July 4, 1924
Heinie Sand knocked on my door at ten this morning while I was still drooling on my pillow. When I told him I was skipping breakfast because my stomach felt like there was a thunderstorm inside it, he understood who I was out with last night and reminded me to be at the Polo Grounds in an hour because the double-header was starting at noon and McGraw would be watching me. "John McGraw? What does he care about me?" Heinie said the famed Giants manager was as hard on visiting batboys as he was on his players, so don't mess up.
That didn't sound good, but then I remembered I'd asked Rachel to go to the park so I could surprise her, and that got me going. I took a quick cold bath to wake myself up, grabbed some muffins downstairs in the cafe and wolfed them as I ran down the street to the elevated train station. The train ride up to 155th Street only took about fifteen minutes, and I could see the bright green field of the Polo Grounds get closer, including the high bluff behind it, already covered with fans ready for free ball-watching and their holiday picnics. I was here earlier in the season but the crowds were nothing like this. The el train was so crowded I had to stand the whole way, and my Phillie jersey got a few funny looks from Giants fans.
The players were all excited to take on a New York team that was seven games above .500 but after three pennants in a row was expected to be much better, certainly as good as the Pirates. Jimmy Ring was pitching for us in the first game, after finally getting his second win the last time out. Virgil Barnes was up against him, and Cy Williams especially was talking while he got dressed about how many homers he'd hit off "that rube" down the short right field line.
I hurried up the tunnel and popped my head carefully out of the Phillies dugout, looked around for Rachel and spotted her, cute as a button in a light blue blouse and long white skirt. She wasn't facing the field at all, just checking the grandstand for a sign of me. "Hello there, beautiful!" I yelled. She turned, saw me and just about fainted. I told her the whole story about getting arrested, and how I got the batboy job, and even though she was happy for me she was also pretty sad I'd be traveling around the country again for almost a month. I promised I'd come talk to her father about us getting married as soon as I could, and that seemed to calm her some. She said she was there with a girlfriend, and gave me a little smooch before going up to sit with her. Hod Ford saw the kiss and made a weird honking sound at me from the field for the next ten minutes.
Anyway, Heinie was sure right about John McGraw. As soon as I finished setting up our bats in the dugout, I turned and there he was on the field behind me, hands on his hips, snarling at me with that little fighter's face of his. "Grab those damn bats right after they're dropped," he said, "I don't want my fielders tripping over them and snapping ankles." I said "Yes, Mr. McGraw!" He walked off without a word, and I almost wished I'd told him something nastier but what the heck. I'm liking my job.
After a scoreless 1st inning, Frisch booted one at second, Mokan doubled him home and our dugout was jumping like a tub of crickets. Then Ring went to work...and got himself fired. George Kelly, looking pretty awake seeing how drunk he was last night, singled to start their 2nd. Jackson, Groh, and Snyder did too, and we were down 3-1. A Hack Wilson homer in the 3rd and it was 4-1. Then a Ring wild pitch with Youngs at the plate and it was 5-1. Then triples from Frisch and Wilson and a Kelly double and it was 8-1.
Then the Phillie hitters started snatching their bats out of my hand, and whipping them further away after every bad swing they took. I tried to lug some new baseballs to the umpire behind home but I guess I was too slow because the snotty Giants batboy grabbed them from me and did it himself, McGraw smirking in my direction from his dugout. Then the Giants scored three more times in the 6th. Then the Giants scored three more times in the 7th and the rout was finished.
There was no sound in the club house between games. I thought at one point I heard Jimmie Wilson cough but it might've been a rat sneezing in the corner. Heinie gave me a nice pat on the back, like I actually had something to do with us being creamed and felt sorry or something.
In Game Two we had to face Wayland Dean, who hardly ever starts, and we got eight hits like we did in the first game, but this time scored one less run, meaning nothing. And how did Clarence Mitchell do for us? Well, he was losing 6-0 by the 4th inning, before Steineder came on and gave the Giants five more runs in the 6th. The dumb Giants fans were cheering and hooting and cussing us like they'd won the stupid pennant or something, and I guess they deserved a little celebration after getting swept by Brooklyn, but we weren't in any mood to hear it.
Nope, when you get outrunned 24-1 for the day, you're in no mood to hear a bird chirp. Harper and Wrightstone threw their equipment all over the place afterwards, while Art Fletcher escaped from reporters by going into his office and locking the door. I took my time cleaning up so I could avoid most of the players, but Walter Holke was standing there in his street clothes when I finally finished sweeping. "I don't care what good luck you gave us in Boston, buddy. If we play this bad out west we might just have to throw your little rump off the train." With that he walked out, and I was left in there all alone, without anyone to go get an illegal drink with.
So I went back to my hotel room, stripped down to my underwear and just laid on the bed. I ordered a hamburger from the room service, which cost a ridiculous dollar-fifty, read until I couldn't concentrate, and then just fell asleep early.
A knock on the door got me up close to midnight, and I threw some pants on and opened it. Rachel stood there. She'd snuck into the hotel past the doorman and asked a player what room I was in. She had a darker outfit on that looked just as good as the other one, and said she thought I might need some kind of hug. Boy, did I ever. Good night, reader-people!
PHL 010 000 000 - 1 8 2
NYG 031 133 30x - 14 15 2
PHL 000 000 000 - 0 8 0
NYG 104 105 00x - 11 12 0
Much better holiday double-headers today:
ROBINS 6-11-1, at BRAVES 5-9-2
ROBINS 6-15-1, at BRAVES 5-15-2
Boston makes life rough for the red-hot Robins but can't take either game. Ehrhardt bails out Grimes in the first one, while Zack Wheat breaks a 4-4 tie in the 9th inning of the second one a with a 2-run triple.
at PIRATES 3-8-2, REDS 2-6-1
REDS 8-11-0, at PIRATES 5-12-2
The Bucs' winning streak ends at nine! It almost doesn't because Jeff Pfeffer is winning 4-1 in the 7th of Game 2 when Cincy goes nuts with seven runs off him and Babe Adams. Wilbur Cooper goes to 10-3 in the opener, with Earl Smith driving all the Pirate runs in. But Pittsburgh has finally lost ten home games.
CUBS 6-8-1, at CARDINALS 2-7-1
CUBS 6-10-2, at CARDINALS 2-10-2
Chicago has recovered from getting Buc-bashed, but now the Cards are suffering. Gabby Hartnett whacks two homers off Haines in the first game and now has 17, second to Fournier's 20, while Sheriff Blake and Guy Bush keep St.Louis asleep in the second tilt. Hornsby goes a crummy 1-for-5 on the day and the Cards drop back under .500.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Friday, July 4|
|New York Giants||42||33||.565||9.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||37||38||.493||14.5|