Baseball Poems

Baseball Poem of the Month

Spitball Magazine would like to acknowledge outstanding baseball poems by selecting a baseball poem of the month. If you would like to submit your baseball poem to be considered for "Baseball Poem of the Month" honors, as well as for publication in the Spitball Magazine, see our writers guidelines. For a complete listing of all baseball poems that have been published in Spitball Magazine, check out our baseball poems index.

January 2016: Batter Up!, by Lucas Szewczyk

December 2014: Don Larsen's Perfect Game, by Louis Phillips

November 2014: Caught Looking, by D. M. Quinn

October 2014: Faith, by Tim Peeler

September 2014: Fantasy Baseball: Milwaukee, by David A. Petreman

August 2014: Spring Meditation, by Kevin Miller

July 2014: Jackie Robinson Apartments, Brooklyn, N. Y. by Eleanor Scott

June 2014:Asterisk, by Yates Young

May 2014: Askance, by George Yatchisin

April 2014: Postseason, by Liz Drayer

March 2014: Untitled, by Bill Deegan

February 2014: Three Home Runs, by Greg Moglia

January 2014: At Yankee Stadium, by Rick K. Smith

December 2013: Untitled, by Donald Gaiter

November 2013: Baseball in Manzanar, by Bruce W. Niedt

October 2013: Driving by a Snow-Covered Baseball Park in December, by David Allan Evans

September 2103: The Ghost Chaser (for Roger Maris), by R. Bremner

August 2013: The Gloucester Fisherman's First Game, by Robert L. Harrison

July 2013: To Believe, by Marna Owen

June 2013: Empty Ballparks, by Tobey Shiverick

May 2013: To James Creighton, by Robert L. Harrison

April 2013: Fastball, by Dwayne Brenna

March 2013: Where I'm From, by Michael Kumar

February 2013: Tiant's Apprentice, by Denise Newbolt

January2013: Little League Strikeouts Ain't Pretty, by Robert L. Harrison

September 2012: The Curve by Louis Phillips

October 2011: Babe Ruth... by Larry Eickstaedt

September 2011: Written after Finding His First Bubble Gum Contract... by Larry Rogers

August 2011: Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #51 by Michael Ceraolo

July 2011: A Mile in My Shoes: Joe Jackson by Don Waldo

June 2011: Split Finger by Dwayne Brenna

May 2011: Why I No Longer Go by John MacLean

April 2011: The Path to the Dugout by Rob Vogt

March 2011: Bleacher Rat by Joyce Kessel

February 2011: McNeil Island Penitentiary Closes by Kevin Miller

January 2011: Casey Park by Ed McCafferty

December 2010: Gum Based Good Times by David S. Pointer

November 2010: Sandlot Dad by M. T. Corrigan

October 2010: Roberto Clemente by Mark Hinton

September 2010: A Broken Window by Larry Granger

August 2010: Rosemont Conventions by Robert Manaster

July 2010: Stetter to Sheffield to Matcovich by Howard Rosenberg

June 2010: Ernie by Ed Werstein

May 2010: Star Fielder by Janet Kamnikar

April 2010: Fastball from My Dad by Geoff M. Pope

March 2010: Baseball (day/night doubleheader) by Bruce Harris

February 2010: Progeny by John Lambremont, Sr.

January 2010: Railroads and Baseball by Dudley Laufman

December 2009: A Boy of Doubtful Grace by Bruce D. Herman

Baseball Poem of the Month, January 2016

Batter Up!

by Lucas Szewczyk

Step up to the plate

Trusty bat in hand

Keep your eye on the ball

They yell from the stand

A swing and a miss

That was strike one

Wait for your pitch

The Coach says, “Just have some fun!”

The ball whizzes by

That was strike two

I thought that was high

But what can you do?

I’m ready to hit

Feet planted and elbows back

I swung my trusty bat

And surprised I heard a smack

First hit of the season

I made it on base

Cheers roared from my team

And a smile on my face

Bio of Poet: Lucas Szewczyk (Warwick, RI) is a ten-year-old Boston Red Sox fan and baseball card collector.

Baseball Poem of the Month, December 2014

Don Larsen's Perfect Game

by Louis Phillips

When you came to the end of your perfect game,

And you stood alone with your thoughts,

While your chums sang out "Hurray, Hurray!"

For the joy your feat had brought,

Did you think what the end of a perfect game

Had meant to the baseball crowd?

Watching the batters go down in flame

Had made your teammates proud.

Well. it was the end of a perfect game.

At the end of the Series too;

And it left its mark in the Record Book

Where every stat is true.

My memory recalls that day

Every pitch, catch, & out,

With Yogi running out to the mound,

To leap & hug & shout.

When we think on the glory of your perfect game

Does it make us young again?

Bio of poet: Louis Phillips (New York, NY) is a widely published and eclectic poet and author.

Baseball Poem of the Month, November 2014

Caught Looking

by D. M. Quinn

the pitch: down and in

leather slaps leather: dust flies

a pointed finger

Bio of Poet: D. M Quinn has published poetry in journals such as The Bitter Oleander and The Little Patuxent Review.

Baseball Poem of the Month, October 2014


by Tim Peeler

Leaving Oklahoma, Mantle

Corn fed and country handsome,

Listened to his daddy and

After he died young, carried

On conversations with him

In the Yankee center field.

