"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

He should have been a Twin: Rocky Colavito

Rocky Colavito's flashy name was appropriate for a baseball player who had a dramatic power bat. Rocky would have fit in so nicely with the Minnesota Twins of that era. We were built around power.
Rocky was a native of New York City. He didn't actually play for a New York City team until he was in decline. The Yankees were his last team.
Not that his brief tenure with the Yankees was uneventful. He had an oddball accomplishment: he became the last position player until Brent Mayne in 2000 to be credited as the winning pitcher in a game. Rocky tossed 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. He handled Al Kaline and Willie Horton. Not only that, Rocky scored the winning run for the Yanks in the eighth inning. This was game 1 of a doubleheader. (Doubleheaders were more common back then - I loved them because they were a clear "2-fer.") Rocky homered in game 2 of the doubleheader.
The year was 1968, which incidentally was "the year of the pitcher." I once wrote a whole blog post on "the year of the pitcher," 1968, that tumultuous year in American politics and society. You may read it by clicking on this link.
I also once wrote an extended essay on the life and career of Rocco "Rocky" Colavito. Here's the link to that:
Today I have some poetry/lyrics to share, devoted to that exciting power hitter, Rocky Colavito, who played most of his career with small market teams. He would have looked great in a Twins uniform.
You will see a "chorus" designated as part of the poetry, suitable for a song. The verse portion could be presented as narration with no melody. Here we go:
A guy whose name inspired awe
A better name could not be bought
Boxers would embrace that name
Knowing it could bring them fame
Baseball was our hero's sport
Lots of runs he did uncork
Drawing cheers from massive throngs
They watched as his bat went long
They would rave and they would sing
When ol' Rocky did his thing
Colavito in his stance
Made the pitchers wet their pants
Rocky Colavito, where the heck did you go?
We still have the mem-ry of your baseball majesty
Rocky Colavito, you put on a big show
With that bat you hit the ball as far as I could see
"Rocco" was his given name
Might the mafia be his game?
No, he found a wholesome path
Causing earthquakes with his bat
Rocky was the name we coined
In his fan club I did join
No he was no flying squirrel
He was just a baseball pearl
Had he played in NYC
He'd reach immortality
Far from all that nonstop hype
Rocky was the low-key type
'60s were a time of woe
Viet Nam would make it so
Plus the fight in southern states
For the rights that make us great
All along we still had fun
Keeping sadness on the run
This we did in bleacher seats
Watching Rocky clear his cleats
Then he'd stride up to the plate
Wielding lumber, feeling great
Knowing all that splendor there
Wiped away your mortal cares
(repeat chorus)
Aiming for the left field seats
Seeking further baseball feats
Smiling from a baseball card
You just knew this guy played hard
Rocky won a hero's role
Winning was his daily goal
Fans in Cleveland raved and buzzed
As they watched this game they loved
Rocky synthesized their hopes
A rising tide to lift all boats
Still the Yankees were a curse
Damn the team with that big purse
Cleveland would appear so grand
At the top - strike up the band!
It's just a product of our dreams
Passing fancy, passing screams
Fans in every baseball town
Have the right to smile or frown
Mostly we set goals too high
That's our birthright, my oh my
Rocky had the stuff to thrill
Plus the name for that top bill
He was worth the price to come
Win or lose, we had such fun
(repeat chorus)
Copyright 2016 Brian R. Williams

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