So Long #34

( – Cleveland Plain Dealer)

You arrived with stuff that would make batters look foolish,

And make the Bleacher Bums whoop with hysteria.

On that fateful spring day in ’98,

You made the world notice.

Twenty Astros batters up,

Twenty Astros batters out.

There was promise that something big was going to happen,

But it didn’t go the way all of us and you had hoped.

You still battled through,

Elbow, shoulder, and arm torn and repaired.

You didn’t complain or tossed flimsy excuses,

You kept your head down and kept at it.

Today, you decided it was time,

And a legion of fans understood,

And yet feel disappointed,

Knowing you gave it the best you could.

On that final trip to the mound,

With the world watching, especially for one city,

You gave it all you got one last time,

As the last batter you faced,

Of all things, struck out.

What a fitting way to leave the mound one final time,

Ringing up a “K” as the final act of this chapter.

When your son ran to you to give you a hug,

It’s a moment that will make a somewhat forgettable season

In the city of Big Shoulders

Stand up and feel happy.

Today, you left on your terms,

Coming as a young flamethrower from Texas,

Now a gentleman who is giving and charitable,

Polished and respected.

Wherever you go from this day on,

Thank you #34 for doing all you could,

To make us Cubs fans proud.

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