Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox - Great Fenway Park Writers Series


Dick Flavin is a Commonwealth institution, widely known and highly regarded for his 22 years on Boston television. He's blessed with no small measure of talent and a memorable personality. He's a great Red Sox fan, but in that he's hardly unique, since there are several million patriotic Americans who qualify for that distinction.

But among those fans, those patriots, who stretch from sea to shining sea, there may be no other fan who finds more joy in putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard and celebrating in verse our beloved Boston Red Sox.

Since the inception of the Writers Series he has been present at all of our events. Being slow of mind, however, it took me a while to realize Mr. Flavin's special gifts, in both verse and song. But once that happened, my belated discovery, it was easy to designate him Poet Laureate of The Great Fenway Park Writers Series. That he willingly accepted the title and its attendant responsibilities was a special day for The Great Fenway Park Writers Series.

Oh, did I mention, he's also a lovely human being?

George Mitrovich
Chairman


Here then are some of his vast oeuvre of poetical works, offered for your reading and amusement pleasure:
           


ODE TO BOB RYAN

Dick Flavin

He's an ink-stained wretch, a keyboard knight,

Sometimes he's wrong. Sometimes he's right,

But never lacking for insight.

And reading him is a delight.

He has opinions left and right.

Did steroids cause an age of blight?

Are Red Sox tickets out of sight?

Is Rajon Rondo too uptight?

He's a bon vivant. He's erudite.

He entertains. His words have bite.

Though arguments they might incite,

They feed the sports fan's appetite.

But he's no kid, no neophyte.

Now he's retired, am I right?

Or am I just confused a mite?

'Cause if he's gone, he's in plain sight.

He's in the Globe on Sunday, right.

And on TV the last two nights.

And look, he's sitting here tonight.

He won't go 'way, won't take flight.

But, you know what? That's quite all right.

We're glad he won't give up the fight.

For on this truth we all unite.

That Ryan guy, he sure can write.

So, Bobby Boy, hang in there tight,

And when you leave turn out the light.


LONG LIVE FENWAY PARK

Dick Flavin

For a hundred years she's stood here,
Heard cheering, seen our tears.
Through all the good times and the bad
Fenway perseveres.

She's baseball's great crown jewel,
A treasure - this is why.
Look out there on her field, you'll see
The ghosts of games gone by.

There's Babe Ruth standing on the mound,
Ted Williams at the plate.
And someone's great grandfather
Just came in through the gate.

That's Yaz patrolling in left field,
In center, Freddie Lynn;
Cronin's playing shortstop
But Pesky's coming in.

Luis Tiant whirls and spins
And then he lets it go.
There's another leaping catch
By Dom DiMaggio.

Jim Rice lines one off the wall,
Malzone comes in to score.
Pedroia makes a diving stop,
Or is that Bobby Doerr?

Fisk hits one deep into the night.
Will it be foul or fair?
It caroms off the foul pole
And the cheers still fill the air.

Dewey Evans' rifle arm
Just cut a runner down.
There's Tony C, still young and strong,
The toast of his hometown.

Roberts steals another base
Pinch running for Millar.
There's Radatz, Lonborg, Jimmie Foxx,
And Pedro and Nomar.

Look closely. You can see them all.
They come here everyday.
Fenway was and is their home.
It's where her ghosts still play.

And in the dugout by first base,
There sits the current squad.
Someday they will take their place
With all the Fenway gods.

That's why this place is magic,
Why she's made such a mark.
She's one hundred and still going strong.
And long live Fenway Park!

           
Senator Edward Kennedy threw out the first pitch when the Red Sox opened the 2009 American League season. In the lore of Red Sox Nation it was a special moment, for it was the Senator's grandfather, "Honey Fitz", who threw out the first pitch when Fenway opened 97 years ago.

In the Boston Globe photo to the right Senator Kennedy salutes Red Sox Hall of Famer Jim Rice.

Poet Laureate Dick Flavin pays tribute to his pal with the following poem:


TEDDY ON THE MOUND

The outlook wasn’t sunny for the Red Sox Opening Day,
It got rained out and Beantown fans would wait until Tuesday.
But that loyal multitude was sure to hang around,
They knew it would be worth the wait with Teddy on the mound.

The moment came, from deep left field the crowd let out a roar
It rattled in the mountains and echoed from the shore.
The cart in which he rode was just enveloped by the sound
For Teddy, our own Teddy, was advancing to the mound.

