Archived: July 31, 2000
Interview with WILLIAM ALLINGHAM


This is part of a series of interviews with current field managers of cosmic baseball teams.

William Allingham, field manager of the Pre-Raphaelite Baseball Club (Underleague), is an Irish poet and diarist frequently associated with the London-based Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of the 19th century. Allingham first joined the Cosmic Baseball Association in 1983 when he was drafted as a pitcher by the Eden Bohemians, the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of interesting writers. Allingham pitched for 5 seasons compiling a career 49-50 won-lost record and a 3.72 earned run average (ERA). His best season was 1986. He won his team's "Most Cosmic Player" award that season on the strength of his 15-9 record and 2.89 ERA. (Allingham Cosmic Pitching Record). The Bohemians deactivated Allingham after the 1987 season. Ten years later when the Pre-Raphaelite Baseball Club joined the Cosmic Baseball Association, Allingham was tapped to be the team's field manager. In three complete seasons (1997-1999) Allingham has distinguished himself as a shrewd skipper compiling a 272-214 won-loss record and leading his team to a victory in the 1999 Cosmic Universal Series.

This interview took place on June 28, 2000 in Allingham's office before his team played a night game against the visiting Motherland Mothers.

CBA    While growing up in Ballyshannon, in County Donegal, were you ever exposed to the game of baseball?

Allingham    Good lord no. Baseball was a completely unknown entity when I was born in 1824. I don't even think Americans were doing much baseball at that time.

CBA    Well then, what was your first experience with the sport?

Allingham    When Jack Kerouac, who was the original owner of the Eden Bohemians was putting together the team in 1983 he contacted me after he read something I'd written in my diary. The entry was made on August 19, 1847 after I had dinner with the poet Coventry Patmore. Patmore and I were discussing the art of writing poetry and I remarked, "I am for knowing all one can, but also for poetising without conscious reference to rules and precedents." Apparently that sentiment appealed to Mr. Kerouac and he told me that based on this sentence from my diary he would like me to be a pitcher for his cosmic baseball team. I accepted his offer without hesitation.

CBA    In 1870 you decided to give up your post as a government functionary to concentrate all your energies on art and literature. I guess the question is why did you wait until you were 46 years old to make this change?

Allingham    You must understand that back then, just like today, artists, poets and other creative individuals did not for the most part make much of a living from their art. Then as today we had to seek out other sources of income. I had a pleasant if mundane career with Her Majesty's Custom Service. But in 1870 when an opportunity to become the assistant editor at Fraser's Magazine came my way, I decided it was a good time to take a more complete plunge into the bohemian world of poetry and literature.

CBA    By 1874 you were the editor of Fraser's. Do you think your experience editing a literary magazine has helped you become such a successful cosmic baseball team manager?

Allingham    Maybe. Perhaps. Somewhat. But my success as a field manager is much more a function of having players like Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his brother William on the team. And it doesn't hurt to have such talented players as Charles Swinburne and Maria Zambaco and Elizabeth Siddal to fill out your lineup card each day. My success as a manager is due to the wonderful players I am privileged to manage.

CBA    During the offseason do you pal around much with the Rossettis like you did when all of you were alive and in England?

Allingham    Most of the members of this team are close during and after the season. I think this sense of groupness contributes to our success on the cosmic baseball field. No doubt the game of baseball is mostly about individual effort and heroics. But a baseball team with great individuals who can transcend their individuality and function on a collective level almost always will achieve some level of competitive success. In my opinion it's the difference between the dynastic New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The Boston team has always had great individuals like Williams, Yaz, Lynn, Rice and so on. But for some reason, call it the Frazee Curse or whatever, these great individual baseball players never could fit comfortably into the collective. The Yankees of Ruth, Gerhrig and then Dimaggio and then Mantle always had a much better sense of team effort and spirit.

CBA    In your opinion what is the one quality you look for in an individual that tells you he or she will make a good cosmic baseball player?

Allingham    I think having an open mind is the best characteristic.

CBA    We have heard that sometimes on occassion when you want to motivate your players you read your poetry to them.

Allingham    This is true. During the Cosmic Universal Series last season I read my sonnet "On a Forenoon of Spring" to help motivate the players before Game 7.

CBA    It must have helped.

Allingham    I guess so. We won the game and the Series.

CBA    Okay, thanks for your time and insights today. Good luck in tonight's game and good luck for the rest of the season.

Allingham    You are welcome, it was a pleasure.




