Friday, July 14, 2017

At Yankee Stadium

At Yankee Stadium

By Rick K. Smith

Yeah, I saw DiMaggio play in center.
Dad told me his spikes were extra long
so he wouldn’t tip over if he dozed off
when guys like Reynolds or Raschi
were on the mound.

And I saw Mantle, a 19 year old kid,
beat out a bunt as a pinch hitter
in his rookie year.

Woodling, Bauer, Mize, Coleman,
Rizzuto and Dr. Bobby Brown.
They couldn’t lose.

But my guys were Frank Leja,
the bonus baby who only got 4 at bats
for his $100,000. And Tommy Carroll,
another one of those whom no one remembers.

Charlie Silvera, back up for Yogi Berra;
he’d get maybe 80 at bats all year,
hit .320 and still couldn’t crack
the lineup.

What about Jim Brideweser,
utility infielder who tripled one afternoon
and was optioned to the minors
the next day.

Cliff Mapes hit an inside-the-park homer,
the only one I’ve ever seen in person.
He was in his twilight then.
When your legs start to go,
I guess you hope for a double.
You actually want the outfielder
to cut off your liner before it splits the gap
and rolls to the wall.

Running out a triple will wear you down.
I can only wonder what Mapes was thinking
Stumbling into the visitors’ dugout,
gasping for air after scoring the only run
for his lowly St. Louis Browns
on another bright and beautiful day
at Yankee Stadium
where once again the Bronx Bombers
would not need to swing
in the bottom of the ninth.

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