June 30, 1924
The first part of heaven turned out to be the train ride up to Boston. It was the first time I got to ride in a fancy coach car with business men and normal people, and it felt great to actually stretch my legs instead of having to fold them up inside a luggage crate or something.
I sat next to a mother and her little boy, who wore a sailor suit and nibbled a giant lollipop for at least two hours. When the mom asked me why I was traveling alone I told her about the Phillie batboy job and her kid's eyes just about popped out. It was still hard for me to believe I was actually going to do this for money, even though it wasn't too much, but seeing the way the kid reacted made me feel even more special about it.
I dozed off for a while, and when I woke up it was almost dark and the mother and kid had already gotten off in New York. I could see pieces of Long Island Sound go by off to the right as we went up through Connecticut, and then darkness rolled over and the coach car's lamps came on. I figured I should probably get as much sleep as possible, but it was tough because the train kept stopping with its loud screeches, first in New Haven, then in Hartford and Springfield before turning east. I was also too excited to even think about sleep.
An old man with baggy eyes and suspenders met me in Boston when I got off the train after midnight. It was Grover, the Phillies' clubhouse man who was retiring, and this guy didn't stop blabbing at me on our entire walk over to the team's hotel. He ran through about ten different things I was supposed to do every day in the clubhouse, but after the floor-sweeping and shoe-shining I started forgetting most of them. He said no big deal because I could learn on the job the way he did twenty years ago.
The hotel was on a street called Tremont, and even though my room was about as big as a stowaway's closet on an ocean liner, I didn't care. The Phillies were sleeping or playing cards in rooms nearby, and I faded off hearing a few of them curse.
Braves Field had a pretty good crowd in the streets by the time I got there around eleven this morning. It was a double-header, which always draws more, and the Boston fans knew their team had a fighting chance against the likes of us. Grover let me into the visitor clubhouse when I knocked, and I met manager Art Fletcher right away. He was a former player but didn't seem braggy like a lot of them, and I couldn't bring myself to tell him how many times I'd yelled at him from the stands. He walked me past the lockers, where a few of the players were getting dressed, and I recognized Mokan and Wrightstone, who were busy sharing a joke and didn't even turn to say hello. My hero Cy Williams was over in a corner, rubbing ointment on a leg bruise, and I nervously went up and introduced myself. "Well hi there," he said, and felt both of my hands with his beefy ones. "Okay, kid. They're warm. don't want no cold hands touching my lumber all day."
Grover showed me how to polish each player's glove with neat's-foot oil and hang each uniform in the right locker, and then it was bat duty in the dugout. Most of the players had their initials painted or carved into the wood, and I had to stick them in the bat rack in order of where they were hitting in the lineup for the first game. It was taking me forever, and I kept looking over into the Braves dugout, where THEIR batboy was doing the same thing a mile a minute.
By the time I finally got all the bats in the right slots, the players came out and started grabbing them anyway to practice their hitting. George Harper asked if I was there to bring the team some luck, and then Heinie Sand asked pretty much the same thing, and all I could do was nod because the last thing I wanted was to get tossed out of the dugout.
Then the game started, and tossing sure seemed possible. Oescheger was terrible for us and the Braves had a 4-0 lead after four innings. We finally scored a first run off Benton in the 5th, but I missed how we did it because I was too busy moving the bats around. One of the things I never realized about batboys is that it's always more fun when the other team is up.
Harper broke his bat in the 7th with Ford out at second, and he waved at me to fetch him another. For some dumb reason I couldn't find the right lumber, brought him one of Wilson's bats instead and he just about tore my head off. Fletcher finally fished out the right one for me and I got it out to Harper. He stepped in, Benton threw, and George whacked the next pitch high and far into the right field "jury box". George gave me a big wink when he ran by me, Fletcher said he owed me a cigar, and I never felt so good.
Unfortunately, Skinny Graham put us away the last two innings and we lost by one run. Between the games I dug dirt out of everyone's cleats, swept the whole locker room floor, and got back out to set up the bats in the nick of time. Hucks Betts threw for us against Al Yeargin, and we were behind again by the 5th, 2-1. "Lose one of MY bats this time," yelled Walter Holke at me, while Harper just stared.
Fletcher talked me into faking that I couldn't find Harper's bat when he came up in the 7th with Sand on first, but I was a bad actor, and Harper came over to rip his bat away from me. And then he did it again, ripped a Yeargin ball way over the right fence, and we had a 3-2 lead! We scored another in the 8th, Betts and Glazner held down the Braves, and I had two cigars coming to me.
The players went to the fancy hotel restaurant for dinner, while me and Grover ended up at a hamburger joint down the block, but I didn't care. I needed to relax after that opening ordeal, and the taste of cheese-covered greasy meat took me back to Philadelphia for a half hour or so, and that did the trick.
Good night, reader-people!
PHL 000 010 200 - 3 8 2
BOS 001 300 00x - 4 9 1
PHL 000 010 210 - 4 11 1
BOS 000 020 000 - 2 7 1
Other National League games today:
ROBINS 10-13-1, at GIANTS 5-10-1
Burleigh Grimes goes the whole way, Fournier clubs homers no. 19 and 20 the second a grand slammer, and the Giants fall apart yet again. Kelly and Wilson go 1-for-10 in the middle of the lineup, which will kill you for certain every time.
at REDS 4-8-0, CUBS 3-7-3
Aldridge and Bush pitch a fabulous 4-hit shutout, except for the first inning, when two Cub errors, two singles, and a triple by Ivy Wingo give Cincy four runs and everything they need.
