Graves of stars of the fall classic buried in New York City or nearby, from Babe Ruth to Jackie Robinson.
The World Series is going on, and while neither New York team is currently in the competition, the city has a strong connection to the annual fall classic. Countless players who were born in New York City (such as Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, or Phil Rizzuto were born in New York. Of course far too many to mention have lived and played in New York. And many are buried in New York.
Visiting New York City cemeteries is a wonderful way to connect with the city’s past, and cemeteries like Woodlawn and Green-Wood provide some of the most stunning natural scenery you will see in the five boroughs. In this post I will list many World Series players who are buried in New York City and in cemeteries in the suburbs all accessible easily from the city. If you visit a former baseball player’s grave, consider bringing some baseball memorabilia to decorate the grave with–baseballs are common.
In this article I’m including a handful of players who took part in the modern World Series’ predecessor. From 1882-1891, the National League Champion would play the champion of the now defunct American Association (there was no American League at that time). It was called the ‘World’s Championship’. Note that in this article I do speak about several teams that have changed their nickname over the years. For simplicity I will use the franchise’s current nickname only throughout the article.
All photographs of graves are mine; other images are from Wikicommons.
Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn
Jackie Robinason 1919-1972
Not only one baseball’s greatest players, he was almost certainly the sport’s most socially significant player. Robinson played in six World Series with the Dodgers, helping them win their first ever in 1955. He retired one year later and remained in New York as the Dodgers left for California. He was an area businessman and civil rights activist. When he died in 1972, his funeral was held at Riverside Church; tens of thousands of people lined up to see his body delivered to Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, the borough where he starred.
Woodlawn Cemetery, the Bronx
Frankie Frish 1898-1973
Known as the ‘Fordham Flash’ for his time at Fordham University, Frankie Frish was a player for the Giants from 1920-26 and the St. Louis Cardinals from 1927-37, and was a player manager for the Cardinals from 1933-37. He played in eight World Series and won four times. His most colorful appearance was as the player-manager of the ‘Gas House Gang’ 1934 Cardinals who edged his former team the Giants in the National League and then defeated the Detroit Tigers in seven games. The team also starred pitcher Dizzy Dean, his brother Daffy, outfielder Pepper Martin, slugger Ducky Medwick, and a shortstop named Leo Durocher. Frisch is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, not far from his Alma Mater.
Richard ‘Dick’ Rudolph 1887-1949
Rudolph had a 17 year career as a pitcher with the Giants and the Boston Braves. The pinnacle of his career was 1914 with the Braves, when the team when from last place in the National League in July to first place and then swept the Philadelphia As in four games. Rudolph, one of the last spitballers, won games 1 and 4 for Boston in that series. He would go on to manage a minor league team and coach at Fordham before dying at his residence on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx in 1949.
Joe Foy 1943-1989
Joe Foy grew up playing stickball 12 blocks from Yankee Stadium, and made a difficult climb up the rungs of organized baseball to the big leagues, starting at third base for the Boston Red Sox in 1966-68, and later for the Royals, the Mets, and the Senators. With the Red Sox he played six games in the World Series; his personal performance was unsuccessful, batting 133. After he retired he remained in his native city and council troubled children, and sadly died an early death at age 46.
Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn
Gil Hodges 1924-1972
In a city of so many great baseball characters, Gil Hodges was one of the most beloved. He has a bridge named after him, a public school, and a baseball field. A long-time Dodger, the first baseman appeared in one game in their 1947 loss to the Yankees before he became a regular starter in 1948. He would go on to appear in five more series. He would later play for the lovable 1962 Mets, and then went on to manage the “Miracle Mets” in their memorable 1969 win over Baltimore in 1969. He kept managing them for two more seasons, but died just after playing a round of golf in Florida before the 1972 season began. After a wake in Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Midwood, he was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Flatbush.
