Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Bill Baber

Christmas, 1965

1965, nine years old
and all I wanted for Christmas was
a McGregor Willie Mays model
baseball glove.
Perhaps, it was more than
my parents could afford
or maybe, since it was the same one
all of my friends wanted
there were none to be found.

What I received instead
was a Rawlings Eddie Matthews mitt.
Now I was a Giants fan through and through
and might have been disappointed
by their choice of gift.
But, there was something about this glove
that made me a fan of this guy
who played third base for the
far away Milwaukee Braves.

It must have been something
about his name, Eddie Matthews
a regal baseball name
that rolled off the tongue.
Sounding so slick, so smooth
like someone who gobbled
every ground ball pounded at him
or routinely snared line drives smashed
with wicked intent to the hot corner.

He seemed like a guy
and history bears this out
who could hit the long ball,
coming through in the clutch.
I was proud of that glove
it made me different somehow
and I cried when it became tattered
the autograph in the palm
no longer visible

I can see that glove today
on the handlebars of my bike
or being smacked with disgust
when I booted a ground ball
that Eddie would have handled easily
effortlessly making the long throw
across the diamond to first.


There arenít many
big leaguers
from this side
of the mountains.

Something about sage,
cattle ranches
and bitter cold springs
donít lend them to baseball.

So I root for this kid
Jacoby Ellsbury
the rookie center fielder
for the Red Sox.

He hails from Madras
where he played
high school ball
for the White Buffalos.

In fifteen years
he will still be playing
and I will be
an old man.

©2011 by Bill Baber

Bill Baberís fiction and poetry have appeared in The Source, Literary Harvest, The Flash Fiction Offensive and the online edition of The High Desert Journal. His stories have also appeared on Powder Burn Flash and Darkest before the Dawn. A book of his poetry, Where the Wind Comes to Play< was published by Berberis Press earlier this spring. He lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife and a very spoiled dog.

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