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Franklin Pierce Adams

  • Series: Diamond Heads '15

Franklin Pierce Adams (1881-1960) was known to his readers as F.P.A. His column “The Conning Tower” was a literary staple in the diet of New York’s literati from 1914 until 1941. Adams had come east from his native Chicago ten years prior as a sportswriter/humorist, signing on with the Evening Mail. His column, “Always in Good Humor” mixed sports items with reader contributions. His popularity was a mere hint at the impact he would have after moving to the Tribune and launching the Conning Tower. Adams’ column introduced New York and the world to many of the great writers and humorists of his day: Robert Benchley, Edna Ferber, Dorothy Parker, James Thurber and many others. F.P.A earned his stripes literally and figuratively after enlisting in WWI. He wrote for Harold Ross, editor of the Stars and Stripes and established a reputation as a wordsmith and master of the English language.

Adams became a charter member of one of America’s greatest literary salons, a daily luncheon at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan. The circle of playwrights, journalists, poets, editors and show business celebrities came to be known as the Round Table and was a fountain of wit and word-play that spread coast to coast for a decade, ending only when the nation plunged into Depression. It must have been the height of irony to such a leading-light in America’s literary scene that Adams’ fame lived on long past his demise, not for his incisive wit, his eye for talent, his hobnobbing with the cream of society but for an eight-line bit of doggerel he had tossed off for a column on July 12, 1910. Originally titled “That Double Play Again,” it appeared first in the NY Evening Mail on the eve of a Cubs-Giants series. As F.P.A. was en route to the Polo Grounds, he dashed off the piece to meet his editor’s demand for filler for that night’s column. He thought it forgettable and so did his editor. On the 15th the Chicago Daily Tribune reprinted the lament as “Gotham’s Woe.” But on the 18th, the Evening Mail ran it again, this time as “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon” and history was made. The ode took on a life of its own and immortalized the Cubbies’ infield, probably securing their admission to Cooperstown:


Baseball's Sad Lexicon

These are the saddest of possible words:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble
Making a Giant hit into a double
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”


  • This card is not included in the 100-card Diamond Heads '15 base set.
  • This card is one of the rewards you receive for completing the Ars Longa Clubhouse Challenge: Tinker to Evers to Chance
  • This card is exclusive to that challenge, is gifted freely to winners of the challenge, and is neither bartered nor sold otherwise by Ars Longa.
  • This is one of two such Diamond Heads '15 Clubhouse Challenge reward cards. The other is Frank "Wildfire" Schulte.

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