Baseball's Sad Lexicon

Franklin Adams was a New York newspaper columnist, translator, poet, and radio personality whose humorous syndicated column The Conning Tower earned him the reputation of godfather of the contemporary newspaper column. He wrote primarily under his initials, F.P.A. In 1938, Adams became one of the panel of experts on the radio show Information, Please. He achieved almost instant popularity for his humor and erudition, and his name became something of a household word in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s.

Baseball's Sad Lexicon first appeared in In Other Words when it was published in 1910. Entire books have been written about every aspect of baseball; however, other than Casey at the Bat, few know about some of the other great poems that have appeared honoring 'America's favorite pastime.' F.P.A. here is bemoaning with tongue-in-cheek the Chicago Cubs and their nemesis the Giants. The Cubbies were blessed in 1910 with an infield of superior skill. The shortstop was player-manager Joe Tinker. Johnny Evers played second, and Frank Chance first. Their art was turning the double play. The term gonfalon refers to a flag or pennant, and Adams uses the phrase "pricking our gonfalon bubble" to describe the repeated success of the Chicago Cubs and their celebrated infield against their National League rivals, his beloved (then) New York Giants.

The Giants finished first in National League then went on to lose the World Series (4-3-1) to the Boston Red Sox.


Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

Endnote: I recall the first time I became aware of this little baseball story when the owner of a construction company built a new neighborhood here in Tucson and named three of the streets Tinker, Evers, and Chance as an inside joke and perhaps a small encouragement to get Tucson into the highly competitive marketplace as a hometown in professional baseball. Wouldn't that be something if I could say, "To get to my house you go south on Tinker to Evers to Chance."

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