SPOTLIGHT: ‘Simple Game & Ghost of Fenway’ by Zvi A. Sesling

Sibby Sisti

Baseball heroes do not die. My first baseball hero
Was Sibby Sisti. Perhaps it was the name

A poetic sound, an alliteration
Sibby was not a superstar

No one called him Mr. Baseball or Splendid anything
He was the blue collar player on the blue collar team

Who played where needed, the reliable player
With whom the average fan could associate

A fan favorite
He was a natural

There will always be a place
For Sibby in my lineup

Earl of Snohomish

That’s what they called Earl Torgeson and on that
1951 baseball card he was stretched out making a
catch for a putout. One of my favorite cards, one
of my favorite players. All the Boston Braves were
my favorites and 37 years later I was asked to give
Earl, his daughter, and Connie Ryan, who spent a
short time in the tomahawk uniform, a ride to the
airport. Earl sat in front with me, Connie and Earl’s
daughter in the back. I was a grown man with
children feeling like I was six or ten again. In the
excitement of the moment I forgot to get the autograph,
but it will always be there in my memory.

Warren’s Arm

You did not pay as much attention
to the arm motion as you did to
the high kick of the right leg

In fact, both arms dropped behind
you, glove on right hand, ball
gripped tightly in left

Leg raised as if trying
to kick a cloud and when it came down
gave the ball speed as it was released

Left arm up and over as you let
the ball go like a prisoner escaping
from jail, fast and low

Escape velocity usually 90 mph or
faster, or if you wanted, a slow curve
like a boomerang

The slider drove batters
to mental institutions as it caught the
outside corner and the umpire yelled “Strike!”

You wore number 21 on your back and give or
take one or two usually won that many games
every year, 13 years of twenty or more wins

When retired you had won more games
than any lefthander in history – 366 – a god
among the peons and pretenders to the throne

Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain

Locked in immortality by a
poem born of a desperate manager

Two pitchers who ruled Boston even
when the teams were near cellar dwellers

Spahn with his leg higher than the left field wall
Sain knocking back anyone who

dared to stand too close to the plate
They could strike out anyone beat

any team and could hit the ball
Two days of rain would always be enough


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