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Da Greata Basaball

My 92 year old Dad is in a rehab facility after surgery for a broken hip. I want to do something special to cheer him up when I go visit him tomorrow. I remember as a kid how he used to spend hours reading to my sisters and I. In particular, he read poems out of a collection called This Singing World by Louis Untermeyer. There was one particular poem by T.A. Daly that we really loved. It was Da Greata Basaball, written with a pseudo Italian accent. My Dad doesn't have an Italian bone in his body, but he loved putting on the accent as he read the poem, and my siblings and I loved it.

I've searched online for this poem, but it seems to have vanished from the annals of poetry. And, it is not in the later edition of this collection. So, I dug up the original well-worn book and post the poem here for my own reference and the enjoyment of anyone else who might appreciate it.


by T.A. Daly

O! greata game ees basaball

For yo'nga 'Merican.

But, O! my frand, ees not at all

Da theeng for Dagoman.

O! lees'en, pleas', I tal to you

About wan game we play

W'en grass ees green, an' sky ees blue

An' eet ees holiday.

Spagatti say: "We taka treep

For play da ball, an' see

Wheech side ees ween da champanesheep

For Leetla Eetaly."

So off of Polo Groun' we go

Weeth basaball an' bat,

An' start da greata game, but, O!

Eet ees no feenish yat!

Spolotro ees da boss for side

Dat wait for catch da ball;

Spagatti nine ees first dat tried

For knock eet over wall.

An' so Spagatti com' for bat.

Aha! da greata man!

Da hands he got; so beeg, so fat,

Ees like two bonch banan'!

Spolatro peetch da ball, an' dere

Spagatti's bat ees sweeng,

An' queeck da ball up een da air

Ees fly like annytheeng.

You know een deesa game ees man

Dat's call da "left-fiel'."

Wal, des wan keep peanutta-stan'

An' like for settin' steell.

An' dough dees ball Spagatti heet

Ees pass by hees way,

He don'ta care a leetla beet

Eef eet ees gon' all day.

Da "centra-fielda man" -- you know

Dat's new' to heem -- he call:

"Hi! why you don't jumpa, Joe,

An' run an' gat da ball?"

But Joe he justa seetta steell

Teel ball ees outa sight.

Dees mak' so mad da centra-fiel'

He ees baygeen to fight.

Den com'sa nudder man -- you see,

I don'ta know hees name,

Or how you call dees man, but he

Ees beeg man een da game.

He ees da man dat mak' da rule

For play da gama right,

An' so he go for dose two fool

Out een da fiel' dat fight.

He push da centra-fielda 'way -

An' soocha names he call! -

An' den he grabba Joe an' say:

"Com', run an' gat da ball."

But Joe he growl an' tal heem: "No!

Ees not for me at all.

Spagatti heet da ball, an' so

Spagatti gat da ball!"

O! greata game ees basaball

For yo'nga 'Merican.

But, O! my frand, ees not at all

Da theeng for Dagoman.

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