A 1933 Ty Cobb Baseball Card

ty cobb, a.k.a tyrus raymond cobb
baseball hall of famer
driven man born in rural georgia
card #1 in goudy’s 1933 baseball card series

to teammates, the man always getting the needed hit
a guy who could steal home
as easy as bonnie and clyde robbed banks
but also the surly, arrogant sob nobody wanted to room with

to opponents, a ruthless competitor
sliding spikes up into second basemen
the devil sneering and glaring
stopping you dead in your tracks

to his friend “shoeless” joe jackson
a “stop at nothing” batting champ rival
one distracting joe at the plate
just to throw off his hitting

to fans, a magnificent hitting, running machine
they’d cheer each time he’d step to the plate
and too afraid to jeer
when he went down swinging

to detroit, the main reason fans showed up at tigers’ games
in 3,000 games, almost 4,200 hits
yet a man with few friends in the city loving his gamesmanship
perhaps that’s why henry ford never built a car called the “cobb”

to history, one of baseball’s greatest, but also
a player whose racial slurs made tempers flare
a man who thought, to his last game
negroes should always play in a separate league

a legend in so many other’s minds, but not in his own
those knowing ty cobb say, to himself, just a boy
trying not to disappoint his father
and go home a failure

to me, a prized 1933 goudy baseball card
a surprise gift from my wife
enjoying the hunt for trophy cards
even more than me

to the depression era boy, opening the waxed paper wrapper
finding the “georgia peach” in the pack, sheer uncontrolled delight
propelling him, like a rocket, through the neighborhood
proudly sharing his good fortune with envious friends
for his hand was the first to hold the card, now in mine

to those caring nothing about baseball cards
especially old musty smelling ones
just a colorful piece of cardboard
getting in the way of the slab of gum in the pack

in the larger scheme of things
a 74-year old door to history
kept open by someone
hoping others would walk through it someday