I can see that October is going to be one of those months – with so much happening that by the end of it, we will be happily exhausted with our stomach muscles toned and tightened from so much hopping up and down in excitement.
Tonight, it was the Cubs winning their wild card game!
So I had to research baseball and jazz. I found three songs, but only one that fits the bill for us smooth jazz fans. It’s a bossa nova for which pianist Dave Frishberg wrote both the lyrics and melody. Released in 1969, it was entitled "Van Lingle Mungo." The other song was called "Willie, Mickey and Duke" and is more a showtune than jazz. And lastly, there is the famous Steve Goodman folk song called "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request."
Van Lingle Mungo started as an ear worm then morphed into a song consisting of thirty seven names of major league players, rhymed loosely. Van Lingle Mungo was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Dave had a melody that he wanted to put lyrics to, but the words were alluding him. After seeing the name in a Baseball Encyclopedia, Dave kept repeating it until he decided to use "Van Lingle Mungo" as the chorus. Trying several times to construct stanzas around it, Frishburg searched for inspiration. He found it in the names of players. Some are quite obscure, but they all sound intriguing when he sings them.
The Cubs are well represented by eight players, starting with Phil Cavarretta, Augie Galan, Frankie Gustine, Stan Hack, Claude Passeau, Howie Pollet, Johnny Vander Meer and Eddie Waitkus.
Not to be outdone, there are also eight White Sox names, if you include Phil Cavarretta, who played most of his career with the Cubs and just two seasons with the Pale Hose. Rounding out the roster are Frenchy Bordagaray, Ferris Fain, Thornton Lee, Hank Majeski, Johnny Sain (manager), Hal Trosky and Early Wynn.
Of all the players mentioned in the song, Eddie Basinski is the last surviving man. He’s 92. Here's the song:
I'm hoping that the Cubs will continue to live by their manager Joe Maddon’s sentiment - “Don’t ever let the pressure exceed the pleasure.” Which is giving me an earworm by Maysa called "Friendly Pressure."
Go Cubs! Win it all! Then we can finally retire Steve Goodman’s folk song, "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request."
~Lydia Barnes (firstname.lastname@example.org)