Browse all poems and songs in the 'Former Teams' Category


Mike “King” Kelly

by James Finn Garner

King Kelly was a man among men
You could tell he was in the pink when,
Charging the base like a crook,
He’d slide with foot hooked–
Immortalized in song, it was then.

 

On this St. Paddy’s Day, we salute King Kelly (1857-94), the son of Irish immigrants who played with the Chicago White Stockings (NL) and the Boston Beaneaters. Among the innovations credited to Kelly are the hit-and-run, catchers backing up first basemen, and the hook slide, which was immortalized in the song “Slide, Kelly, Slide!” 

 



Hardest Luck Pitcher

by the Village Elliott

For Ned Garver (12/25/1925 – 2/26/2017)

Fourteen years Ned Garver pitched in Bigs,
“Hardest Luck” ever hurled in big leagues.
‘Fifty-One last-place Browns:
Twenty games won with clowns,
Greatest year of hard-luck pitching gigs.

 

Ned Garver’s big season came in 1951 with the woeful St. Louis Browns (52 – 102), as he posted a record of 20 – 12 (.625), winning 38.5% of the team’s victories. Garver thus became the only 20th century pitcher to win 20 for a team that lost 100 games. (Steve Carlton, amazingly, went 27 – 10 (.730) for the 1972 last-place Phillies (59-97), losing six games in a seasoned shortened at the beginning by a strike lasting 10 days. Carlton led the National League in wins, ERA and strikeouts, while recording a win in 45.7% of his team’s victories. The strike undoubtedly prevented Carlton from joining Garver as the second 20-game winner on a 100-loss last-place team.)



The Curse of the Billy Goat

by Mark Vincent

R. I. P.  Billy Goat Curse, 10/06/1945 – 11/02/2016

It started in Game Four of ’45
When Murphy, Billy’s goat, came to the game.
The Cubbies led the series, were alive,
About to claim some World Series fame.

The goat smelled bad and he was asked to leave.
His owner, Billy, wasn’t very happy.
He cursed the team; they lost. Chicago grieved.
The decades since, well, they’ve just been crappy.

But that, my friends, is finally in the past,
That blasted curse has now been laid to rest.
The pennant, then the Series won at last.
The Cubs can now stand proud, they are the best!

In seven games, and then an extra inning,
Chicago’s Cubs have found a new beginning!

 



Family Celebration

by the Village Elliott

For My Great-Uncle Art

Pleased Cubs fans celebrate victory,
Happy for part of my family:
Mom, who’s from near North Side
Tempered Dad’s Redbird pride,
My St. Louis baseball legacy.

Never had Chitown antipathy
All pervasive in Dad’s family.
Cubs were Mom’s first team,
Cuddly in the extreme,
Part of my gonfalon legacy.

I’ve learned, suggest no Cub fan forgets:
“Fickle Destiny Oft Fails Fans, Vets.”
Fate slammed ’68’s door
On my Cards’ destined score
And “eighty-sixed” the’86 Mets.

 



Poetic Legacy

by the Village Elliott

For the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs

Yo, Chief, start Trib’s presses!
Our Extra expresses
Best headline since “Dewey Has Won!”
Lead with, “Cubs Now the Bride
After Hundred-Year Schneid:
Scapegoat Exorcised with Gonfalon.”

Yes, the Cubs exorcised
Longest World Series schneid
With a young team of great destiny,
But it’s happened before,
“Destined” youths win no more,
Team grows old, earns “Not Quite” legacy.

I read: “Said Connie Mack,
When Al Simmons came back
The year after won first bat title:
‘To be true champion
You must win second one,
Defending your title, that’s vital.’

“‘I believe that I shall,’
Replied Bucket-foot Al,
And, indeed, as bat champ, did repeat . . .”
So what Cubbies must do,
Is win Crown Number Two,
Snatching title from series defeat,

Would be “great champion”
If Cubs win second one
By repeating most poetically:
Since in Theo both trust,
Seems to me Cubbies must
Defeat Red Sox to seal Legacy.

 

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