I discovered this piece in the book Baseball: A Literary Anthology, which contains not only poetry, but also short stories, articles, and excerpts from larger pieces, all having to do with the game of baseball. We don’t get the opportunity to absorb many complete games pitched in the modern era of baseball. Most managers hope for a mere five or six innings from their starting hurlers before turning the contest over to the hands of the bullpen. While this approach does have its strategic benefits, especially if you happen to possess a strong collection of relievers, sometimes the old-fashioned complete game offers a gem to behold.
How dear to my heart was the old-fashioned hurler
who labored all day on the old village green.
He did not resemble the up-to-date twirler
who pitches four innings and ducks from the scene.
The up-to-date twirler I’m not very strong for;
He has a queer habit of pulling up lame.
And that is the reason I hanker and long for
the pitcher who started and finished the game.
The old-fashioned pitcher,
The iron-armed pitcher,
The stout-hearted pitcher,
Who finished the game.