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 Stuart Shea
It’s once again chic
To follow the Freak.
While San Diego hitters
Would probably rather be someplace like Mozambique.
by James Finn Garner
in the same “ugly ass” uniform.
2 full seasons with 40 strikeouts.
A near-.400 season
One more victim of the ’94 strike.
Are a life beyond numbers
That a plaque can’t cover.
San Diego was proud
of Mr. Padre
And so are we all.
by James Finn Garner
When I think of him
Looks like chaw and tar
And a grand har-har
To those squares
Who don’t care
And giving your all
For what you love.
And when push comes to shove,
Had Martinez been 70,
Zim would’ve pounded him plenty.
You’re our kind of guy.