I’m thinking of that sidearm flip of his.
Not much on it, but at least it was straight.
He’d toss it into my waiting J. C Higgins mitt.
Back then Sears had baseball gear that was
Actually made by Rawlings, and every bit as good.

That’s what he said, at least, when he brought it
Home that day and surprised me with it.
But I was a kid who caught on quickly.
And I knew he was stretching the truth.
Then there was that sidearm flip of his.

He said he had played for Germantown in
Henry County’s Golden Valley League.
He hinted at center field, but never really said it.
How could he back then, with that sidearm
Flip of his, play center on fields without fences?

Center fielders in the Golden Valley League
Played three hundred seventy feet from home,
And chased down balls that rolled past them
Across roads and into ditches and gardens. –
No place for a guy who threw with a side-arm flip.

I’ll say this about that sidearm flip of his.
He could sling it unerringly into that
J. C. Higgins mitt of mine. It felt so good
That, even though I caught on quickly,
I started to think maybe it really was a Rawlings.

I knew, with that side-arm flip of his,
That he never once played center field
In Henry’s County’s Golden Valley League.
And he never did really say so, only hinted.
And it was obvious to a kid like me why he did it.

He knew, with that sidearm flip of his, that a kid,
Especially one who catches on quickly,
Needs to dream of the glory of the Golden Valley,
And a tall center fielder who could fire a rocket
From the very deepest part of the vast expanse

And nail any big Missouri farm-boy who tested his
Arm and dared to try to take home.