Mickey looked up at what stars

He could see, and there was Mutt

Telling him to move in some,

To always hit the cutoff,

But when the game was over,

Mick was all alone with his

Mates, the women, the party,

Walking Manhattan sidewalks,

The latest girlfriend on

His arm, as he drunkenly scanned

The empty meaningless sky.

Bio of poet: Well known to Spitball readers, Tim Peeler is one of America's best and most prolific baseball poets.

Baseball Poem of the Month, September 2014

Fantasy Baseball: Milwaukee

by David A. Petreman

1st Inning: Nineteen fifty-three:

Every Miller beer is free

During the first game.

2nd Inning: Nineteen fifty-four:

Joe Adcock hits five home runs

In a single game.

3rd Inning: Nineteen fifty-five:

Dodgers forfeit fifteen wins

Over Milwaukee.

4th Inning: Nineteen fifty-six:

Eddie Mathews makes the play,

Braves win the pennant.

5th Inning: In fifty-seven:

Hurricane Bob Hazle wins


6th Inning: Nineteen fifty-eight:

Braves beat the Yankees again,

This time four to one.

7th Inning: Nineteen fifty-nine:

Braves beat Dodgers in play-offs,

Win pennant again.

8th Inning: In nineteen sixty:

I meet Spahn, Aaron, Mathews

Inside the clubhouse.

9th Inning: Nineteen sixty-one:

Henry Louis Aaron hits

Sixty-two home runs.

10th Inning: Nineteen sixty-two:

They have re-planted pine trees

Out in center field.

11th Inning: Nineteen sixty-three:

Spahn wins the Cy Young, Aaron

Wins the Triple Crown.

12th Inning: Nineteen sixty-four:

Rico Carty wins Rookie

Of the Year Award.

13th Inning: Nineteen sixty-five:

Braves tell Milwaukee, we'll stay

And it's not a lie.

Bio of poet: David A. Petreman (Bellbrook, OH) grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and saw the Braves play many times in Milwaukee County Stadium. He pitched for Illinois Wesleyan University.

Baseball Poem of the Month, August 2014

Spring Meditation

by Kevin Miller

short toss with Wiffle balls-

the elder brother shags,

the younger swings

the bulbous blue bat,

spins half circle

and falls on wet grass.

The grandfather on one knee

recalls his start, all three

hit southpaw, the turn

to short toss is method,

a step back for contact,


as simple as breath,

and he recalls Gary Schwab

placing a bat behind his foot

to force his step to the pitch,

forget Gordy Coleman,

he holds the ball still

has the boy swing

to the point of impact,

stop, feel the extension,

extend - it means

your arms look like this V,

he rises, holds the boy's hips

to show open, belly button

to the pitcher, he remembers

Connie Hamilton telling

a kid Squeeze your cheeks,

imagine holding a fiver,

first soft toss a line shot

sticks a blue moon

in the laurel hedge.

Bio of poet: Kevin Miller (Tacoma, WA) is a seasoned baseball poet.

Baseball Poem of the Month, July 2014

Jackie Robinson Apartments, Brooklyn, N.Y.

by Eleanor Scott

"Dont' run inside,"

says the lady

who lives in the apartment

built over the path

Robinson blazed,

head down, heart up,

now only a home,

where obedient children

(whose feet feel the echoes)

can't run.

Bio of poet: Eleanor Scott (Belvidere, NJ) is a retired English teacher and baseball fan of more than 70 years.

Baseball Poem of the Month, June 2014


by Yates Young

How did he hit 73*

Here's a photo of the guy

Taken a few years ago.

How does a grown man

Grow arms that large

And a neck that wide

Eating Wheaties?

He wanted to outdo the white guy

(Apparently juicing too)

Who hit 70* a few years before.

Did he cheat?

Where's the evidence?

Who built him up?

Who did he let down?

The press screamed Foul

Bud fiddled through it all

The umpire cried Play Ball!

Bio of poet: Yates Young (Palm Coast, FL) has been writing poetry for more than 40 years. he also translates Classical, Tang, and Sung poetry.

Baseball Poem of the Month, May 2014


By George Yatchisin

This is the first line of this poem.

Now we see how unsatisfying

the truth can be.

Of course we don’t all agree

about even the obvious,

just ask god if you believe in him,

just love the beauty of a 4-6-3

double play, or the woman

who loves me for loving it.

Perhaps that’s not why, I know,

But she loves me anyway,

which makes her more gorgeous

than the shortstop on his perilous pivot,

than the first baseman’s artful scoop –

so much saved with easy grace.

This is all an excuse, sure, to avoid

trying to describe her matchless face

as I race to the last line of this poem.

Bio of Poet: George Yatchisin (Santa Barbara, CA) is a Mets fan and the Communications Coordinator of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara.

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Baseball Poem of the Month, April 2014


By Liz Drayer

I'm not savvy about baseball.


might be letters

floating in soup.

The rookie's first playoff at bat

he strides to the plate

and assumes the position.

Will he trudge back

to the dugout deflated

that's the question on my mind.

All I see sometimes

is the human movie to go with

the pitch count and strikeouts

The world soundtrack

Beltran Suzuki Verlander

can’t be heard in the press box.

