Thursday, November 8, 2007

Report Of The Baseball Game

Hoosier Lyrics is a book of poetry by Eugene Field, who was born in St. Louis in 1850. While Field was raised in Massachusetts and lived in various places throughout his life, he returned to St. Louis as an adult and worked for several local newspapers from 1876 to 1880. Hoosier Lyrics contains three poems that have baseball as its subject and, in my opinion, the best is Report of the Baseball Game, a humorous account of an 1886 World Series game between the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Stockings. The fact that Field lived in Chicago from 1883 until his death in 1895 gives the poem an interesting perspective. I post it here for your pleasure.


It was a very pleasant game,
And there was naught of grumbling
Until the baleful tidings came
That Williamson was "fumbling."
Then all at once a hideous gloom
Fell o'er all manly features,
And Clayton's cozy, quiet room
Was full of frantic creatures.

"Click, click," the tiny ticker went,
The tape began to rattle,
And pallid, eager faces bent
To read the news from battle;
Down, down, ten million feet or more,
Chicago's hope went tumbling,
When came the word that Burns and Gore
And Pfeffer, too, were "fumbling."

No diagram was needed then
To point the Browns to glory-
The simple fact that these four men
Were "fumbling" told the story.

There is not a club in all the land-
No odds how weak or humble-
That beats us when our short-stop and
Our second baseman "fumble."

There was some talk of hippodrome
'Mid frequent calls for liquor,
Then each Chicago man went home
Much wiser, poorer, sicker;
And many a giant intellect
Seemed slowly, surely crumbling
Beneath the dolorous effect
Of that St. Louis "fumbling."

Ah, well, the struggle's but just begun,
So what is the use of fretting
If by a little harmless fun
Our boys can bull the betting?
When comes the tug of war there'll be
No accidental stumbling,
And then, you bet your boots, you'll see
No mention made of "fumbling."

No comments: