May 23, 1924
We weren't in the mood for another pasting today, so as we sat having home-made oatmeal with Roy and his family, he said we should try something different—like a big picnic. Before we knew it his wife had put together a big sack of food and the whole family crammed into his old wheezy truck and the back of the Chrysler and we all went to Sportsman's Park together to wait in line for tickets.
The bleacher pavilion in right field was saved for colored fans, and me and Benny got some dirty looks when we went inside because if negroes couldn't get into that section they couldn't see the game at all, and it took me a whole inning or two before I wasn't feeling guilty. Roy sure helped. He was one of the nicest guys and best ball fans I ever met. He was also a huge gambler, even more than Benny was, and there was a friend of his in the section with us named Giggle Face because he had this weird laugh after everything he said, and he gambled even worse. He had a big dirty pair of dice in his pocket and in between innings he'd stand and turn around and whip them against the stone steps without somehow losing either one.
And the game had a lot to bet on, even though we had to squint to see it. The pavilion was about 330 feet from home plate with a fence made out of chicken wire sticking straight up, so when a ball was hit you had to move your head a little to have a better chance of an unblocked view. Harper and Jack Smith were the two right fielders, and it was fun to watch them move after the balls, but it didn't take long before the game started drifting away from us again. Hubbell had ten hits off him in the first five innings, Hornsby with three of them of course, but it was only 3-0 going into the middle innings.
The problem was Leo Dickerman had a no-hittter going for St. Louis, meaning the bets on the first Phillie hit were flying through the pavilion so fast you had to duck. Roy's wife opened the food sack before long and we had real delicious chicken and corn and leftover beans but me and Benny were getting too nervous to eat. Even if a no-hitter might be against you it's still nerve-stretching. Dickerman got through the middle innings retiring all nine batters and Benny bet on a Cy Williams hit for the 7th but he was wrong because it was Harper, who led with a single! Cy did get one next, and then Wrightstone was hit, Wilson walked, and two sacrifice flies later we were all tied.
Meanwhile Hubbell had calmed way down, but two Redbird singles and a Wilson error loaded the bases with no outs in the 7th. Roy laid five bucks on two Cardinal runs, I said nobody would score and Benny was too afraid to bet again. Blades grounded one to third and the runner was out at home! Clemons grounded to first and another runner was out at home! When Cooney grounded out I screamed and took Giggle Face's money and couldn't believe he was still laughing.
Extra innings now, the stands all packed and hot with all kinds of homemade food smells, a big crowd of coloreds on the street outside who couldn't get in with their friends yelling every batter outcome down to them. Dickerman was still in there in the top of the 11th when Wrightstone picked on a two-out pitch and yanked it deep out to our section. We jumped to our feet and the ball bounced off a step below us and went right in the hands of one of Roy's boys! A policeman made him throw it back, and I'm not sure whether it was because a Phillie hit it, or the balls were expensive or because a colored kid had touched it, but it seemed pretty lousy to me.
Huck Betts saved the game for us and we won, even though the Cards had wiped us out in the hit department by 16-5. On the way back to Roy's I made Benny stop at a sporting store where I went in and bought Roy's kid a baseball. He deserved it.
Good night, reader-people!
PHL 000 000 300 01 - 4 5 1
STL 021 000 000 00 - 3 16 0
Other National League games today:
at PIRATES 5-12-0, ROBINS 4-10-1
We got serious pennant race problems in the National League. Dazzy Vance throws for Brooklyn and the Bucs still don't lose, making it nine wins in a row. Vance is up 4-2 in the 8th and allows single runs the next two innings to tie it before Eberhardt gives up two walks, a hit batter and single to Charlie Grimm to end it. Earl Smith gets four straight singles to begin the game, for eight straight times on base.
GIANTS 11-18-3, at REDS 10-14-0
New York wins a game they completely deserve to lose. Up 8-0 in the 4th, Barnes gives the Reds four quick runs and then a Frisch error helps Cincy score six more in the 7th. Frank Snyder's 2-run pinch blow in the 8th ties it, a Jackson sac fly wins it off Dibut in the 9th.
at CUBS 13-21-2, BRAVES 8-13-1
At least we can always count on the Braves stinking. This time they're up 5-0 by the 3rd against Pete Alexander, who's probably on another drunken bender. The Cubs bail him out with ten runs the next three innings and sail upstream from there.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Friday, May 23|
|St. Louis Cardinals||20||18||.526||6.5|
|New York Giants||19||17||.528||6.5|