Other Field Manager Interviews



[July 1, 2000]

Jack Kerouac's Summer League


Although the American writer Jack Kerouac was a high school football star and went to Columbia University on a football scholarship the great game of the quadrature had a more significant and creative influence on him than football.

In thinking about Kerouac and baseball it is easy to divide the study into two basic parts: Kerouac's mind-centered mostly solitary fantasy baseball game, the so-called "Summer League" which he created when he was 11 and his adolescent experience at actually playing the real game of baseball in a Lowell (Massachusetts) youth league. In this sense Kerouac's involvement with baseball spanned two universes of his life, that is, his inner imaginative world and the more outer-directed world of social relations. Of course the relationship and tension between these two worlds accounts for a lot of the fascination with Kerouac and his work.

In his biography of Kerouac, Subterranean Kerouac, Ellis Amburn writes that, "In a profound sense, it was sports, more than anything else, that galvanized Kerouac as a writer."

Kerouac was 11 in 1933. That was the year he entered Bartlett Junior High School, his first non-parochial educational experience. 1933 was also apparently the first time Kerouac saw a major league baseball game. His father Leo took him to see the Boston Red Sox play in Fenway Park. (Boston had two major league baseball teams, the American League Red Sox and the National League Braves. There is no doubt in my mind that Kerouac was a Red Sox fan.) Leo also introduced his son to the world of horse racing which, just like baseball, would stimulate Kerouac's young imagination.

An almost immediate result of these excursions with his father to see baseball and horse racing was that Kerouac created imaginary games based on these experiences. Kerouac's "Summer League" was a fantasy baseball league that made use of two decks of cards (not regular playing cards.) The cards were designed from scratch by Kerouac. Consider this description from Kerouac's post-modern epic Visions of Cody: the cards were "crayoned in orange position by position on an ordinary card, slightly glossy." (Kerouac is describing the card for his imaginary Philadelphia Pontiacs team.) The card material itself apparently came from his father's printing shop. It would be interesting to know if each player had a card or were the cards only team-based. What statistics did the cards track? What were the dimensions of the cards? According to Gerald Nicosia's biography of Kerouac, Memory Babe, the cards were lost in 1961 when Kerouac's suitcase was stolen in Mexico. I have also seen a photocollage of some of the cards (they appear team-based) from the Kerouac Romnibus CD (thanks to Dave Moore.) Are there Kerouac baseball cards still out there? In any case, Kerouac generated entire baseball seasons for the "Summer League. Much of it while sitting alone in his Phebe Avenue bedroom.

An important supplement to the imaginary baseball league was the detailed records that Kerouac kept about the games and the players. Kerouac's life-long use of notebooks can be traced to this period. Entering the data with red ink he filled up notebooks with information about the operations of the so-called "Summer League." Amburn makes a smart observation when he points out that the solitary baseball fantasy and the detailed "cosmology" that Kerouac created to go along with it called on skills that he would later use fruitfully as a novelist. The "Summer League" was peopled with attractive and exciting imaginary players such as Art Rodrigue, a star firstbaseman who off the field was apparently a great lover and Pictorial Review Jackson who was the league's most outstanding pitcher.

In 1935 the Kerouacs moved from their Phebe Avenue home to a house on Sarah Avenue. This move coincided with an expansion of the fantasy baseball league to include an outdoor variation. This outdoor-based game used a steel ballbearing for a baseball and a nail for a baseball bat. Kerouac designed a baseball field in the muddy backyard of the Sarah Avenue house. He marked off circular zones that indicated an "out" if the ballbearing landed within the zone.

It was while playing the outdoor game one afternoon, sometime presumably in 1936 that the "sinister end-of-the world-homerun" occurred. The ballbearing was hit with such force that it cleared the entire Sarah Avenue playing field and got lost in the bushes near his old house on Phebe Avenue. This homerun and the loss of the ballbearing, according to Kerouac, marked the end of the league. It also meant something more profound. Fifteen years later Kerouac would write in Doctor Sax, "I always thought there was something mysterious and shrouded and foreboding about this event which put an end to childish play-- it made my eyes tired-- 'Wake up now Jack--face the awful world of black without your aeroplane balloons in your hand.'" Kerouac would of course go on to chart and send reports about his excursions into "the awful world of black."

