Baseball pioneer finally gets long-overdue gravestone
NEW YORK — A baseball pioneer who has rested in an unmarked grave since he died in 1899 will finally get the recognition he craved when a cemetery unveils his gravestone.
The home-plate-shaped monument honoring James Whyte Davis will be unveiled at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn on Saturday.
Davis started playing baseball in the 1840s at the dawn of the game and was president of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York City, one of the earliest baseball teams, from 1858 to 1860.
According to the Society for American Baseball Research, he played a role in some of the most seminal moments in baseball history, serving as a delegate to the 1867 convention of the National Association of Amateur Base Ball Players.
In 1892, Davis put out a request for every active baseball player to chip in 10 cents for his grave marker, historians said.
"That did not go anywhere because it was already almost 50 years since his start with the Knickerbockers," Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman said.
But thanks to the Society for American Baseball Research and Major League Baseball, Davis is finally getting the gravestone he wanted, complete with the epitaph he wrote.
The epitaph refers to Davis as Too Late, a nickname he apparently earned because he often was late to his own games.