Phillie Bonus Baby Tom Qualters faltered in his
Major League career; cold-shouldered by most
Of his teammates for taking an old Pro’s spot
On the ’53 team, but mentored by two pitchers
From the Phillies Wiz Kids of three years before,
Starter Robin Roberts and reliever Jim Konstanty,
He struggled and could not find his comfort
Zone. Sent to the Minors, he continued with
Control problems and mental shakiness on the
Mound – – – and then one day a helicopter landed
Near the mound and out came The Satchel Paige,
Baseball wisdom and cool personified . . . and in
Time, Old Satch in his sagacious way said the words
That entered Qualters’ heart and soul: “Those sons-
Of-a-bitches can beat ya, but they can’t eat ya.” A
Scoreboard light went on inside the former Baby,
And . . . you know how wise folks find a phrase to
Live their lives by? . . . Qualters lost the trembles when
He faced those former Major Leaguers now in Triple-A,
Solidified his confidence and came in and did the job.
Now, I’d love to tell you how he went up to the Show and
Domineered, but truth is he stayed up there with mediocrity,
But that’s not the point: What you learn about yourself in
Baseball doesn’t stay behind on the field. Here was a
Man who made some quality friends and transcended
Temporary achievements to the point where his quality
Inculcated his demeanor on and off the mound. He
Didn’t stay a Baby but the Bonus that he earned was
Found in Paige’s words. Loss is temporary; just don’t
Be at a loss to acknowledge that no one is your master,
Not in baseball, not in Life. They can beat you once
In a while, but they can never own you if you build
A rampart made of pride on the inside!