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By Lynn Rigney Schott
To my daughter, born February 6, Babe Ruths birthday
In 1928 my grandfather gave a baseball
signed by Babe Ruth
to my father, who was ten.
Such balls travelled around by the dozen
in the Babes suitcase and arrived
eventually in many small hands.
Dad grew up on Frisbee Street in Oakland
and there were never enough baseballs
in the neighborhood, so this one became
a game ball, not a collectors item.
By the end of a season it was so scuffed
up that the autograph just wore off
the horsehide, disappearing under so many
groundballs, so many slaps of the bat.
But all those pitches, those double-play
balls, those afternoons in the sand lot
never faded, only sharpened
his reflexes and his ambition and his boyish
love of this game that became the indelible
signature written all over my fathers life.
LYNN RIGNEY SCHOTT teaches English and creative writing at Kettle Falls
High School in eastern Washington state. Her father, Bill Rigney, was a major
league infielder and manager. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Cutbank,
Idaho English Journal, Elysian Fields Quarterly, a number of baseball anthologies,
and other publications.
© 1999 Lynn Rigney Schott
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