Big Mitt

by Thomas Michael McDade

Which one handled Hoyt
Wilhelm’s fabled knuckleball first
with a mitt so large it looked illegal?
Slow-footed Gus Triandos
or tough guy Clint Courtney?
You’d think John and I were
Oriole fans we used
their names so much!
If there was hostility or money bet
we might have checked it out
at the library but we chose
to keep that dispute
alive as if it were religion or politics
through college and summers
of painting and paving.
Days there was no work
we retreated to the bars
and those names appeared
in the smoke and pool cue dust
at the Wood’s End Bar.
Were the bar stool seats
the size of the glove in question?
At the Ship’s Lantern there were
captain chairs and frosty mugs
to scrawl those two names on
when we weren’t toasting
the procession of braless
Westport women — especially
those with just the right perk
and handful to bring
Hoyt’s flaky pitch to mind.
Years shot by like errant
horsehide before John’s letter
with a clipping came.
In small print it said my pick,
Scrap Iron Clint, had debuted
the trashcan lid of a mitt in 1960.
That bit of newspaper has turned
as yellow as Hoyt’s dainty lobs
must have looked to a catcher
who led the league in brawling.

Posted 11/1/07 


Published in Baltimore Orioles, History, Lyric, Players | Link to this poem | 1 Comment

Big Mitt: 1 Comment

  1. John Campbell wrote,

    It was a sad day when this dispute was finally settled!
    John

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