My grandfather, Jack Waddell, used to remind us that baseball was scriptural. “It’s in Genesis 1:1”, he would say. “In the big inning…”
He loved poetry, too. When he passed away my mom found his old love letters that he had written to my grandmoher, and often he would include poetry in his notes to her.
Being a sports fan, he loved sportswriter Grantland Rice, who was born in Murfreesboro but was raised in Nashville. After Rice graduated from Vanderbilt University, he was sports editor for a newspapers in Nashville, Atlanta, Cleveland, and New York. The way Rice wrote, often in rhyme, was right down my grandfather’s alley.
One of the lines I remember granddaddy quoting was, “Rebecca went to the well with a pitcher’. Researching baseball history one day, I came across a poem, and there it was, in an issue of The Sporting News in 1981.
My apologies to whomever wrote it (I cannot be certain that Grantland Rice did or did not), but I am hoping it is okay for me to include it here:
The First Baseball Game
“My sermon today”, said Reverend Jones,
“is baseball and whence it came.
Now, if you take the Good Book and you take a good look,
you will find the first Baseball Game.
“It says Eve stole first, Adam second;
Solomon umpired the game.
Rebecca went to the well with a pitcher,
And Ruth in the field made a name.
“Goliath was struck out by David
A base hit was made on Abel by Cain,
And the Prodigal Son made a great home-run.
Brother Noah gave checks out for rain.”
“Jonah wailed — went down swinging.
Later he popped up again.
A lion-drive by ole Nebuchadnezzar
Made Daniel warm-up in the pen.
“Delilah was pitching to Samson
When he brought down the house with a clout,
And the Angels that day made a double-play
That’s when Adam and Eve were thrown out.
“Ole St. Pete was checking errors,
Also had charge of the gate.
Salome sacrificed Big John the Baptist
Who wound up ahead on the plate.
“Satan was pitching that apple
And looked as though he might fan ‘em all,
But then Joshua let go a mighty blow
And blasted one right at the wall.
“And then the Lord wound up and took good aim,
And started the very First Baseball Game.
And, now we all know the way that the game was begun,
And to this very day – it’s still Number One!”