3.05.2009

ME AND BENNY AND DAZZY AND RACHEL


April 20, 1924

I was wrong about old Benny. He couldn't wait till daylight and climbed up the drain pipe to my window at 4 a.m., all excited. He knew this colored man named Collins at the train station who moved luggage, and because Benny saved him once from getting beat up, he owed Benny a favor. Collins would hide us in empty fruit crates and load us into the freight car of the 6:15 to New York City but we had to be down at the Broad Street station way before then. I borrowed some money from Mama's drawer, left her a note that I was going to an all-day church outing with some kid from school, and off we went.

The opener at Ebbets Field began at 2 p.m. so we'd be there plenty early, which was good because we still had to find tickets somehow. My empty crate smelled like grapefruit and Benny's like brussell sprouts, which was too bad for him. While the train was moving we stuck our heads out and talked, even played a little cards on top of a third crate. Collins had already talked to a porter friend of his on the train. I think his name was Oscar and when we got to New York he wheeled us off himself and helped is sneak up a back stairway. If we had any spare money we would have tipped the heck out of him.

Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan was the most beautiful building I'd ever been in, like a big church of traveling, but we had to keep moving and finally found the right elevated train that would take us across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Ebbets Field was another kind of church, and it was nice to be in a city where they weren't afraid to make God mad by playing ball on Sundays. The streets around the park were stuffed solid with men in bowlers and dark coats and even some fine ladies, like they all thought they were going to the opera. We had a couple of hot dogs that were most delicious, then watched a row of kids line up on their bellies to peek under an outfield fence. Benny would have none of that, and when he saw this real drunk fan pass out while waiting in line to get in, Benny picked his pocket clean—and got us two lower box tickets for his effort. He was a lowlife so we were sure he was just going to sell them for a much higher price. They should come up with a name for that kind of thing.

It was a beautiful place inside—much nicer than Baker Bowl—with a bright green field, double deck stands, and smells of sausages and cigars everywhere. Left field was pretty deep at 419 feet, center field was a mile away at 450, but right field was an easy poke like in our park—292—so things looked good for Cy today. Our seats were right behind home plate, and we couldn't believe our good luck. Benny wore his Phillies cap and it was cold enough for me to wear my Phillies sweater, which I turned inside out to be safe.

We didn't have to worry about angry Brooklyn fans, though. Jimmy Ring walked three in the 1st and the Robins took a quick 2-0 lead. Zack Wheat singled in two the next inning, and Dazzy looked dazzling. Vance throws an incredible curve ball that we could hardly see, so we knew our hitters couldn't. We had no hits the first five innings and were behind 6-0 by the 6th. A young, pretty girl about four rows behind us kept standing up and screaming for her Robins, and Benny kept looking at her but I think he was more attracted than anything.

Then in the 6th we came alive. Ring singled, Mokan doubled, Harper doubled them in and when Cy Williams cracked a ball into a pasture beyond the right field fence, we jumped up and cheered crazy for the Phils. The girl gave us dirty looks from then on, but those turned out to be our only runs for the game.

After we lost 8-4, we were walking out and this same girl came up behind us. She had another girl with her who wasn't as cute, and I think she felt bad about the dirty looks or she was just happy Brooklyn won because she asked if we wanted to go drink some sodas with rum in them at her rooming house up the street.

Turns out this girl who was about 20 and whose name was Rachel had been a Brooklyn fan since she was seven and went to almost every game like me, even though it wasn't supposed to be right for a young lady to do that. We saw maybe ten other females there the whole day. Her friend's name was Dolores and she was awful shy, and because Benny was making moves on Rachel I kind of just sat there and sipped some of the illegal rum they had. After that we put on Rachel's Victrola and danced a little but I got sick pretty fast and we had to find our way back to Pennsylvania Station before long. Benny wanted to stay longer and go to a picture show with them or something but I just couldn't, so he told me to go on ahead and he would take a later train.

Sitting in the same fruit crate on the way back that night, all I could think about was Rachel's pretty face. She hated the Giants even more than I did, and I never thought that was possible. New York lost at the Polo Grounds that same afternoon, right across town, and I'm sure that made her want to have a party even more. Maybe I should have stayed in Brooklyn with them, but at least I was able to remember her address. I think she might even have been Italian...

Nope, Baker Bowl just won't feel the same tomorrow. Good night, reader-people!

PHILLIES 000 004 000 — 4 9 1
ROBINS 220 021 01x — 8 10 1

Other National League games I heard about:

BRAVES 14-15-1, at GIANTS 4-12-2
Jesse Barnes faces off his younger brother Virgil, and Jesse teaches him a lesson. a big Frankie Frisch error with two outs in the 5th leads to five Braves runs, and I'm sure McGraw chewed him good after that one.

at REDS 5-8-2, CUBS 4-11-1 (10 inn.)
Losing 4-2 in the 9th, Cincy ties the game on a Holloway error, then wins it the next inning on an Ike Caveney single.

at CARDINALS 3-12-0, PIRATES 2-8-1
Another huge surprise. Losing 2-1 with two outs in the 9th, Bottomley singles, the great Hornsby ties it with a double off Kremer, and Specs Toporcer wins it with a single. What a race we're having in the early days!










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Sunday, April 20
Brooklyn Robins 42.667
Pittsburgh Pirates 42.667
Philadelphia Phillies 33.500 1
St. Louis Cardinals 33.5001
New York Giants 33.5001
Cincinnati Reds 33.500 1
Boston Braves 24.333 2
Chicago Cubs 24.3332

2 comments:

  1. Vinny will be going straight to hell if he doesn't change his ways. Lying to his mother about a church function. Watching a ballgame on the day of sabbath and drinking on top of that. Man, I want to hang with him.
    Great job!

    ReplyDelete