Take an All Star Break July 17

July 2017-Traditional piece for this time of year noting how fast the seasons passes. New Work & Live link to recent performance below @ 3 Cups 1st Ave & 5th on 6/28/17 included below.

 

All Star Game

(For the Splendid Splinter and my son)

 July sneaky fast

Summer’s clock is

 all time great passing.

July sneaky fast

Summer’s clock is

all time great passing.

will not be in the line-up tonight.

The disabled list

of the terrible now.

Besides that view

from the dugout is fine

and as close as

you can get to it from here.

June is out.

Been out.

Won’t be back this season.

August is on deck.

Looks hungry.

Rubs dirt on his hands.

Take a few practice swings.

They all dream of October.

But wonder who will be left

around to see her.

 

They know this game.

Once your out…

your…

 

Time has no extra innings here in the ballpark earth.

The Umpires name is…

 

So there is the sound of the faceless throng

roaring twilight shrouds of dusk and down the power alleys.

You make the call on the curves of youth’s shoulders.

All her tight brown curls laid out infield triangle like.

 

Do you remember the summer you polished that diamond?

 

All-star game tonight.

 

Summer’s clock is all time great passing

 

Attitude House 7/2001

 

 

*

 

The Hit Man

A Buick Sedan crawled the Providence City Street

The April Sky was baby blue .

The  air light and cool.

Perfect baseball weather.

But the man hunched at the wheel

Was in a different line up this Day.

 

His name was Maury (Pro) Leaner

Six foot two out of Brookline Mass

He was primarily a middle infielder.

 

Newspapers from Burlington NC to Walla -Walla Washington

All told the same story in the box scores.

This guy could hit.

 

Pro signed w/ the Washington Senators at eighteen

And was sent down to Rookie Ball in Erie Pa.

In 13 games he batted 167 and ended up

Enlisted in the Marines for the next two years.

 

When he mustered out in 1957 Leaner was signed on

A tip from a scout with the Milwaukee Brewers and

His contract sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates a few months later.

 

But word was getting around

Pro could hit.

 

Pirates were keeping close eye on him.

Thinking if Mazeroski or Dick Groat got hurt

This earnest respectful talent kid might come in handy.

 

That off season Maury hit 400 in Nicaragua

During the 1959-60 Winter ball season.

But Pro was growing up and changing

He was cut from the squad for missing curfews

He picked fights with Cuban players and even a few Umpires.

 

Now the scouts still said the Pro could hit

But was developing a reputation as a player

Who was self-destructive and seemed to sabotage

His own success-

 

But the talent was undeniable

Pittsburgh kept him around

But Maz never did get hurt

And won the 1960 World Series

With a dramatic home run to beat the Yankees.

Now a folk law legend he wasn’t going anyone.

 

Pro’s path to the majors was now blocked

And at twenty six was middle aged in minor league years.

 

Was released by the Pirates in 1961

Ended up catching on with Macon Packers

All the ball players were either has beens or never were

And all on the way down.

 

Leaner began to play in another league

More lucrative and room for advancement.

His stats started to pile up here too-

Armed Robbery/carrying a concealed weapon

And the new scouting reports from the Brookline Irish police

Pegged him as cheap hood Jewish troublemaker.

 

Still he could hit

308 for the Raleigh Capitals in an independent semi pro league in 64.

Teammates remarked he kept pretty much to himself

Preferring to spend hours alone

swatting a suspended rubber tire with a bat

Basement of the locker room.

 

Still on occasion he would do stuff few could explain

Like the time he smuggled a homeless hobo onto

The team bus with enough beer to last the 12 hour ride.

 

Next stop was Tennessee batting 357 for another ham & egg league

And bouncing checks, stealing hotel TVs to fence.

 

By now the scouts weren’t watching some much anymore.

But the FBI was.

 

You see Leaner’s new teammates were cheap hoods with names

Like Red Kelly, Billy A and the games were getting more intense

And he was known considered armed & dangerous with a gun or a bat.

 

In 1965 Pro graduated to the big leagues when a minor league

Mobster named Rassumsuen who was suspected on turning informant

Turned up in a snow bank with a 38 slug in the back of the head

After spending an evening at Leaner’s apartment

The investigation was on-going.

 

Word got around.

He was suspended from baseball by American League President Joe Cronin

Soon after Pro rang the bell of another mark and took a swing at his head

With his bat. The guy survived barely.

 

This caught the attention of the Patrirca Crime family

The Boston Red Sox of the underworld.

 

They put Pro in the lineup in all kinds of hits.

His latest scouting report was that he had ice water in his veins

And could hit anyone without remorse he was put up against,

 

In March 1970 a Providence jury convicted Maury (Pro) Leaner of

1st degree Murder.

He was sent to the Rhode Island Correctional Faculty with a indeterminate

Sentence of 20 years to life.

 

By all accounts he was a model prisoner.

Could swat in the joint too playing the inmate baseball team.

 

In 1980 he came to the aid of a Correctional Officer

Who was being strangled by a cord by another Con.

 

The action was noted.

His Murder conviction was overturned around Christmas in 1988

When he was released Maury was 53.

 

Leaner and his wife headed west ended up in Las Vegas.

Pro had finally learned his lesson

Doted on his son-coaching him in baseball.

 

His wife died of cancer at 56

He never remarried

 

Maury (Pro) Leaner died in 2013 at 77.

 

The news spread around the baseball world.

And all his former teammates who had gone on to the Bigs

With names like Gene Michael, Ed Brinkman, Rich Rollins

Donn Clendenon Tony Perez, Rusty Staub, Steve Blass

Rico Petrocelli , Tommy Agee, Cesar Tovar, Roy White

And even Mel Stottlemyre all said pretty much the same thing.

 

Pro could hit

Uncollected 6/17

 

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