Brooklyn Dodgers: An Ode From The Dentist Laureate

Earlier this week, I wrote about my great uncle, Dr. John L. McAteer, known as the Dentist Laureate of the Brooklyn Dodgers (you can read that post here). Following is a poem Dr. McAteer wrote to John Collins, business manager of Ebbets Field, published in the Brooklyn Eagle on July 19, 1944.

With deep concern I start: Dear Jack,
The world was cold-the skies were black.
Twas mine, I thought, henceforth to grope
Without a single ray of hope.
Through fog and bog and mental gloom
Until the fatal day of doom
When mortal woe at last succumbs
And mourn for our bewildered bums.
Whose mental poise and pennant hopes
Are hanging limply on the ropes.
As deaf to pleas and threats and prayers
They stagger down the cellar stairs.

At first, I sat me down to think
And figured I might take to drink.
But lit instead a cigarette
And somehow managed to forget:
For, as the wreaths uncoiled and broke
I pictured faces in the smoke.
And watched them passing in review-
Pee Wee Reese in navy blue,
Reiser clad in army tan,
Batting now for Uncle Sam.
Lavagetto, wearing wings
Framed within the floating rings,
Hughey Casey in the ranks,
Rizzo, Riggs, Campanis, Franks.
Higbe, Herman, French, and Burge-
Dodgers all, who felt the urge
To play the game as best they can
And bunch their hits for Uncle Sam.

It seemed so selfish to lament
That I resolved to be content
To let a year or two drift past
Without a pennant on the mast.
As long as God would keep and shield
The Stars and Stripes at Ebbets Field.
And get our boys back in the race,
And let the flock invade first place.
When they have topped another score
And Uncle Sam has won a war.

It's funny how a cigarette
Can soothe you when you're all upset
And how it somehow helps a guy
To figure out the reason why
The fates deny our fondest dreams
Of pennants, wars, or baseball teams.
It makes one's viewpoint far more clear,

With kind regards, Doc McAteer.


  1. This is awesome... a geniune piece of history. Baseball and life were so different back then - this is a small glimpse of what it must have been like to be a 'fan' at home while your 'guys' were on the front lines.

  2. Agree, not only does it have a great flow, but the imagery is very vivid. I can picture him sitting in a study with a smoke lamenting about his favorite players that are off at war. I love it.

  3. Both John and his brother Dr. Daniel McAteer could write really well. Great poem.


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