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LAST UPS

Frosty and the Babe
By John Robert McFarland

[O]ne of my unfulfilled promises on earth was to my fellow in art, Alfred Kreymborg, of
an epic poem someday about a ball batted so hard by Babe Ruth that it never came back,
but got to going round and round the world like a satellite. . . .

Robert Frost, Sports Illustrated, 1956 (reprinted July 11, 1994)


The Bambino's team was mighty,
Nine stories full of fame,
DiMaggio and Gehrig,
Masters of the game.

Lazzeri, Dickey, Berra,
Made pitchers weep at night.
Ruffing, Ford, and Hoyt,
They were a fearsome sight.

Yes, Babe's team, it was mighty,
All members of the Hall,
But they'd never faced old Frosty,
That master of the ball.

Frosty heaved it with a sentence,
Frosty hurled it with a word,
When Frosty threw the horsehide,
It split lumber like a sword.

Frosty turned his back on walls,
Unlovable as sin,
Frosty turned and faced home plate,
Where they have to take you in.

He took the road less traveled,
As he stopped beside the wood,
Then he turned and faced the platter,
Where the Babe in splendor stood.

—EFQ

The Babe was rapt and ready,
He gave his hat a tip,
Three runners took their leads,
On the bat he took his grip.

Babe pointed to the outfield,
His finger to the sky,
Far beyond the fences,
To the clouds away up high.

Frosty rhymed the spheroid.
Babe took a mighty swing.
The ball was split in even halves,
It was an awesome thing.

Half soared beyond the fences,
Half fell into the mitt.
Half the ball was called a strike.
Half was a home run hit.

Babe trotted 'round the bases,
As half the ball kept climbin'.
Frosty dipped his pen to fans,
Tossed verse upon the diamond.

One a poet with the lumber,
One a poet with the phrase,
One his bat all full of thunder,
One his arm all full of grace.




JOHN ROBERT MCFARLAND wrote the best-selling Now that I Have Cancer I Am Whole: Meditations for Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them. He also wrote the Edd Roush biography for Scribner’s American Lives. He plays third base in an old guys league and charges every grounder.

© 2002 John Robert McFarland

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