IN OUR LAST NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAPTER: Heinie homers, Phils smack Cubs again and go off to party...Benny shows up at game, blows Vinny's cover with Capone...Boys persuaded to unload a whiskey boat...

July 19, 1924

Well, neither of us had driven a motor boat before, so one of Capone's creeps filled it with gasoline and showed us how to yank it started. We were at the edge of a far north part of Lake Michigan, behind some trees in the pitch dark, and I stepped into the drink twice trying to climb aboard.

I elected Benny to be pilot because he was the jerk who showed up in the front row seats and got us into this mess. Our job was to ride three or four miles straight out until we saw flashing blue lights, and those would be from the Canadian whiskey smugglers. I asked Capone's creep how Canadians get here if the whole lake is in America and he said shut up and get going and handed me a fat zippered pouch which I knew was filled with cash. The creep was going with us to make sure it all went smooth and we didn't take off with the loot, and we had two hours to make the swap and get back or we'd be "a gull's breakfast" by morning.

Luckily the waves weren't bad, but it was dead cold and we weren't dressed warm enough. We motored out for a while, afraid to talk with the goon sitting there watching us, and then we suddenly went straight into a huge fog bank! Benny panicked at his outboard helm, yelled "Where do I go?" and Creep said "Shut up and listen!"

We did, but the fog made everything even more quiet than it already was. We cut the motor off and listened again. Tiny waves lapped at the sides, and there was a far off horn, but nothing else. I said maybe we should head back just to get our bearings and Creep pulled out a snub nose gun and pointed it at me.

Benny saw the gun and went crazy, leaped out of his seat and knocked the guy down. The gun went off and the two of them fell into the lake! I yelled for Benny and could hear them splashing around but couldn't see a damn thing. Then Benny's hands appeared on the side of the boat and I tugged him back in. He was wet and freezing and had no idea what happened to the creep. "I guess...he couldn't swim..."

Oh great. I yanked the motor back on and just started driving the boat in the direction of anywhere. "They're going to kill us!" Benny yelled. No they're not, I said, because we're escaping through Michigan. To heck with the Phillies and everything else, I just wanted to survive.

And then two flashing blue lights hit us through the fog, and we almost motored smack into the side of a long trawler. A man on top was shouting something at us we couldn't make out, and a rope ladder dropped over the side. Me and Benny looked at each other and we realized we'd better do this part of the job just in case and make up answers later.

The boat captain was a dark-bearded guy in a knit cap, and him and his small crew spoke in French accents. Benny nudged me and asked how people from France even got here and I had to explain that they were probably French Canadians. Benny seemed confused about that.

"My name is Payette. Show me ze money!" is all the captain said, so I gave him the pouch. He zipped it open, smiled, and handed it to a crewman to count it. "Where is Louie Lips?" he asked, and we guessed that was probably the name of Capone's guy who was drowning at the moment. "He didn't make it," is all I said, and he squinted at us. Nodded at another crewman and they started pulling out whiskey crates and lowering them into our boat.

I was shivering cold, so pulled out my Phillies cap and put it on. The captain saw it and suddenly flashed a big smile. "You like ze baseball?" I explained that not only did we love it, but that I was the Phillies batboy and got kidnapped to do this job. He was amazed, and invited us down into his cabin for glasses of French wine.

It seemed that his father played for the 1898 Montreal Royals, the team that won the old Eastern League that year with a 68-47 record, and he'd followed "ze baseball" ever since. We felt pretty safe at that point so told him about Louie Lips falling into the drink and how much trouble we were probably in. "I will take care of this mess," he said.

And boy did he ever. Two of his crew took the motor boat back to Illinois for us to unload the whiskey and tell Capone's guys we were all killed and thrown overboard when Louie pulled a gun on the crew, and then the trawler turned south and took us close to northern Indiana. Payette gave us a rowboat and enough cash to get us to St Louis, where we could rejoin the team tomorrow. I gave the captain my Phillies cap as a souvenir and took off his knit hat right away, pulled the cap on over his salty locks with a big grin. "Baseball has been tres tres bon to me."

And us, too! Bonne nuit, reader-people!

Phillies and Other National League games today we found about on Captain Payette's wireless:

at CUBS 5-13-1, PHILLIES 2-6-0
See what happens to our lineup when I'm not arranging the bats? Nothing. Tony Kauffman, the worst starter in the Cub rotation, throws his best game of the year and Oescheger stinks for us. I wonder if Fletcher contacted the FBI to look for me yet.

at REDS 4-12-1, ROBINS 0-4-3
What a matchup!! Dazzy Vance (14-4, 2.39) against Carl Mays (12-5, 2.23), and the reason we know Dazzy has no chance is because the Pirates won and the Reds are victoriously connected to them. Sure enough, Bressler smokes a run-scoring triple in the 1st, Neis drops a ball in center a second later, and Mays has all he needs. These two guys should be neck-and-neck for the best pitcher award the whole rest of the way.

at PIRATES 19-22-1, GIANTS 11-14-2
Believe it or not, there's no scoring here for the first three innings, both Bentley and Morrison throwing great. Then Youngs reaches on a dropped third strike with two outs in the top of the 4th, Irish Meusel singles him over and Wright makes yet another error for a 1-0 Giants lead. Well, all that does is get the Bucs mad. Traynor singles, Carey doubles, Cuyler singles, Wright doubles, Maranville walks, Gooch singles, Morrison triples and McGraw kicks Bentley's behind all the way to the dugout. Huntzinger and Maun pitch the 5th, and nine more runs cross the plate. It's 19-2 in the 9th when Morrison decides to have some fun and lets the Giants score nine off him before getting the 0-for-5 Hack Wilson to end the game.

at CARDINALS 4-10-2, BRAVES 2-7-1
Boston gives the Cards fits the whole series but still loses three of four, as Sothoron goes the whole way and Hornsby singles in the winner in the 6th.

NATIONAL LEAGUE through Saturday, July 19
Pittsburgh Pirates5830.659
Cincinnati Reds5537.5985
Brooklyn Robins5339.5767
New York Giants5138.5737.5
St. Louis Cardinals4545.50014
Chicago Cubs4050.44419
Philadelphia Phillies3656.39124
Boston Braves2467.26335.5

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