August 9, 1924
I had to tiptoe over two dozen pairs of hands and feet this morning on my way out the door. Rachel missed the late train last night, so I headed over to Broad Street Station as soon as the bugs were out of my eyes to pick her up.
She had asked her father Saul to come, him being such a huge ball fan, but she said he wasn't feeling well again and wasn't really interested in seeing any kind of "schvartza" game, whatever that was. So there went me asking him the Big Rachel Question again.
Rachel looked as cute as ever, even that early in the morning. She was also real hungry and asked if Mama had made anything for breakfast. "Aw, the house is kind of a mess" was all I said, and hustled her straight to Reading Terminal to get us fresh pastries instead...
By Benny Wzckoviczy
Whites vs. Coloreds Organizer
Good old Rube. Me and Roy still had usage of the fancy convertible he leased for us, meaning we had gotten up to New York lickety-split and a half. Our mission was to make sure Judge Landis didn't know our big exhibition was going on tomorrow, and lucky for us, Roy had an old Caribbean friend to help out.
Skitch Thomas had about twenty kinds of British, Dutch, Jamaican, Bermudian and whatever blood in him, and now lived in New York where he delivered bottles of health tonic made by some old German family living in Venezuela named Siegert. If you can keep THAT straight. The stuff was shipped up from the Siegert factory in Trinidad, where Skitch was from, and was made with something called Angostura bitters that were supposed to clean out your stomach problems if you put it in liquor.
Anyhows, it seems that Landis is a longtime fan of Siegert bitters, and Skitch sometimes delivers bottles of it to his hotel room when he's in from Chicago. And he was in New York again this weekend for some baseball writers banquet at the same hotel.
So we met Skitch out on a Staten Island ferry boat today. He had a little derby hat and blue-tinted glasses on and spoke the worst English I ever heard, and had a little pouch inside his coat packed with bottles he had re-filled and capped himself. You see, Skitch had gotten hold of some of Siegert's bottles and what he thought was their secret formula and had made his own special illegal tonics in his apartment basement as sort of a hobby. According to Roy, he had one that could put a nervous rhino to sleep. So for a decent price we had two bottles of "Sleep-aider XX," one each for me and Roy just in case, and the address of the hotel. Now it was all up to us...
Rachel and me went straight to Baker Bowl after our pastries, where the Big Bad Bucs were there for a Saturday double-header. Cy wasn't around because of his dizziness, so I had no idea what was going on back at my house, but I knew the plan was to get out to Darby later and make sure the field was all set for tomorrow.
As far as I was concerned, I was ready to ditch being batboy after three innings. Lee Meadows gave us a single and error on Harper's first at bat to get us going, but Sand, Holke and Wrightstone left him out there at second scratching his bum hole. Then, as usual, the Pirates scored out of nowhere. Johnny Gooch, the second-string catcher filling in for Earl Smith, tripled, singled and doubled his first three times up to start one 3-run rally and knock in their fourth run. Meadows cruised along from there, winning for the eighth time in his last nine starts. Hubbell was lucky because they more than doubled our hit total and still only scored five runs.
Rachel was bored beyond tears and asked if she could sit in the Phillies dugout with me for the second game. I told her she was cracked, that Art Fletcher was a nice guy and gentleman and would probably let colored Roy sit there before a woman. So Rachel sulked in her great behind-the-dugout the whole time while we tore up Jeff Pfeffer for 13 hits to their eight and still managed to lose. The Bucs went through a miniature slump in the last week but are back to winning ridiculous again, and for the 70th time no less.
I was thrilled when Cy showed up in street clothes near the end to tell me that the colored players needed help hauling the lighting equipment out of their trucks in Darby. Fletcher believed my fake coughing and in a flash I was dressed and back down the street with Rachel. I had no idea what Benny was up to at the moment, but I figured he was busy messing up whatever that crazy plan was he came up with...
Me and Roy snuck into the hotel through a back door and nabbed waiter uniforms from a storage closet. Skitch had given us the number of the room Judge Landis stayed in every time, so I elected myself to deliver a tonic bottle.
There were lots of fancy-dress people walking around, but I have to say I looked awful snappy myself in my long white waiter coat. I knocked on room 381 and waited. And waited. And waited. Then I heard someone coming and ducked around the corner.
It was a chambermaid, who unlocked the Judge's door and brought in some fresh towels. I snuck in when she wasn't looking and left the tonic bottle on a hotel napkin next to his bed.
But then Roy was missing. Or at least from the place in the back alley where we were supposed to meet. I looked and paced around for an hour almost, until he finally came out, all huffing and sweaty. He said he served the tonic bottle to Landis right at his table but it just took a while. "What?? You told me to bring one to his room!" He said he saw him cross the lobby and go into the banquet room so decided he could get him the stuff before I could.
Yikes and a half. We never got away from a place so fast in our lives...
It was nice to discover a trolley line that went all the way to Darby, a township just southwest of Philadelphia. The trolley wasn't even that crowded and the weather was nice, so me and Rachel had time to get off for an ice cream on the way.
Hilldale Park was a funny-looking place with a dinky grandstand that even had a big tree in deep right field. The lights were big and heavy and everyone hoped they'd work. We were only supposed to play three games at the most, but the way the two teams could probably hit, who knows when the games would finish. Rachel got a chance to meet all the colored players and they were all pretty polite to her, but as soon as she took off her hat and jacket and rolled up her shirt sleeves to help haul out the lighting stuff, there was hooting and chuckling for a good five minutes. I guess there'd never seen a white girl doing muscle work before, especially one as nice and smart as Rachel.
We all went to a colored chop house after, and I tried to start a conversation with Oscar Charleston, but he never took the serious look off his face. Rube said he wanted to beat the whites tomorrow something bad, and wouldn't smile about anything again until that happened.
Cy went back to his own place tonight for a change, so Rachel got our guest room to herself after Mama cleaned it up. Benny showed up at midnight to tell us that him and Roy had gotten Judge Landis two bottles of this home-made sleep tonic instead of one. Great. Hopefully they didn't kill him for their troubles.
What would happen tomorrow? I realized Judge Landis might be dead to the world for a day or two, but I was starting to worry that no one else in the country might realize these games were actually played.
I hate to say it, but I think we need a reporter person.
PGH 003 001 001 - 5 15 1
PHL 000 100 000 - 1 6 1
PGH 002 001 001 - 4 8 1
PHL 000 010 101 - 3 13 1
Other National League games today:
REDS 6-13-1, at GIANTS 2-10-0
Your daily New York stink party. Their best pitcher McQuillan can get practically no Reds out, including pitcher Rube Benton who gets three singles off him in four tries, and the elephant-speed Bubbles Hargrave, who somehow hits two triples.
at ROBINS 7-8-1, CARDINALS 4-8-1
You know the Cards are in bad quicksand when they can't even beat lousy Arty Decatur. Hornsby and Bottomley get six singles between them but no one else does much of anything.
CUBS 8-15-1, at BRAVES 4-6-0
CUBS 16-18-1, BRAVES 2-7-2
Geez, at this rate the Cubs might pass the Cards soon. They mop the floor, ceiling and rooftop with the pathetic Braves, as Gabby Hartnett, getting ready to face those coloreds tomorrow, goes 6-for-11 on the day with a homer, triple, double and six knocked in. He can gab all he wants now.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Saturday, August 9|
|New York Giants||60||48||.556||10.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||54||55||.495||17|