LINE-UP FOR YESTERDAY… Celebrating the 117th Season of Major League Baseball with Ogden Nash

Federic Ogden Nash (1902-1971), American Poet of light verse, unconvential rhymes, author, lyricist and pianist

Federic Ogden Nash (1902-1971), American Poet of light verse, unconvential rhymes, author, lyricist and pianist

major_league_baseball-svgWho better to celebrate the beginning of the 117th Major League Baseball season in the U.S. than poet Ogden Nash? He was an American poet known for the unconventional and humourous expressed in rhymed poems. He made strategic use of misspellings and puns or twists on famous poems or sayings. One of my faves pokes fun at Joyce Kilmer’s Trees.  “I think that I shall never see/ A poem as lovely as a tree.” v. Ogden’s version, which switches “billboard” for “poem”  … “Indeed, unless the billboards fall / I’ll never see a tree at all.”

Nash was a prodigious baseball fan and wrote Line-Up for Yesterday, an alphabetical listing of prominent players he admired. It was published in Sport magazine in 1949.

A is for Alex
The great Alexander;
More Goose eggs he pitched
Than a popular gander.

B is for Bresnahan
Back of the plate;
The Cubs were his love,
and McGraw his hate.

C is for Cobb,
Who grew spikes and not corn,
And made all the basemen
Wish they weren’t born.

D is for Dean,
The grammatical Diz,
When the asked, Who’s the tops?
Said correctly, I is.

E is for Evers,
His jaw in advance;
Never afraid
To Tinker with Chance.

F is for Fordham
And Frankie and Frisch;
I wish he were back
With the Giants, I wish.

G is for Gehrig,
The Pride of the Stadium;
His record pure gold,
His courage, pure radium.

H is for Hornsby;
When pitching to Rog,
The pitcher would pitch,
Then the pitcher would dodge.

I is for Me,
Not a hard-hitting man,
But an outstanding all-time
Incurable fan.

J is for Johnson
The Big Train in his prime
Was so fast he could throw
Three strikes at a time.

K is for Keeler,
As fresh as green paint,
The fastest and mostest
To hit where they ain’t.

L is for Lajoie
Whom Clevelanders love,
Napoleon himself,
With glue in his glove.

M is for Matty,
Who carried a charm
In the form of an extra
brain in his arm.

N is for Newsom,
Bobo’s favorite kin.
You ask how he’s here,
He talked himself in.

O is for Ott
Of the restless right foot.
When he leaned on the pellet,
The pellet stayed put.

P is for Plank,
The arm of the A’s;
When he tangled with Matty
Games lasted for days.

Q is for Don Quixote
Cornelius Mack;
Neither Yankees nor years
Can halt his attack.

R is for Ruth.
To tell you the truth,
There’s just no more to be said,
Just R is for Ruth.

S is for Speaker,
Swift center-field tender,
When the ball saw him coming,
It yelled, “I surrender.”

T is for Terry
The Giant from Memphis
Whose .400 average
You can’t overemphis.

U would be ‘Ubell
if Carl were a cockney;
We say Hubbell and Baseball
Like Football and Rockne.

V is for Vance
The Dodger’s very own Dazzy;
None of his rivals
Could throw as fast as he.

W, Wagner,
The bowlegged beauty;
Short was closed to all traffic
With Honus on duty.

X is the first
of two x’s in Foxx
Who was right behind Ruth
with his powerful soxx.

Y is for Young
The magnificent Cy;
People battled against him,
But I never knew why.

Z is for Zenith
The summit of fame.
These men are up there.
These men are the game.

-Ogden Nash

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One thought on “LINE-UP FOR YESTERDAY… Celebrating the 117th Season of Major League Baseball with Ogden Nash

  1. Thank you. What a delightful treasure-trove of four-liners.

    Though life has its hashes
    And reasons to grieve,
    It gave us two Nashes:
    One Ogden, one Steve.

    (Steve Nash, one of the most brilliant of basketball’s Phoenix Suns, was the hardest-working player in the NBA, back in the day.)

    Liked by 1 person

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