There was shouting, there were cameras, there was glamour, there was glitz
The old park hadn’t felt this way since dear old Honey Fitz.
When he stepped out of the cart the cheering shook the ground
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas Teddy on the mound

There was ease in Teddy’s manner and a smile on Teddy’s face,
Then he took the ball in hand and Jim Rice took his place.
Great Teddy leaned into the plate as he got set to throw,
And now the crowd grows hushed and still, and now he lets it go.

Oh somewhere in this land of ours the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light
And Teddy’s fans are happy, because, what’s not to like?
It took one hop to get there, but Teddy threw a strike!


           

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Whenever I need a good cry
I stop and think
Of when the Sox were on the rocks
And how they’d stink
I’d take some glee from misery
I confess
And what is worse, I miss the curse
And the stress

I see Billy Buckner bending
And all our hopes are ending.
The ball is rolling through
His legs before our gaze.
And that horrible truth
When we learned they sold Ruth
Those were the good old days.

I see Bucky Dent of all guys
The weakest of the small guys
That cheesy little homer
Floating through the haze.
And my heart is at risk
They forgot to sign Fisk
Those were the good old days.

I know it’s not pretty to wallow in pity
There’s nothing of value one can gain.
Then all of a sudden I see Don Buddin
And again I’m awash in wondrous pain
(Is everybody crying?)

I see Grady Little snoring
While Yankee runs are scoring
Pedro’s out of gas
But in the game he stays
And there’s Slaughter’s mad dash
Another late season crash
Those were the good old days

Oh I’d complain and I’d beef
But I miss the grief
Of those good old days.
 

A Note from the Poet Laureate:

Harry Frazee was the Red Sox owner who is infamous for selling Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees during the 1919-20 off-season. However, that was just the tip of the iceberg. During the next three years he sold the Yankees practically the entire Boston pitching staff, including Waite Hoyte (Hall of Fame, 237 wins), Herb Pennock (Hall of Fame, 240 wins), Sam Jones (229 wins) and Joe Bush (195 wins). He also sold them three starting position players in addition to Ruth: catcher Wally Schang, shortstop Everett Scott and third baseman Jumpin’ Joe Dugan.

In return the Frazee received some fringe players and mountains of cash, none of which was spent on the Red Sox. Frazee used it all to support his lavish life style and to finance various Broadway productions. When the Yankees won their first world championship in 1923 only one pitcher who won a game for them that year had not been sold to them by Harry Frazee. By that time the Red Sox had descended from the strongest team in the league to the Netherlands of last place, where they would remain for more than a decade.

THAT’S HARRY FRAZEE

Harry Frazee was a son of a bee.
The worst one in hist’ry he ranks.
I’ll tell you why, because he was the guy
Who sold off Babe Ruth to the Yanks.

If he sold his soul for Gold,
That’s Harry Frazee.
If the Yanks took Ruth with thanks,
That’s Harry Frazee
If he gave them our whole pitching staff,
If he gave to the Red Sox the shaft,
He’s burning in Hell, of course.
We think that’s swell, of course.
Up Harry Frazee’s!

If he trashed the team for cash
That’s Harry Frazee.
If he bled the town then fled
That’s Harry Frazee.
If he took every cent he could get
Then if he spent it on No, No, Nanette
He’s burning in Hell, of course
We think that’s swell, of course
Up Harry Frazee’s!




THE NATION’S TEAM 2007


They’re from as nearby as Hyde Park,
Japan so far away,
Puerto Rico, the Dominican
And across the USA.

They represent each one of us,
Each color, shape and size.
But together they’re one unit.
That’s how they won the prize.

On the mound are Josh and Wake,
The Big Schill and Dice-K.
And young arms like Jon Lester
And Buchholz, first name, Clay.

Okajima’s in the pen,
He always comes up big
To close it out Jon Papelbon
Will do an Irish jig.

With Big Papi and Tek and Youk
There’s no way we’d go wrong.
And J.D. Drew and Lugo,
They both finished strong.

Mike Lowell comes through in the clutch
So often it’s uncanny.
Coco’s flying through the air,
And Manny’s being Manny.

And what about the future?
It looks good even there.
Pedroia’s safe at second.
Ellsbury’s everywhere.

They fought the fight. They stayed the course.
They brought us jubilation.
They won the championship for us.
They won for Red Sox Nation.

So let us all salute them,
They’ve fulfilled our dream.
All hail the Boston Red Sox,
All hail The Nation’s Team!

