Chapman was one of the foremost players of the 1860s. Although his services were much in demand, he played most seasons with the Brooklyn Atlantics, the team that broke the Cincinnati Red Stockings’ two-year winning streak in an extra-inning game in 1871. For defeating Cincinnati, each Brooklyn player received $364 from the Atlantics’ share of the gate receipts. In an age that admired fielding prowess more than hitting ability, Chapman became famous for his many long-running catches, and was the first to receive the colorful nickname “Death to Flying Things.” He later played two seasons in the National Association and one in the National League. A weight problem brought about his retirement as a player, but he became a highly respected manager for many years. His Louisville team won the 1890 American Association pennant.