Happy Birthday, Leo "The Lip" Durocher (July 27, 1905 - October 7, 1991)
Gin rummy, poker, craps... great games
as long as you had them rigged, yet it was baseball
you held in rapacious, loving arms. In thuggish
boyhood, you stole money from Babe Ruth,
your roommate on the the Yankees, then blackened
his eye for whining. He called you, The pimple
on this team's hairy fuckin' ass. But Jackie
Robinson and Willie Mays bought your fatherly act.
You're buried somewhere in Forest Lawn,
Hollywood Hills Cemetery, near your pal
(and Bugsy Siegel's pal) George Raft.
Baseball, being a three-time manager of the year,
got you the friends you could name drop,
just as they name dropped you for decades,
Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Sparse hair
dyed red, blue eyes on fire, Nice guys finish last.
At the tail end, too stove up for swank golf
at the Tamarask Country Club in Palm Springs....
In the extra innings, in your eighties,
the beautiful women vanished, you hedged
bets, prayed to Jesus. With a con man's wink,
not a few of your old players laughed.