YOU’RE THE SOX


You’re the Sox
You’re the Series winner
You’re the Sox
You’re a champagne dinner

You’re a three base hit
Mirabelli’s mitt
You’re bliss
You’re a prime time Emmy
You’re Jerry Remy
You’re Youkilis

You’re the dome
On the great Francona
You’re a comb
He is not the own-ah
He’s got no hair there
But we don’t care
He rocks
And you brought home that trophy
You’re the Sox!

You’re the Sox
You’re a Beckett heater
You’re the Sox
You’re a Yankee beater
You’re Jon Papelbon
When he comes on
To save
He’ll soon be jigging
But first he’s digging
A hitter’s grave

You’re the bling
On an Ortiz buckle
You’re the ring
On Tim Wakefield’s knuckle
You’re the microphone
When Castiglione
Just talks
And you brought home that trophy
You’re the Sox!

You’re the Sox
You’re Ellsbury running
You’re the Sox
You’re Curt Schilling’s cunning
You’re a long, long fly
You’re a curve ball by
Dice-K
You’re the next on deck
You’re Varitek
You’re Hazel Mae

You’re the pole
For which Pesky’s noted
Your Mike Lowell
An all-star you’re voted
You’re Lucchino’s brain
You’re Manny’s mane
Those locks
And you brought home that trophy
You’re the Sox!

You’re the Sox
You’re John Henry’s money
You’re the Sox
You’re the Easter Bunny
You’re the infield dirt
On Pedroia’s shirt
Each game
You’re a ballpark yell
And you can spell
Yastrzemski’s name

You’re the stretch
In the seventh inning
You’re the catch
That’ll keep us winning
You’re a team that’s proud
To whom the crowd
Just flocks
And you brought home that trophy
You’re the Sox!

JACKIE ROBINSON

He often said down through the years
He never had it made.
He was tested, he was taunted,
In every game he played.

Not just on the ball field,
But in the game of life.
He knew very well the feel
Of prejudice and strife.

He was on a baseball team,
And yet, he was alone.
The very first black player
The major leagues had known.

All eyes were upon him.
Many wanted him to fail.
The pressure was enormous
For he knew he must prevail.

The racial slurs and insults flew,
And he heard them all.
But he summoned all his strength to keep
His eye upon the ball.

Centuries of bigotry,
That’s what he would attack.
He took the country with him,
Riding on his back.

He was more than good enough.
Oh, how he played the game.
His running and his hitting;
First ballot, Hall of Fame.

Because of him the racist walls
Came tumbling to the ground,
And players of all colors
On every team are found.

One man can make a difference,
For when all is said and done,
This game, this land, they're better
Thanks to Jackie Robinson.

Dick Flavin
January 31, 2007
  

         

 

ROBERTS STOLE THAT BASE

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the
Bean town nine that night
Down three games to none,
Ninth inning, end in sight.

So on that stricken multitude
Ignominy beckoned.
Then pinch runner Roberts
Made a dash for second.

The catcher came up throwing,
Jeter raced to take the ball.
Roberts dove. The play was close.
“Safe!” was the umpires’ call.

What happened next will be retold
For years in baseball lore,
For that theft sparked a comeback
Unheard of before.

Mueller singled Roberts home
And several innings later
Big Papi put the game away
With a home run ‘tater.

The Sox went on to win game five,
Game six, and then game seven.
The Yanks were dead. The Cards got swept.
And Hello, Baseball Heaven.

There was cheering there was singing,
And heroes filled the place.
But it never would have happened
Had not Roberts stole that base.

Ode to Larry Lucchino

I wandered today to the park, Larry,
My gosh, the place looks great.
And on it you have left your mark, Larry,
The changes have all turned out first rate.

The Green Monster seats in left field, Larry,
The EMC Club behind home plate,
They not only have a great feel, Larry,
They all mean more money at the gate.

You've sold a few ads in the place, Larry,
And they bring in more bread.
If you’re looking for more ad space, Larry,
Just sell the top of Francona's head.

Your eye's on the old bottom line, Larry,
And for that John Henry sends his thanks.
Oh gee, everything would be fine, Larry,
If we could just beat the bleeping Yanks.

You've sent all the dough to Japan, Larry,
Will you dump Manny, too?
Whatever it is that you plan, Larry,
The town will be second-guessing you.

