Today is Easter. That’s a big day on the calendar. A day filled with a lot of mystery and a day filled with some paradoxes linking death and resurrection.
Even for those who don’t celebrate Easter, today is yet another day filled with spiritual renewal mixed with the paradox of death and resurrection.
Given that I had some time for Spring Break, I decided to take a risk and do something a little different for today. Back in 1949, Ogden Nash published a short poem entitled “Line-Up For Yesetrday”. It is not among Nash’s more sophisticated poems. The structure is very simple. He tried to find a player from the past to match each letter of the alphabet, and for each player, he composed a short three-line description. I thought that I could try it, but to make it a little more challenging, I decided to limit myself to players who played only during my lifetime. Some letters were much easier to work with, others were far more difficult. It really isn’t the greatest of the last “x” years, but I thought I would try to be a little creative in my off time (between cleaning and helping various teams win pub trivia … made a little under $200 in cash and prizes this past week … not bad as those things go).
So without further ado …
Line-Up for the Past 40 Years
A is for Aaron, leader in power,
who made pitchers cower.
B is for Bert, Dutchman by birth,
Strikeouts in droves
and announcer of mirth.
C is for Carlton, a commander pitchers did dread,
He powered out baseballs
For Sox, White and Red.
D is for Derek, who played in the six,
his hitting and class
topped with wiry tricks.
E is for Eck, finish or start,
a master of pitching
who stopped each batter’s heart.
F is for Frank, the Big Hurt in the flesh,
Power and average
swatting balls with a thresh.
G is for George, Kansas City’s favorite son,
an average through the roof
meant that pitchers were done.
H is for Henderson, the game’s greatest thief,
living lightning on basepaths
Gave all opponents a beef.
I is for Ichiro, an all-around master,
Two continents could not contain
this pitcher’s disaster.
J is for Johnson comma Randy by name,
Not even birds dare fly
across his pitching domain.
K is for Ken, a chip off Ken Senior’s block,
like a young Willie Mays
made a call from the Hall a lock.
L is for LaRussa, the league mattered not,
leading teams to victories.
and the World Series a lot.
M is for Micahel, Phily’s hot corner elite,
Gold Gloves and home runs
a remarkable feat!
N is for Niekro, older brother of Joe,
the kuckleball sensation
who made Atlanta fans shout Go!
O is for Ozzie, the Wizard of Oz,
His backflips and great D
made all batters pause.
P is for Padre comma mister, there’s but one,
one of the all-time greats
Smiling Tony hit a ton!
Q is for Quis, 1980s closing royalty,
His late inning heroics
earned him Kansas City loyalty.
R is for Ripken, Cal Senior’s son, Cal,
The Iron Man of sports
Who raised everyone’s morale.
S is for Seaver, the franchise in one,
wins laced with strikeouts
and rarely a run.
T is for Thome, an all around friendly kind of guy,
tape measure home runs
like he didn’t even try.
U is for Uribe, a utility sort of man,
silnging the leather
and leaping walls without a plan.
V is for Vlad, who impaled balls with bats,
Pitch him at your own risk
unless you want to help his stats.
W is for Winfield, an all-around star,
hitting and fielding
all well above par.
X is in Express, as in Ryan’s top speed,
scorecards recorded “K”
to finish the deed.
Y is for Yount, the pride of Brew Town,
Twice the MVP crown.
Z is for Zisk, the great Polish Prince,
powering shots o’er the roof
with nary a wince.
To those celebrating Easter, Happy Easter!
For those celebrating Passover, Chag Sameach!
For all, Happy Opening Day.