Our experiment in feast-day celebrations for great baseballers continues today, unabated by law or conscience.
*Note: Edited from “Ward, the Multi-Talented,” per order of Whimsy.
Life: John Montgomery Ward has at least half-a-dozen claims to baseballing fame. With the exception of Babe Ruth, he’s probably the most successful two-way player ever, posting a 119 ERA+ as a pitcher in ca. 2500 innings and then, after an injury to his arm, accumulating 39.1 WAR as a field player (mostly at shortstop). Concurrent to his playing career, Ward attended Columbia Law, and graduated from same in 1885 (at age 25). Immediately thereafter, he began to establish himself as the first great voice of labor in baseball, leading the formation of the first professional sports players union (The Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players) and a new baseball league, the Players League. Also, after his playing career, he became one of the country’s best golfers — you know, just for fun.
Spiritual Exercise: First, think of Monte Ward. Now, think of the Owen Wilson character from the movie Meet the Parents. Those guys are jerks, right?*
*Warning: Might not be an actual spiritual exercise. But, seriously, those guys are both jerks.
A Prayer for Monte Ward
I haven’t watched the YouTube video of you
stealing from the rich and giving to the poor
because I’ve been too busy watching the one of
Charlie Sheen accepting the Oscar for Gauntest Face
and this other one that’s a stop-motion video
of a beautiful flower first sprouting from the ground
and then bursting into bloom and then turning into
Charlie Sheen accepting the Oscar for Gauntest Face.
Still, people whose taste I trust have described your
performance with superlative adjectives —
a fact of which you’re likely unware, owing to
your death and subsequent internment at
Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale, New York.
In your living years, though, you appear to’ve been
both well-bred and a champion of workers’ rights —
a combination that would win you respect in our time
and the right to date almost every female graduate
of both Vassar and Wesleyan Colleges.
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