How I Learned About Baseball

How many millions of years
has it been coming
to be here just this once--
never returning

Robert Creeley

6 to 15 delivered
early morning big-city dailies.
Folding them with older carriers
around a rusted 50-gallon oil drum
we kept a fire in. I listened closely
to their excited, knowledgeable,
often prejudice talk, about how
their favorite major leaguers
had done the day before.

Players like Ted Williams, Duke Snider,
Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella,
Satchel Paige, Warren Spahn, Stan Musial,
Phil Rizzuto, Joe Dimaggio

The carriers helped me read the sport’s section
so I wouldn’t interrupt them with
all my questions.
The better I became at reading about
great player’s daily performances,
and playing midget league ball
beginning when 8,
intuitively knew I would become
a great home run slugger and outfielder

Felt unusual certainty flourish
everywhere in my being!
At 61, it still does!

Didn’t want to be the best player
of my generation for glory of self.

Playing ball was what I did best.
Gave it EVERYTHING I had!
With the money I was going to build
a ranch in Iowa for young survivors.
Yelled that to the heavens when a
back porch screen door slammed,
startling me, when 8.

God! How I wanted the children
to have that ranch!

from In Pursuit of Honor. Copyright © James Humphrey Trust.


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