The media's all on your back, Larry,
Sox Nation is out for blood I fear.
But you can throw them off the track, Larry,
Just tell them to wait until next year.



The Poet Laureate in full discourse.

TEDDY AT THE BAT

(With apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer)

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Red Sox nine that day,
The score stood four to two with but one inning left to play.
So when Stephens died at first and Tebbetts did the same
A pallor wreathed the features of the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go, leaving there the rest
With he hope that springs eternal within the human breast.
They thought if only Teddy could get a whack at that –
They’d put even money now with Teddy at the bat.

But Dom preceded Teddy and Pesky was on deck.
The first of them was in a slump. The other was a wreck.
So on that stricken multitude a deathlike silence sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Teddy’s getting to the bat.

But Dom let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Pesky, of all people, tore the cover off the ball.
When the dust had lifted, and they saw what had occurred,
There was Johnny safe on second and Dominic on third.

Then from that gladdened multitude went up a joyous yell,
It rumbled in the mountains and rattled in the dell.
It struck upon the hillside and rebounded on the flat,
For Teddy, Teddy Ballgame, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Teddy’s manner as he stepped into his place,
There was pride in Teddy’s bearing and a smile on Teddy’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers he lightly doffed his hat,
(I’m making that part up)
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Teddy at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he wiped his hands with dirt,
Five thousand tongues applauded as he wiped them on his shirt.
Then when the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Teddy’s eyes, a sneer curled Teddy’s lip.

And now the leather covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Teddy stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped.
“That ain’t my style,” said Teddy. “Strike one!” the umpire said.

From the benches black with people went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm waves on the stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” someone shouted on the stand,
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Teddy raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Teddy’s visage shown.
He stilled the rising tumult and bade the game go on.
He signaled the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew.
But Teddy still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two!”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and the echo answered fraud.
But one scornful look from Teddy and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Teddy wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Teddy’s lip; his teeth are clenched in hate.
He pounds with cruel vengeance his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Teddy’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this land of ours the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout.
And they’re going wild at Fenway Park ‘cause Teddy hit one out!



The Poet Laureate in caricature.

The Ride of the Red Sox

Listen my children, you fans, and you jocks,
Of the championship ride of the Boston Red Sox.
It's the nineteenth of April in two thousand and four.
And we're off on a ride that will go down in lore.

We've got Pedro and Schilling and Derek and Tim,
And the damn Yankees' hopes already look dim.
There is Damon and Manny and Kevin Millar,
Bill Mueller and Pokey, each one an all-star.

Varitek catching will lead the attack,
As for Nomar and Nixon, they're both coming back.
And this is why we're reciting this verse,
In two thousand four we will bury this curse.

We'll stamp out the Yankees and win in the East,
And the playoffs will be a great victory feast.
And when that Worlkd Series Flag is unfurled,
It will say, "Boston Red Sox -- the Champs of the World!"

           

Those Were the Days

(A parody of the theme song from
All in the Family
)

Boy, the way that Pesky played
What a bunch of hits he made
Damn it, he was underpaid
Those were the days.

Pitching, as a rule it stunk
Septembers all our hopes were sunk
The manager was usually drunk
Those were the days.

Dominic and Bobby Doerr
Think of all the runs they’d score
What the hell was Denny Galehouse
In that playoff game for?

Teddy Williams and his bat
Fenway Park was where it’s at
Birdie Tebbetts’ ass was fat
Those were the days.

 

Dom DiMaggio

A player must be worthy to be in the Hall of Fame.
It must be clear he has the stuff by how he played the game.
Three ways they to measure him that cannot be ignored;
One is hitting, two is fielding and three is runs he scored.

At each of those one man stood out, that’s why we should bestow
Enshrinement in the Hall of Fame on Dom DiMaggio.
In the years he played he had more hits than any other man.
He had more doubles than them all, except for Ted and Stan.

Look up all the runs he scored because they clearly state
That Dom trailed only Williams in times he crossed the plate.
When he was out in centerfield, that’s where Dom excelled.
And the proof is in the records that he set and held.

His chances and putouts per game over a career –
Records that he holds today – stand up every year.
He set single season records back in nineteen forty eight
But for expansion they’d still stand. In the outfield he was great

And if all that were not enough, here’s still another reason;
One hundred runs he averaged, that’s what he scored per season.
The only man to do that who’s not now in the Hall,
Surely he deserves to have his plaque upon the wall.

