Van Lingle Mungo was a right-handed pitcher who played thirteen seasons (1931-1945) with the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) and the New York Giants. He was a three-time all-star, but still never seemed to live up to the expectations of his managers. For example, while he did have two 18-win seasons, one of those seasons also included 19 losses. He threw an impressive number of strikeouts, leading the National League with 238 in 1936, but also led the league in walks on a number of occasions.
This song named after Mungo isn’t necessarily about him, however. Rather, Dave Frishberg merely used the song as a way to play around with the various names in baseball, writing the lyrics with the help of a baseball encyclopedia. Frishberg is a big baseball fan, however, having been a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) since 1984.
5 thoughts on ““Van Lingle Mungo,” by Dave Frishberg”
One of my favorite baseball songs. It would be cool if someone did a modern version of it.
That *would* be fun. We’ll have to find us a jazz musician who can pull it off.
That this is a song got so lodged in my mind that I forgot there was a player by the same name.
I thought the Van Lingle Mungo was some sort of dance. It does sort of sound like one.
It does, now that you mention it. I imagine something not super fast paced, but a still an energetic tempo, and riding the edge of controlled movements.