Fred Wood

From BR Bullpen

Fred Llewellyn Wood

  • Bats Right, Throws Unknown
  • Height 5' 5", Weight 150 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Fred Wood was long listed as having died in New York, NY in 1933, but that was a mistake due to confusion with one Charles Wood who did die that year and had once pitched for a team in Detroit, MI in the 1880s, around the time the real Fred Wood was a catcher with the Detroit Wolverines. Anyone digging a little could see the death date was problematic, but it wasn't questioned until decades later.

The real Fred Wood was from a prominent baseball-playing family; his brothers Pete and Jeff both played professionally and Sporting Life referred to the trio as "Canada's most famous family of professional ball players". All three led stable lives and were pillars of their respective communities, making them easy to track for anyone making the effort. For example, Fred married Adelaide Orr, the daughter of the mayor of Calgary, AB, in 1885, and the two lived to celebrate their golden anniversary, raising a large family. But since no one was looking for him for the longest time, all of this information remained buried.

Fred made his life after baseball in London, ON and can be traced there until last being listed in the city directory in 1936. This would point to his passing away or moving from London in late 1935 or early 1936, i.e. after the information for the 1936 directory was compiled, but at first, researchers were unable to find a matching death record in Ontario. One promising trail was a listing for a couple named Fred and Addie Wood who were in Rhode Island, with Fred dying in a small town in that state in 1937. While the matching of the names was promising, it was strange for such a stable couple to suddenly end up in a mall town half a continent away, and there was no other information to either match the two couples, or definitely eliminate the possibility that they were one and the same. The solution came when Peter Morris tried another search of Ontario death records, using the player's full name this time. It turned up a "Nedrick L. Lwellyn Wood". Further investigation attributed the weird spelling to poor penmanship in the original record, which became garbled in the index. It was indeed the ballplayer.

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Fred Wood", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, November/December 2017, pp. 2-3.

Related Sites[edit]