This poem was Spitball Magazine‘s Baseball Poem of the Month this past April. I fell in love with it right from the first line.
from the un-grassy knoll
you see in living colour after that
pure white smoke
and bee bee at the knees
arrives like a punch in the face
or a pail of cold water
and hops and sometimes drops
and sometimes disappers
(ask any ump)
and thwack goes the mitt
a foley artist couldn’t make that sound
statement of unbending bluntness
black and white
and no detente
you on that side
me on this
and hit it if you can
September 1954 proved to be quite a month for baseball legend Willie Mays. Besides clinching the batting title on the last day of the regular season, during Game One of the 1954 World Series, Mays made a spectacular defensive play now known simply as “The Catch.”
With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth inning and runners on first and second, Cleveland’s Vic Wertz launched a pitch deep into center field. Mays, who had been playing shallow, took off in a dead sprint, and managed to make an over-the-shoulder catch while still on the run. Still aware of the runners, Mays immediately turned and threw the ball back into the infield, and the Giants got out of the inning with no runs given up to the Indians.
The Giants went on, not only to win the game, but to sweep the entire Series.
Only in baseball can a team player be a pure individualist first and a team player second, within the rules and the spirit of the game.
On 26 September 1954, in the final game of the season, the Giants’ Willie Mays collected three hits to boost his batting average to .345. In doing so, he passed teammate Don Mueller (who finished at .342) and the Dodgers’ Duke Snider (.341) to win the National League batting title.
This song is not only a tribute to the great home run hitter, Henry Aaron, it also draws attention to the racism of Aaron’s time and all that he had to overcome the whole time he made his way to becoming one of our greats.
Losing steaks are funny. If you lose at the beginning, you got off to a bad start. If you lose in the middle of the season, you’re in a slump. If you lose at the end of the season, you’re choking.
Here’s a comic by Steve Edwards that plays off of baseball lingo and jargon. I found it quite amusing, and I hope you do too!