My first decade as a baseball fan was absolutely golden.
The game from 1949 to 1958 was pure and full of meaning,
A winner when compared to the game as it has devolved.
Sorry, young folks, but that’s the way it is, so choke up
And try to make contact but in this face-off, you are bound to strike out.
First, each league was limited to eight teams, which meant a mere eight games
Most days — and I mean days; numbers of night games were limited
That I could count on watching the World Series in daylight,
As any true fan knows is the way it was meant to be.
Did Doubleday or whoever you might name design night games? I think not.
And that was true of double-headers (every Sunday and each holiday) —
No twilight or split double-headers to drag things out; get results and move on.
Those years were pre-expansion, so I could turn my Daily News to the back page
And read the name of every home run hitter every day, at a time when
Pre-free agency I could count on players staying with my team if they performed
And I could memorize their numbers and their stats (pre-swinging door rosters).
Pitchers pitched complete games, relievers went for two-three innings
And I could watch them all any time I wanted from a ten buck box seat,
Unafraid that some big corporation would hog those seats and shut out average Joes.
Designated hitters were unknown, which led to managers thinking strategy
When pitchers found themselves due to come to the plate to hit — or miss.
Phantom runners lounging around second base in the tenth did not exist,
Which makes so much sense: phantoms were made to not be seen.
My mind was treated gently as the teams had but two “colors” —
White for home games and gray for playing on the road.
Long-overdue ML integration was underway, with Robinson and the Doby and
Soon Willie Mays, Elston Howard and so many others, at last where they belonged,
In the Major Leagues, in this most exciting time, in my presentation of the Golden Age
Of baseball. Each generation has its version of the best of times,
And baseball fans love to argue and try to prove their case,
But there is a difference here, and it is very clear: My opinion’s right!