The Sporting Life’s Sad Lexicon

Tinker Evers Chance

Baseball’s Sad Lexicon
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.”

~ Franklin Pierce Adams


Back in the summer of 1910, when Franklin Pierce Adams, a columnist for the New York Evening Mail, wrote those now famous baseball lines, he did so on his way to see the Giants play the Cubs at the Polo Grounds, but only because his editor just happened to have chided him as he left about coming up with a column that was a little longer in content than the one he recently had been submitting. When his quickly composed doggerel was included with his column of July 12, 1910, no one, even Adams, thought much of it as a thing of value, but those initial judgments proved wrong. Readers and other papers and writers liked it. – The thing literally did what the written word does ever now and then. It took on a life of its own.

First published as “That Double Play Again,” it was reprinted by the Chicago Daily Tribune on July 15, 1910 as “Gotham’s Woe.” Three days later, after much energetic feedback, it was published again in the New York Daily Tribune by the title that would crown its place in the history of baseball literature as “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.”

All that being said, it occurred to me today that the poem, in a way, was about two guys named Tinker and Evers leaving the legacy of their talents up to “chance”. If the guy on first doesn’t make the final catch in this three-second performance, none of these three bear cubs are remembered well enough together to all later make it to the Hall of Fame – let alone to have inspired a beleaguered columnist to write the lines under pressure from his boss as column space fillers – only to see them become words that would soon rise to a level of historical stature far exceeding the memory of either the man who wrote them or the newspaper that published them.

The following respectful parody is dedicated to everyone in life, not baseball alone, although our sport has contributed its fair share to the total of those who sadly have frittered away opportunity because they were not able to grow up in time to see what they were doing to themselves until it was too late:

          The Sporting Life’s Sad Lexicon

These are the saddest of possible words:

“I tinkered forever with chance.”

Loving to play, I soared with the birds,

“Why go to work? Let’s just dance!”

Restlessly living my life on the bubble,

“I want what I want! Don’t give me no trouble!”

Words that lead only to life on the stubble:

When you tinker forever with chance.

                         ~ Bill McCurdy


One Response to “The Sporting Life’s Sad Lexicon”

  1. strider49Rob Says:

    Parody home run. You’re at the top of your game.

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