6.12.2009

SOMETHING TO FIGHT FOR

May 30, 1924

Benny knocked on our door at 8 a.m., excited out of his brain. Oh no, I thought, not another stupid road trip! Mama let him in to have breakfast with us and it turned out he was cuckoo about someone named Ruth Malcolmson.

"Who the heck is that?" I asked. "Miss Philadelphia, 1924," he said, "Don't you ever read the newspaper?" Seemed that this real fetching young lady—and I can call her fetching because I saw the souvenir photograph of her Benny had rolled up in his back pocket—was going to make an appearance on the field at Baker Bowl today between games of the holiday double-header, and Benny was determined to get her signature on the back of the photo even if he had to trample people to do it.

"Guess it's always nice to have a goal at the end of your field," said Mama, who was wearing her nicest and biggest hat with the little American flags stuck in it, Decoration Day has been real big for her since Papa got killed over in Europe, and for me too, of course, so we had to calm Benny down so he wouldn't ruin the parade for us.

After breakfast we all took a streetcar over to Broad Street, where bands were already marching, and it was so crowded Benny and me had to stand on mailboxes to see anything. After the bands came the Mayor, and then ranks of soldiers in perfect step wearing those doughboy hats, and I remembered Papa wearing the same outfit when he left on the train and I got pretty sad for a few minutes and Mama grabbed my ankle from below and held on to it.

It took a while to get onto a streetcar to go to the ball field after, because the crowds were all backed up and we had to work our way around drunk guys relieving themselves in the alleys, but we got to Baker Bowl by noon and got in line for our usual left field bleacher tickets.

Boy, it was nice to be back at our second home, especially in sixth place with a 6-game winning streak. The players marched onto the field holding their bats like rifles and we all cheered, and then Carlson took the hill with his great 5-2 record to battle the stinking Giants. We could make out McGraw from our seats and he had his typical mad expression going, so we knew it would be a rough day. New York has just started playing a little better but they had no luck at all in Pittsburgh so they weren't in the best mood.

Their pitcher Hugh McQuillan sure wasn't. For the first six innings all we could get was four lousy singles off him. Meanwhile the Giants got nine singles off Carlson, good for three runs. Then Cy bonked a deep homer to right to lead off our 7th, we all threw our hats in the air and we were back in the game! Except we weren't. Travis Jackson homered over our heads the next inning, we scratched out another run, but that was that, 4-2 them.

Benny didn't care. He pulled out his Miss Philadelphia photo, ran down to the bottom of the bleacher section to wait for the love of his life. The guy who announces the lineups with a big megaphone came out, announced her to the crowd, and there she was in a red, white and blue gown that must have been awful hot seeing it was close to 90 degrees out. I guess it was good she wasn't wearing the swim suit she had on in the picture or there might've been a riot.

Anyway, Benny had a pen in his hand and was writing something down quick on the back of the photo. What was he doing? She walked out to a little platform at second base to wave to the crowd and Benny just lost it, jumped over the rail and started running across the field right toward her, the photo flapping in his hand. Security cops saw him coming but they were too late and he was too fast. He ran up, pecked her cheek with a kiss and dropped the picture at her feet before the cops dragged him off with the fans laughing and cheering. What a maroon!

I knew I'd have to go look for him either outside or at the police station after the second game, so it was hard to enjoy myself the rest of the afternoon. The Giants sure didn't help, creaming Clarence Mitchell for six runs in his four innings of "pitching" and building a 9-0 lead into the 7th. They had tried blowing some fireworks off after the Miss Philadelphia thing, but half of them didn't work and it was too sunny out to see anything in the sky anyway, so the Phillies then made some of their own. Three singles and a walk gave them one run, and then Harper socked a ball so far over the fence in right that Ross Youngs didn't even move. A grand slam, and it was 9-5!

It was also the end of the scoring, and with the Cubs splitting their games we were back in seventh place again. Oh well. I found Benny outside the park after. His clothes were all torn and messed up but the cops had decided not to throw him in the clinker because it was a National Holiday and they could see he was just in love and not an anarchist or something. I told him it was nice to have something to fight for, even if it was a dream that would never happen. "Don't know it's a dream unless you prove it," he said, still glowing like a big bulb, and we went down to Mort's for cherry fizzers.

Good night, reader-people!
—Vinny

NYG 000 210 010 - 4 12 1
PHL 000 000 110 - 2 6 1

NYG 101 241 000 - 9 13 0
PHL 000 000 500 -5 9 1

Other National League double-headers today:

BRAVES 1-10-1, at ROBINS 0-10-0 (15 innings)
at ROBINS 12-17-1, BRAVES 5-14-2
The first game proves you never absolutely never know what is going to happen in baseball. Dazzy Vance pitching for the home team against a club that hasn't been able to dress themselves all month, in a place where the Robins have a 10-2 record? Brooklyn had just beaten up the Giants the day before and now they go 15 innings against Johnny Cooney and Skinny Graham, leave 17 people on base and never score a run. Vance only makes it through 11 innings, and no-luck Ehrhardt gives up three straight singles to begin the 15th, the winner by Graham, and they drop the game. They make up for it in spades in Game Two, but the bad taste of the first contest sure must have stayed with them.

CARDINALS 5-9-1, at PIRATES 3-5-0
at PIRATES 16-19-4, CARDINALS 10-8-1
Can you believe this? Two losses in a row for the Bucs, as Morrison finally gets beat by Flint Rhem no less. The Pirates then make four errors in the second game and almost give away a huge lead. Funny thing is that Johnny Stuart saves the first game for St. Louis, is picked to start the nightcap and the Bucs tear his arm off with six runs without an out in the very first inning. Hornsby, by the way, is up to .457.

at CUBS 11-12-1, REDS 7-10-5
REDS 11-18-0, at CUBS 1-5-0
You want lousy fielding, how about five boots by Cincy in Game One? Jacobs takes that one for the Cubs, then Rube Benton blows them away in the second game. The Reds hit like some kind of big machine, at one point getting three straight triples off Rip Wheeler, even though Roush gets tagged out twice at the plate by Hartnett trying to score.










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Friday, May 30
Pittsburgh Pirates2912.707
New York Giants2518.5815
Cincinnati Reds2520.5566
Brooklyn Robins2220.5247.5
St. Louis Cardinals2322.5118
Chicago Cubs2025.44411
Philadelphia Phillies1925.43211.5
Boston Braves1132.25619

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