Jim Creighton, the game’s first superstar
Some appearances with the Niagaras of Brooklyn, where he played second and third base – from the Brooklyn Eagle in 1858, at age 17:
Have I mentioned that I really hate the convention of calling Creighton baseball’s first “superstar”? It is both anachronistic and misleading.
If the word “superstar” has any meaning, it refers to a person who is famous outside of his or her particular area of fame. Even people who weren’t football fans knew about Joe Namath, and people who weren’t boxing fans knew about Muhammad Ali. For a more modern example, there is Tiger Woods. In other fields consider someone like Albert Einstein or Madonna. For an older example, consider Mark Twain.
I know of absolutely no evidence that Creighton was anywhere near this famous. He was well known within the fraternity. His romantic early death (avoiding the fate of a late-career fade) and overblown tombstone kept his fame alive, but still within the fraternity.
I have no problem with calling him a “star”. He might even legitimately be the first star. But “superstar” is too much hyperbole for my taste.
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