July 21, 1924
Me and the team were put up at the famous Chase Hotel here in St. Louis, while Benny went over to Roy's house on the colored side of town. With me being missing for almost two days, I didn't want to push my luck by getting Benny into my room, and besides, Roy is a great guy and Benny had been looking forward to seeing him.
We met his brother first in Chicago the last time the Phils were out west, then stayed with him and his family, sat in the Negro pavilion for one game, then bandaged Roy up and snuck him into the regular white seats for the next game. This time, with me having to batboy all day, I didn't have a chance to see Roy until I spotted him back behind the pavilion chicken wire in right field, sitting with Benny again.
Cy got us a 1-0 lead for Bill Hubbell with a long sacrifice fly in the 3rd off Sherdel. The Cards are back over .500 again but they never seem to go much higher than that. Like us they play in an easy hitters' park, so road teams come in and knock their heads around regularly.
Except us, naturally. After we take the lead we can't do a lousy thing for three straight innings, and then Hubbell loses it in the last of the 6th. The Great Hornsby whacks a single with one out, and the ball hitting his bat is so loud it makes my ear ring being so close to him. Sunny Jim Bottomley then clubs a pitch high and deep over the pavilion, and I can make out Roy jumping up and down while Benny sits like a monk right next to him. The smash turns Hubbell into a mental case, because Clemons singles, Flack walks, and Cooney and Sherdel single for a 4-1 Cards lead!
From there it's all frustration. We had nine singles off Sherdel in the first six innings but only could score one run. Now we start hitting doubles and triples off him, but still can score just once in the 7th and 8th. Poor Heinie rolls into double plays to end two of the innings, which doesn't help and makes me think there will be more drinking later.
Butch Henline bats for Huck Betts to start our 9th and singles. Schultz whiffs but a ball gets past their catcher to move Butch to second. A two-out cheap single from Holke gets him to third, and ace St. Louis relief man Jesse Fowler enters to take care of Cy. Williams makes it easy for him, flying out to center on the first pitch, and we all trudge back in the club house. There's a lot of cussng and equipment throwing and food being knocked over and Fletcher slams himself in an office and nobody talks to reporters. Outhitting the other team 15-9 and losing by one run is one of the worst baseball things that can happen.
And then Benny picks the wrong time to walk into the room with our friend Roy. "Who let that nigger in here?" asks Harper, and "Shoo, Darkie!" yells Wrightstone, and before I can even think about introducing him, two other players are shoving him and Benny out. I'm embarrassed and real angry and I don't even know what to do. Will I still be the Phillies batboy if I defend him in front of the Havana Grit Faction? Should I even care?
All I know is that I need to see my friends, so I make a dumb excuse to go down the hall and catch them just outside the park, where Benny is getting ready to punch a security cop. We had saved a couple bottles of Canadian whiskey we got from the smugglers to give to the team tonight, but after that bit I'm in no mood to give them a thing. Instead I apologize to Roy, give him the bottles and we go over to Roy's house for a huge chicken dinner, more stickball in the street, much whiskey drinking and long talks about the way America just has to get rid of these Jim Crow laws someday.
Benny actually asked me who this James Crow was at one point and I had to give him an education right there. My best friend isn't too bright about important things but has a good sense of what's right and wrong, and to him, walking Roy right into the Phillie club house seemed as natural as mailing a letter. If everyone else only felt that way.
Good night, reader-people!
PHI 001 000 110 - 3 15 1
STL 000 004 00x - 4 9 0
Other National League games today:
at PIRATES 5-13-0, ROBINS 4-13-3
Give the Bucs and their opponent the same number of hits, give them both good pitchers and Piitsburgh always finds a way to win. Three Brooklyn errors don't lead to anything but the usual timely doubles and tripels off Grimes sure do. Zack wheat doubles and homers late with off Kremer with no one aboard, and fans earlier with men on second and third. Typical.
at REDS 10-15-5, GIANTS 5-10-3
Pittsburgh wins? Okay, cue the Cincy win. Nobody can catch a ball in this one, and Virgil Barnes is just awful, allowing two standard Reds triples to Daubert and Fowler, as Dolf Luque easily survives his own terrible outing thanks to the Giants stranding eleven runners.
at CUBS 4-13-2, BRAVES 3-7-1
Joe 2-12 Genewich has a 3-1 lead on Keen and the Cubs, and it's only a matter of time before Chicago wakes up. Grantham's 7th inning homer ties it, Friberg's scoring fly in the 8th wins it.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Monday, July 21|
|New York Giants||52||39||.571||8|
|St. Louis Cardinals||47||45||.511||13.5|