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There was another brother whom history forgets

And though he was a fisherman, he preferred other nets.

The coterie of rink rats who lived on the Left Coast

Thought he was sine qua non, and they would often boast

He’s better than his brother Joe,

Es-ki-mo Di-mag-gi-o.
 

His slap shot had so much heat that goalies wet themself

And a wrister that was money either five-hole or top-shelf.

After the goaltender felt another puck whiz by,

He’d cringe and mutter to himself as fans took up the cry

He’s better than his brother Joe,

Es-ki-mo Di-mag-gi-o.
 

He dominated rinks out West like no other man

From Calgary to Saskatoon, from Fresno to Spokane.

There were hat tricks in Winnipeg, six-point games in Moose Jaw

Which moved fan and scribe to hackneyed verse in spasms of awe.

He’s better than his brother Joe,

Es-ki-mo Di-mag-gi-o.
 

Though the man was a fine skater, strong, agile and fleet

The slightest imperfection in the ice anguished his feet

And he would scold arena crews—What do you call this mush?

‘Tis nothing but chips and ruts; I’d rather skate on slush!

(More prickly than his brother Joe,

Es-ki-mo Di-mag-gio.)
 

After one match in Oakland on ice unduly rough

He stormed into the locker room, shouting Enough’s enough!

He didn’t even change as he stormed out the door,

Hopping on a trolley, to be seen never more

(He’s a bit loony, don’t you know.

Es-ki-mo Di-mag-gi-o.)

 
He was sighted in the Yukon, once or perhaps twice

Engaged in some mad pilgrimage to find the perfect ice.

Neither man nor beast can say for sure what became of this mad fool,

Though you’ll find bits of hockey sweater in petrified bear stool

(Tastes better than his brother Joe?

Es-ki-mo Di-mag-gi-o.)
 
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: Cobbled together with bits of wire and old caulk for this Toad prompt; my apologies to the wise and wonderful Gruye, who deserves much better than this.)

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17 Comments

  1. He still had his skates on when he hopped onto the trolley? I love it. I love this poem.
    K

  2. How many ways are there to say I love this? Only Di-mag-io would know!!! .. and he ain’t talkin’!

  3. don’t be so self-deprecating, ya old goat. this is a great response to the prompt! ~

    • There’s a draft version of this which involves an old goat. Don’t ask–it ain’t pretty.

    • glenrussellslater
    • Posted December 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm
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    • Reply

    Interesting.

    Despite that my father grew up a mile west of Yankee Stadium, and was a Yankee fan (much to my grandfather’s chagrin, I’m sure; my grandfather grew up in Brooklyn and HATED the Yankees, naturally), my father’s favorite baseball player of all time was not Joe DiMaggio, but his brother Dominic.
    When my Dad played softball at Macombs Dam Park as a teenager, (which was next to the old location of Yankee Stadium, and Steinbrenner and Bloomberg callously plowed over to make room for the “new” Yankee Stadium) he always played center field in the same manner that his hero Dominick DiMaggio did; sideways. Nobody ever talks about this, and I’ve never seen a picture of it, but Dom DiMaggio always stood sideways in center field, with his left shoulder facing home plate and his body facing the left field stands) so that he was prepared to get a better jump on a fly ball.

    I find it interesting that you decided to change him into a hockey player.

    Glen

    • Thus the old Red Sox fan chant I borrowed for this piece:

      “He’s better than his brother Joe
      Dom-in-ick Di-mag-gi-o!”

      It doesn’t work as well for Vince.

    • glenrussellslater
    • Posted December 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm
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    • Reply

    No. Vince wasn’t nearly as good as Joe or Dominic. Unlike Joe or Dom, Vince was a mediocre player.

    Hey, your piece inspired me to write a piece about my Dad’s fondness for Dominic DiMaggio, which I just completed.

    http://glenrussslater.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/my-fathers-baseball-hero-was-not-joe-but-dom/

    I hope you read it, W.K.!

    Glen

  4. This has such heart, I’m half believing this is based on a real person!

  5. Vince DiMaggio was to baseball as Zeppo Marx was to comedy.
    Nicely done,
    Bill

  6. This is freaking hilarious!

  7. A nation rolls its lonely eyes at you!

  8. lollzers @ coalblack…but seriously Kortas this was playful ( a little more so than your standard) and I really dig it from concept to delivery, you are firing on cylinders, now go put this one on the top shelf and have another helping of eskimo bear pie.

  9. Could that other brother be Nyjer t-plush Morgan who was also born in san francisco? and actually played pro hockey or just major junior hockey with the Regina Pats, but still, enough guts learned to get way under major league skin and now he’s raising up roofs in Japan’s Central League. A lot of fun this poem! Cheers!

    • I’d forgotten about Nyjer’s hockey exploitts–you think Tony Plush did some chirping on the ice?

      • Nyjer during his one day skating with the San Jose Sharks. What a charismatic and freaking dynamic dude.

  10. This was such a fun read…love how the same prompt sends so many in such varied, creative directions.

    • Glenrussellslater
    • Posted December 30, 2013 at 10:11 am
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    • Reply

    I read this over again the other day, W.K., and I really like this. I’ll bet that I’m one of the few that read it that actually understands the context of it— the shout of “He’s better than his brother Joe—- Dom, Dom, DiMaggio!” at Fenway Park, satirizing the DiMaggio record that was so big during that time.

    I was so excited that you wrote about my father’s favorite baseball player (well, a SATIRE of him, at least) that I didn’t really read it carefully enough back in early December. Now that I did, I see that it’s extremely humorous.

    The ironic thing is that I think that Dom DiMaggio’s SUCCESSOR in center field at Fenway would be more likely to jump onto a streetcar with his skates on and do all those other non-conformist things. I’m a fan of both Dom AND Jimmy. I can relate to JIMMY better, though, I must confess. Boy, can I ever relate to Jimmy! (Piersall, of course.)

    Glen


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