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OOTP 22 tournament: Which is the best lyrical baseball team of all time?

Two songs, four teams, one season.

Van Mungo Pitching
I’ve had this song stuck in my head for a full week now.
Photo by Irving Haberman/IH Images/Getty Images

There are two well-known baseball songs which list off names of baseball players. The more popular is the oft-parodied Terry Cashman hit “Talkin’ Baseball”:

While the second is Dave Frishberg’s bossa nova classic “Van Lingle Mungo”:

Naturally, the next step is to set one roster against the other.


The 2021 Lyrical Baseball Tournament

A quick scan through the lyrics shows that “Van Lingle Mungo” lists 37 players, while “Talkin’ Baseball” has 33. This is mildly problematic, as those numbers are too large for a single roster, but too small to host two rosters on their own.

Since I wanted to include every player (and every player’s best season), the solution came through other lyrics of the songs.

The first line of “Talkin’ Baseball” is “The Whiz Kids had won it,” referring to the 1950 Phillies. Therefore, the roster of players from the song would be split in two, and the remaining roster spots could be filled out by players from that team. (Not the stars, though, as I want the focus to be on players in the song’s lyrics.)

For “Van Lingle Mungo,” there is a version of the song which mentions Virgil Trucks and Johnny Kucks, thereby adding two to the player pool. A start, but not enough. But there is also a version of the song which mentions umpire Art Passarella. In the tenth inning of Game 5 of the 1952 World Series, Passarella blew a safe-out call at first base. Therefore the 1952 Dodgers and Yankees (again with a no-stars limit) could be the roster fill-ins for the two teams from this set of lyrics.

Of course, the question then followed: how does one split the roster?

One doesn’t.

Two do.

Given the stipulation that I wanted to balance rosters as much as possible (no unbalanced positions, etc.), I recruited my dad to participate in the draft with me. He drafted for one team for each song, I drafted for the other, and the draft order was randomized. A bWAR cap of 3.1 was set for the fill-in players for the sake of one team needing a decent starting shortstop.

The draft complete, I bestowed team monikers. The teams selected from “Van Lingle Mungo” are the Fungoes (for the rhyme), and those from “Talkin’ Baseball” are the Cashmen (for singer/songwriter Terry Cashman). The teams I drafted are labeled “Filial,” while those my dad drafted are “Paternal.”

Here are the rosters:

Then came the final question: how do I get them into OOTP 22?

With the help of Paul Boyé, who ran a massive all-Phillies OOTP tournament for The Good Phight in 2020, I learned that in order to run a tournament, I’d first have to run a season.

Challenge accepted.

With only four teams, I’ll be playing/simming through a 60-game season (no injuries, no DH, and no Manfredball), setting up the teams for a two-round playoff tournament to determine which team from a tune can top the tourney and win the Harmonic Series.

Put me in, Coach.

Let’s play.

Introduction | Season (first quarter)