Without the script I can’t make meaning

of sac flies, blown saves, double plays.

Take slugging percentage –

don’t I see the shine of it

he wants to know

I admit that I can’t.

It’s the hum of blood

under the jerseys

that stops me

where he sees equations.

Bio of Poet: Liz Drayer (Clearwater, FL) is an attorney and free lance writer.

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Baseball Poem of the Month, March 2014


By Bill Deegan

eating sunflower seeds

the manager studies

the spray charts

Bio of Poet: Bill Deegan (Mahwah, NJ) is a haiku poet and CPA.

Baseball Poem of the Month, February 2014

Three Home Runs

By Greg Moglia

Out my father’s window the sun enjoys itself at midday

Dad sits up in his nursing bed, takes his pill and gives his nurse a thank you

Greets me with a smile and I say Happy Birthday Dad … Happy 96th

Dad in a child voice says Daddy and Mommy how are they?

Did I hear right I ask Dad, what did you say?

Daddy and Mommy how are they?

Dad, your mother and father died about 50 years ago

I’m not sure on the date

Dad tears up And the funerals, the burials, I missed it all

Now, he’s sobbing Both gone and I missed it all

Stunned, I need help and it comes – father is falling

But pieces still here – he’s still here …

Dad listen it’s here in the paper … the Babe

The Babe … hit three homers … three homers today

Dad Looks hard at me and then softens

And through sniffles Three home runs?

Yes, Dad I take a tissue

Wipe his eyes as he asks

And the Yankees

did they win?

Bio of poet: Greg Moglia (Huntington, NY) is an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy of Education at N.Y.U. and a widely-published poet.

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Baseball Poem of the Month, January 2014

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.

Bio of poet: Rick K. Smith (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) is a clinical psychologist and blues harp musician. His third book of poems, Whispering in a Mad Dog’s Ear, was recently published.

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Baseball Poem of the Month, December 2013


By Donald Gaither

far from the ballpark

above the crowd noise

infield chatter

Bio of poet: Donald Gaither (Vancouver, WA) is a former teacher, a Viet Nam veteran, and an expert on haiku.

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Baseball Poem of the Month, November 2013

Baseball in Manzanar

By Bruce W. Niedt

When I was twelve I played sandlot ball

in my little town in California.

After the game, I would go to the docks

and help my father with the catch

on his fishing boat. A year later we were

in the desert, in a government compound

bordered by towers and electrified fences.

My father had everything taken from him,

but he said they could not take our pride.

We still played baseball, with a vengeance -

teams and leagues and uniforms, just as

we would have done back home. One day

I almost hit a homer over the barbed wire fence.

A guard in a tower gave me a thumbs-up.

My father said, They think we're trying too hard

to be Americans. They don't know I played baseball

as a boy back in Kyoto. It's a Japanese game too.

I said, Papa, we are Americans.

My father died too early, never the same

since he lost his business. I grew up,

went to college, married, had three kids,

and now, six grandkids, the oldest of whom

is a college professor. When I think back,

sometimes I still get angry with my country,

but it's still my country. I still watch baseball,

and I have my favorite players, like Ichiro,

who marches inevitably to the Hall of Fame.

Bio of poet: Bruce W. Niedt (Cherry Hill, NJ) has a chapbook of recent-composed baseball poems ready for publication, awaiting discovery by a publisher.

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Baseball Poem of the Month, October 2013

Driving by a Snow-Covered Baseball Park in December

By David Allan Evans

Three crows were standing on

spindly legs between second

and short, all three looking

toward home plate, as if waiting

for a hot grounder to scramble

their wings, or a frozen-rope single

to sizzle right over their heads,

making them duck.

When I slowed down for

a closer look, they lifted lazily

and flied out deep to center,

but heading, I guessed, toward

the strewn concessions

in the Western Mall parking lot.

Bio of poet: David Allan Evans (Sioux Falls, SD) has published eight collections of poetry and has been the poet laureate of South Dakota since 2003.

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Baseball Poem of the Month, September 2013

The Ghost Chaser

(for Roger Maris)

By R. Bremner

He chased a ghost

to the crack of our whip.

Our simple plan:

the ghost would vaporize

through his fingers

before delighted eyes

and excited sighs.

The stupid man!

He couldn't understand

the plan.

He caught the ghost

we loved the most.

His prize:

the stings of our whip.

Away he ran.

Bio of poet: A prolific poet, R. Bremner (Glen Ridge, NJ) has worked as a cab driver, truck unloader, computer programmer, and bank vice-president.

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Baseball Poem of the Month, August 2013

The Gloucester Fisherman's First Game

By Robert L. Harrison

The upper deck was cod

as he sat with his chum,

being hard of herring

he was floundering about

watching shrimp-like players

playing bass ball.

He smelt hot dogs

while netting a beer,

as the pitcher threw down the pike

balls with fresh bait

watched by crabby umpire eyes.

He stayed tuna end

for the game was a fluke

a turning tide that would

even make a mermaid cry.

Bio of poet: A retired special education teacher, Air Force photographer, docent, and parking lot attendant, Robert L. Harrison (East Meadow, NY) is a well-known baseball bard.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: July 2013

To Believe

By Marna Owen

It's all I can do

To pay attention and drive

While the last half of the 9th is played out

The last battle of the regular season

It's now or never

A baseball cliche, but who cares?

