by Doug Fahrendorff
At age 31, a unique rookie
His baseball odyssey a winding road
Stops at Braves and Mets minor league affiliates
The Mexican league
And Italian pro baseball
This year he arrived in Milwaukee
His pitching success
A bright spot in a rebuilding year
However long his success lasts
Celebrating his perseverance
by Gene Fendt
“At 8-1, the Cubs are off to their best start since 1969”
–news story, April 15, 2016
They’re hanging the bunting at Wrigley
. a hundred years after the Babe;
so many have waited so long for this day
. it’s hard to believe what we see.
My childhood knows Santo, Kessinger, Beckert and Banks,
. the trade of Lou Brock, the umpire’s mistake,
facing Giants and Pirates and Hammering Hank,
. the line-up of Bench, Morgan, Rose and Perez,
the grace of Clemente before he was dead,
. the stare-down of Gibson, Bob Veale and Koufax’s crank:
Lou Boudreau on radio made it appear
. as Athena to Hector, when Achilles was near.
The world is unworthy of childhood faith,
. the utter incorrigible truth of its love,
its weeping for heroes defeated by fate,
. its Aprils and Augusts, stolen bases, gold gloves.
All that is over. It’s daytime, there’s ivy,
. it’s got God’s own green grass,
the bunting is hanging, and so soon you’ll see
. God himself in his garden, all home at last.
Gene Fendt has taught philosophy for 29 years at the University of Nebraska, but grew up in Wisconsin listening to WGN, “radio home of millions throughout mid America.” His poetry most recently has captured the Princemere Poetry Prize (2015) and won the Gemini Magazine national poetry competition.
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 the Village Elliott
For Hank Gowdy
Gee Golly, Boy Howdy,
I just met Hank Gowdy,
Great War hero and World Series star,
Was a Miracle Brave,
Till he joined in first wave,
First pro swap unis, march off to war.
In left field today sit,
With my dad and my mitt,
Can’t imagine a day could be finer,
Till I heard the bat crack,
Heard crowd roar, “Back . . . back . . . back . . .”
I caught home run hit by Ralph Kiner.
I was barely a teen,
Caught betwixt and between,
But grew up to accumulate stuff.
Still my Great Legacy:
Photo: Hank, Bro and me,
One fine day below old Coogan’s Bluff.
The VE explains: “In July, Dick Volk showed me a photo of himself as a young teenager. It was taken at the Polo Grounds in 1948, and included his older brother, posing with 53-year-old New York Giants coach Hank Gowdy. It was another era. In fact, it is exactly 100 years since Hank led the Boston Braves upset sweep of Connie Mack’s ‘White Elephants’, three years before he became the first Major Leaguer to enlist for WWI. My friend met Hank three years after Hank mustered out a second time, having re-upped as an Army physical education instructor for the duration.”