The Poetry Foundation has a page that focuses on baseball poetry. Nice.
But Baseball Almanac has a longer page listing the classic baseball poems, including this one, “Away Flies the Boy,” published in A Little Pretty Pocket Book in 1744 – believed to be the first baseball (or base-ball) poem ever published.
Baseball Almanac also includes the great Ogden Nash work, “Line-up for Yesterday,” an A-B-C of baseball immortals, such as:
W is for 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.
Gotta love it. Don’t bash the Nash!
The most widely known baseball poem is Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat.” Not one of my favorites, perhaps because how many times can you hear this? However I did find some wonderful illustrations for the poem on Wikimedia Commons, from a 1912 publication of the work.
Spitball – A Literary Baseball Magazine recognizes new outstanding baseball poems by selecting one as “Baseball Poem of the Month.” However, in order to submit, you have to buy a copy of the magazine. Fair enough, though this smacks of blackmail and probably means that “Vance Worley Has Been Sent Down” will go unsubmitted. A shame when commerce interferes with fine art. In any case, you baseball poetry lovers can read the winners here. And if you think you can do better, feel free to send me your submissions, and I’ll “publish” my favorites on Endless Summer.
Can’t forget to mention here the team from Whittier College, in Whittier California. The Whittier Poets show a 15-24 record on their website. Tough year for the Poets, I guess. Third baseman Julian Barzilli had a good year though, being named second-team all-SCIAC, with a .304 average and 8 home runs.