Baseball Cards by Dan Quisenberry

BASEBALL CARDS

that first baseball card I saw myself
in a triage of rookies
atop the bodies
that made the hill
we played king of
I am the older one
the one on the right
game-face sincere
long red hair unkempt
a symbol of the ’70s
somehow a sign of manhood
you don’t see
how my knees shook on my debut
or my desperation to make it

the second one I look boyish with a gap-toothed smile
the smile of a guy who has it his way
expects it
I rode the wave’s crest
of pennant and trophies
I sat relaxed with one thought
“I can do this”
you don’t see
me stay up till two
reining in nerves
or post-game hands that shook involuntarily

glory years catch action shots
arm whips and body contortions
a human catapult
the backs of those cards
cite numbers
that tell stories of saves, wins, flags, records
handshakes, butt slaps, celebration mobs
you can’t see
the cost of winning
lines on my forehead under the hat
trench line between my eyes
you don’t see my wife, daughter and son
left behind

the last few cards
I do not smile
I grim-face the camera
tight lipped
no more forced poses to win fans
eyes squint
scanning distance
crow’s-feet turn into eagle’s claws
you don’t see
the quiver in my heart
knowledge that it is over
just playing out the end

I look back
at who I thought I was
or used to be
now, trying to be funny
I tell folks
I used to be famous
I used to be good
they say
we thought you were bigger
I say
I was

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About Scott Fendley

By day, Scott Fendley works as the Director of Data Analysis for Central Washington University's Foundation. At The Spitter, he's the guy sitting in the corner telling you young whippersnappers about what had happened long ago (or in 2015, whatever). His passion for baseball and statistical analysis began in 1972, when he opened his first pack of baseball cards and was dazzled by the numbers on the back for players such as Joe Grzenda, Glenn Beckert, Ted Kubiak and Mike Hedlund. Fendley is a native of Crawfordsville, Indiana and a graduate of Wabash College and Indiana University. He's been in the fundraising business since 2000, and has worked in operations, as a consultant in Minnesota and at a software company in Florida before migrating to Washington State to work at CWU. He also has had careers in printing, publishing, and catalog operations, but they were not as fulfilling as philanthropy. He has given numerous presentations on fundraising operations (including one involving baseball cards in regards to data sets), and has written articles published in two books by CASE about Advancement Services. For a number of years, he was a free-lance sports writer covering high school sports in his hometown. He also has blogged for several years on several blogs and currently, besides the Spitter, he is embarking on a large music review project called But Is It Any Good (isitanygoodsite,wordpress.com). Fendley lives in Ellensburg, WA with Krissy, his fiance, and their dog Maeby Lancaster von Funkenstein. He has two children, Katie and Kristin, who find his interest in baseball amusingly old fashioned.

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