10.13.2009

BOUNCY NERVES TO MISSOURI


IN OUR LAST NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAPTER: Vinny and Benny escape from Capone's goon, dropped near Indiana by French Canadian whiskey smugglers...Phillies stink in Vinny's absence...Pirates and Reds win...

July 20, 1924

"What?? Give me that!"

Benny snatched the newspaper out of my hand at the roadside cafe in the middle of Indiana we were eating breakfast at. It was true. That Tigers writer Butterworth who Benny was complaining about months ago disappeared in Boston yesterday because he was upset about his missing typewriter and pens! My friend Benny was not only a thief, but he might have made someone nuts!

"I had nothing to do with that," he said, throwing the paper back at me, "the guy is obviously a mental case and can't take his team losing. Look at our crappy Phillies and how normal WE are!" I didn't want to get in an argument about what being normal was, so we threw some change down for our eggs and went back outside into the broiling morning.

We had gotten the rowboat ashore around dawn and hiked through some woods to a main road, where a farmer took us south a few hours to a more mainer road. The plan was to try and get to St. Louis for the 2 p.m. Phils and Cardinals game, even though we knew we probably wouldn't make it. We stood on the highway until the heat started melting our clothes and sat down and kept shirts over our heads with our thumbs sticking out. Benny was still lugging his clothes sack and the dumb typewriter he swiped for me, and I thought about trashing the thing but it was a real nice one and wasn't mine anyway, so I just couldn't.

A really fat guy wearing nothing but overalls drove up in a stinking, shaking fuel truck and invited us up in the cab. It was hard to tell what smelled worse, the gas or the driver. His name was Dobbs and he burped or farted with every bump in the road, and there were quite a lot of bumps. He was from Kansas and headed back in that direction, so I knew we had a chance of making the game. The problem was that Dobbs wouldn't shut up so it was impossible to take naps, and all he talked about was how much black people and Catholic people and Jew people were ruining America. He said he was in some kind of national group that wore white outfits at night and burned crosses like they were some kind of special spooks or something, and he was a pretty disgusting human.

He also smoked one cigarette after another which didn't make us too comfortable with the giant tank of fuel right behind our seat, and it wasn't long before I wanted to stop and hitch with someone else. Benny thought I was crazy, that we'd never make St. Louis in time, but I didn't care.

Suddenly we came up on two coloreds walking along the road with their thumbs out. Dobbs' eyes bugged out and he swerved the truck right at them! I yelled, jerked the wheel the other way and the next thing we knew he was pulling off the road and shoving us out. Good riddance.

So we ended up getting to Sportsman's Park in the 7th inning, which at least got us in one of the gates for free. We were losing 3-2 to Jesse Haines and I hurried down to the Phillie dugout to get Hod Ford's attention as he came out to the on-deck circle. "Vinny S!" he yelled, and then Harper popped out to help me over the rail and throw me my jersey. It was nice to know my new family was actually worried about me, and the team got inspired on the field right away. Johnny Couch hit for himself and singled. So did Harper. Heinie gave my hand a big shake, went up to the plate...

...and popped out to the catcher. Holke grounded out, the inning was over, and they didn't get a hit the rest of the way. According to Fletcher's scoring pad we hit into two double plays, left runners everywhere, and Cy Williams made a terrible error right before Ray Blades tripled to give the Cards three unearned runs and the game, but who cared? I was safe and sound and back in home sweet losing home.

Good night, reader-people!
—Vinny

PHI 000 200 000 - 2 9 1
STL 000 030 00x - 3 8 1

Only other National League games today:

GIANTS 11-11-1, at REDS 4-10-4
Mule Watson against Eppa Rixey, so how can the Reds lose? Easy, because the Pirates don't play, and Cincy hasn't gained ground on them for over a week. Already losing 3-1 in the 5th, the Giants use a triple, three singles, a double, four walks and two of Babe Pinelli's three errors to score eight times, by far Eppa's worst inning of the year.

BRAVES 6-13-0, at CUBS 1-4-0
In another strange one, the Cubs' best (Aldridge) loses to the Braves' worst (Benton) and it isn't even close. Stuffy McInnis knocks in three, Ray Powell gets three hits and Boston beats Chicago for the first time.










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Sunday, July 20
Pittsburgh Pirates5830.659
Cincinnati Reds5538.5915.5
New York Giants5238.5787
Brooklyn Robins5339.5767
St. Louis Cardinals4645.50513.5
Chicago Cubs4051.44019.5
Philadelphia Phillies3657.38724.5
Boston Braves2567.27235

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