It is now or never

I listen to games from spring to autumn

Grab the morning paper

Read, critique, coach aloud to no one and anyone

I count the games, study the box scores

When the magic number is 1

I believe in magic

Until the third out.

It happens in the parking lot.


I leave my car and wander down the street

Buy some bread I do not want

Stare mindlessly at a purse in a shop window.

Then I see the clerk in the wine store, his head in his hands,

Eyes covered, and I know, I know despair.

I back up, go inside.

He has the game on,

The final season wrap-up among all the bottles of wine.

He lifts his head, looks at me

"Let me know if I can help you," he says dejectedly.

"Thanks," I say, and pretend to shop. Just to keep company.

We both know there is nothing to be done.

Bio of poet: Marna Owen (Berkeley, CA) is a Tigers fan and a project manager.

Baseball Poem of the Month: June 2013

Empty Ballparks

By Tobey Shiverick

Empty ballparks speak.

It's true, you know.

They are not just empty spaces

Surrounded by tiers of empty seats.

They speak with silent eloquence

Of green grass and ghosts

Of ball games past

And promises of ball games to come.

You have to relax and listen.

Consider it therapy

Bio of poet: Tobey Shiverick (Vero Beach, FL) has visited all 30 major league ballparks and is writing a book about it, to be published this summer by Summer Game Books.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: May 2013

To James Creighton

By Robert L. Harrison


You were a brother of the ball from long ago.

A man who ran the bases before us

Who pitched a snap wristed curve ball

That went where no sphere before has ever been.

And on your last at bat

You saw the arc of the ball melt into the sky

And it pained you to see the end of your game.


You were young and the game was young

The world of nine men playing together just beginning,

And there you were, a star raising from the dust

That the scribes would write about

That the fanatics would come out and see

A hero of green fields and summer's song,

Where the innings could stretch forever.


Yes, we remember you, the pioneer,

the man who dreamed of future games

Where under the sun players would run

And bat, and catch, and seek new ways

To stretch their imagination on the field.

For this we salute you and cross our bats

And stand in silence in honor of you.

Bio of poet: Robert L. Harrison (East Meadow, NY) is the author of several baseball chapbooks and a longtime contributor to Spitball Magazine.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: April 2013


By Dwayne Brenna

sniper fire

from the un-grassy knoll

cocaine high

you see in living colour after that

pure white smoke

and bee bee at the knees

arrives like a punch in the face

or a pail of cold water

and hops and sometimes drops

and sometimes disappears

(ask any ump)

and thwack goes the mitt

a foley artist couldn't make that sound

statement of unbending bluntness

black and white

and no détente

you on that side

me on this

and hit it if you can

Bio of poet: Dwayne Brenna (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) teaches in the drama department of the University of Saskatchewan and was published in the Spring 2012 issue of Spitball.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: March 2013

Where I'm From

By Michael Kumar

I am from center field,

From where the rich green grass and the warm brown dirt meet.

I am from the place where champions are made, and

legends are born.

I am from the drive to succeed and the fear of failure.

I am from where players made footsteps too deep to fill,

From the same turf legends and DiMaggio and Mantle, and where The Say Hey Kid

made his famous catch.

I am from the roar of the fans and the chatter of my teammates.

I'm from the place where I feel comfortable, and I am determined to stay here.

I'm from the place where left meets right and I am ready.

I am home.

Bio of poet: Michael Kumar (Little Silver, NJ) is a senior baseball player at Red Bank Regional High School and plays for a traveling team called the NJ Marlins.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: February 2013

Tiant's Apprentice

By Denise Newbolt

Clear August sunlight spotlighted the dancer

he twirled in the style of Tiant

technical in spin, placed practiced choreography.

A white ball, laced red with a season's skill and hope,

hurled to the stanched batter,

who would nick it to the dirt

In his 7th inning finale

a foul, a strike released in a summer's era,

the spiraling pitcher spun to a season's final ovation,

in late afternoon shadows.

Bio of poet: Denise Newbolt (Florence, KY), now retired, was the Kentucky School Media Specialist of the Year in 2006. She has also worked for the Florence Freedom professional baseball club.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: January 2013

Little League Strikeouts Ain't Pretty

By Robert L. Harrison

With sadness I report

about the last ball

your son bought

It was both high and low

and curved before

the final blow

It was flying fast

a white meteor

that he let pass

And so I say with pity

that this scene

was not too pretty

For even I did cry

after he let

that ball go by

Bio of poet: Robert L. Harrison (East Meadow, NY) is a widely published baseball versifier with several baseball chapbooks to his credit.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: September 2012

The Curve

Life throws you a curve,

Breaking so sharply,

That just before it crosses the plate,

You flinch, bend back.

You still have two strikes to go.

Next a change up or a slider.

Perhaps followed by high heat.

A 100 mph fastball.

Even if you know what pitch is coming,

You still can’t hit it out of the park.

Soon you are not allowed

Any more pitches. 3 strikes.

Return to the bench.

No sense hanging around.

You’re out. That’s it.

Bio of Poet: Louis Phillips (New York, NY) is a widely published poet, playwright, and short story writer and the author of numerous books, including The Woman Who Wrote King Lear and Other Stories. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: October 2011

Babe Ruth

by Larry Eickstaedt

Ted Williams was my idol.

