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"The Jealous Shine Ball"

By George Moriarty

George Moriarty had a long career in baseball. He played third base and first base for thirteen seasons between 1903 and 1916, primarily for the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees. He went on to a long career as an American League umpire, from 1917 to 1926 and 1929 to 1940. In 1927 and 1928, he took a break as arbiter and managed the Tigers, succeeding Ty Cobb. He later worked in the American League office.

His grandson, Michael Moriarty, is the noted stage and screen actor who played Henry Wiggen in the 1973 baseball movie, Bang the Drum Slowly.

George Moriarty also had a career as a columnist, a writer of baseball poetry. Here is his poem about two trick pitches, written two years before the ban.

Said the Spitter to the Shiner, "I'm the best ball in the game.
Name another slant that's finer, or can boast of half my fame.
I am speedy, sly, deceiving, and I laugh with fiendish glee
when the sluggers beat it grieving to the bench because of me.

"And with three men on the bases, and the pitcher in a fit,
You can just bet twenty cases I'll be throwing to stop a hit.
I was used by Walsh and Chesbro-these the greatest of the band.
Coveleskie, too, and Tesreau-all their names immortal stand."

Said the Shiner to the Spitter, "Why should you rave, rant, and snort?
You're a filthy and unfit ball-yes, the worst ball in the sport.
Though your break is quite contrary, and you swell the strike-out list,
You are far from sanitary; if you're canned, you won't be missed.

"You're a slimy ball, doggone you! You are wild and reek with sin;
Pitchers only spit upon you, and what's more, they rub it in."

Said the Shiner to the Spitter, "You forget my pedigree-
You can lamp no home- run hitter when Ed Cicotte pitches me.
I am cleaner, greater, truer; to change places I don't pine.
I'm a better ball than you are," to the Spitter said the Shine.

New York Globe and Commercial Advertiser, March 12, 1918