All’s Fair in Love and Baseball: What Shakespeare Knew

Brad Brown might be holding a sword but in Shakespeare's time, those were multi-purpose. (Photo Ken Allen)

Brad Brown might be holding a sword but in Shakespeare’s time, those were multi-purpose. (Photo Ken Allen)

“O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful, and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all hooping!” – As You Like It

If you are an avid baseball fan (or live with one and thus resigned yourself to turning over control of the remote during this time of year), the World Series just became a whole lot more interesting, and nail-bitingly intense, after last night’s game (which ended with the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals back to even after four games). Well, did you know that the earliest references to baseball occur in the plays of William Shakespeare? Ok, not really. But Shakespeare does appear to have loads to say about the game. So, for all of you watching the Series, we thought it would be fun to put together a list of baseball references culled from Shakespeare’s works (with the help of Paul Dickson’s Baseball’s Greatest Quotations). Enjoy!

For those of you watching the Series under duress, or looking to impress someone (be it your boss, father-in-law, or the cute co-ed down the hall) feel free to print out this list as a “cheat sheet,” ensuring that you have something to say for every play (and come off as the smartest person in the room at the same time). 

“And so I shall catch the fly.” (Henry V)

“I’ll catch it ere it come to ground” (Macbeth III)

“A hit, a very palpable hit!” (Hamlet)

“What, not one hit?” (The Merchant of Venice)

“You may go walk” (Taming of the Shrew)

“Strike!” (Richard III)

“You have scarce time to steal.” (Henry VIII)

“O hateful error.” (Julius Caesar)

“Run, run, O run!” (King Lear)

“Fair is foul and foul is fair.” (Macbeth)

“My arm is sore.” (Antony and Cleopatra)

“I have no joy in this contract.” (Romeo and Juliet)

“And what a pitch … !” (Henry VI, Part I)

“And when he caught it, he let it go again.” (Coriolanus)

“And watched him how he singled …” (Henry VI, Part III)

“Hence! home … get you home” (Julius Caesar)

“I’ll catch it ere it come to ground.” (Macbeth)

“I shall catch the fly …” (Henry V)

“I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach!” (Hamlet)

“Look to the plate.” (Romeo and Juliet)

“My heels are at your command; I will run.” (The Merchant of Venice)

“O, tis fair …” (Troilus and Cressida)

“Sweet sacrifice.” (Henry VIII)

“That one error fills him with faults.” (The Two Gentlemen of Verona)

“There is three umpires in this matter …” (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

“They that … pitch will be defiled.” (Much Ado About Nothing)

“What wretched errors!” (The Sonnets)

“When time is ripe – which will be suddenly, I’ll steal…” (Henry IV, Part I)

“Your play needs no excuse.” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

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