Celebrate Halloween with this tremendously spooky poem about the 1921 Pirates
Sadly, because the World Series has an off-day on Halloween, there won't be any baseball to break up your trick-or-treating and horror movie marathons. In fact, you may have worried that, unless any "Field of Dreams"-style baseball ghosts emerge from a nearby cornfield, there won't be any baseball at all in your day.
Fortunately, thanks to Jack Sayles' poem "Baseball Ghosts," published in The Pittsburgh Press on May 2, 1921, you get the best of both realms (meaning the living and the dead, natch):
Found on Newspapers.com
Here it is written out if you're having trouble reading it on the old newsprint:
The baseball ghost of Wagner rumbled in its grave,
Seeing some men's efforts caused it to loudly rave;
Till a mighty warrior came and took the tribe in hand
And found a fleety Buccaneer who just completes his band.
The baseball ghost of Bransfield shook its crumbling tomb,
Some of the efforts at first base caused it to justly fume;
But from the mists a phantom came to gambol in his place
And makes the old-time Pirates feared in the coming race.
The baseball ghost of Gibson rapped noisily outside
"Come, get a man to carry on where I left off," it cried;
A husky chap from out the west stepped quickly to the platter
And by his magic maneuvering hushed this mystic chatter.
Now the ghosts of baseball stars are silenced, so it seems,
With real live speeding meteors the Pirate club just teems;
For men like Schmidt and Bigbee -- Maranville and Young Grimm,
Tierney, "Scoops" and Barnhart, just keep the team in trim.
With the Pirates having gone 12 seasons without a pennant, Sayles had good reason to look back to the days when shortstop Honus Wagner, first baseman Kitty Bransfield and catcher George Gibson brought the Pirates an NL pennant in 1903 and the World Series championship in 1909.
When this poem was published, it looked like the postseason drought was about to end. With catcher William Schmidt, outfielder Carson Bigbee, Hall of Fame shortstop Rabbit Maranville, the appropriately Halloween-named first baseman Charlie Grimm, infielder Cotton Tierney, Hall of Famer Max "Scoops" Carey and third baseman Clyde Barnhart namechecked in the piece, the team jumped out to a hot 13-3 start to the season.
The team even ran its record to an impressive 24-6 through May 21, but unfortunately for Sayles, the '21 Pirates' World Series aspirations turned out to be nothing more than a fading specter at the edge of the bed. The team finished with 90 wins at the end of the year ... in second place, four games back of the New York Giants.