June 29, 1924
Well, Mama wasn't at the jail cell this morning with my bail dough, but there were a few more drunks to keep me company. One of them had relieved himself in his pants and the place stunk something awful, and when a guard opened the door and waved me out I just about ran.
I figured Mama had paid the bail, but I was wrong because she wasn't even there. They walked me down a bunch of halls and into a small court room, where I got sat with about six other kids between 10 and 18 who looked more dirty, sleepless and sad than I did. I felt like Oliver Copperfield or one of those other Charles Dickens characters, getting ready to be sent to some big depressing workhouse.
One kid was sent to a juvenile home for robbing people on a streetcar, the next went back to jail because he stole a car and was actually 20 years old. Then I was called up and had to stand in front of this creepy-faced judge. The charges were resisting arrest and public disorderliness, and when they asked the room who paid the bail money and agreed to take custody of me, a tall man with glasses who I hadn't noticed stood up in the back row.
It was Mr. Tuggerheinz, principal of my school and my secret guardian after I caught him and his mistress at a ball game back in May. Well wasn't that a humdinger? He was actually at the game yesterday, saw me get arrested, and had already spoken to Mama about some kind of "proposition."
He walked me out of the police station and onto a streetcar but wouldn't tell me where we were going. "I trust you'll be satisfied," he kept saying with this goofy smile, and before long I could see we were heading back to Baker Bowl. The Phillies had gone up to Brooklyn to play the Sunday game, and it was strange seeing the streets around the park so empty. We got to the door of the Phillies' offices and I stopped in my tracks. "What the heck is this about?" I asked.
And then Tuggerheinz told me. One of his oldest friends was Thomas Crane, a very successful Philadelphia businessman who was also an old friend of Phillies owner William Baker. Anyway, it seems that the club had gotten some bad notices in the newspaper today for arresting a minor over a lousy ball, and when Tuggerheinz had talked to Crane about it, some kind of meeting was set up. The one I was walking into right then.
Crane was in the room, and so was Baker, a tough-looking former New York policeman. "Our security fellas might have been a little rough with you yesterday," he said, then walked over and held out his hand. "Still got that ball, Vinny?" I was in love with Rachel but figured it wasn't worth going through that jail business again, so I fished the thing out of my pants pocket and put it in his hand. Baker grinned and mussed my hair. "We've had this old clubhouse man named Grover who's about to retire, and thought with our next big road trip starting today it might be a good time to take on some younger blood." He looked at Crane, then at Tuggerheinz, whose little smile was suddenly big. And then he crouched in front of me.
"How'd you like to be the Phillies' bat boy?"
I almost fainted right in my chair. "Bat boy?" He said the Phillies had never had one because Grover was doing a good enough job and there was no need "spending the extra cash," but this was going to be a real long trip with the team not coming back until July 24th, and in the hot western towns he just thought having a kid instead of an old man was a safer idea. "If you do a good job, maybe you can stick," he said, and I was out of my chair and shaking his hand, followed by Crane's hand and Tuggerheinz's hand and if a secretary walked in right then I probably would've kissed her.
ME! The Phillie bat boy!!
I went straight home and hugged Mama, who already knew about it and was thrilled for me. Then I figured why the heck not? and told her I was getting married to Maria Stonetino whose real name was Rachel Stone and she was Jewish, not Italian. Mama was shocked for a second, then said "Well, that's almost the same thing," and we hugged all over again. I had to be up at Braves Field in Boston for a double-header tomorrow, so there wasn't much time to pack suitcases for my clothes and typewriter and eat something.
On the way to the train station I stopped at Mort's to catch the Phillies' ticker score up in Brooklyn and give Benny the big news. Mopsy was sitting on his lap and Benny was real excited because Jimmy Ring, of all people, had a 5-1 lead on Dazzy Vance in the 5th inning. He was blown over by both the Rachel and bat boy news, and didn't know whether to cry or be envious. More than anything, he said, he was going to miss me and I promised I'd write him once a week.
The Robins scored four runs to tie the game right as I was sitting there, but then Cy Williams clubbed his second homer of the game two innings later, Ring with his 1-10 record beat Vance with his 10-3 record, we celebrated the Phillies and toasted the events with double cherry fizzers, and I was off to the 30th Street Station to begin both of my new lives.
Good night, reader-people!
PHL 400 010 010 - 6 9 0
BRK 001 040 000 - 5 9 2
Other National League games today:
at GIANTS 3-5-1, BRAVES 0-9-1
Uh-oh, are the Giants getting warm again? It's hard to say when you beat the Braves, but Barnes and Jonnard sure look good in today's shutout.
PIRATES 5-13-0, at CARDINALS 3-8-1
St. Louis actually takes a 3-0 lead on the Juggernauts, but that holds up like a grass shack in a hurricane. Even with Earl Smith injured, the Bucs rack up two triples and four doubles off Haines and win easy for Wilbur Cooper.
at REDS 5-10-1, CUBS 3-9-1
Still shell-shocked from their visit to Forbes Field, Elmer Jacobs gives up three Cincy runs in the 5th, the last two on a Babe Pinelli triple, as Jakie May throws three shutout relief innings to win it for Donohue. Boy, if it wasn't for the scrappy Reds there'd probably be no race at all.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Sunday, June 29|
|New York Giants||40||30||.571||7.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||37||33||.529||10.5|