Random Royals #11: In Honor of Dan Quisenberry

**From now until the Royals eventual World Series Championship comes to fruition I'll be posting Random Royals from my collection.** 

A little known fact is that before Dan Quisenberry passed away from a brain tumor in 1998 he spent a lot of his free time writing poetry. A collection of his poems was published in 1998 called On Days Like This: Poems and includes the following poem about his rookie card:

1980 Topps #647 Royals Rookie Stars Renie Martin/Bill Paschall/Dan Quisenberry 

that first baseball card I saw myself
in a triage of rookies
atop the bodies
that made the hill
we played king of
I am the older one
the one on the right
game-face sincere
long red hair unkempt
a symbol of the '70s
somehow a sign of manhood
you don't see
how my knees shook on my debut
or my desperation to make it
the second one I look boyish with a gap-toothed smile
the smile of a guy who has it his way
expects it
I rode the wave's crest
of pennant and trophies
I sat relaxed with one thought
"I can do this"
you don't see
me stay up till two
reining in nerves
or post-game hands that shook involuntarily
glory years catch action shots
arm whips and body contortions
a human catapult
the backs of those cards
cite numbers
that tell stories of saves, wins, flags, records
handshakes, butt slaps, celebration mobs
you can't see
the cost of winning
lines on my forehead under the hat
trench line between my eyes
you don't see my wife, daughter and son
left behind
the last few cards
I do not smile
I grim-face the camera
tight lipped
no more forced poses to win fans
eyes squint
scanning distance
crow's-feet turn into eagle's claws
you don't see
the quiver in my heart
knowledge that it is over
just playing out the end
I look back
at who I thought I was
or used to be
now, trying to be funny
I tell folks
I used to be famous
I used to be good
they say
we thought you were bigger
I say
I was
September 30th marked sixteen years since the Quiz's passing...you are missed.


Dinged Corners said…
As with astronauts, I've always wished baseball players had more writers or poets among them. When one comes along, such as Jim Bouton, there's a treasure trove in there. The poem conveys a compelling glimpse into that world. Thanks for posting it.
Tony L. said…
Love the poem and Quisenberry. From all indications of those who ever met him, Quiz was one of the true gentlemen who made time for fans and was a fan himself. He, like Gary Carter, is missed.
defgav said…
Love it.

That card is funny because it looks like the 2 guys on the right are trying to figure out what the heck is up with Renie Martin. "Is that guy a cartoon? Looks like somebody out of Mad Magazine."