Ruthie and I were always the Boston Red Sox

for our farmyard baseball games

but I paid grudging respect

to Joe DiMaggio and the Yankees –

my brother's team.

Stories our dad told about the greats

like Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson,

provided an historical feel for the game.

More important than school lessons –

lifetime batting averages, most runs,

most hits, most stolen bases –

were committed to memory.


At the top of the list, records

held by the most famous of Yankees,

the Babe –

most home runs in a season,

most in a lifetime –

were sacred.

In the afternoon of August 16, 1948,

a wave of silence,

like a sharp line drive,

swept the family when Mom

came out to the yard and announced

to Dad, my brother, sister, and me,

Babe Ruth died today!

That's all she said.

As though in a trance,

stunned by the news,

she slowly went back inside.

Time was suspended

like one of his towering home runs

and tears were near as I struggled

with unsettling feelings

like striking out with the bases loaded

in the bottom of the ninth.

Bio of Poet: Born on a farm in Storm Lake, Iowa, Larry Eickstaedt (Olympia, WA) received a Ph.D in marine biology from Stanford University and was a founding member of The Evergreen State College in Olympia. A former Boston Red Sox fan, he now roots for the Seattle Mariners.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: September 2011

For Andy Who Signed with the San Francisco Giants in 1972

Written after Finding His First Bubble Gum Contract in the Smokehouse

by Larry Rogers

He wanted his ashes spread

over a pasture in Logan County

that decades earlier had been

a ball field on which the Dean brothers,

Dizzy and Daffy, had played

when they were boys.

When he was a boy

he would go there

and commune with

their carefree spirits

when he wanted to

get away from the worries

of this world.

Accommodating him

one bright, April morning

I did not hear the pop

of a fastball shooting

into the heart of the catcher's mitt,

or early 20th century

infield chatter,

only my own unsteady voice

giving the barefooted Diz

a glowing scouting report

on another local boy.

Bio of Poet: Larry Smith (Fort Smith, AR) served in Vietnam with the 1st Air Cav in 1967-68. His poems have appeared in the Wormwood Review, the New York Quarterly, and the Denver Post.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: August 2011

Shakespearean Baseball Sonnet #51

by Michael Ceraolo

Thus can my love excuse the weak offense

Of my hometown team, when the pitching’s good.

No matter the batters can’t reach the fence,

And don’t draw as many walks as they should,

Nor do they blaze the base paths with much speed:

Said offense is a catalog of need.

With good pitching you can stay in the game

And let your weak offense try to keep pace;

Close, low-scoring games have a better name,

Though you’re not any higher in the race

Than a team built the opposite of you;

Both have a similar also-ran view.

And by all except the purist’s measure,

Losing is not an aesthetic pleasure.

Bio of Poet: Michael Ceraolo (Willoughby Hills, OH) is a firefighter/paramedic and the author of a book of poetry called Euclid Creek.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: July 2011

A Mile in My Shoes: Joe Jackson

by Don Waldo

I had a uniform that was dirty but a conscience that was clean.

I never laid eyes on a one of them but knew them all by name.

I never spoke to them directly but heard what they were asking.

I told them to go to hell, but they said I was already there.

I asked to sit this one out but was told I would never stand.

I never asked for nothing, but they gave it to me anyways.

I tried to tell them what was going down, but they knew what was up.

I always played to win but somehow managed to lose.

I never learned to read or write, but my signed confession still damns me.

I was owed a living wage, but he’s paying me beyond the grave.

History has called me out, but His is the only call that matters.

Bio of Poet: Don Waldo (Charlotte, NC) is a NY Yankees fan who has written extensively about Shoeless Joe Jackson.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: June 2011

Split Finger

by Dwayne Brenna

Used to throw the screwball

but pronated hands and elbows

don’t make healthy arms

Fernando Valenzuela found this out

too late

Took a while

to stretch my fingers out but I

enjambed a ball

and held it there for weeks

watching Jen on TSN

Then winter came

I threw it in the gym

for six months straight

So what’s it do?

It fades

like memories of Mathewson

It dies

like a wounded skunk

and leaves an odor at your door

When it’s working

no one hits that thang

Bio of Poet: Dwayne Brenna (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) is the author of a collection of baseball poems called Time Out of Mind.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: May 2011

Why I No Longer Go

by John MacLean

To tear the old place down was the last straw,

But they had long since changed the game for me.

I didn’t spend enough to pay my share

Of salary and profit for the club,

And, so, somehow, membership was revoked.

I had for years parked on the South Bronx streets,

And bought a hero sandwich up the block,

And sat with homemade scorecard through all nine,

Without the need to buy a bobble head.

But worst of all, I still contributed

To silence that once hung across the park,

A hammock on those lazy summer days,

When you’re content to let the whole world slip.

Then came fake bugles, mechanical cheers,

Loud music danced to by Cotton-eyed Joe.

You couldn’t hear the elevated train

For all the noise the cartoon subway made.

Forget the bat’s crack or the leather’s pop.

They couldn’t trust that I would stay awake,

And so they filled the once expectant space

Between the innings with crowd pleasing din

The way they do it in the minor leagues.

