- Negro Leagues Béisbol, and: The Ace Pitcher, and: Leroy "Satchel" PaigeA Shared Legacy
Itwasnot justabout the money,dark men—like grandpa Satch—remained excluded from Major League play and walkedout of towns, heads bowed, backs bent, voices softened; oak-tree menfeared dusk, feared Whites yet stood tall,proud and free,in theislandsun. [End Page 271]
The Ace Pitcher
gustavo adolfo aybar
for the negro league baseball museum in kansas city, missouri
Here is Satchel up on the mound.
Here is a fastball wrapped in a riddle.Here is a batter whose heart has whittled.
Here is Ol' Satch, tree-like and wry.Here are his arms, deceptive yet spry,Here's his left foot clouding the sky—.
Here is another swinging at shadows.Here are more pitches darting like arrows.Here are the outfielders playing real shallow.Here is a team condemned to the gallows.
Here is a drink, a hero's embrace.Here is the bar, his fans, at Third Base.Here are more tales of his feats on the plates.Here is a stick for the bat to replace.Here are some bottle caps to swat at and chase.
Here's to bones, to boxin', to women.Here's to nohow, not foolin', and gittin'.Here's to barnstormin', shadowball, and crowin'.Here's to dirt-poor beginnings and overcomin'.Here's to every story having multiple versions.Here's to his fastball or his arm that you catchin'. [End Page 272]
Hear that ole spiritual he heard through the violence.Here is a caricature with staunch self-reliance.Here's an American, who escaped to the islands,whose skin found equality, though ruling the diamond.Here is a monarch whose flight can't be silenced.
Here is proof that Negroes can bring in the crowds,that fast and aggressive play drives the fans wild.Here is proof that the talent the leagues had compiledled to their ruins, once one was allowed.
Here is the hoopla and grace that created his lore.Here is the asterisk they dangle beside all his scores.Here is the front, though ushered in through back doors.
Here is his style, his smile, his quick wit.Here is his uniform, his baseball, his mitt.
Here is Satchel up on the mound. [End Page 273]
Leroy "Satchel" Paige
gustavo adolfo aybar
Mobile, AlabamaThe Mobile TigersChattanooga Black LookoutsBirmingham Black BaronsLeopardos de Santa Clara, CubaBaltimore Black Sox
Cleveland CubsPhiladelphia GiantsWilson's Elite GiantsPittsburgh CrawfordsBismarck ChurchillsLos Dragones de Licey, Republica Dominicana
Trujillo StarsNewark EaglesClub Agrario de Ciudad MéxicoSatchel Paige's All-StarsKansas City MonarchsLos Brujos de Guayama, Puerto Rico
New York Black YankeesMemphis Red SoxBaltimore Elite GiantsKansas City RoyalsPhiladelphia StarsCangrejeros de Santurce, Puerto Rico [End Page 274]
Cleveland IndiansSt. Louis BrownsChicago American GiantsKansas City AthleticsIndianapolis ClownsThe Atlanta Braves
The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, the "Negro Wing" Forest Hill Memorial Park Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri [End Page 275]
Gustavo Adolfo Aybar holds an MA in Romance Languages & Literature and is a Cave Canem and Artist Inc. fellow. His debut collection of poetry, We Seek Asylum, will be released this October through Willow Books. Currently, he is working on his next collection and on translating the works of Mexican author/playwright Glafira Rocha from Spanish to English, which can be seen in the Brooklyn Rail's InTranslation, Asymptote and EZRA Journal of Translation.