(poetry diary 76) In honor of last night’s historic win, I’m posting“Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” a poem, written by journalist Franklin Pierce Adams, which became so famous that the three baseball players mentioned credit the attention the poem brought them for helping them get admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  According to William Hageman of the Chicago Tribune,

Adams considered the poem something of a throwaway. In a 1946 letter, he explained: “I wrote that piece because I wanted to get out to the game, and the foreman of the composing room at the Mail said I needed 8 lines to fill. And the next day (an editor) said that no matter what else I ever wrote, I would be known as the guy that wrote those 8 lines. And they weren’t much good, at that.”

Read more: Remembering ‘Tinker to Evers to Chance’

Even though Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance last played together in 1912 – indeed, all have been dead more than 60 years — their names live on among baseball fans. All because of an eight-line poem. – William Hageman, Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2010


Baseball’s Sad Lexicon

Franklin Pierce Adams

These are the saddest of possible words:
      “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
      Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
      Making a Giant hit into a double—
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
      “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

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