Bio of Poet: John MacLean (Croton, NY) is a big NY Yankees fan and the author of If You Teach It They Will Read: Literature’s Life Lessons for Today’s Students.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: April 2011

The Path to the Dugout

by Rob Vogt

Right-handers are power pitchers.

They come from Texas, raised on beef

and christened with names like Nolan and Roger.

Left-handers are crafty southpaws.

No one knows exactly where they come from,

but they do strange things in the clubhouse,

like reading books in front of their lockers.

Right-handers pitch until their arms fall off,

or until they can no longer make it out of the seventh inning

without assistance from a sub-species known as a relief pitcher.

Left-handers pitch into their early forties,

or until they are offered jobs in the broadcast booth.

Right-handers throw 95-mph fastballs

at disrespectful, plate-hugging batters,

the baseballs connecting with a painful thud,

their seams leaving tiny, red bite marks

on hitters’ barely-covered flesh.

Left-handers nibble around the plate,

Lulling batters to sleep,

luring umpires into expanded strike zones.

Right-handers storm off the mound

at the end of an inning, pumping their fists –




Left-handers curlicue called strike threes

around the outside corner and walk off the field quietly,

their eyes focused on the path to the dugout

and nothing more.

Bio of Poet: Rob Vogt (Los Angeles, CA) teaches writing at the University of Southern California and has had a poem nominated for a Pushcart prize.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: March 2011

Bleacher Rat

by Joyce Kessel

I grew up a National League fan

of the Pirates, Cards, Reds & Giants,

not even knowing many decades before

my Buffalo Bisons played in the Senior League

well before becoming a minor league stalwart.

So I'd pray for sunny skies over Forbes Field

rather than Cleveland's "Mistake by the Lake."

My rare defection to the American League

came when the Orioles gained Frank Robinson

in that lopsided trade and after,

who couldn't have appreciated Cal Ripken?

My dad & I would troll the minor leagues

where for some reason affiliations

didn't seem to matter as much,

at least not to me,

who took in the green expanses

beyond dirt as the glowing diamonds

they were meant to be,

even in parks that were bare shadows

to Little League fields today.

In bandbox fields

and open air bleachers

we'd watch players with numbers,

but no names on their uniforms,

trading cards in their future or past

or not at all, their talents raw and wild.

I learned a geography of Rustbelt cities:

Toledo Mudhens, Columbus Clippers,

Rochester Redwings, Syracuse Chiefs,

Geneva Cubs, Oneonta Yankees,

Niagara Falls Rainbows,

a day’s ride away,

hoping they’d play two,

and mastering the geometry

& hieroglyphs of scorecards.

Bio of Poet: Joyce Kessel (Hamburg, NY) is a widely-published poet and a teacher at Villa Maria College in Buffalo. Sample recordings of her work can be heard at

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Baseball Poem of the Month: February 2011

McNeil Island Penitentiary Closes

by Kevin Miller

The island boat sails

empty one way. For

years I told the kids

of our away games

against fed inmates,

the Native pitcher

with hand-carved knives

tattooed underside

his forearms, his stare

walleyed as search lights

when a kid sixteen

brushed him back. He eyed

me with unwieldy

daggers, safe behind

horizontal bars,

I squatted, signaled

for a curve. Bleacher

bums hooted, howled,

and bet cigarettes

on each pitch. One guy

yelled, He killed seven

guys, watch your back

at the plate. Hitters

joked about playing

the next game at our place.

We split the double

header, and ate lunch

At the big house.

Bio of Poet: Kevin Miller (Tacoma, Washington) is the author of Home & Away: The Old Town Poems, his third collection of poems. It was published in 2008 by Pleasure Boat Studio.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: January 2011

Casey Park

by Ed McCafferty

There are youngsters playing pick-up baseball

on a hardscrabble field

in the Heights section of Wilkes-Barre, PA.

We are not a real team,

we have no uniforms,

and our parents don’t watch us play.

To settle first pick

in choosing sides we spit

on a smooth flat stone

and toss it in the air-

one side wet

one side dry.

Today the entire Heights

is the stone come down

on its wet side.

The Asphalt on Empire Street

lucent lavender,

the infield at Casey Park

rainwet orange,

the woods beyond

deep blue and

heavy with rain.

The sand quarry

is a sienna pit,

and the coal-company houses

edging the woods

are slaked a corrugated gray.

A cool breeze blows

in from the highway,

and blows into my memory.

Twenty years later I return.

The woods, the sand pit, the company houses

are paved over into an industrial park.

But Casey Field thrives,

now edged with an outfield fence,

and now a Little League field

where real teams play.

Bio of Poet: Ed McCafferty (Alexandria, VA) has made several previous appearances in Spitball.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: December 2010

Gum Based Good Times

by David S. Pointer

The antique gumball

machine tech patted

his little globe dispenser

saying it was "the gum"

that really got each

baseball game started

and helped a fastball

burn hot as a fireplace

front or brought out a

cartridge box boom

at the crack of the bat

or helped the coach

keep up maintenance

on all our game gear

stored in that Nicaraguan

coffee gunny sack

season after season,

so in baseball’s brief

little league time line

it’s the chewing gum

that may be going down

into history with the

chomping rest of us.

