Got off the train at Cooperstown.

Good day for a game; it’d be a lot

More fun than what’s been planned.

Is it a great game or what?

A grownup gets paid to play

A kid’s game. I played every day


Instead of going to a job

Like most folks have to do.

They’ve got to work to pay the bills

That keep on piling up on you

By slinging hash or tending bars

Or pumping gas or making cars.


A mule ahead and me behind the plow,

I’ve been there, done that, a barefoot chap

In a beat up straw hat. I thank the Lord

That He saw fit to let it be when Pap

Gave up the farm. In town I saw boys playing

Ball; I heard the head honcho saying,


'Y'all want to play?' I tried out their bat

And cleared a fence about

Four hundred feet away.

They put me in the pasture out

Past all the others. Balls they hit

I caught like I’d been born to it.


Then on a line I’d lay

It on the plate, to which

Somebody said, ‘I’d like

To see if he can pitch.

Let’s let him show what he can do.’

I climbed the mound and threw a few.


I got so good at it

That some of them got sore

And asked me not to play

With them no more.

It was too far so no scouts came

To see me play a single game.


At college I walked on.

‘Could you folks use a hand,’ I said.

They were shorthanded so

I got the go-ahead.

Again they put me way out there

Past all the others where


I soon felt I had found a home.

I climbed the bank and shagged flies,

Ran down long drives and caught sinking liners

Off the grass. I wanted to rise

In the ranks, a chance to show

What I could do; I asked to throw


A few. The head man said,

‘Ever pitched before? Let's see what you got.’

And handed me the ball.

I answered, ‘Shore, but not a lot.

I pitched so hard the catcher quit

When I set fire to his catcher’s mitt.’


State Champs last year, and all still there,

They watched to see what I had.

I wasn’t the type to get stage fright

But I took the mound a nervous lad

And promptly forgot all I knew.

The first thing you learn to do


Is grip the ball tight. As it

Was bound to do, it sailed.

I walked a few and then a few more.

But then, thank goodness, what I had failed

To think to do I thought to do--

What I well knew you ought to do.


I squeezed the ball, struck out the side.

The cleanup hitter, his jaw dropped

When I surprised him with a curve.

But he didn’t quit. He swung and popped

It up in no man’s land--their only hit.

The team gathered round. ‘Man, you got grit.


‘You showed some heart, you cleaned their plow.

You’re bound to start on opening day.’

[Did I feel good! It never got no better than that.]

The rest is history, as they say.

‘He’s faster than Feller or “The Train,”

A curve like Casey and a brain


‘As tough as rawhide, razor sharp.

He can carouse and drink more beer

Than Babe, can change up smoother

Than the skin on a baby’s rear.'

The records fell like bowling pins--

Awards enough for a dozen dens.

‘He hit the horsehide harder than a Lemon,

Best there ever was, they say, defied

The Designated Hitter Rule.

It’d have been mad to have denied

Him his At Bats.’ Though it’s a sham

I’ll still sit still for them to cram

Another honor down my throat,

Consent to sit and sign my name

Beside a sign assigning me

A seat inside the Hall of Fame.

For what, I ask, but something you

Or any other kid would pay to do?

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