Dom DiMaggio, great player, a credit to the game,
Let’s do the right thing and put him into the Hall of Fame.

           

A Jerk Named Mo

Attorney Maurice Engelberg,
What a piece of work
All claptrap and flapdoodle –
In a word, a jerk.

He’s suing San Francisco,
Or says he will, says Mo,
If it names a playground
For Joe DiMaggio.

Name the place where Joe first played?
Mo says that has dissed him.
He’s holding out for something more,
Like the solar system.

He’s just protecting Joe’s good name
Mo wants us to know,
But who’s protecting Joltin’ Joe,
From a jerk name Mo?

 


The Poet Laureate and his buddy,
Red Sox Hall of Famer Dom DiMaggio.

Off-Season – 2005/06

Have I got a headache, and for a good reason.
Could we do a retake on this whole off-season?
With Theo it started, some kind of snit.
I think Larry farted and then Theo quit.

Then Damon, he leaves us, the guy that’s all hairy.
He looks just like Jesus and throws just like Mary.
Out by the Green Monster, will Manny not be there?
If not, when he wants to we won’t let him pee there.

Wells wants to go elsewhere, but whom will we get?
I keep having this nightmare—we’ll sign Dan Duquette.
They got a new knee for Terry Francona
But unfortunately Bobby Orr was the donor.

It’s driving me loco, I’m under attack.
We got someone named Coco. Hey, now Theo’s back.
Then Larry I see and my fears are all gone
Till he says to me, “What the hell’s going on?”

We’ve suffered some shocks to our off-season plans,
But God bless the Red Sox and God help us fans.

 
     
 

John Henry’s Men

(with apologies to Sigmund Romberg and
Oscar Hammerstein)

Give me some men who are John Henry’s men
And you’ll soon hear a World Series roar
Start me with nine and a bullpen that’s fine
And then runs by the tons they will score

B’s on their hats and with thunderous bats
They’ll be champs to enhance our folklore
There’s no way the Sox cannot fulfill our dream
When John Henry’s men repeat as our World Champion Team.

 

Red Sox Razzle-Dazzle

We gave ‘em the old razzle-dazzle
We razzle-dazzled ‘em
We started out by sweeping Anaheim
Then it was on to crush the Yankees time

Gave ‘em a full three game head start
Then we clobbered ‘em
How could they win with A-Rod’s girly slap?
The Empire choked and it was shocking

On Damon’s hair and Schilling’s stocking
We razzle-dazzled ‘em
And now we’re on the map
We gave ‘em the old razzle-dazzle

We razzle-dazzled ‘em
We finished up against St. Louis
Four games later they were singin’ the blue-iss
Gave ‘em the old eight game win streak

Stun and staggered ‘em
And that World Series flag is now unfurled
Red Sox Nation is all in clover
And here is why – the Curse is over

We razzle-dazzled ‘em
Now we’re champs of the world!

 

Ode to John Henry

Here’s to you, Johnny Henry,
You broke the dreaded curse.
We suffered for so many years,
Things couldn’t get much worse.

We’d come so close to victory
Then out the door it went
The ball would go through someone’s legs,
Or Bucky Bleeping Dent.

Then you came upon the scene
And, John, you saved the day.
You knew that winning means much more
Than on the field of play.

Oh sure, you built a baseball team,
One that is for the ages.
They can pitch and they can hit.
You pay them damn good wages.

But it’s what you’ve done for everyone
Through your Red Sox Foundation.
You’ve brought us all together
In this place called Red Sox Nation.

You’ve helped the sick, you’ve helped the poor.
Brought racial harmony.
And that’s why we salute you, John.
You’re the whole town’s MVP.


Ode to Johnny Pesky

Here’s to you, Johnny Pesky,
You’re baseball in this town.
You’ve played, you’ve coached, you’ve managed.
You’ve never let us down.

Two hundred hits a season
When you play, how’s that?
You hold the all-time record
For swings with a fungo bat.

They’ve named a foul pole after you,
The reason, is clear,
If you could hit the ball that far –
Once or twice a year.

You’ve seen them all, from Ted and Dom,
To Yaz, Big Papi, too.
More than sixty years of players
Could learn a thing from you.

You’re Mr. Red Sox. You’re the man!
You’re in our Hall of Fame
You understood this basic truth,
That’s baseball just a game.

The game of life’s what counts with you.
We have got your measure.
So Happy Birthday Johnny,
You’re a Boston treasure!

 
 








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