BAMBINO PUTS ME BEHIND 8-BALL BEFORE DOING NOTHING IN EASY YANK WIN
By Calvin J. Butterworth
May 25, 1924
NEW YORK CITY—I was late for my meeting with Babe Ruth this morning, but it mattered little, for the Bambino arrived a full hour after me. No one knew of our secret match planned for 10 a.m. in a private back room at Blatt Billiard on Broadway, and it was a good thing, for Mr. Ruth collects hangers-on as a side of beef collects flies, and it is difficult enough to obtain five minutes of his time for anything, let alone a half hour without further company.
Ruth has been ridiculed almost daily at Yankee Stadium thus far because his team is not five lengths ahead in the American League. Putting this burden on the shoulders of one player is sheer folly; it takes many working together to bring home a championship. Yet when a player produces as much regular awe as Ruth and earns $52,000 a year, nothing less than constant heroism will placate his fans.
"Hey kid, sorry about that," he said, marching into Blatt's and lighting a cigar in one motion. The Babe calls everyone Kid, so I was not insulted despite my older age, and by the time he'd chalked up his cue stick and we agreed on some 8-ball rules, he seemed ready to talk.
"I can take the booing. When you make more loot than the President, people expect results. What I don't like is newspaper dopes saying I got nothing left. Didn't they see me slug three out of the yard the other day against Cleveland? Can't ring the damn bell every day, y'know." He rammed the cue ball with his pile driver of a left arm and cracked the others around the table. "Everyone forget what happened in '22?"
He was referring to his early-season suspension with Bob Meusel. Ruth was barely batting .100 by Decoration Day, being booed mercilessly and the Yankees still reached the World's Series. "It's a big town here and I'm bigger than the town, but people gotta be patient, that's all. Your shot, kid." I put my pad down, picked out the 6-ball and sliced it just barely into a corner pocket. Ruth grinned, gave me a heavy pat on my back and almost knocked me over. "Heard about your trouble with Cobb last week," he said, "I saw Heilman at the track the other day and he said he didn't mean nothing by it."
I told him thanks but really just wanted to talk about New York's pennant chances. "Well, we got a bunch of nutwags and maroons but some real bashers in there, too. Long as our pitchers hold up we oughta pick up steam soon enough. You guys are plenty tough but I don't see Chicago lasting and Washington's playing so far over their heads they're gettin' neck strain."
He put the cue stick behind his back and clicked a banker into a corner pocket. I was well on my way to losing our match and Ruth was the proud owner of a new box of cigars, but as the many denizens of Yankee Stadium find, merely watching the Babe perform can be pleasure enough.
* * *
The contest in the Bronx today was far less scintillating than our Blatt's Classic. Sad Sam Jones proved to be anything but, Holloway lost his first game of the year after three wins, and the Yanks made it two out of three by racking up 12 hits and many walks at all the right times. Our Tigers had only two less safeties, but hit into double plays with abandon and left men hanging from base trees.
It was actually 2-1 Detroit in the 4th when New York went on a scoring spree, plating eight to none for us in the next five innings. And how did Broadway Billiard Bambino fare? Two walks, no hits in three official at bats, and none of the nine runs driven in were his doing. He'll have his final Tiger shot tomorrow against Lil Stoner, and you can bet we'll all be watching.
DET 100 100 000 - 2 10 2
NYY 001 122 03x - 9 12 0
Only one other American League game, and what a game it was:
WHITE SOX 20-17-3, at SENATORS 8-11-1
The Babe's prognosis to the contrary, I take the Chicago club as seriously as death. The Nats apparently do now, as well. THIRTEEN Chicago runs cross the dish in the first two innings on just SIX hits, thanks to Marberry, Martina and Speece handing them 12 walks in those same two innings. Sarge Connally has little more to offer for the Sox, but gives the Senators seven runs in the last two innings and still cruises easily to the win. It is by far the most hideous affair played at Griffith in many a year, and the Big Train will get the ball in tomorrow's finale, determined to right the natural state of things. One can bet he will.
|AMERICAN LEAGUE through Sunday, May 25|
|Chicago White Sox||24||14||.632||—|
|New York Yankees||22||17||.564||2.5|
|St. Louis Browns||17||21||.447||7|
|Boston Red Sox||16||22||.421||8|