Poet Marjorie Maddox’s love of baseball stems from family lineage

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 Poet Marjorie Maddox joins  Branch Rickey III while presenting at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The first Branch Rickey, Maddox's great-granduncle, helped integrate baseball when he hired Jackie Robinson. (MarjorieMaddox.com)

Poet Marjorie Maddox joins Branch Rickey III while presenting at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The first Branch Rickey, Maddox's great-granduncle, helped integrate baseball when he hired Jackie Robinson. (MarjorieMaddox.com)

Marjorie Maddox’s love of baseball is much deeper than home runs, catches, balls and strikes. Her love of baseball is in her genes.

“[Baseball] is so metaphoric in some ways,” Maddox, who has written three poetry books on America’s pastime, told WHYY’s Jennifer Lynn. “We say things like ’rounding the bases,’ ‘halfway home,’ and ‘hitting it out of the park’ and all of those kind of things in our everyday language.

Maddox’s baseball roots go back to one of the game’s most well-known trailblazers. Her great-granduncle was former Brooklyn Dodgers general manager and team president Branch Rickey, who famously signed Major League Baseball’s first black player, Jackie Robinson.

Maddox said that her family’s history with the game stoked her love for it, and her living in Williamsport – home to the Little League World Series — only piqued her interest even more.

“When I first moved to Williamsport,” she said, “my husband and I first lived in a duplex where there was basically a baseball field in the back yard and I used to sit outside in the back and watch a women’s team play. I just started writing baseball poems because of that.

One young woman who inspired Maddox was Mo’ne Davis, the South Philly pitching sensation from last year’s Little League World Series.

Throwing like a Girl

Seventy-miles Mo’ne style,fast ball, curve ball, flashing into-the-futureball, every which way butlosing.Batter’s up,so we chant”Mo’ne! Mo’ne!”awake, sleeping, warming upfor the life worth stealingin this home run of a serieswe call “team,”we call “You go, Girl,”braided phenom with an armthat hurls hope way past today’swhirl of photo ops and change-ups,

all the way to a close upof two T-ball boys playing the part,debating, voices escalating”I’m Mo’ne.””No! I’m Mo’ne!”and a summer of daughtersleaning into the pitch that blasts the phrase”throwing like a girl”into the All-Star complimentthat it can be,that it iswhen lean machine Mo’netakes the mound,smiles as wide as a long drive,then delivers the dreamwe braided girls ofbaseball, basketball, soccer,business, science, writingstill need in whateverand every season.

To hear Marjorie Maddox’s full conversation with WHYY’s Jennifer Lynn, click the audio above.

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