Bio of Poet: David S. Pointer (Murfreesboro, TN) is the author of the poetry chapbook Warhammer Piano Bar published by Thunderclap Press.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: November 2010

Sandlot Dad

by M. T. Corrigan

Not to say too much, nor paint those shadows

deeper than they were, his serves just clearing

the drop of the woods, and that line of maples

along Route Two, a deeper green. Greater matters

attach themselves to the sense of things

we learned, like the shockless strokes of triples

scalded down the lines, singeing the Nadeaus'

birch trees: overspin, top hand. What meaning

could one assign to batting practice; who grapples

light enough to comprehend that meadow's

darknesses? He pitched from deepeer shade, peering

in to catch the sign to get me out. No scruples

for the dustbacks that flung me down to dirt:

"Get up, son. Hang in. Baseball doesn't hurt."

Bio of Poet: M. T. Corrigan (Lewiston, ME) appeared in the Summer 1994 issue of Spitball.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: October 2010

Roberto Clemente (Topps 1972)

by Mark Hinton

The first thing you notice is the ball

stopped in mid-air. Playfully tossed just

before the picture was taken. Right

hand already waiting for the ball

to come down. His tongue stuck out in mock

concentration. The red pickup truck

just beyond his right shoulder, the half-

empty stands, the fans standing along

the fence, even his shiny batting helmet

tell the story: another batting

practice before another game. Perhaps,

the World Series. The long black sleeves

would be right. The gesture too. A simple

act of easy grace declaring much:

certain knowledge of his own greatness.

Perhaps I read too much into this card.

But how can I not. The ball hanging

there when his plane could not.

Bio of Poet: This poem by Mark Hinton (Bloomington, MN) is from a series of poems by the poet about the players on baseball cards.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: September 2010

A Broken Window

by Larry Granger

Up the hill next to the

field is a house with an

inviting window just out

of range of our size batters

even on our best days.

Who will be first?

That’s why we had a fungo

contest with a crash being

the ultimate prize.

Finally we moved from home

plate to third base.

And it happened by one

of us.

I won’t say who.

Usually only the American

Legion team batters could

come anywhere close.

Parental pride replaced

the window and saved ball.

Full story not disclosed

until much later family


Bio of Poet: Larry Granger (Bloomington, MN) is a historian and writer who has coached youth baseball for many years in the Bloomington and St. Paul, MN areas.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: August 2010

Rosemont Conventions

by Robert Manaster

I used to lounge around the inn's lobby

By the Bering Room. While standing near a wobbly

Table— my pockets stuffed with change— I'd agree

To buy the best from those sorry boys, who trusted

Me after trading for their cards. Sorry,

It didn't matter much to them since they lusted

For quarters anyway— they didn't know

The deals those days. How could I let them go?

A quarter for Fisk— or any great name—

They took without a struggle in their eyes.

They never knew, they never worked the game,

And I wasn't about to hint or compromise.

They themselves played it big: They'd plead and trade

For what they saw were players a good grade

Above the rest—Rose, Ripkin, Jackson, Hough—

Then laugh behind some backs when done. My take

Was to fish out nibblers not smart enough

To know a real worm from the rubbery fake.

Bio of Poet: Robert Manaster has published poems in various journals including Many Mountains Moving, Wisconsin Review, and Sport Literate. He lives in Champaign, IL.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: July 2010

Stetter to Sheffield to Matcovich

by Howard Rosenberg

His five-hundreth victim -

A name for trivia lovers;

The pitch, number nine,

A full-count slider,

Tossed nine days after

His Mets debut.

His swat -his first hit as a Met-

A gloved surprise for a bleacher buyer;

The media's momentum magnifying

The threesome's moment;

The catch worth bats, balls, jerseys,

The gifts of a Major League man

Whose dreams were now just memories,

Whose blast could not revive the past -

Only stir the present.

Bio of Poet: Howard Rosenberg writes a blog about the New York Mets called "" and lives in Sewell, NJ.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: June 2010


by Ed Werstein

Five minutes after tuning in late

you knew all the important stuff:

score, inning, situation, pitchers,

key plays, game summary,

(the Tiges [like tikes with a hard g]

scored first on Kaline’s

sacrifice fly in the third,

but the Bosox took the lead in

their half of the inning

with a two run blast by Malzone

after a one out walk to Runnels.)

If the Tigers were on the road,

you got some additional info.

Maybe a description of Comiskey Park,

right down to those beautiful arches,

or the dimensions of Fenway’s

green monster.

But the stats were just the stitching

in the patchwork of beautiful pictures

he pieced together.

Moms from Midland, lads from Lansing,

and those gentlemen from Ypsilanti

will still manage to snag foul balls.

Watching called third strikes sail by,

hitters will still just stand there

like the house by the side of the road.

Double plays will still be two for the price of one,

homers will still be loooong gone,

and fans will still be holding onto their beers

during those tense ninth innings.

But, like a ground-rule double

he hopped the fence and left the park.

Ernie Harwell is gone,

and no one will ever tell us that way again.

Bio of Poet: Ed Werstein of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan who grew up south of the Motor City. His work has appeared in Verse Wisconsin and Vampyr Verses.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: May 2010

Star Fielder

By Janet Kamnikar

A slender crescent moon

lay on its back last night

low in the evening-blue sky,

while tacked high above it,

a single star shone forth,

the sky’s own diamond solitaire.

