There are men of my generation
who still argue about who was better –
Mantle, Mays or Snider,
but my childhood hero was Karl Benjamin Spooner.
He was a young flame-thrower
in his rookie year for the old Brooklyn Dodgers.
I saw him, larger than life at Ebbets Field,
striking out fifteen Giants in his Major League debut.
His star fell as quickly as it rose,
a meteoric fastball blazing across the baseball sky.
Now, ensconced deep into my sofa,
deep into my seventh decade,
I doze, nodding silently at the TV,
nodding at the new acolytes
trying to catch the comet of success.
Nobody remembers Karl Spooner any more.
But I do, acknowledging
the power and perfidy of the baseball gods
who ordain who shall rise to the heavens,
and who shall fall, ignominiously, into the sea.