Henry Gilroy

From BR Bullpen

Henry Engard Gilroy

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown

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Biographical Information[edit]

Henry Gilroy was for a long time only identified by his surname, Gilroy. He was a catcher who played for the Chicago White Stockings in 1874 and the Philadelphia Athletics in 1875. Gilroy joined Chicago when the team was playing in Philadelphia, so it is logical to think he was from that city, but there was absolutely no other biographical information attached to the name.

However, the April 4, 1883 issue of Sporting Life mentions a Harry Gilroy who is manager of an Ashland team. A possible man of that name, a butcher by trade, can be traced in the Philadelphia city directories of the time until his death in 1906. However, an article in the Lebanon Daily News of June 26, 1875 mentions Henry Gilroy as the spare catcher of the Philadelphia Athletics and says that he played for a team from Reading, PA, but it also states that Gilroy was single at the time, which does not square with the previously identified Henry Gilroy.

There was another Henry Gilroy living in Philadelphia at the time, a lawyer by the name of Harry or Henry E. Gilroy. He had previously lived in Lebanon, PA, with his father, a prominent preacher. Other details seem to fit, but while there is a lot of extant information about his father, also named Henry, there is little known about the ballplayer. The son was born around 1852, likely in Smyrna, DE, where his father was posted at the time. He should have become a member of the bar in 1873, but no record of his having attended college are to be found, so he likely simply worked for a law firm without having earned a law degree. It does not seem as though his legal career was much successful, as his name only once turns up in the newspapers in relation to a case. He was married and had two children, but his wife and children seem to have left him by 1900 as his wife is by then living with her father. The wife is listed as a widow starting in 1907, until her own death in 1910, but his name is not mentioned in her obituary, and neither in that of his daughter, when she died in 1940, leading to speculation that he was some sort of pariah. In any case, his death appears in the Philadelphia death index for 1907.

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Henry Gilroy", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Committee Report, SABR, May/June 2014, pp. 13-16.

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