Thursday, May 3, 2012


        There are more than a few baseball fans still living who remember Connie Mack and his Philadelphia Athletics, winners of nine American League pennants and five World Series. The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society is doing a great job of keeping their memory alive. I happen to be the last surviving member of the Athletics' front office executive staff, having served as the A's Public Relations Director.
        Baseball historians recall the Athletics' stellar second base combination of Eddie Joost and Pete Suder, with Ferris Fain at first base and Hank Majeski at third.* In 1949 they set a double play record (217) that remains to this day, and a record three-year total (629) that will probably never be surpassed, despite the fact that the season is longer now (162 games) than in those years (154).

       Their fielding exploits were celebrated in this poem, which I sent out as a press release  Other players contributed to the record, of course, but because my poem was a take-off on Franklin Pierce Adams' famous poem** commemorating the Chicago Cubs' renowned trio of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance, I focused on the A's three key infielders and called it Joost to Suder to Fain. The poem appeared in newspapers throughout the baseball playing world. It is included in my third volume of poetry, entitled If I Do Say So Myself.


*   The photographs are from the Philadelphia Athletics 1952 Yearbook.
** The actual title of Adams' poem is Baseball's Sad Lexicon, but it is best known by the recurring line, "Tinker to Evers to Chance."

         JOOST TO SUDER TO FAIN                    

Voluminous prose has been written by those
who have this one thought to advance:
that the greatest combine in the double play line
was Tinker to Evers to Chance.

Those three famous Cubs were surely not dubs.
Their fielding was something sublime.
They were far and away the class of their day,
the double play kings of their time.

But they’ve since been dethroned and partly disowned.
No longer as kings do they reign.
For a new DP team is ruling supreme,
known as Joost to Suder to Fain.

These sensational A’s have perfected their ways
to the point where they lead all the rest.
As twin killings go, three years in a row
they’ve ranked as the major leagues’ best.

There’s never a worry; they’ll comply in a hurry,
when a quick double play is desired.
A roller or liner just couldn’t be finer,
you can bet that two men are retired.

You may already know what the record books show,
three years they’ve continued to shine,
all others surpassing this record amassing:
a total of six twenty-nine!

Eddie Joost rings the bell as a shortstop as well
as a mighty good man with the stick.
To select someone who has an arm that’s as true,
it would be an impossible pick. 

On second there stands “the man with the hands.”        
If a ball’s hit to Pete there’s no doubt.
You never need look, jot it down in the book,
it’s a cinch that the batter is out.

A hitter’s accursed with Ferris on first.  
There’s no one as clever as he,                                          
in spearing a bounder or sizzling grounder
and completing that tough three-six-three.       

A long time from now, when they’re telling of how
so and so could get two with no strain,
we’ll think of the days of Connie Mack’s A’s,
and of Joost and Suder and Fain.


1 comment:

  1. I started listening to the A's in 1943 at the age of 9, and was a big fan in'49. Listened on WCMB in Lemoyne, PA; and still think By Saam and Gene Kelly were great announcers. Loved Joost to Suder to Fain; but Majeski was my favorite. I get sick of hearing Tinker, etc. They were in SI again recently.