by The Village Elliott
With apologies to Rudyard Kipling and his “Gunga Din”
You may talk of those who bat
With reflexes like a cat,
Like Tony Gwynn, whose prowess was high art.
Played right field for childhood team,
Padre skipper’s Gold Glove dream,
A southpaw five-tool player, ‘ead and ‘eart.
Destined for the ‘All of Fame,
San Diego son became
Legend playing locally for twenty years.
Though big money thrown his way,
Stayed for “’Ometown Discount” pay,
Around the league fans paid him with more cheers.
Fans cheered, “Gwynn! Gwynn! Stalwart star!
Your sweet swing strikes spheroid far.
Though twice Series ring eluded,
When your career concluded,
Your .394 best season since World War.”
Padre uniform he wore,
Was nothing much before
And rather less ag’in when he retired.
But his two-toned Padre ‘at
An’ eight-time entitled bat
Was all the field equipment he required.
When Dog Days of Summer’s ‘eat
Has grim gamers in retreat,
Avoid high ‘eat that makes one’s average skid,
‘Eat didn’t wither, make Gwynn faint,
Hit another where they ain’t,
And it dropped in like three thousand others did.
Fans called, “Gwynn! Gwynn! Tony Gwynn!
Eighth bat title you did win
Puts you in the Pantheon
For most NL titles won,
Only you and ‘Onus Wagner, Tony Gwynn.”
‘Allowed ‘all in Cooperstown
Honors players of renown,
With special nod for “Inner-Circle Member,”
Those elected first time out,
For the writers have no doubt
They’re Immortals whose careers fans need remember.
One Immortal who slid in
Was the Padres’ Tony Gwynn,
Second San Diego son to get so tapped.
Though first two less bat crowns wrest,
William’s lifetime average best
Though Gwynn’s.338 best since Ted first uncapped.
Fans cried, ”Goodbye, Tony Gwynn!
End in town where you begin.
Now you play on Field of Dreams
Where Immortals field the teams.
You belong on their first ballot, Tony Gwynn.”
The Village Elliott lives in Stinson Beach, California. His bio is a poem in itself–watch this space for further details.
by Stephen Jones
Back in baseball’s glory days
A plug or “chaw”
Stuffed in the back pocket
Was the norm.
In those summer salad days
Players in interviews
Or at their locker room ease
Smoked without a thought.
But time and culture changed;
Still, some habits – they die hard.
Stogie, wad and cigarette may have gone,
But not so the pinch between cheek and gum.
First this year, it was Tony Gwynn -
Remember the bulge in his rounded cheek
As regular as his steady swing? -
Who died because of that reason.
Now we hear Curt Schilling’s
Undergoing chemo and radiation,
But if all the reports are true,
His “Big C” is in remission.
In baseball some things
Are timeless -
Like a walk-off home run
Or a perfect double play.
But a bad, cruel habit
which shortens mortality?
by Stephen Jones
1985. In years that’s twenty nine.
That’s how long a drought it’s been
For KC and its Royals team.
Now the powder blue, it seems,
Is set for a playoff run.
Postseason could be fun.
I, for one, am glad to see
This revisit from baseball history.
by Arthur Longbrake
My sermon today, said Reverend Jones,
is baseball and whence it came.
Now, if you take the Good Book and you take a good look,
you will find the first Baseball Game.
It says Eve stole first, Adam second;
Solomon umpired the game.
Rebecca went to the well with a pitcher,
And Ruth in the field made a name.
Goliath was struck out by David —
A base hit was made on Abel by Cain,
And the Prodigal Son made a great home-run.
Brother Noah gave checks out for rain.
Jonah wailed — went down swinging.
Later he popped up again.
A lion-drive by ole Nebuchadnezzar
Made Daniel warm-up in the pen.
Delilah was pitching to Samson,
When he brought down the house with a clout,
And the Angels that day made a double-play
That’s when Adam and Eve were thrown out.
Ole St. Pete was checking errors,
Also had charge of the gate.
Salome sacrificed Big John the Baptist
Who wound up ahead on the plate.
Satan was pitching that apple
And looked as though he might fan ‘em all,
But then Joshua let go a mighty blow
And blasted one right at the wall.
And then the Lord wound up and took good aim,
And started the very First Baseball Game.
And, now we all know the way that the game was begun,
And to this very day — It’s still Number One!
First published anonymously in the Sporting News in 1906
by Stephen Jones
Paul O’Neill hit into Monument Park.
The Warrior got his deserved plaque
In Yankee Stadium this past Saturday.
It was also high contrast to current play.
Die-hard Pinstripers have to admit:
Yankee dominance has simply waned.
Now it’s a team struggling just to maintain
Its bid for the second wild card spot.