Poems: Lineup for Yesterday

What letter did Nash use for Foxx? No, not J. No, not F. X is the correct answer.

Frederic Ogden Nash was born on August 19, 1902 in Rye, New York to a family that moved often due to his father’s job. He went to Harvard in 1920, but he dropped out after a year. He went back to his high school to teach, but he didn’t stay there long. Eventually, he ended up at Doubleday Publishing House, where he began to write poetry. In 1934 and after he was married, he and his wife moved to Baltimore, and different from his early life, he stayed there for the next 37 years. He published his first set of poems, Hard Lines (not about baseball), three years previous to his move to Baltimore, and when he didn’t write poetry, he was a popular guest on radio and comedy shows.

Nash once said, “I could have loved New York had I not loved Baltimore.” Along with the city itself, he loved the sports teams. The poet was an ardent fan of the Baltimore Colts (NFL) and the Baltimore Orioles (MLB). In 1968, Life published a few of Nash’s poems about the Baltimore Colts. Nash’s most popular sports poem, however, was written 19 years before those about the Colts when he published “Lineup for Yesterday”. Nash goes through the alphabet listing baseball’s immortals.

I would re-post the poem, but it’s incredibly long (well, not that long — just too long for the length I try to keep the posts). Anyway, it’s here, and it’s not difficult to find a copy.

It’s been mentioned how much baseball and poetry can work together, so I figured I would add on a few famous poems here and there. Is there a “Lineup for Today” that anyone knows about? I’m sure it’s been mimicked, but I didn’t know if there was an official one. If there isn’t, who would you include from today? Would you include those from the past as well as present? The list of people might be too long to post in the comments, but if you shoot me an email with a list (or even a poem — if you take the time to write a decent poem, I will post it), I’ll look at it and post it along with a list I’ll create. I’ll probably do one for modern (post-1950 players — just because Nash’s includes those before) and one for all baseball history until now. When will that be posted? I guess it depends on how much work I have between now and Spring Break, but I’ll have it up at some point, at least, during Spring Break (March 14-21, I think).


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