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Baseball By The Numbers

Some numbers tumble down the hallowed halls of baseball’s past -
a sport of numbers after all, these memories hold fast.
Stan Musial wore #6, Lou Gehrig, #4;
the “luckiest man in all the earth”, great player AND much more.

McCovey, Reggie – 44, Hank Aaron wore it too.
Remember those World Series gems? Koufax wore 32.
My favorite: “Say Hey” Willie Mays wore #24;
he’s famous for “The Catch” and yes, that childlike smile he wore.

Ted Williams: .406 - .394 for Tony Gwynn,
if ’94 had known no strike, who knows what might have been?
5,714 K’s Ryan amassed, 
plus Nolan’s 7 no-hitters: neither will be surpassed.
“Records are made to be broken”, but THIS one never shall:
2,632 consecutive games for Cal.

1947 – Jackie Robinson’s big year,
He broke the color barrier and had a great career.
Roger Maris – 61* in ’61, but wait…
it seems some other cheaters passed him up in ’98.
I don’t consider some worthy to mention by their name –
Their steroids sadly stained the reputation of the game.

Some other numbers come to mind: Babe Ruth’s 714
Hack Wilson’s RBI’s – 191, obscene!
There’s Rickey Henderson’s 130 steals, divine! 
Dimaggio’s streak of 56; Hershiser’s 59.

But if a sacred record falls, we oughtn’t be perplexed,
The game’s baton is passed – one generation to the next.
Now Aaron Judge wears 99 – I think he wears it well,
Bryce Harper’s #3 will shine, as far as I can tell.
Young Bellinger wears 35, Mike Trout sports 27,
And Albert Pujols, #5 – their swings, pure baseball heaven.

Today is baseball’s Opening Day, a LONG-awaited season.
What new numbers might come in play - aligning rhyme with reason?
The stands will all be empty though, as COVID keeps us home –
The closest I could come to being there is write this poem. 
These numbers represent some well-loved gamers known for winning;
Even the Good Book recognizes them: “In the Big Inning”!

* - Maris passed Babe Ruth’s record of 60 HRs in a season, but it was a longer season, so the commissioner issued an edict that an asterisk be placed in the record books to annotate a ‘tainted’ new record. Billy Crystal made a brilliant movie about that, calling it “61*”

// Sam Kauffman and I challenged each other to write a poem for Opening Day of Baseball.  We both love the game of baseball.  Anyone else want to join the challenge?  We need several more members for the team - The Soupers! Poetry Soup! //

Copyright © John Watt