By Michael Ceraolo

Henry Aaron

I was too new to argue
when a Braves PR guy
decided to call me Hank;
everyone who knew me called me Henry
From what I've heard of Babe Ruth,
he would have congratulated me
for breaking his record,
just as I later congratulated Barry Bonds
But in April 1974
the baseball establishment didn't feel that way:
the Commissioner elected to attend a dinner
rather than see me maybe break the record
The baseball establishment did change,
otherwise I wouldn't have been a part of it
after my playing career was finished

Eddie Mathews

In hockey
I would have been called the enforcer:
anybody who wanted to get at a teammate
had to go through me first
And that applied off the field too:
I got into many a bar fight
defending Henry from 'fans' insults
And I would do it again,
though maybe I wouldn't drink so much
this time

Dick Allen

I wasn't perfect,
and like everyone who isn't perfect
I brought some of it on myself
But you know bigotry was involved:
I got in a fight with Frank Thomas,
he hit me with a bat,
and I was the bad guy?
And my wanting to be myself,
to let my bat do the talking for me,
would no doubt have been viewed differently
by the opinion-makers
I want to end by amending
one of the things I was quoted as saying:
if a horse won't eat it,
no one should play baseball on it

Peter Seitz

In the Hunter case
I had trouble keeping a straight face
when Finley, who made millions in insurance,
said he didn't understand how to
make a payment to an insurance company,
which wouldn't have mattered even if true;
it was a clear breach of the contract
And in Messersmith-McNally,
it was equally clear
one year meant one year,
not in perpetuity
And so the owners exercised their right to fire me
as independent arbitrator,
not giving me a 'third strike'

Michael Ceraolo is a 64-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet who has had two full-length books (Euclid Creek, from Deep Cleveland Press; 500 Cleveland Haiku, from Writing Knights Press) published, and has two more in the publication pipeline.

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