This poem was Spitball Magazine‘s Baseball Poem of the Month this past April. I fell in love with it right from the first line.
from the un-grassy knoll
you see in living colour after that
pure white smoke
and bee bee at the knees
arrives like a punch in the face
or a pail of cold water
and hops and sometimes drops
and sometimes disappers
(ask any ump)
and thwack goes the mitt
a foley artist couldn’t make that sound
statement of unbending bluntness
black and white
and no detente
you on that side
me on this
and hit it if you can
September 1954 proved to be quite a month for baseball legend Willie Mays. Besides clinching the batting title on the last day of the regular season, during Game One of the 1954 World Series, Mays made a spectacular defensive play now known simply as “The Catch.”
With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth inning and runners on first and second, Cleveland’s Vic Wertz launched a pitch deep into center field. Mays, who had been playing shallow, took off in a dead sprint, and managed to make an over-the-shoulder catch while still on the run. Still aware of the runners, Mays immediately turned and threw the ball back into the infield, and the Giants got out of the inning with no runs given up to the Indians.
The Giants went on, not only to win the game, but to sweep the entire Series.
On September 26, 1954, in the final game of the season, the Giants’ Willie Mays collected three hits to boost his batting average to .345. In doing so, he passed teammate Don Mueller (who finished at .342) and the Dodgers’ Duke Snider (.341) to win the National League batting title.
This song is not only a tribute to the great home run hitter, Henry Aaron, it also draws attention to the racism of Aaron’s time and all that he had to overcome the whole time he made his way to becoming one of our greats.
In a doubleheader at Ebbets Field on 21 September 1934, brothers Dizzy Dean and Paul Dean dominated the Dodgers, each starting a game on the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals. In the first game, Dizzy Dean pitched a two-hit shutout, blanking the Dodgers 13-0. Not to be outdone, his rookie younger brother, Paul, followed up in game two with a no-hitter, as the Cardinals defeated Brooklyn 3-0. This performance made Paul Dean only the fifth pitcher in Major League history to throw a no-hitter in his rookie season.
In 1980, Royals third baseman George Brett made a strong run at finishing with a batting average above .400 for the season, an accomplishment last achieved by Ted Williams in 1941. The last day of the season in which Brett’s average stayed above .400, however, came on September 19th, when he went 2-for-4 against the A’s in Kansas City. What followed was a 4-for-27 slump, from which Brett could not rebound in time. He finished the season hitting .390 and won the American League MVP award.
If you’re not familiar with the webcomic XKCD, then you are definitely missing out. Part of the XKCD experience is the What If? blog, which explores a wide range of hypothetical physics questions. The very first post on the blog was an amusing discussion on “Relativistic Baseball.” More specifically, it provides us with an answer to the question: What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?