January 4, 1858|
Covehead, Prince Edward Island
|Died: October 9, 1945
|July 30, 1884, for the New York Gothams|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 10, 1884, for the New York Metropolitans|
|Runs batted in||0|
Henry Havelock Oxley (January 4, 1858 – October 9, 1945) was a Canadian-born athlete who played Major League Baseball in 1884 for the New York Gothams (now known as the San Francisco Giants) and the New York Metropolitans. He is one of only three players from Prince Edward Island to have played in Major League Baseball.
Oxley was born in Covehead, Prince Edward Island, Canada. He moved to Massachusetts at a young age; passenger records indicate that he arrived in Boston with his family on a ship from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in November 1858 at age 21 months. At the time of the 1870 United States Census, Oxley was living with his parents and eight siblings in East Boston. His father, Alex Oxley, was employed at the time as a blacksmith. At the time of the 1880 United States Census, Oxley was living in Lynn, Massachusetts, and was employed in a shoe shop.
Major League Baseball
In 1884, Oxley played Major League Baseball with both the New York Gothams (now known as the San Francisco Giants) and the New York Metropolitans. He played in just three games at the catcher position and ended his career without getting a hit. In his book, "Catcher: How the Man Behind the Plate Became an American Folk Hero," baseball historian Peter Morris recounted a story about Oxley's first appearance in the major leagues. Morris wrote that, when Oxley noticed that the opposing team's catcher was wearing a chest protector, Oxley asked what the device was. Oxley decided to try using the device but did not realize that it needed to be inflated. When Oxley came into the game with a deflated chest protector, a player from the opposing team reportedly "took pity on him and showed him how to blow it up." Oxley was also not wearing a face mask, a protective device that had been introduced seven years earlier. After the incident, a reporter wrote that Oxley must be from the "Green Mountains."
Family and later years
Oxley was married to Frances "Fanny" (Auld) Oxley, and they had one child, Rita Isabelle Oxley, born in 1918. At the time of the 1920 United States Census, Oxley was living in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife, Frances, their daughter, and two lodgers. Oxley was employed at that time as a blacksmith in his own shop. In 1930, Oxley remained living in Somerville with his wife and daughter. They had seven lodgers residing with them at that time. Oxley died at Somerville in 1945. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett, Massachusetts.
- Peter Morris (2010). Catcher: How the Man Behind the Plate Became an American Folk Hero. Government Institutes. pp. 94–94, 136, 172, and 317. ISBN 1566638704.
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1917–1943; Microfilm Serial: T938; Microfilm Roll: M277_56. Ancestry.com. Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820–1943 [database on-line].
- Census entry for Alex Oxley and family. Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: East Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: M593_640; Page: 316B; Image: 636; Family History Library Film: 552139.
- Census entry for Henry Oxley, age 23. Ancestry.com. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: 531; Family History Film: 1254531; Page: 280A; Enumeration District: 217; Image: 0561.
- "Henry Oxley". Baseball-Reference.com. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- Peter Morris (2010). A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball. Ivan R. Dee. p. 301. ISBN 1566636779.
- "George (Dandy) Wood inducted into Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame", Journal Pioneer, June 22, 2011.
- "Islander inducted into Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame". The Guardian. June 20, 2011.
- "Henry Oxley Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- Census entry for Henry Oxley, age 62. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Somerville Ward 1, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_717; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 399; Image: 548.
- Census entry for Henry Oxley, age listed as 69. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Somerville, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: 927; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 411; Image: 732.0; FHL microfilm: 2340662.
- "Henry Havelock Oxley". Find A Grave. Retrieved June 22, 2012.