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  • Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge

    Is anyone familiar with a baseball poem entitled "Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge?"

    In 1963 (approximately) I was 12 years old, (the math says I’m now 64) living in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I loved sports, and reading, and I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged my interest in both.
    A school program of the day featured a program where students could actually buy inexpensive books that we wanted to keep. I grew up somewhat poor, but I did have a paper route, and I scraped up the coins that I needed to buy an anthology of sports humour that I found particularly funny. The collection of stories and jokes covered mostly celebrated characters from college football, and from professional football and baseball in the U.S.

    One of the best pieces in the book was a poem entitled “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge,” a “take off” on the famous work by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859). The original poem entitled Horatius at the Bridge told the epic story of Horatius and his two comrades, defending the bridge to ancient Rome from invasion. The “take off” poem told the story of the epic game 7 of the 1955 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Even at 12, I knew the poem was very clever. I read the poem endlessly, and finally, committed the work to memory. Over 50 years later, I can still recite it without hesitation.

    As retired people often do, I recently went on an internet search to identify the author of “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge,” and find whatever history might surround the writing of the actual poem. Oddly, I can find no record or mention of the piece, even in the literature portion of the Baseball Almanac.

    The poem opens with the first lines,

    “Walt Alston, Dodge of Brooklyn, by the nine gods he swore,
    That the great house of Brooklyn should suffer scorn no more;……….”

    …………….and carries on for 13 four line stanzas or verses. There’s probably more text in the original of “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge” than the 13 verses I currently recall. I suspect my memory has produced a “condensed” version, which is another reason why I wish to find a record of the first writing.

    “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge” is a polished, well written piece, with real historical accuracy. I find it strange that there is no common recognition of it within baseball literature.

  • #2
    Originally posted by mcloon View Post
    Is anyone familiar with a baseball poem entitled "Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge?"

    In 1963 (approximately) I was 12 years old, (the math says I’m now 64) living in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I loved sports, and reading, and I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged my interest in both.
    A school program of the day featured a program where students could actually buy inexpensive books that we wanted to keep. I grew up somewhat poor, but I did have a paper route, and I scraped up the coins that I needed to buy an anthology of sports humour that I found particularly funny. The collection of stories and jokes covered mostly celebrated characters from college football, and from professional football and baseball in the U.S.

    One of the best pieces in the book was a poem entitled “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge,” a “take off” on the famous work by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859). The original poem entitled Horatius at the Bridge told the epic story of Horatius and his two comrades, defending the bridge to ancient Rome from invasion. The “take off” poem told the story of the epic game 7 of the 1955 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Even at 12, I knew the poem was very clever. I read the poem endlessly, and finally, committed the work to memory. Over 50 years later, I can still recite it without hesitation.

    As retired people often do, I recently went on an internet search to identify the author of “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge,” and find whatever history might surround the writing of the actual poem. Oddly, I can find no record or mention of the piece, even in the literature portion of the Baseball Almanac.

    The poem opens with the first lines,

    “Walt Alston, Dodge of Brooklyn, by the nine gods he swore,
    That the great house of Brooklyn should suffer scorn no more;……….”

    …………….and carries on for 13 four line stanzas or verses. There’s probably more text in the original of “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge” than the 13 verses I currently recall. I suspect my memory has produced a “condensed” version, which is another reason why I wish to find a record of the first writing.

    “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge” is a polished, well written piece, with real historical accuracy. I find it strange that there is no common recognition of it within baseball literature.
    http://bookscans.com/Publishers/krjo...Lion_Books.pdf
    It is mentioned on page 29.
    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank You Dude Paskert

      Originally posted by Dude Paskert View Post
      Thank You Dude Paskert: You are a genius,.....there's no denying it.

      The sports anthology, "Sports Laughs," compiled by Herman L Masin is indeed the pocket book I purchased back when I was 12 years old. Strange that the enclosed poem "Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge" has no listed author.

      Copies of the book "Sports Laughs" appear to be available through the usual markets. The hunt will continue.

      Thank you again for the lead.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mcloon View Post
        Thank You Dude Paskert: You are a genius,.....there's no denying it.

        The sports anthology, "Sports Laughs," compiled by Herman L Masin is indeed the pocket book I purchased back when I was 12 years old. Strange that the enclosed poem "Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge" has no listed author.

        Copies of the book "Sports Laughs" appear to be available through the usual markets. The hunt will continue.

        Thank you again for the lead.
        Aww...you're only saying it cuz it's true!!

        ;^)
        "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

        Comment


        • #5
          For those of you who have wandered back to this thread and wondered where it might be going:…..

