Alexander Pope: Philadelphia Poe ace and 19 game winner.
Before we discuss lineups, we have to talk about the starting pitchers: for the Philadelphia Poe, Alexander Pope; for the Rapallo Pound, the Marquis de Sade.
Sade distracts the hitter in a number of ways: facial tics, bursts of sudden laughter, screams, taunts, even as he’s going into his wind-up. The Rapallo hurler scratches himself before almost every pitch. When (and it’s often) the Marquis disagrees with the home plate umpire, he will glare ferociously, and sometimes Pound, his manager, will come out of the dugout and join Sade in this staring contest. What’s odd, though, is that during these confrontations, Sade and his manager never speak. They only stare. The whole act is extremely unsettling. During this staring act, as the home team fans howl and heckle with blood-thirsty fury, umpires become very uneasy; and subsequently the home-plate official is known to call nearly everything Sade throws a strike.
Sade is not overpowering; in fact his famous ‘knuckle curve’ has been clocked at less than fifty miles per hour. It almost hangs in mid-air between the batter and the pitcher, and then dives below the hitter’s knees at the last moment. To watch Sade torment a line-up with unhittable junk, as he sneers, spits, and rubs himself in all sorts of odd places, is agonizing for all but Pound fans—who seem completely mad themselves.
The Philadelphia Poe pitcher, Alexander Pope, is fiercely competive, throws hard, and brawls with the best of them. Pope”ll bust you inside, then freeze you with a big curve on the outside corner. He finishes games. Give Pope the ball and watch him go to work. He doesn’t want to come out of a game, and rarely does, and his strikeout percentage increases as the game goes on. He led the NL with 20 complete games. Poe and Pope are very close. “I wouldn’t play for any other manager,” Pope gushed, after he pitched the clincher.
The Philadelphia Poe’s projected starting lineup:
Gilmore Simms, RF. Hurt for most of the year (Samuel F.B. Morse filled in admirably). Simms can run.
Charles Brockden Brown, SS. A slap hitter who advances runners. George Lippard, another native Philadelphian, is the reserve infielder.
Charles Baudelaire, 2B. Gap hitter, makes contact.
George Byron, 1B. When Byron couldn’t play, Alfred Hitchock took over. Byron slugged 29 homers.
Thomas Moore, C. Excellent on-base percentage.
Fydor Dostoevsky, 3B. Hit over .400 with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. Team-leading 47 doubles.
Virginia Poe, CF. Swift as a deer in center. Surprising power: 17 homers.
Fanny Osgood, LF. League-leading 14 assists. Very hard to strike out.
Alexander Pope, P. Great sacrifice bunter.
And, for the Rapallo Pound:
Aleister Crowley, CF. Took over for Wyndham Lewis. Crowley hit three triples in the Pound’s pennant-clinching victory.
Hilda Doolittle, 2B. Great D from H.D. She’s been nursing a sore ankle. Flaubert may start instead.
William Butler Yeats, SS. The best glove anyone has ever seen. A disappointment at the plate, but does get on base. Francis Villon, his replacement, can hit.
Ford Madox Ford, 1B. 41 homers, 134 RBIs.
James Joyce, LF. .311 batting average. Back from a late-season injury. Basil Bunting was his replacement.
James Laughlin, 3B. The New Directions kid wasn’t expected to hit. He slugged 39 homers and batted .340. MVP numbers from a mere editor.
Ernest Fenollosa, C. Steady, handles pitchers well. Missed the month of August. Margaret Anderson of the Little Review is the back-up.
Benito Mussolini, RF. Great clubhouse presence. A gun for an arm in right. Few go from first to third on him.
Marquis de Sade, P. Chats with the opposing catcher the whole time he’s up.