Saturday, June 4, 2011

Richard Schmorleitz

Freedom Summer
(Alabama Baseball Game)

If you gather 'round me children,
And don't ask my name,
I'll tell you a story
About a baseball game.

In Tuscalosa, Alabama,
Upon a summer's day,
Sixteen kids drove to a ballpark
And began to play.

Pitcher was a white boy,
Batter--he was black,
Folks stood in yards and porches,
But the police held them back.

The police were not honest
On that summer's day.
When the Klan members arrived,
They up and drove away.

Faces filled with hatred,
There were ten in all,
With their clubs and pistols,
They hadn't come to play base ball.

The men ran for the kiddies,
The kids ran for the cars.
It was the damndest baseball game
Ever played in that ball park.

They beat upon the windows,
They caused us to run,
But when we saw their faces,
We somehow felt we'd won.

This pastime has no rules,
This pastime has no name,
That summer in Alabama,
It was called a baseball game.

Tuscaloosa Alabama,
Summer, 1964


  1. Steerike! Hope the Klan has finally struck out.
    One thing I like about sports: results are performance driven. Not just a persoanlity contest. That comes after....

  2. you are there: when summer meant separate pools if you were lucky, only the garden hose for some.

  3. from Michelle Angelini: What a sad reminder of how some had to live - in fear of getting along with people others felt they shouldn't. This poem touches my heart in ways I can't even imagine. Excellent poem.

  4. Couldn't wait to comment on this baseball poem -from Mary Torregrossa @ 8:54am > I love this poem - not just because it is about BASEBALL and overcoming adversity - but because it is well-written. The rhyme is not straining while the story is meaningful and emotionally felt. It does not contain intellectual language but that is good in a poem like this. It is about plain spoken American traditions in high contrast- baseball and the Klan; love and hate. A short story that stands for so much more. It's a winner.