the phantom double play








Willard Mullin cartoon 1


Willard Mullin cartoon 2







A double play is one of the most beautiful things to watch being executed in baseball.

The cartoon is a powerful weapon in the hands of a master cartoonist. I realize this despite my poor aptitude for art appreciation. Political cartoons have been around practically forever.

Posted here is a cartoon about the “phantom double play” by Willard Mullin of the New York World-Telegram and Sun. It was originally published in Sport magazine and was republished in The Fireside Book of Baseball, edited by Charles Einstein (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956). I have owned this book since boyhood.

The cartoon is self-explanatory. A caption reads: “The double play is one of the most exciting plays in the game … let’s not cheapen it with the phantom phonies.”

The cartoon appeared in the published book as a two-page spread. Here, I had to post it as published, so that the left and right hand panels are separated, unfortunately.



— Roger W. Smith

  October 2017

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1), a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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