May 18, 1924
We stopped for more petrol outside of Gary, Indiana, and got to Chicago around noon time. What a gigantic city, and there were so many people with cars on the roads, much more than I could remember seeing in New York. We got a city map from another gasoline station and Benny drove us north along Lake Michigan which looked more like an ocean than a lake.
Cubs Park was in a crowded neighborhood on the north side of town. Benny thought we should get right to the game and worry about a hotel afterwards, which turned out to be good idea as you'll see. The streets around the park were filled with baseball fans that all seemed just thrilled to be going to a game, even though their team hasn't been in a World Series for almost six years now. There were peanut and sausage carts and pennant hawkers everywhere, and the sun was out and the whole area just had a happy baseball feeling I never experienced before.
The best thing was that the Cubs always kept a bunch of good seat tickets available for every game, meaning after standing in a line for just a half hour we had some! They were right behind third base and gave us good views of the city behind the brick outfield walls. Anyway, the second we dropped in out seats, George Harper smacked a homer out to right, scoring Sand from first and we had a 2-0 lead! Bill Hubbell pitched for us, who isn't that great but usually seems to keep us in games. On the mound for the Cubs, though, was Grover Cleveland Alexander, who some people call Pete but Benny and me call a drunk. He pitched for us in the 1915 World Series against Boston and Papa used to tell me how much he loved watering holes after most of the games.
Anyway, he must have been coming off a bender today because he was teetering and tottering out there something awful. With a man on second for us in the 2nd inning, he floated one in to Sand and Heinie smashed it high over the bricks in left and we were winning 4-o. Can you believe it? Heinie Sand homered off Alexander? Well, the man can drink but he can also hit, because after Sparky Adams doubled in the bottom of the 2nd, Old Pete got hold of a fastball, closed his eyes and put it out on Waveland Avenue somewhere.
Then he went back out to give us more presents. He walked Harper and Cy, got Wrightstone on a grounder, but Wilson, Mokan and Ford all doubled to make it 8-2 Phillies. We yelped as loud as we could without upsetting the locals, but they really didn't seem to care anyway. Alexander calmed down after that and pitched darn fine until the 9th when he gave up three more singles and got yanked, but one of the reasons was because he walked and singled and was probably the best Cubs hitter all day. Johnny Couch finished up for us when Hubbell got tired, and we kept up our streak of winning the first game out of four in the third straight city.
We picked out a hotel called the Grasmere afterward, which was close enough to Cubs Park to walk there. The lobby guy said that Charlie Chaplin even stayed there once, which gave us a tiny thrill. As usual, Benny was feeling bouncy after we won the game, and wanted to get out and explore the city. He found out about a big dancing hall on North Broadway which was right in our neighborhood called the Arcadia Ballroom, and I said what the heck I needed to move my legs a little.
And what a place! It was filled with mostly white people but also some coloreds, because a group of them called Walter Barnes and his Royal Creolians had the stage and boy, could they ever play! Barnes was on a clarinet and a saxaphone and they also had a piano player and a drummer and someone with a trumpet and it was impossible to sit still.
And you'll never guess who screamed my name while Benny and me were trying to buy glasses of flavored seltzer. We turned and there was Rachel! She'd taken the train out to Chicago to visit a girlfriend and see the Robins play at Cubs Park, and it just so happened she was staying an extra day! We hugged each other and she shook Benny's hand and then brought us over to a table where her friend was. Ruby was a pretty young colored girl who used to clean Rachel's house in Brooklyn many years ago and the two of them kept writing letters after Ruby moved away. She was married to Thomas, a colored horse trainer who was also there, and we had a good talk about baseball and horses and jazz music, which had come up from New Orleans and was sweeping through the town. Thomas said he knew some of the colored players from the negro leagues like Rube Foster and Oscar Charleston, and asked if I'd like to see them play sometime and I said sure, though the prospect for that didn't look good because of our short stay in town.
The Creolians then played a song called the "Jelly Roll Blues" written by a piano player named Ferd Morton, and Rachel dragged me and Benny out on the big wood floor to show us how to do the Foxtrot dance. I was a big failure at that but Benny picked it up pretty good, and he spun away to try it with some other girl he had his eyes on.
Rachel said there was something magical about the way we kept running into each other in different cities, and I agreed alright. I told her all about Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, which got her all excited about the Robins again because I guess they creamed the Reds there today in their first meeting. She said she'd been thinking about visiting me in Philadelphia the next time the Robins are there and I said she'd be real welcome at Mama's house, except she might have to pretend she's Italian for a night.
She left with Ruby and Thomas after a while after giving me a nice long kiss in an alley around the corner, and Benny ribbed me about all the way back to the hotel like I figured he would. My first day and night in Chicago had been like heaven, a place where you can always count on a good sleep. Good night, reader-people!
PHL 224 000 102 - 11 15 0
CHI 020 010 020 - 5 10 3
Other National League games:
ROBINS 10-15-5, at REDS 5-9-1
Cincy does its best to annoy the heck out of Dazzy Vance, but they're no match for the amazing Jack Fournier, who triples in two runs in the 1st, adds a double and single as Brooklyn stomps the Reds pretty good in their first showdown meeting.
at CARDINALS 9-11-2, BRAVES 8-16-0
Boston loses their 15th in a row, and after this one they might never win again. They jump all over Leo Dickerman the entire game with doubles and triples and have an 8-5 lead going to the last of the 9th. Their only good starter Jesse Barnes gets the first out, and then Les Bell pinch hits a single. Blades and Toporcer also single and Skinny Graham enters to save the day. He can't save his life, walking Bottomley and Hornsby before Clemons and Chick Hafey single to take the game away with four runs in the 9th! The Phillies now a game and a half in front of them and only a game and a half away from the Cubs!
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Sunday, May 18|
|New York Giants||17||14||.548||3.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||17||16||.513||4.5|