He was what was called a bonus baby in 1954,
But it was no bonus to him as he sat on the bench
Of the World Champ Yankees that year, appearing
In just 12 games. It was the rule that he had to
Stay in the Majors for two full years ‘cause he had signed
For so much money, but he might as well have been
A water cooler. He should have gone elsewhere,
Where he might have been needed, but he instead
Became background noise while the five-in-a-row
Series winners went on to win 103 games out of 154
And finished second, eight games behind
A mighty Cleveland team led by four great pitchers!
Yes, there were bonus babies who made it to the
Hall of Fame (Clementé, Hunter, Kaline, Koufax,
Killebrew) but Frank Leja never got a chance to see
What he could do — not a fair one — and he too soon
Faded even further into the baseball background,
Going 0 for two in ’55 and finishing a sad career
Going 0 for 16 with the expansion Angels.
He was a man who had been called “the next Lou Gehrig”
By the scout who really had signed the Iron Horse,
But bonus baby Frank had been doomed the day
He signed his first Yankee contract. Sometimes rules
Do more damage than good. That rule was killed off
By the Majors in ’65, 12 years too late for Frank.