My father was the smartest man I knew.

All my life.

But he couldn’t hit a curve ball.

Or teach me, his eldest son,
how to hit a curve ball, either.

When I was eight years old,
my brother six,
we moved within walking distance
of old Boston Braves Field
in Alston, Massachusetts.

There, where ancient “Rabbit ” Maranville
played shortstop exhibiting
various unique skills
to which he was well known
in the National League.

The most appreciated by us loyal
Braves fans was the
Vest Pocket Catch
when the grizzled veteran
caught an infield fly in an imaginary
vest pocket.

Rabbit’s partner, Moran, played
second base.

He shared my shortcoming —
he couldn’t hit a curve ball, either.

Wally Berger patrolled center field
and he could hit a curve ball a mile.

So could Sid Gordon
who played third base.

The Braves
who had just traded away
Babe Ruth
to New York
for a mess of potage
(my Dad’s description)
staggered through the season
in spite of our
unqualified support.

I never learned to hit a curve ball.