Published in 1910, Base-Ball Ballads was Grantland Rice's first book of poems, and the only one that contained baseball verse exclusively. The book includes some of the best-known poems about baseball ever written, including "Casey's Revenge" (a sometimes-anthologized piece that redeems Ernest Thayer's unlucky slugger), "Mudville's Fate," and the original version of "Game Called" (later revised on the occasion of Babe Ruth's death).
An immensely popular writer of sports columns and essays, Rice was also well regarded for his humorous and sometimes touching verse. It is as the author of a couplet, in fact, that Rice may be best remembered: "For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name / He writes - not that you won or lost - but how you played the Game." These lines, so strongly associated with baseball - though in fact they come from a poem about football - find their earliest expression in Base-Ball Ballads, where three poems ("Play Ball," "Game Called," and "The Test") provide different wordings of the same idea.