July 16, 1924

We got to Chicago on the very late side last night, and the engineer pulled us off onto a side rail so we could get some extra sleep. Kind of a nice privilege if you ask me.

Heinie Sand was all business while we ate breakfast later in the stopped dining car. He knew he'd be leading off in the first game against the righty Vic Aldridge, and was determined to have a good day. The Phillies actually had a winning record of 4-3 against the Cubs, and Harper had a juicy bet going with their first baseman Ray Grimes that we'd finish the season in front of them. As it stood this morning they were in 6th place, six full games in front of us in the losses column, so we had a bunch of work to do.

It was nice to get back to Cubs Park, which had a fabulous baseball-flavor neighborhood and fans perched in trees and on walls all around the place. Hubbell was throwing for us, and he's been tough all year but Aldridge can be even tougher. Heinie didn't care, ripped his favorite bat out of my hand, marched up to the plate and lined the first pitch from old Vic clean into left field for a single! I gave a little shout, then saw everyone in the dugout looking at me and realized it probably wasn't okay to do that. Harper rapped into a double play ten seconds later and I thought oh great, now they'll blame that on my stupid little cheer.

Grantham hit into a twin killing in the bottom of the inning for the Cubs, but that one scored Heathcote from third base and they had a quick 1-0 lead. We got singles in the 2nd and 3rd but nothing else, then put men on second and third in the 4th but Mokan left them there with a ground out. A Friberg single, Grimes grounder and single by Hack Miller then made it 2-0 Cubs, and we could see the way this one was going. Heinie lined out, struck out and grounded out in his next three times off Aldridge, and paced around in the dugout like a crazy chipmunk when he wasn't hitting.

The big shame was that Hubbell pitched one of his best games of the year, giving up only one single after Miller's and getting everyone else out. Cy Williams got us thrilled for a second with a deep homer in the 6th, but we wasted a single in the 7th and one in the 8th after that. Sometimes things don't go your way in spite of ten tons of evidence that they should, and this was one of those times. Down 2-1 in the 9th, Wilson led with another single, our ninth hit to their four. Mokan whiffed, Ford got Wilson to second with a grounder, and Butch Henline pinch-hit a hard single that only got him to third.

Up walked Heinie, grinding his skinny bat handle into sand. He fouled off a couple, got the count to 3-and-2...and popped weakly out to Hack Miller in left to end the game.

Heinie kept his back and einie turned to everyone in the club house while he got dressed, and didn't even react when a half dozen players patted him on the shoulders or slapped his back to try and cheer him up. The players were going off to their favorite speakeasy on Rush Street but he didn't want to go, so I leaned in and asked if he wanted to get dinner with me. He said no thanks, let's just play us a little cards in my room at the Knickerbocker and order food up.

So that's what we did, helped by a flask of illegal brandy he took with him on the tip for just a night like this. The stuff tasted pretty awful, but after a swig or two it didn't really matter. I asked if he'd heard from his floozie and he said no, and then I asked if he was worried about his wife finding out with newsmen all over the place and he said are you kidding? Press folks make it their rule to never write about a player's personal life. He then told me about his little baby boy and I told him all about my papa getting killed in the War, and before long we were singing army songs and flipping the cards up in the air.

"Heck with it," I said, "We're 34-55 now, but seventh place is sure better than last." Right, he said back, "just think about how many bottles of this swill the Braves have to go through every night!" And that got us laughing all over again.

Good night, reader-people!

Only National League games today:

GIANTS 10-15-1, at PIRATES 1-7-0
Man o man. McGraw's bunch has given the Bucs fits all year, and this time they tear Forbes Field apart like an old shed, racking up ten runs on Kremer by the 5th inning. Snyder continues his hot hitting with a homer and four knocked in, and Hack Wilson gets three hits in the cleanup slot.

ROBINS 6-14-1, at REDS 4-8-0
Grimes throws a great game after his last sad outing, and the Reds ruin a chance to get within four, the third time in a week they lose after Pittsburgh does. Eppa Rixey doesn't win for a change but he doesn't lose either, as the Reds tie the game in the 7th before Hank DeBerry puts Brooklyn ahead to stay in the 8th with a big two-out single.

at CARDINALS 8-15-0, BRAVES 7-12-2
Jesse Haines is plum awful for the Cards, but Genewich is awfuller, and Bottomley saves the day for St. Louis with a winning sacrifice fly off Skinny Graham in the bottom of the 9th. Hornsby's three hits get his crazy average up to .423.

NATIONAL LEAGUE through Wednesday, July 16
Pittsburgh Pirates5629.659
Cincinnati Reds5336.5965
Brooklyn Robins5237.5846
New York Giants5036.5816.5
St. Louis Cardinals4344.49414
Chicago Cubs3948.44818
Philadelphia Phillies3455.38224
Boston Braves2365.26134.5

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