Ode on a Ken Phelps Starting Lineup Action Figure

Thou still unravished pride of quietness,
  Thou child of spectacle and facial hair,
Malign’d first baseman, how can time express
  Thy legacy, left in such sad repair
What die-cast legend haunts about thy shape
  Immortalized in resin, and in time?
    In some invis’ble Kingdome standeth thee?
  For semi-anonymity, what crime
Committed thee? By how didst thou escape
    The cavalcade of baseball revelry?

Dost thy biceps strain in some endless protest
  For the final pitch that never seems to come
Or do they hold in some intemporal rest,
  Your stance a delicate chrysanthemum?
For standing still was where thou best excelled
  Though standing was, by then, a coward’s game
    Did thou make’st modesty thy sleek disguise?
  Or seek longevity rather than fame?
Did, rather than thy identity withheld
    Thou stand and watch the game proselytize?

Remembered only in thy only home
  The ogre who struck young Brian Holman down
And in one moment, doomed thyself to roam
  A transient soul, a memory in towns
Like Omaha, and frigid Montreal.
  When old age shall this generation waste
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of baseball’s woe
  A patient demigod, to whom they’ll say’st:
Beauty is Phelps, Phelps beauty – that is all
    Ye know of baseball; all ye need to know.

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Patrick Dubuque writes for NotGraphs and The Hardball Times, and he served as former Bill Spaceman Lee Visiting Professor for Baseball Exploration at Pitchers & Poets. Follow him on Twitter @euqubud.

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