If that star should fall, I thought,

the moon, like a flashy center fielder,

would make a basket catch

and capture every drop of light.

Bio of Poet: Janet Kamnikar lives in Fort Collins, Colorado and recently published a baseball poem about her father in plains song review (Univ. of Nebraska). She and her husband take in Cubs games every spring in Mesa, AZ.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: April 2010

Fastball from My Dad

By Geoff M. Pope

Back in the '50s, my father

played minor league baseball

with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bruce B. Pope was a lefty, and he hurt me,

hurt my hand bad when I was almost 11 -

after I blurted out something like, “Dad,

throw me one of your real fastballs, will ya?”

I watched his hesitation and the familiar but slightly

different windup this time; it was more pronounced,

just more dramatic, I thought. Then the pitch –

and my barely seeing it fly into my mitt.

I can still hear the hit, the violent Pop!

I tried hard not to cry when I caught it then dropped it.

I started bawling across the front yard, the palm

of my left hand stinging then throbbing,

the glove left on the ground…

me thinking something broken

and blurry like I will nev-er

question the pow-er

of my fath-er


Bio of Poet: Geoff M. Pope lives in the Seattle area, 16 miles from Safeco Field. His book of poems is titled The Word in Question

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Baseball Poem of the Month: March 2010

Baseball (day/night doubleheader)

by Bruce Harris

first game

Complete games were routine for some,

watched by hats and ties through fragrant cigar smoke.

Great Scott - home run derby - M&Ms - Maypo (hold the juice).

Baseball is Topps and a nickel is king.

September's done. Eight teams dream of afternoon October fun.

night cap

Save this. DH that. Pitch count. Everyone looks like a catcher now.

Corporate heads sit and talk while starting pitchers transact business with the bullpen.

Only birds get flipped.

Jokers and wild cards blow on hands. Stars under stars

while witches and ghosts and goblins play.

Bio of Poet: Bruce Harris played high school baseball before the appearance of aluminum bats, the DH, and lights at Wrigley Field. He lives in Scotch Plains, NJ..

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Baseball Poem of the Month: February 2010


by John Lambremont, Sr.

Age-old Southern faces,

tight-lipped and grim,

in their batting helmets,

their chins tucked in,

raise their steel barrels

and dig in again.

Remnants of their ancestry,

descendants of their kin,

that stared down steel barrels

and charged again,

knowing that their chances

to survive were slim.

The batteries of the enemy

are usually going to win.

Bio of Poet: A graduate of Louisiana State University with a B.A. in English-Creative Writing, John Lambremont, Sr. is a widely-published, Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. The author of Whiskey, Whimsy, & Rhymes, he lives in Baton Rouge, LA.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: January 2010

Railroads and Baseball

by Dudley Laufman

That time there in Warner, New Hampshire,

game between Bradford and Warner,

someone clouted a drive across the railroad tracks

just in front of the afternoon run

of the Concord to Claremont commuter.

Ump made it a ground rule double.

I think I told you this one,

Arlington - Waltham.

Spy Ponder hits one over the tracks

in front of the 6:15 to Lexington,

Watch City outfielder scoots through the underpass,

comes back waving the ball,

wants a ground rule double,

ump says home run.

Yeah, I told you that one.

But get this.

I don't know if this is true or not,

but it makes a good story.

The Red Sox are enroute Boston-Providence

for an exhibition game in Pawtucket.

Train passes through Sharon or

some little town like that.

Train whistles along the edge of the ball field,

sandlot game, mix of grubby uniforms,

and someone lines one towards the train.

Ted Williams is standing out on the back platform,

reaches out, snags the ball, and keeps it.

Train rumbles on to Pawtucket,

Williams clutching their only ball.

Next day (the Sox stay over),

train headed back to Beantown.

The boys are out on the field

(they found another ball).

The Kid is out on the platform again,

and he throws the ball back,

autographed by all the Bosox.

Bio of Poet: Dudley Laufman is the author of four volumes of poetry and the recipient of the GOVERNOR's AWARD IN THE ARTS Lifetime Achievement Folk Heritage Award for 2001. He lives in Canterbury, NH.

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Baseball Poem of the Month: December 2009

A Boy of Doubtful Grace

by Bruce D. Herman

You go cheap, you get cheap.

Take my first baseball glove - please!

Oh, it's long gone, lumping its way to the

center of the earth.

It's about the time of the "Say Hey!" guy's

wonder glove.

At eight, my only catch was measles.

The same year I peeled my first orange.

In softball pickup games, chosen last, I roamed

right field with a dog. The dog retrieved

the balls I missed.

When I asked for a baseball glove my dad went cheap.

I think he paid for it in pesoes.

Mom called my gift Quasimodo. It was that misshapened.

All fat with batten, Quasimodo was unbendable,

with a dimple for a pocket, with ill-strung hapless


Girls thought I was cute. Feeling sorry for me,

they taught me how to throw.

Girls thought I was cute, and that's how I got

through the baseball season.

Bio of Poet: Bruce D. Herman is a retiree living in Brooklyn Center, MN. His poems have appeared in numerous periodicals, including "ArtWord Quarterly," "Mobius," and "Vintage Northwest."

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