PIRATES 3-8-0, at CARDINALS 2-8-1
The Cards score two in the first, get their third run cut down at home plate when Carey nails Bottomley, and Morrison shuts them down the rest of the way until a timely Carey homer off Dickerman wins it in the 5th. Pittsburgh just does whatever they need to do to win a game—their sixth in a row.
It being the end of June, I was able to get special statistical stuff from a kid running papers in the Boston press row. Enjoy it!
NATIONAL LEAGUE STATISTICAL COMPENDIUM
RECORD IN JUNE
19-9 Pittsburgh, 18-10 Cincinnati, 18-11 Brooklyn, 13-12 St. Louis,
14-13 New York, 11-13 Chicago, 10-19 Philadelphia, 6-22 Boston
RECORD AT HOME
Pittsburgh 24-9, Brooklyn 26-13, New York 21-15, Cincinnati 22-16,
St. Louis 16-19, Chicago 17-21, Boston 10-23, Philadelphia 11-25
RECORD ON ROAD
Pittsburgh 24-13, Cincinnati 22-14, St. Louis 21-15, New York 19-16,
Philadelphia 18-20, Chicago 14-18, Brooklyn 14-19, Boston 8-31
Pittsburgh 13-8, St. Louis 14-10, New York 10-9, Brooklyn 12-11,
Cincinnati 13-12, Boston 9-11, Chicago 8-11, Philadelphia 8-15
Pittsburgh 7-2, Boston 5-2, St. Louis 7-6, Cincinnati 6-6,
Philadelphia 5-6, New York 3-4, Chicago 2-6, Brooklyn 2-6
COMEBACK VICTORIES/RUINED ADVANTAGES
New York 21/11, Pittsburgh 24/15, St. Louis 23/19, Cincinnati 23/19
Brooklyn 19/18, Philadelphia 15/19, Chicago 14/21, Boston 7/23
St. Louis .299, Cincinnati .298, Pittsburgh .294, Brooklyn .298
Chicago .286, New York .283, Philadelphia .269, Boston .259
St. Louis 425, Pittsburgh 413, Brooklyn 406, New York 385,
Chicago 401, Cincinnati 369, Philadelphia 357, Boston 264
Cincinnati 68, Pittsburgh 64, Chicago 54, New York 49,
St. Louis 38, Brooklyn 31, Philadelphia 30, Boston 19
Philadelphia 56, Brooklyn 49, Chicago 46, New York 34
Pittsburgh 28, St. Louis 27, Cincinnati 24, Boston 8
DOUBLE PLAYS GROUNDED INTO
Pittsburgh 59, New York 66, Chicago 69, Cincinnati 74,
St. Louis 78, Philadelphia 81, Brooklyn 83, Boston 101
RUNNERS LEFT ADRIFT
Pittsburgh 567, Philadelphia 585, New York 588, Boston 591,
Brooklyn 599, Chicago 609, St. Louis 618, Cincinnati 657
EARNED RUN AVERAGE
Cincinnati 2.94, Pittsburgh 3.36, Brooklyn 3.88, New York 4.27
Chicago 5.15, St. Louis 5.12, Philadelphia 5.48, Boston 5.69
Philadelphia 64, Pittsburgh 76, New York 81, Boston 82
Brooklyn 90, St. Louis 90, Chicago 96, Cincinnati 97
DOUBLE PLAYS EXECUTED
Pittsburgh 92, Brooklyn 86, Cincinnati 86, Philadelphia 77
St. Louis 77, New York 74, Chicago 65, Boston 54
HOME RUNS ISSUED
Cincinnati 20, Pittsburgh 21, Brooklyn 33, Philadelphia 37
Boston 39, New York 40, St. Louis 43, Chicago 45
BATTING AVG. LEADERS
.420 Hornsby, STL
.392 Youngs, NYG
.383 Wheat, BRK
.369 Fournier, BRK
.363 Grantham CHC
.353 Brown, BRK
.350 Grimes, CHC
.343 Bressler, CIN
.342 Cuyler, PIT
.330 Blades, STL
HOME RUN LEADERS
20 Fournier, BRK
13 Wheat, BRK
14 Hartnett, CHC
12 Williams, PHL
10 Hornsby, STL
10 Harper, PHL
RUNS BATTED IN LEADERS
79 Fournier, BRK
78 Hornsby, STL
65 Wheat, BRK
65 Cuyler, PIT
58 Hartnett, CHC
10 Cuyler, PIT
10 Fournier, BRK
9 Wilson, NYG
8 Bottomley, STL
8 Roush, CIN
7 Grantham, CHC
11-5 Grimes, BRK
10-4 Vance, BRK
10-4 Rixey, CIN
9-3 Cooper, PIT
9-5 Kremer, PIT
8-2 Morrison, PIT
8-3 Yde, PIT
2.17 Rixey, CIN
2.22 Mays, CIN
2.61 Morrison, PIT
2.74 Vance, BRK
SAVED GAMES LEADERS
7 Dibut, CIN
7 Jonnard, NYG
6 Adams, PIT
6 Fowler, STL
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Monday, June 30|
|New York Giants||40||31||.563||8.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||37||34||.521||11.5|