Author Archive

Baseball’s Sad Lexicon: FanGraphs Poetry Contest

You, too, can be a famous early-century wit.

In 1910, Franklin Pierce Adams wrote one of the two most famous poems in baseball history. Adams described “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon”, articulating the plight of suffering New York Giants fans. The Giants were doomed to failure, Adams explained, because of the efforts of three slick-fielding infielders on the rival Chicago Cubs: Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance.

A century later, baseball boasts a handful of great shortstops and second basemen. Some of those stars own far more impressive resumes than Tinker, Evers, and Chance (three of the least deserving Hall of Fame choices ever, who owe much of their candidacy to Adams’ oeuvre).

Yet despite the amazing resumes of Derek Jeter and other modern middle infielders, no double play combination has had a poem — or anything close — written in its honor in 100 years. This is especially sad in the case of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker, arguably the best keystone combo of the past 30 years, given their combination of skill and longevity by each other’s side. If someone had written a great poem about the two Tigers greats, they’d likely be in the Hall of Fame, too.

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10 Awesome Baseball Books

There are a lot more than 10 out there, of course. But if you’re building a list of essential baseball books, here’s a good starting point.

Veeck–As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck: The best sports autobiography I’ve ever read. Where to even start? Incredibly funny, brutally honest, politically incorrect, thoughtful, insightful, so much fun you’ll never want to put it down.

Ball Four: The most intimate look at life in the big leagues ever written. Pretty damn funny too. I think I might go re-read this right now actually.

Dollar Sign on the Muscle: The World of Baseball Scouting: Does a terrific job of documenting where the baseball superstars of tomorrow come from and how teams fight over them. Just as relevant today as when it was written more than a quarter-century ago. One drawback: Cheapest Amazon price is $37, used. Get someone to buy it for you as a gift, if necessary.

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