Friday, April 30, 2010

Jack Kerouac

Empty baseball field
- A robin,
Hops along the bench

Luis Aparicio

Wikipedia - "Luis Ernesto Aparicio Montiel (born April 29, 1934) is a former shortstop in professional baseball. His career spanned three decades, from 1956 through 1973. Aparicio played for the Chicago White Sox (1956–62, 1968–70), Baltimore Orioles (1963–67) and Boston Red Sox (1971–73). He batted and threw right-handed. He was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984."

Lerry Zirlin - "Last Baseball Dream of the Season"

Although I have no memory
of my career in the majors
my name appears
in the Baseball Encyclopedia.
Lifetime average: .241.

Now that you know this dream
you know everything about me.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Clyde Singer - "Minor League"

Gene Carney - "Stubs"

What is it
About ticket stubs
That prevents me
From throwing them away

Not just the precious few

From a World Series
But lately
I can't throw any away

They do not bring to mind

Vivid memories
Of good times
Or remembrances
Of hits and runs past

Yet they stand for something For times I traveled
Outside of time
Like stamped passports
They are all the proof remaining
Of my trips

Charles Ghigna - "Shortstop"

The slits of his eyes
hidden in shadows
beneath the bill of his cap,
he watches and waits
like a patient cat
to catch what comes
his way.

and he pounces
upon the ball,
his hands flying
above the grass,
flinging his prey
on its way
across the diamond
into a double-play.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Milton Bracker - "Opening Day in Chicago"

season begins
on a cold afternoon
as blankets warm cheering fans and

the first pitch soars across home plate
stinging our catchers hand
frozen inside
his mitt.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Red Schoendienst

Wikipedia - "With sure hands and quick reflexes, he led the league's second basemen for the first of seven seasons, handling 320 consecutive chances without an error in 1950. Schoendienst set a league record in 1956 with a .9934 fielding average, eclipsed 30 years later by Ryne Sandberg. Schoendienst won the Home Run Derby Contest in 1946."
Wikipedia, Baseball Reference

B.H. Fairchild - "For Junior Gilliam (1928-1978)"

In the bleak, bleacherless corner
of my rightfield American youth,
I killed time with bubble gum
and baseball cards and read the stats
and saw a sign: your birthday was mine.

And so I dreamed: to rise far
from Kansas skies and fenceless outfields
where flies vanished in the summer sun.
To wake up black in Brooklyn,
to be a Bum and have folks call me Junior
and almost errorless hit .280 every year
and on the field, like you, dance double plays,
make flawless moves, amaze the baseball masses.

You would turn, take the toss from Reese,
lean back and, leaping past the runner's cleats,
wing the ball along a line reeled out
from home and suddenly drawn taut
with a soft pop in Hodges' crablike glove.
And we went wild in Kansas living rooms.

The inning's over. You're in the shadows now.
But summers past you taught us how to play
the pivot (or how to dream of it).
And when one day they put me in at second,
I dropped four easy ones behind your ghost,
who plays a perfect game.

Tim Peeler - "whiskey moon"

frank says the full moon
is for whiskey,
spits tobacco to punctuate
his short sentences,
hours sipping, replaying
his career in slow motion,
oiling the first baseman's mitt,
then spreading it carefully
to catch the milky light,
frank says it softens the leather,
I say it embalms the memory.

Cor van den Heuvel

baseball cards
spread out on the bed
April rain

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tim Peeler - "Jim Poole and the Baseball Life"

41 in ´36, you were still
sticking it in that outlaw league,
.399, 54 rib eyes with half a season to go,
then all those years playing and coaching
the Class D teams:
Mooresville, Statesville, Forest City,
having been there,
having felt the hot glow
of the big time, three years in Philly,
then those 50 homers in Nashville,
and too old for another crack.
A college star at sixteen,
born in the tobacco apple foothills,
in the bulls eye of Alexander,
how did you take it,
the year after year scraping by,
waiting for Connie Mack to call again,
for Branch Rickey to ring your bell
then there were the clinics,
players, umpires, off season cash,
a family to feed through hard times,
and we can only guess
who you really were,
what kind of captain,
and what crazy engine
kept you in the game
on first base, on the bench,
that dark faced teen who once
sat with his teammates
under pine trees in 1911,
looking at 64 more years of life,
49 more years of the greatest game.

Omar Moreno

Wikipedia - "Moreno made his first appearance with the Pirates in September 1975, and became the team's starting center fielder in 1977. He had great speed and led the National League in stolen bases in 1978 and 1979. In 1980, he set the Pirates' single-season record for stolen bases with 96."

Herm Card - "The Railroad Stops in Syracuse"

Syracuse —
a stop on the underground railroad
for slaves of the mid 1800’s south,
escapees from the plantations
that raised a white crop—
the cotton they picked,
the symbol of slavery.

And they sneaked off,
and on their way north
to Canada,
and freedom,
they might spend a night
hidden in Syracuse.

Jackie Robinson arrived
in 1946
on the train from Montreal
where he worked on
Mr. Branch Rickey’s farm,
a farm that also raised
a white crop—
white ballplayers,
to send south to Brooklyn.

But Jackie was following
the opposite route to escape
his slavery,
the slavery of the mid 1900’s
that kept the black man
the white man’s land,
the green grass
and rich dirt
of his athletic plantations.

When he left that train
from Montreal,
on his ride from slavery,
that white man’s train
with its black porters
and black conductors
and white engineer,
and stepped into the bright sunlight
and the harsh glare of the public eye
he was no longer just another Negro
aspiring to a white man’s job.

He was a black man opening
a door that could not be closed,
by every man
and woman
and child
who had ever ridden that
other railroad —
fellow passengers
to freedom.

And he was anything but hidden
that first game in Syracuse
A lone black man
against a white background.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jim Kacian

rumble of thunder
the boy still looking for the ball
in the grass

7 Walt Whitman, Poet.

"Topps text: 'In 1850, Walt Whitman began writing his best known collection of poetry, Leaves of Grass. The first of several editions was published in 1855 and contained his longest and generally considered best poem, 'Song of Myself.'”
Dinged Corners

David Dixon Margolis - "The Back Of Chuck Hiller's Card"

Slugged first grand slam
by an NL player
in World Series history
in 1962.
(Of all guys.)
In '67, led league in pinch hits.
First guy I ever knew of
that I would describe
as horse-faced.
Big prominent nostrils
that scared me a bit.
Acquired from Giants to fill gap
left by Ron Hunt,
who suffered
a separated shoulder
in collision with Cards' Phil Gagliano.
We never forgave Gagliano for that,
my brother and I.
Not even now.
Hiller was like your stepfather.
It wasn't his fault he was there,
but he was a daily reminder
of what you were missing,
what you really wanted.
Slugged first grand slam
by an NL player
in World Series history
in 1962.
And they can never take that away from him.
That or the horse-faced thing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Héctor López

Wikipedia - "In his next five seasons with the Yankees from 1960 to 1964, he mostly played in the outfield as he was part of five consecutive pennant winners. During his time with the Yankees, he was often the third outfielder of the Maris/Mantle Yankees that won two of the five consecutive World Series they played in from 1960 to 1964."

Tom Clark - "To Reggie Jackson"

Reggie, you come from the slums

You always
talked too much

Maybe that's why
we all loved you

The day Charley traded you
I felt almost as bad
as I did the day Nellie Fox died

You never hit enough home runs
to please everybody
but the ones you did hit
we won't soon forget

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

M.L. Liebler - "Instant Out"

The infield-fly
Beautiful zen thought cut in
A diamond of lawn