Cemetery of Architects • Monuments
and Their Makers • Public
Figures and Private Eyes • Baseball
and Boxing Greats • Merchants
and Inventors • Who
the Dickens is That?
and Boxing Greats
tomb that’s here, it seems appropriate now that Graceland Cemetery is
a pleasant walk from Wrigley Field. The father of the National League is one
of the figures from the world of sports who have their last time outs here,
as well as two of boxing’s best-known names.
Hulbert, 1832 – 1882, has a most appropriate memorial –
a big, carved baseball. It marks the resting place of the man who founded the
National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. Hulbert, a big fan of the game,
became a stockholder in the Chicago White Stockings in 1870 and its president
in 1875. The following year, he organized the National League with the 8 teams
whose names are on the stone baseball. The White Stockings won the league’s
first championship, and their descendants, the Cubs, play in Wrigley Field.
Through an oversight, Hulbert wasn’t enshrined in Baseball’s Hall
of Fame until 1995.
Fitzsimmons, 1863 – 1917, a native of Cornwall, moved to New
Zealand as a child, and representing that island nation, became boxing’s
first three-division world champion – in the Middleweight, Light-Heavyweight
and Heavyweight divisions, but not in that order. The Veterans Boxing Association
of Illinois and other boxing fans replaced his original, misspelled headstone
1878 – 1946, knocked out Tommy Burns in Australia in 1908 and became the
first black boxer to win the World Heavyweight championship. But other than
a large stone with his last name on it, his Graceland grave is unmarked. That
has caused some problems for fans who came looking to pay their respects after
watching Ken Burns’ 2005 film “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise
and Fall of Jack Johnson” on public television. According to the family,
plans are being made for a new memorial.