Calvary Cemetery, Queens
Mickey Welch 1859-1941
“Smiling” Mickey Welsh was born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrants. He was born Michael Walsh but adopted the spelling ‘Welch”–possibly due to a sportswriter’s error. He grew up in Williamsburg and played for the New York Giants from 1883-1892. Along with fellow pitcher Tim Keefe and shortstop John Montgomery Ward, the Giants dominated baseball in the late 1880s, winning two ‘World’s Championships’. Welch once struck out 9 batters in a row in 1884, still a record. In 1932 he was given lifetime Elks membership, presented at the ‘Mother Lodge #1”–then on 43rd Street. He is interred in Calvary Cemetery not far from fellow hall of famer Wee Willie Keeler, one of the game’s great early stars that never made it to the post-season.
Moravian Cemetery, Staten Island
James ‘Jim’ Mutrie 1851-1938
It’s hard to believe now but until the 1930s, the dominant Major League team in New York, and the nation for much of that period, was not the Yankees, only founded in 1901. The Dodgers have existed since 1883 but were mostly basement dwellers until the 1940s. The dominant team for much of early Major League baseball were the New York Giants. The co-founder of the club Jim Mutrie later became the manager; he assembled a team of stars and led the Giants to championships in 1888-89. In 1889 they faced the Brooklyn Dodgers who then played in the American Association; the Giants won this historic series six games to three. Mutrie is credited with coining the Giants nickname (they were originally the Gothams). After a brilliant play in the outfield, Mutrie exclaimed, “My big fellows! My giants!”. He would later live on Staten Island and died of cancer in City Hospital on Roosevelt Island, then Welfare Island. He is buried at the historic Moravian Cemetery on Staten Island, one of the city’s oldest cemeteries.
Outside New York City
The following graves of notable baseball players can be easily accessed by public transit or car from New York City:
Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Valhalla NY, accessible on the Harlem Line of Metro North
A short trip up the Harlem line from Grand Central Terminal takes you to Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester County. Fans continue to make the pilgrimage to the grave of the greatest baseball player ever, Babe Ruth. But nearby are graves several other stars worth visiting.
George Herman “Babe” Ruth 1895-1948
Alfred ‘Billy’ Martin 1928-1989
New York Yankees 2nd baseman and later very volatile manager who led the Yankees back to a World Series Championships in 1977.
Ralph Branca 1926-2016
Branca had a fine career for the Dodgers and helped them win several pennants but is best known for his pitch to Bobby Thompson in 1951 which gave the NL title to the Giants.
Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla NY (adjacent to Gate of Heaven)
Lou Gehrig 1903-1941
The Upper East Side born Gehrig played at Columbia University before joining the New York Yankees, eventually dying of the disease that bears his name.
Andrew Coakley 1882-1963
Coakley had a 10-year Major League career as a pitcher with the As, Reds, Cubs, as well as one year with the Yankees in 1911. His lone World Series appearance was in 1905 for the As against the New York Giants, where he faced legend Christy Mathewson in Game 3 and lost 9-0, though remarkably he pitched a complete game.
Greenfield Cemetery, Hempstead, Long Island. Take LIRR to Rockport and NICE bus 41.
John Montgomery ‘Monte’ Ward 1860-1925
Pitcher and later shortstop for the New York Giants; later managed the Giants. He founded the first players union in 1885 and would become a lawyer after he retired from baseball and represent baseball players.
Walter ‘Arlie’ Latham 1860-1952.
Played mostly 3rd base from 1880-1899, including 6 years with the St Louis Cardinals where they won the then American Association from 1885-88 and appeared in the then ‘World’s Championship’ against the National League champion. In the 1886 series against the Chicago Cubs Latham stole 12 bases and helped the Cardinals win the series 4 games to 2.
Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover New Jersey
Yogi Berra 1925-2015
Yogi Berra was arguably the most prolific World Series player in history. The Yankees catcher played in 22 series and won 13, and memorably caught Don Larson’s perfect game in 1956. We went on to serve as a coach for the Mets, helping them win the title in 1969. He then succeeded manager Gil Hodges and led the Mets to the Series again in 1973 after a hard-fought season, though they lost to the As.