaseballfan.com/2019/10/before-there-were-baseball-cards.html