After the "sinister home run" Kerouac augmented his poetic use of baseball with actually playing the sport. During the summer of 1936 Kerouac and his friend Joseph Henry "Scotty" Beaulieu were co-managers of the Dracut Tigers, a civic team of his friends that competed in a league administered by the Lowell Recreation Department. Both Scotty and Jack were able athletes. Scotty was a masterful pitcher and Jack played outfield and the catcher's position. Alas, the Dracut Tigers amassed a dismal record losing 10 of 11 games. However, Jack's personal statistics were impressive: he led the team in batting average, and homeruns. He also led the team in strikeouts. This statistical profile is descriptive of a power hitter with little patience in the batter's box.

The 1937 season turned out to be much better for the Dracut Tigers. In fact Kerouac's team might have won the championship title but for some clever, albeit illegal, maneuvering by the rival team from South Common. There were two outs in the ninth inning and South Common had the lead, 4-3. The Tigers were up at bat. Kerouac was on thirdbase when Ernie Noval, a poor hitter, came to bat for the Tigers. Sensing the odds were against Noval getting a hit, Kerouac decided to steal home. Jack took a large lead off the base and the catcher threw the ball down the line. But the ball flew over the head of the thirdbaseman. Seeing the overthrow, Jack took off for home. When Kerouac was tagged out by the catcher at homeplate the ruse was disclosed: the catcher had thrown a potato down the line; the game ball remained in the catcher's mitt. Jack was out, the game was over.

Jack played one more season of baseball in Lowell. For the summer of 1938 he and Scotty organized both a junior and senior team. The junior squad won their division's championship. Kerouac batted a phenomenal .385. The senior group lost the championship by one game. As a reward Jack and the team went to Fenway Park and watched the Red Sox beat the St. Louis Browns, 9-5. Incidentally, Jack's friend Joseph "Skippy" Roberge played on the senior version of the Dracut Tigers in 1938. Roberge would later play three war-interrupted seasons with the Boston Braves (1941-42, 1946.)

Most of Jack's last two years in high school were devoted to football. En route to Columbia with his football scholarship he spent a preparatory year at the Horace Mann school and there are several photographs of Kerouac in a Horace Mann baseball uniform.

Like many creative people Kerouac was attracted to the mysteries of the game of baseball. In Kerouac's case, his elaborate "Summer League" fantasy baseball game helped him as a child to escape from the traumas of life . Baseball also stimulated and enchanted his imagination. And it provided him with some very profound training in the field to which he dedicated his life.

I don't know if baseball, real or imagined can teach us anything. It can, as Kerouac's experience suggests, provide a rich number of metaphors that artists can mine while trying to find out the relationship between the inner life of the mind's imagination and the outer life that is awash with real people and events. Such a relationship can be confounding. It's in the nature of artists like Kerouac to try and find some meaning between the two worlds. His "Summer League" represents an early inquisitive approach.


Jack Kerouac is an outfielder for the Dharma Beats.





Andrew Lampert
[June 10, 2000]




July News Archive

July 10
CBA Internet Interview
On Monday morning July 10 at around 10:40 AM (EDT) a member of the Cosmic Baseball Association was interviewed on Kevin Cook's Skybox program which originates from the eYada web entertainment organization. Cook is a former Senior Editor at Sports Illustrated. His eYada program airs daily (Monday-Friday) from 10 AM until noon (EDT) and includes interviews with sports figures and other sports-related features.

July 3
Pisces Fire Nin, Hire Cobain
The Paradise Pisces, in the midst of a losing streak and out of first place in the Overleague, fired field manager Ana´s Nin (b. February 21) and immediately replaced her with Kurt Cobain (b. February 20). While the action seemed to come out of leftfield, close watchers of the Pisces for the past few seasons will recall that relations between G.M. Chelsea Clinton and Nin were not that cordial (see news archive.)

Cobain, the popular grunge musician from the State of Washington, played cosmic baseball as an outfielder for the Dharma Beats (1995-1997) but he does not have any field management experience. He founded the group Nirvana in 1986 and by the early 1990s he was a music millionaire. The Nirvana album Nevermind (1991) sold over ten million copies.

In April 1994 Cobain was found dead in his home. He died presumably by shooting himself in the face with a shotgun. However, there is growing doubt about this official cause of death. Several journalists and a private investigator named Tom Grant have compiled a lot of information that suggests the possibility that Cobain's death was a homicide, not a suicide.

Cobain takes over a team that won last year's Cosmic Universal Series.


Related Links

Tom Grant's "Cobain Murder Investigation"

Ana´s Nin @ anaisnin.com

July 2
Website Access Status
Because the Cosmic Baseball Association's website is stored on several unrelated hosts (Verio-Clark.net and Xoom.com) and because each host has its ups and downs we have created and uploaded a Website Access Status plate.

