Shakespearean Baseball Quotes!

A ShakespeareIn 2008, dedicated bseball writer Paul Dickson put together a book he called “Baseball’s Greatest Quotations.”  With index, this 652 page work covered a number of the great quotes from baseball history and quite a few items that most of us had never heard previously. My own favorites were the lines from Shakespeare that Dickson found as references to baseball. Well, I nver knew that old Willie Boy could hit, throw, run, or play catch with a baseball, but I always admired his work. William Shakespeare did a pretty fair job of pitching words and ideas from the English language that covered all the bases, didn’t he? By the time he was done, he had gone through all the great plots of human edeavour, leaving all writers who followed him with the challenging task of cooking up some edible rehash.

I have no idea if Dickson came up with these excerpts from Shaakespeare that sound, at least, as if they are references to baseball, but they are pretty good fpr the most part. With the exception of one easy-to-find inclusion that burst forth from within me and begged for slip-me-in-too addition, I’ll simply present them to you here as I found them on pages 488-489:

“And have is have, however men do catch.” – King John

“And what a pitch … !” – Henry VI, Part I

“And when he caught it, he let it go again.” – Coriolanus

“And watched him how he singled …” – Henry VI, Part III

“Foul …?” – The Tempest

“He comes the third time home …” – Coriolanus

“Hence! home … get you home …” – Julius Caesar

“He’s safe.” – Measure for Measure

“I am safe.” – Antony and Cleopatra

“I’ll catch it ere it come to ground.” – Macbeth

“I ahall catch the fly …” – Henry V

“I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach!” – Hamlet

“Look to the plate.” – Romeo and Juliet

“My heels are at your command; I will run.” – The Merchant of Venice

“O my offense is rank, it smells to heaven.” – Hamlet

“O, tis fair …” – Troilus and Cressida

“Sweet sacrifice.” – Henry VIII

“That one error fills him with faults.” – The Two Gentlemen of Verona

“There is three umpires in this matter …” – The Merry Wives of WIndsor

“They that … pitch will be defiled.” – Much Ado About Nothing

“Thy seat is up … high.” – Richard II

“What wretched errors …!” – Sonnets

“The sainted knights of chivalrous endeavour unerringly suffer the misfortune of finishing their noble quests in the rear row of dire ignominy.” – Durocherus

“When time is ripe – which will be suddenly, I’ll steal …” Henry IV, Part I

“Your play needs no excuse.” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Of course, Dickson couldn’t tag ’em all. He left out my favorite quote, and one that applies to what’s on all our fans’ minds at this point in the season, just about every time the Houston Astros begin their annual second-half surge:

“To be, or not to be, that is the question!” – Hamlet

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2 Responses to “Shakespearean Baseball Quotes!”

  1. Bill McCurdy Says:

    More Shakespeare by e-mail from SABR buddy Tony Cavender …

    “A hit, a palpable hit.”–Hamlet

    “Fair is foul and foul is fair”–Macbeth

    “A Comedy of Errors”–the 1962 Mets.

    Thanks, Tony! Thou knowest not the full depth of our appreciation.

  2. Bill McCurdy Says:

    St. Louis bud Sumner Hunnewell also e-mailed me this important reminder:

    “Don’t forget the original ‘Angels in the Outfield’ (movie), where the manager (good old Paul Douglas) balls out the ump with a Shakespearian tongue.”

    Then Tony Cavender weighed in again with “”Not as deep as a well, but tis’ enough.” I’m not sure what that’s from, but it sounds Shakespearean to me.

    Speaking of things sounding Shakespearean, how about this one:

    “Thou shalt not be finishethed until thou doest finisheth!” – Berrus

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