by the Village Elliott
For Leo “the Lip” Durocher*
This old Cards fan is glad he’s survived
To see rivalry with Cubs revived.
Alex, Brock, Leon D,**
Played their parts, as did he
Who, as “Skip,”, is part Captain derived.
The last Dean of Cubs College jumped ship:
“Worked when Branch ordered his Captain’s trip,
But when I did, team sunk.
Ain’t my fault these Cubs stunk,
Unlike Gas House Gang,” claimed “Skip ‘The Lip’.”***
While musing old memories revived
Season ends and League Playoffs arrived.
Glad the Cubs won Play-In,
Play the Cards with the win
For old “Skipper” part “Captain” derived.
* Hall of Famer (HoF) Leo Durocher was shortstop for the 1934 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, immortalized as the “Gas House Gang.” The last week of the season, Cards GM Branch Rickey (HoF) counter-intuitively “arranged” for his distracted team captain to marry Grace Dozier so Leo could refocus on winning the pennant. It worked. Thirty-five years and two divorces later, while manager of the first-place Cubs. Leo wed Lynn Walker Goldblatt in early July. At the end of the month they slipped away to visit his stepson. When it was revealed his unexpected absence wasn’t due to illness, it was the latest (some say decisive) chapter of Leo’s mishandling of the team that ended in Cubs’ epic collapse to the “Miracle Mets.” Leo lamely tried to excuse his self-indulgence by claiming he was trying to recreate the magic of the Gas House Gang.
**In June 1926, the Cubs’ new manager Joe McCarthy (HoF) waived 39-year-old Grover Cleveland Alexander (HoF), claiming he was a “washed-up alcoholic”. The Cardinals’ new skipper Rogers Hornsby (HoF), knowing greatness remained, immediately signed “Alex,” and the Cardinal dynasty and Cubs rivalry was born. Thirty-eight years later, the Cards traded 20-game winner Ernie Broglio for “underachieving” Cubs outfielder Lou Brock (HoF), who revived the Cards dynasty of the 60’s. Cubs fans are still crying about Broglio, who was long out of the game by the time Leo sunk the ship five years later. In 1981, Cardinals GM Whitey Herzog (HoF) traded promising Leon Durham for Cubs closer Bruce Sutter (HoF), cornerstone of Cards ’82 World Champions. Durham played at an All-Star level for a few years, but is best remembered as the proto-Bill Buckner for his play in ’84 playoffs. The teams’ rivalry revived as both teams won multiple division titles, with the Cards twice losing the Series, and the Cubs never making it that far.
***Durocher was hired to manage the Cubs for 1966, replacing Wrigley’s ill-fated five-year experimental College of Coaches. “If no announcement has been made about what my title is,” Durocher said, “I’m making it here and now. I’m the manager, not the head coach. so call me ‘Skipper’ or ‘Skip,’ not ‘Coach.'”
by Stephen Jones
Young Colby Rasmus and the Astros —
They showed the baseball map future
When they used home run GPS
And directed Yankees to pasture.
The only trip down Broadway Yankee fans
Will see this year is one down Memory Lane.
Needless to say, this coming offseason,
There’s going to be much redirection.
By Stuart Shea
Perfect game and Series ring.
Sox fans wish you everything.
Huddy, boy, you’ll be missed,
South and north, east and wist.
Auburn, Atlanta, by the Bay,
222 wins ain’t hay.
Jeremy Affeldt said goodbye,
Left the field and maybe cried.
Made some cash, answered the bell,
Made himself some friends as well.
Hopes for a Seriez.
He’s played a lot of ball,
But not much in the fall.
A.J. Burnett wants the same:
Play more than one October game.
And yes, he really cares
To play a role for the Corsairs.
And who else out there will call it quits
When the uni or job no longer fits?
Or the outright release came?
Who’s played his last game?
Barry Zito? Dan Haren?
A-Rod, Colon, or Beltran?
Latroy Hawkins, Betancourt,
Or some other old man?
By Stuart Shea
He said all spring he wanted to start,
But his pitching this year smells much like a
Don’t matter who’s batting, he’ll just get a hit.
It’s clear the guy just pitches like
By Michael X. Ferraro
goes and gets
home run threats.