This information page contains current status messages regarding each hosting service. Reports of access problems and other site-related technical information will also be available on the plate.

A copy of the Website Access Status plate is available from both hosts:

Clark.net (Verio)

Xoom.com [Not Active]


July 1
Uniform Number Retirements
For a major league baseball player, having your baseball uniform number retired is the next best thing to being elected to the Hall of a Fame. 117 players have been honored with number retirements representing 44 unique numbers from 1 to 85. Lou Gehrig was the first baseball player to have his uniform number retired in 1939. Nolan Ryan holds the record for most uniform retirements with three and the New York Yankees have retired the most numbers with fifteen, including retiring number "8" twice. Want to know more?

June 28
Season 2001 Rookie Draft
Four cosmic teams went fishing in the rookie pool during the first round of the Season 2001 rookie draft held today in Paris, France.

The Psychedelphia Woodstockings picked convicted murderer and former Manson family member Leslie van Houten (Manson is a pitcher with the Woodsox.) Van Houten is currently serving time in a California prison. She has made 14 requests for parole since convicted in 1971. Her involvement in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in 1969 were so ghastly that she has been denied parole each time. Van Houten is a catcher.

The Motherland Mothers selected Flora Stone, the young mother of a child born to her and her lover, not her husband. Her husband, the well known motion photographer Edwaerd Muybridge is a current member of the Bhutan Vanguards.) Stone is an infielder.

The Wonderland Warriors got their top choice, William Judd Fetterman. Fetterman is known to American historians as the U.S. Army captain that lost his life in an 1866 battle with Sioux warriors (Crazy Horse who plays in the infield for the Warriors was there.) The battle, known alternatively as "Fetterman's Massacre" (Euro-American) and "Battle of the Hundred Slain" (Sioux) is part of the history of what is more generally known as "manifest destiny." "Manifest" is the kind of destiny that's used to explain the takeover of North America by the good folk from Europe. Fetterman is an outfielder.

The Paradise Pisces decided on Jean Harlow (born March 3, 1911) to replace Doctor Seuss who will be deactivated after this season. Harlow was the original "blonde bombshell" (a term coined for her). Her cinematic stardom was intricately connected with Howard Hughes (who plays shortstop for the Heartland Capitalists.) Hughes put Harlow in his 1930 movie Hell's Angels and for seven years Harlow reigned as one of Hollywood's brightest stars. She died suddenly on June 7, 1937 at age 26 from ureic poisoning. Harlow is a catcher with experience at thirdbase.

June 23
New Cosmic Player Plates
The Euro-American white man and his values of commerce and gain were antithetical to the more spiritual native Americans like Crazy Horse. Known variously as Tashunca-uitco and Tasunke Witko and born in the year that the great rush to the gold out west began (1849) he became a leading patriot and fearless warrior for his people, generally known as the Sioux Indians. There are no known photographs of Crazy Horse. He didn't permit pictures to be taken. This is in keeping with a soul-centered culture like the Sioux.

Crazy Horse joined the Wonderland Warriors, the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of distinguished and notorious soldiers, last season as an infielder. He is the team's starting second baseman this season.

Click here to visit Crazy Horse's Season 2000 Cosmic Player Plate.


Twiggy was the "it" girl, the "face of 1966" as defined and determined by the fashion and glamour industries in the middle of the 20th century's most rebellious decade. She was "discovered" shampooing hair in a suburban London beauty parlor at 17. Her thin, flat-chested appearance enwrapped in a Mary Quant mini-skirt became a distinctive uniform for the emerging pubescent baby boomers desperate for a unique identity.

The Psychedelphia Woodstockings, the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of interesting 1960s personalities, brought Twiggy up last season and she showed some remarkable stamina for such a small pitcher (5'4", 90 lbs.).

Click here to visit Twiggy's Season 2000 Cosmic Player Plate.


Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) has sometimes been called the "father of the motion picture." He was the photographer who snapped the pictures of a running horse and demonstrated that all four of the horse's feet were airborne. After starting out as a landscape photographer Muybridge became famous for his work with motion photography. He also became infamous for the October 1874 murder of his wife's lover, a crime for which he was acquitted by a San Francisco jury.

Muybridge was drafted as a rookie infielder for this season by the Bhutan Vanguards, the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of painters and photgraphers.

Click here to visit Muybridge's Season 2000 Cosmic Player Plate.

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