Friday, April 30, 2010


The stories say
that in the beginning
(that'd be 1869)
there were the Red Stockings,
first team to openly combine
love of the game with love of money.

Harry Wright was their leader
and their pitcher.
He led them from Cincinnati to
greener commons in Boston.
In 1877, Jim O'Rourke patrolled
the outfield behind Harry.
Red Stockings become Red Caps.

Orator Jim's trip to Cooperstown
started in Connecticut
and wound
from Boston to Providence
and Buffalo and New York.
While giant in stature,
Wee Willie manned hot corner.
Red Caps become Beaneaters.

Keeler moved north to south
hitting it where they weren't.
From New York to Baltimore,
he joined a new league
and moved back north.
An Austro-Hungarian took
the mound.
Old country, newly yankee.
Beaneaters become Doves.

Jack Quinn nee Pajkos,
from apple to hub,
charm city to big shoulders
and back again.
In dotage he visits the series.
Before then he shares
the bullpen with Red.
Doves become Rustlers,
Rustlers become Braves.

Charles Herbert Ruffing
ace of Gehrig and DiMaggio's staff.
Pennant winner, hall of famer,
His last year on the Yanks
he pitched to a young catcher
named Yogi.
Braves become Bees.
Bees become Braves.

The plates began to shift
as Yogi crouched, Buddha-like
and an impenetrable dynasty
crumbles at last.
Greener pastures again beckon,
Browns become Orioles,
Senators become Twins.
Yogi catches what
Al Downing throws.
Boston becomes a one sock town,
Milwaukee tastes as great as its name.

Downing winds down
in Chavez Ravine.
Rookie Jeffrey Leonard
tries to catch on.
Peripatetic Braves lose
their taste for Milwaukee
and take root in Atlanta.

Leonard is workmanlike
and makes his way to Seattle
where the kid is at play
in the very same outfield.
There is no doubt
Junior Griffey will catch on.

Griffey still plays.
Does he remember sharing
a team, sharing a uniform
with Derek Lowe?
Did they talk about Jeffrey Leonard?
Have they heard of Al Downing?

Derek Lowe now works in Atlanta
for Harry Wright's old team.
World without end.

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