As anyone who reads “And That Happened” on a regular basis knows, I’m a box score fetishist, and because of it, I’ve often thought of Henry Chadwick — the man credited as inventing the box score — as the feature’s patron saint. Except it’s not quite that clear that he did invent the box score.
As NPR’s Mike Pesca explains in this wonderful feature on Chadwick (that link is to the audio, which should be up shortly here’s a link to the text version), the box score, like most things in baseball, was less a product of invention than evolution, though Chadwick certainly formalized and popularized many of the box score’s conventions. Great stuff, including the obligatory appearance of Bill James, that is definitely worth a listen and/or a read. This may be my favorite part, though:
Back then, according to Chadwick biographer Andrew Schiff, “the box score was the only way of showing the game, there really was no photography. So the writer really was the person at the center between the fans and the player at the game.”
Let us laud Chadwick for his contributions to the box score, but let us lament the fact that he is inadvertently responsible for those writers and broadcasters who continue to place themselves at the center between the fans and the player at the game.