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By H. R. Coursen

When I got interested in baseball, Ruth
was still alive, and Gehrig, Grove, and Honus,
greatest of the shortstops. Then the bonus:
Joe DiMaggio turned center field to truth

for any ten-year-old within the reach
of the real grass beneath the steel frame
of Yankee Stadium, and when you came
from the grimy Bronx to that oasis, each

batted ball looked like a homer at first,
until it settled into neatsfoot and
a casual fling from the vast and distant land
called outfield. A double play, rehearsed

a thousand times—Crosetti, Gordon, Dahlgren—
an easy game of backyard catch, back then.
The first World Series was still recalled, back when
the biggest war had been World War One.

It was not called that in 1939.
A shadow slides across the luminous line.


H. R. COURSEN, a fan of Shakespeare and baseball, is author of the 1993 novel The Outfielder. He resides in Brunswick, Maine.

© 2001 H. R. Coursen


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