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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Donald Hall, author of Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball, dies at 89

At the link is a photo of Hall in a mid-70’s Pirates uniform.  #43, not #17.

Yanigan Posted: June 24, 2018 at 02:24 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: the country of baseball

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   1. zachtoma Posted: June 25, 2018 at 09:03 PM (#5699521)
Someone should say something, so I'll note that this is one of my favorite baseball books ever. Everyone knows the LSD no-hitter story, but some of the lesser-known adventures include a Haitian zombie-hunting expedition with Manny Sanguillen (Dock swears they actually saw zombies) and Bob Robertson blocking off the exits of a fast-food restaurant to brawl with racist locals while in the minors.
   2. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: June 25, 2018 at 09:31 PM (#5699546)
Once I was dating a girl who was very much into poetry and Donald Hall was her favorite, especially "The Town of Hill" and the poems about his late wife Jane Kenyon. I'm into some types of poetry but Donald was too plainspoken and confessional for me. Sad news.
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 25, 2018 at 10:53 PM (#5699596)
Given that Hall interviewed Marianne Moore, and given his connection to baseball, I'm surprised that in this interview Hall doesn't even mention that Moore was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan, practically a Hilda Chester among the poets. For a long time you could scarcely read a reference to Moore without someone alluding to her Flatbush fandom.

Someone should say something, so I'll note that this is one of my favorite baseball books ever. Everyone knows the LSD no-hitter story, but some of the lesser-known adventures include a Haitian zombie-hunting expedition with Manny Sanguillen (Dock swears they actually saw zombies) and Bob Robertson blocking off the exits of a fast-food restaurant to brawl with racist locals while in the minors.

Interesting, and in the early 70's Robertson more than a few times wound up being the only white player in the Pirates starting lineup. The word of mouth about that fast-food incident probably didn't hurt his reputation among his team.
   4. dejarouehg Posted: June 25, 2018 at 11:18 PM (#5699606)
Bob Robertson blocking off the exits of a fast-food restaurant to brawl with racist locals while in the minors.


Big Bob Robertson fan. First player I ever saw hit a home run in person; hanging curve off Jerry Koosman. Never heard about the brawl. Any details???
   5. zachtoma Posted: June 26, 2018 at 04:45 AM (#5699640)
Big Bob Robertson fan. First player I ever saw hit a home run in person; hanging curve off Jerry Koosman. Never heard about the brawl. Any details???


I guess the book's searchable on Google - page 133

If that link doesn't work, search "Asheville Bob Robertson Montgomery" in the sidebar that should bring it up.

As a bonus, the story about the zombie safari in Haiti begins on the next page.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 26, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5699763)
Bob Robertson blocking off the exits of a fast-food restaurant to brawl with racist locals while in the minors.
The book actually says Robertson locked the doors, presumably from the inside, which would seem to be less than effective in preventing people from getting out.
   7. Batman Posted: June 26, 2018 at 11:25 AM (#5699776)
A couple of stories up from the Bob Robertson one is a short story mentioning "an old ballplayer" named Charlie Leonard. Leonard turned 26 the year he and Ellis played together at Asheville. He was about done, though. He was out of baseball the next year.
   8. Omineca Greg Posted: June 26, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5699801)
I'm into some types of poetry but Donald was too plainspoken and confessional for me.

You describe his work succinctly and accurately. My favourite poem of his...

Distressed Haiku

In a week or ten days
the snow and ice
will melt from Cemetery Road.

I'm coming! Don't move!

Once again it is April.
Today is the day
we would have been married
twenty-six years.

I finished with April
halfway through March.

You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stay dead.

Will Hall ever write
lines that do anything
but whine and complain?

In April the blue
mountain revises
from white to green.

The Boston Red Sox win
a hundred straight games.
The mouse rips
the throat of the lion

and the dead return.


Donald Hall
   9. Hysterical & Useless Posted: June 26, 2018 at 12:37 PM (#5699829)
One year when I was an undergrad, my favorite prof in the English department scheduled a series of poets who came, did a little in-class symposium (which was actually held in one of the dorm lounges, open to anybody who showed up) and then an evening reading. Denise Levertov, Robert Creeley, Muriel Rukeyser, Ed Dorn, and Hall were among the poets. During his class presentation, Hall said he was often asked, What is poetry? He then recited "Baa baa black sheep." Poetry, he said, is at bottom the sheer sensuous pleasure of forming and hearing words. TS Eliot would disagree, but I've always been a sound > sense reader myself, so I liked Hall's take.

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