Dave Frishberg

Frishberg, who wrote “Peel Me a Grape” (yesterday’s post), also wrote “Van Lingle Mungo,” a song beloved by many of us older baseball fans. You can tell by the key it begins in that we’re headed for autumnal nostalgia here. My favorite moment, though, comes near the end when Frishberg climbs up into a kind of faux Irish tenor to sing “Hughie Mulcahy.”

Mungo was a standout pitcher for some bad Brooklyn teams during the 1930s, and was something of a wild man both on and off the field. He has perhaps the greatest of many irresistibly evocative baseball names. (Let’s not even get into nicknames. Oh, okay, let’s do.) Let’s also not mention hard-bitten Al Dente, the utility infielder for the Cubs in the early ’50s. (Not really—just a bad joke for pasta Friday nights.)

For fans with sharp eyes, yes, the first picture of Hal Trosky is actually the great fireballer Bob Feller, who came up to the majors at age 17 and was 91 yesterday. The second picture of Hal Trosky is…Hal Trosky, a fine first baseman for the Indians who was lost in the Lou Gehrig–Jimmy Foxx–Hank Greenberg shuffle of the late 1930s.

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