Cricket is basically baseball on valium.
Finding the rest of Terry Cashman’s “Talkin’ Baseball” collection has proved more and more challenging, but in my search, I did come across this tribute to Johnny Bench. I admire players who make the decision to stick to a single team throughout their careers (granted, sometimes it’s not their choice to leave). I think this song speaks well to that.
For the first time in baseball history, two players hit for the cycle on the same day on September 17, 1920. Tigers’ outfielder Bobby Veach went 6-for-6 that day, while first baseman George Burns also accomplished the difficult feat to lead the Giants to a 4-3 victory in ten innings. It would not be until 2008 that two players would hit for the cycle on the same day again.
“Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I hope some day that some of the young fellows coming into the game will know how it feels to be picked in the Hall of Fame. I know the old boys back in there were just talking it over, some have been here long before my time. They got on it, I worked hard, and I got on it. And I hope that the coming generation, the young boys today, that they’ll work hard and also be on it.
And as my old friend Cy Young says, “I hope it goes another hundred years and the next hundred years will be the greatest. You know to me this is just like an anniversary myself, because twenty-five years ago yesterday I pitched my first baseball game in Boston, for the Boston Red Sox. (applause)
So it seems like an anniversary for me too, and I’m surely glad and it’s a pleasure for me to come up here and be picked also in the Hall of Fame. Thank you.”
On September 15, 1946, a massive swarm of gnats engulfs the second game of a double header between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs at Ebbets Field. The insects force the game to be called in the fifth inning.
I stumbled across this piece last night and fell in love with it instantly. Grantland Rice, the man who wrote “Casey’s Revenge,” wrote this poem in 1910. This is titled “Game Called,” and it captures the aftermath of a hard-played ballgame with beautiful metaphor and imagery.
Across the field of play
the dusk has come, the hour is late.
The fight is done and lost or won,
the player files out through the gate.
The tumult dies, the cheer is hushed,
the stands are bare, the park is still.
But through the night there shines the light,
home beyond the silent hill.
Where in the golden light
the bugle rolled the reveille.
The shadows creep where night falls deep,
and taps has called the end of play.
The game is done, the score is in,
the final cheer and jeer have passed.
But in the night, beyond the fight,
the player finds his rest at last.
Upon the field of life
the darkness gathers far and wide,
the dream is done, the score is spun
that stands forever in the guide.
Nor victory, nor yet defeat
is chalked against the players name.
But down the roll, the final scroll,
shows only how he played the game.
They say anything can happen in a short series. I just didn’t expect it to be that short.
~ Al Lopez