Old Babe

by Mark Stellinga

2005 Mark Stellinga, all rights reserved.

ey, did I ever tell you 'bout the greatest baseball game,
Or should I say, the one that gave "Old Babe" his famous name?

Like several other great ones, there were many hits that day,
And, if it hadn't ended like it did, I'd have to say,

Nothing all that great went down, but talk about suspense...
Ever seen a coach put SEVEN fielders on the fence??

Both the teams had scored at will, yet errors were very few,
And after 14 innings they were tied at...22!

The top of fifteen saw more hits, the third out didn't arrive
'Til ten went up.... two were left, and the Reds had picked up five.

The Yank that batted first was walked. The next flied out to right.
The next guy bunts, now two are on...a close call, but, not quite!

Now time is called, and to the mound out waddles old coach Jones.
The bullpen hummed with forks and spits, the bleachers oozed with groans.

The Reds had traded FOUR for ONE to sign their new, "Big Gun"!
He'd finished forty ballgames with...no walks...no hits...no runs!

Then sure enough, the signal came, as Jonsey whirled around,
And the "million-bucks-a-minute-man" came charging to the mound!

His half a dozen warm up shots were clocked at one-o-eight,
When Gehrig, hitting ..415, dug in beside the plate.

The kid winds up, the cannon roars, the umpire growls his call,
"Take your base!" On his first pitch...he nicks him with the ball!

Well, now the Yanks decide to let their hottest man pich hit.
He struts out to the batters' box. Big Gun just smiled and spit.

But with his great delivery, well, his wind-up takes too long.
The "squeeze" is tried, a run is scored...the Yanks can do no wrong.

With a triple steal, first is empty...the batter takes "ball one,"
So Big Gun gives the ump a glare, and cocks his awesome gun.

The next three pitches gave new meaning to the old term..."smoke"!
The first two cracked the bats, on fouls, the third one, well...it broke...

But not the bat....the "pitch"....and Big Gun grinned and waved good-bye.
With two men on, and two men out, it was time to..."do...or die"!

The next Yank looked at 4 before he got the old green light.
With 3 and 1, he ripped one foul, then took one...high and tight.

And now, with bases loaded...the glare on Big Gun's face
Could have easily killed the guy when he yelled...."Take your base!"

Now Big Gun's hit a batter, and, he's issued his first walk,
And, with the fear of "squeeze," he chokes...the umpire signals "balk!"

So now, the Yanks are down by three, when ...'cross the emerald turf
Struts the man the Yankee fans have nicknamed "Mighty Murph."

Now, Jonsey had to wonder if their luck was finally gone,
But thought he'd play the odds and hollered, "Big Gun...put him on!"

The fans of both teams liked the way the strategies were done.
It looked as though, no matter what, the game would soon be won.

Big Gun had retired ninety-two of ninety-four...
But he had never pitched a ball to big Old Babe before!

In situations like this one...Old Babe was hitting great!
With runners on, his average loomed at ..738!

Because the wind was strong that day, and mostly blowing in,
Jonsey made a move you'll prob'ly never see again!

He took all seven fielders, and he nailed them to the fence,
And, though a base hit wouldn't win the game...it made no sense!

But nothing 'bout this game made sense, and when you've heard the rest,
You'll know...of all the games to date...why this one was the best.

Now Jonsey's many years as coach again said...put him on!
Play the odds.... give up the run.....but with his patience gone,

Jonsey gave the signal that the fans were praying for!
A strikeout meant a vict'ry....and the Yankees needed four.

If Big Gun struck him out he'd earn himself a major "save,"
But if "Old Babe" would park the ball...he'd take it to his grave.

So this was it! But, this is what great games are all about!
See...Jonsey's crazy strategy was meant to...psych Babe out!

But Babe just twisted in his spikes, then found the Big Gun's eyes.
The Yankee fans went crazy when they saw the old bat rise!

He pointed straight to center field, then, with a tiny grin,
He nodded at Big Gun and said, "Come on boy...bring 'er in!"

Now, bear in mind they're down by three...a grand slam wins the game,
And everybody knows how Old Babe earned his hallowed name!

So Big Gun throws a knuckle ball. Old Babe didn't even flinch!
The next one curved pret' near four feet, but missed pret' near one inch!

The count was even, one and one, when Big Gun hurled the next,
The darn thing caught the corner. Old Babe's muscles sort of ...flexed!

At one and two, the Big Gun threw two garbage balls, down low.
The runners sneaked off just a bit, and dug in hard to go.

Now, Old Babe showed the patience of a wise and crafty fox.
He tapped the plate then once again stood poised within the box.

Big Gun squeezed the rosin bag and waited for the sign.
The catcher pounded in his mit and roared out, "ONE-O-NINE!"

A radar gun could not have clocked that record-breaking pitch.
They say it left an imprint of the baseball's crimson stitch

Not within the catcher's mitt...but on the sluggers's BAT!
And...to this day...they say that no one knows where that ball's at!

Now, some old fans that saw the game that crazy summer day,
Will still look up and search the sky. You ask them why, they'll say,

"Of all the home runs Old Babe hit, the one that won this game's
The only one they've never found!" And in the Hall of Fame,

The photo shows the field that day...it shows the slugger's bat...
And all the fans are looking up, but what they're looking, AT

It seems has never come back down, but if it ever does...
It surely represents the greatest hit there ever was!