July 9, 1924
Heinie got me up early and out to Redland Field a whole hour before any other players showed up. I knew what this was about.
After yesterday's game I had to shoot my mouth off about how easy it looked to hit a baseball, and now Heinie wanted me to swallow those dumb words. He knew the Cincy equipment man from his days in San Francisco, and talked him into throwing some practice balls my way on the big diamond, something he did once in a while for the Reds.
Heinie handed me his "lightest bat", which still felt heavier than anything I'd ever swung, and I walked up to home plate in the morning shadow. Solly the equipment guy was almost 60 but had an arm like a tree-cutter's. He reached into a wicker basket with it, took out a ball, wound up and chucked it over the plate. By the time I got around to swinging, Heinie was crouched in back of me holding the ball.
"Now I'll try a fast one!" yelled Solly, and I almost fainted. I dug my shoes into the dirt but it didn't do any good because the blur-ball was past me before I even took a step. I told them I got the point and had had enough, but Heinie wouldn't hear it, and said I was standing there until I made some contact. Twelve or thirteen more pitches went past until I finally shut my eyes, swung as early as I could and felt my bat nick one.
That was amazing, I thought, as I was finally allowed to trudge back to the Phillie club house. How does any big leaguer ever hit a baseball?
It sure got me watching the hitters closer during today's game and had me respecting the heck out of them. Seeing Wrightstone, Wilson, Mokan, and Ford begin our 2nd with two doubles, a triple, and a single off Pete Donohue was mighty special, and gave Jimmy Ring a 3-0 lead for a change. Jimmy was 2-11 to start the game, so everyone in the dugout was waiting for him to start throwing it all away.
Except it was the Reds that did the bad throwing. George Burns muffed a ball in left and Bressler booted one down at first to help give us two more runs in the 3rd, and it seemed to give Jimmy a boost because Cincy could do next to nothing with him the rest of the afternoon. Harper tripled and Holke singled him in the 9th just to rub it in, and the Reds played so awful even the Over-the-Rhine Boys stayed in their bleacher seats. It was an even tougher day for local fans because the Bucs actually lost a game to the Boston Braves at home, which is about as likely as Benny marrying Miss Philadelphia.
The Havana Grit boys invited me to a speakeasy downtown afterwards to celebrate me giving the Reds the whammy, and I went along with it all for a German beer or two before I started getting a lead stomach and had to crawl back to my hotel closet. I was too gone to even let the rushing water-pipe sound bug me, and reciting "Sherry Magee" a few times sure helped.
Good night, reader-people!
PHI 032 000 001 - 6 12 1
CIN 000 000 200 - 2 4 4
Other National League games today:
BRAVES 8-14-0, at PIRATES 7-14-3 (11 innings)
Yup, miracles happen. Braves take the lead 1-0 on Cooper, Bucs come back on Cooney to lead 2-1. Braves go ahead 3-2 in the 3rd. Bucs get three in the 4th, lead 5-3. Braves get three in 6th and lead 6-5. Bucs tie it in 7th off Skinny Graham. Cotton Tierney homers in 8th, Braves up 7-6. Wright ties it with double and they go into extras. Two singles and Cuyler error in 11th put Boston ahead and they hold on after Bucs get first and third with one out in last of 11th. Phew.
at CUBS 9-10-2, ROBINS 6-8-3
Brooklyn ruins huge chance to gain on first place by losing to Vic Keen and his 3-12 record. They play without Neis and Brown, two of their best outfielders, so I guess they have an excuse, but Dutch Ruether is kicked out of their rotation after taking his 5-0 lead and giving the Cubs seven runs in the bottom of the 2nd. It's getting too late to muck around, says Wilbert Robinson later.
GIANTS 16-20-2, at CARDINALS 3-8-1
Kelly is dropped to the seven spot as promised and gets three singles and three runs batted in during the second straight Giant explosion here. Barnes goes all the way while Sothoron and Eddie Dyer are just plain awful. Too bad the team I hate is the one that took advantage of Pittsburgh losing.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Wednesday, July 9|
|New York Giants||45||34||.570||7.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||39||41||.488||14|