by Rick Cornell
Scott McCaughey and Steve Wynn co-captain the Baseball Project, a four-piece that brings its diamond-centric songs (not to mention some non-national-pastime-themed works of McCaughey and Wynn) to Cat’s Cradle on Saturday night. We asked the pair to name their five favorite ballplayers and five favorite baseball songs. And because there wasn’t a game on, they agreed.
Five Favorite Baseball Players
Sandy Koufax: Left-handed, Jewish, a five-year run to match any pitcher in history and quit at the top of his game. Enigmatic and dignified.
Ted Williams: Quite simply the best hitter who ever lived. And he knew it. Also, just imagine what numbers he would have had without the five years he lost to WWII and Korea.
Derek Jeter: I’m fortunate to have the chance to watch him play almost every day. He always seems like he's having fun.
Reggie Jackson: Outsized ego, flashy, and the goods to back it up. The ultimate ‘70s ballplayer.
Bill Lee: Many reasons. Not the least for the way he stood up for Delino Deshields, ultimately killing his own career.
Five Favorite Baseball Songs
"Bill Lee," Warren Zevon
"Catfish," Bob Dylan
"Dock Ellis," Barbara Manning
"Mrs. Robinson," Simon and Garfunkel
"It's a Beautiful Day for a Ballgame," Dodgers theme song
Five Favorite Baseball Players (on September 25, 2009)
Willie Mays: Style, speed, power, finesse, smile. The greatest player of all time, and I was fortunate to get to watch him play growing up. Would have passed Babe before Aaron if not for playing at Candlestick, not that that really matters.
Jim Bouton/Bill Lee: Not interchangeable, and not so much for their considerable talents as ballplayers as for their intelligence, free-thinking individuality.
Warren Spahn: Ballplayers don't look like this anymore. Kind of a shame. 363 wins, and he could hit, too.
Ichiro: Just watch him play. His hitting style is plain bizarre, but the results are astonishing. As fluid and infallible in the field as any outfielder in the history of the game.
Reggie Jackson: Mr. All Or Nothing. He put everything he had into a swing. I loved him as an Oakland A, but the three-homer game in the ‘77 Series for the Yanks was probably the most awe-inspiring hitting display I've ever seen.
Some Favorite Baseball Songs (that are different than Steve's)
“Joe Dimaggio's Done It Again,"Wilco
“Van Lingle Mungo," David Frishberg
“Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)," The Treniers
“A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request," Steve Goodman
“St. Louis Browns," Skip Battin