          In summary,……..following the previously noted tip (courtesy of Dude Paskert) I have determined that the sports anthology that I referred to from my earlier years is, in fact, the pocket book entitled ‘Sports Laughs.” The poem “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge” that was included in the book is dated in 1955, but it shows the author as anonymous. “Sports Laughs” was edited by Herman L Masin, and first printed in 1956.

          More recently, a basic internet search shows that Herman L Masin graduated from New York University in 1936. He immediately got the first and only job he would ever have, as editor of Scholastic Coach magazine, a position he held until 2008 .

          While many of his physical education classmates at NYU became conventional teachers, Herman Masin taught thousands of students about the fundamentals of sports, teamwork and safety through feature articles that filled the pages of Scholastic Coach. The magazine was a leading magazine for coaches and athletic directors in high schools, parochial and prep schools, junior colleges and colleges, as well as key non-school athletic programs.

          In addition to his work at Scholastic Coach, Masin wrote a number of instructional books covering baseball and other popular sports. He also edited several sports humour collections that evolved into published works such as “Sports Laughs.”

          Throughout his career, various groups recognized Masin for his enormous contributions to sports. He was a member of the National High School Sports Hall of Fame and he received the Award for Journalistic Contribution from the American Baseball Coaches Association.

          Herman L Masin passed away in 2010. I suspect that his absence will make it difficult to trace the background of “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge” any further beyond “Sports Laughs.”

          I have arranged to purchase a used copy of “Sports Laughs,” in order to confirm the text of the original poem. I’ll add a further update once I have the book and the poem in hand.

          Comment


          • #6
            Update to Thread

            For those of you who have wandered back to this thread and wondered where it might be going:…..

            In summary,……..following the previously noted tip (courtesy of Dude Paskert) I have determined that the sports anthology that I referred to from my earlier years is, in fact, the pocket book entitled ‘Sports Laughs.” The poem “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge” that was included in the book is dated in 1955, but it shows the author as anonymous. “Sports Laughs” was edited by Herman L Masin, and first printed in 1956.

            More recently, a basic internet search shows that Herman L Masin graduated from New York University in 1936. He immediately got the first and only job he would ever have, as editor of Scholastic Coach magazine, a position he held until 2008 .

            While many of his physical education classmates at NYU became conventional teachers, Herman Masin taught thousands of students about the fundamentals of sports, teamwork and safety through feature articles that filled the pages of Scholastic Coach. The magazine was a leading magazine for coaches and athletic directors in high schools, parochial and prep schools, junior colleges and colleges, as well as key non-school athletic programs.

            In addition to his work at Scholastic Coach, Masin wrote a number of instructional books covering baseball and other popular sports. He also edited several sports humour collections that evolved into published works such as “Sports Laughs.”

            Throughout his career, various groups recognized Masin for his enormous contributions to sports. He was a member of the National High School Sports Hall of Fame and he received the Award for Journalistic Contribution from the American Baseball Coaches Association.

            Herman L Masin passed away in 2010. I suspect that his absence will make it difficult to trace the background of “Horatius at the Brooklyn Bridge” any further beyond “Sports Laughs.”

            I have arranged to purchase a used copy of “Sports Laughs,” in order to confirm the text of the original poem. I’ll add a further update once I have the book and the poem in hand.

            Comment


            • #7
              Did you ever read "Bill Stern's Favorite Baseball Stories" when you were a kid?
              I think this one was reissued many times over the years, found a copy for fifty cents or whatever when I was poking around in a VT antique shop and still enjoy flipping through ten or more years later.
              I would guess most of the stories are highly exaggerated at best, but it is a fun book. My memory is that Bill James debunked a few of its claims in a gentle way.
              "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

              Comment


              • #8
                I’ve done an excavation in my “theatre of the mind” nostalgia locker, but I can’t recall reading that particular book.

                Like most groups in their early teens, the neighbourhood mob where I grew up was driven by sports from an early age. More talented kids and those from somewhat more affluent families played organized sports. The rest of us haunted the fields and ball diamonds at nearby schools and parks. We had a favourite dirt and gravel lot behind a grocery store a few blocks away, which was the chosen ground for most baseball encounters (I’m still a sucker for the movie, “The Sand Lot.”).

                I have a clear memory of listening to the play by play broadcast of the triple A Vancouver baseball team, late at night on a rocket radio cleverly hidden from my mother under the bedcovers. On the nights when the team wasn’t playing I would read about sports by flashlight (and what kid didn’t?). I went through a car load of sports books in those days, but today my corroded memory largely fails me. How I kept a poem in my head for this long is a mystery.

                I’ll keep my eye open for "Bill Stern's Favorite Baseball Stories"

                Comment

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