AUTHOR'S NOTE: After tomorrow's post, an obvious day off for turkey consumption looms, but 1924 chapters will appear on Friday and Saturday this holiday weekend, with the first ever Hilldale-Darby White-Colored Classic to be reported in two installments beginning Monday. Have a bountiful and wonderful Thanksgiving, readers!—J.P.
August 8, 1924
Oh boy. So Cy was holed up in our guest room all night with dizziness and headaches. Rube called this morning to say he was on his way over with some of his colored team, Rachel telegrammed to say she's probably going to be coming tomorrow for the weekend, and then I open the newspaper with my toast and read this headline:
BASEBALL'S LANDIS WARNS OF NEGRO THREAT TO BASEBALL
Well, we didn't need that. I'm telling you, if school was open today I'd escape to Mrs. Crackerbee's class and bury my head in a Greek history book. What was I supposed to do? Cy was still too deloozy to talk about anything, Mama was busy laying ice-cold strips of cooking foil on his head, and Benny and Roy were nowhere to be found.
So I did the only thing I could, which was distract myself from the whole mess by reporting to Baker Bowl for two hours to watch the Pirates blast us into pieces. With Cy out of our lineup we didn't stand a chance, right?
Well, that's what I thought. But Earl Smith, the most fearsome hitting catcher in the league after Hartnett, was out of their lineup for a while, and Johnny Couch was making a good habit out of putting Bucs on the bases and squirming out of trouble. Heinie started two double plays in the first four innings, and Harper gave us a 1-0 lead with a homer off their ace Kremer in the 1st.
But these rubes don't have 67 wins for no reason. After Kremer bunted Johnny Gooch over to second with two outs in the 5th, Max Carey got himself plunked, Grimm walked and so did Moore and we were tied. Meantime we loused up two great scoring chances in the third and fifth, so it was just a matter of time before the noose broke our necks.
The snap came in the 7th. Kremer, already with two good bunts, whacked a ball to deep right-center for a triple to begin the inning. Carey walked, Grimm singled and we were behind. All that was left was for Wrightstone to thrill the crowd for three minutes with a leadoff double in the last of the 9th, only to have Henline pop out, Wilson line out and Mokan screw himself into the ground whiffing on a bad pitch to end the game.
I didn't even sweep the locker room floor this time, just bolted back to the streetcar to see if our home was still standing.
And that was the problem. All you could do was stand. See, Foster didn't show up with some of his players, he showed up with ninety percent of the team, and there they were sitting around on every piece of furniture or on every untaken inch of floor, eating their hamburgers and chicken and beans and Italian sandwiches that they'd bought from vendors in the neighborhood. Mama was trying to help out by pouring drinks for any of them that didn't bring pop bottles, but I could tell she was rattled and would rather have been on cold cooking foil duty upstairs with Cy.
Rube was excited to see me, shook the heck out of my hand and introduced me to his players. I had only heard of a couple of them and didn't even know where they played on the field, but they were all pretty friendly and joked with each other non-stop. Sam Streeter and Webster McDonald and Nip Winters were pitchers, Dobie Moore and Rev Cannady were smaller so were probably infielders, while Tubby Scales looked like he ate baseballs for lunch instead of just hitting them. Willie Wells, Pop Lloyd and Mule Suttles were all hilarious, and Oscar Charleston had more of a dignity look about him, like he knew he was the best of the bunch and didn't have to act it.
I showed Rube the Commissioner Landis story in the paper, but he'd already heard about it and said it was nothing new. He was sure that if he forked a little more cash over to every white player there wouldn't be a problem getting them to play. Plus there seemed to be a scheme that "acquaintances" of ours were working on.
It was right about then that our door got knocked, and there was a Western Union man. I grabbed the envelope and tore it open, all excited because it might have been from Rachel again. But no, it was from Benny in New York City. What the damn was he doing up there?
WITH ROY IN BIG CITY. MEETING TONIC MAKER ON FERRY BOAT TONIGHT. LANDIS WILL SLEEP LIKE BABY. WE PROMISE.
Rube was all smiles, but I just stared at the telegram in shock because there was nothing I could say. Except good night, reader-people!
PGH 000 010 100 - 2 9 0
PHL 100 000 000 - 1 6 1
Other National League games today:
CUBS 16-14-1, at BRAVES 5-9-3
So much for the great Braves revival. Seldom-used Bob Barrett triples and homers and knocks in five off Larry Benton. Aldridge goes the distance as the three bottom spots in the Chicago lineup go 6-for-12 and drive home ten of their runs.
at ROBINS 4-8-2, CARDINALS 2-5-0
And the St. Louis swan dive continues. Bill Doak singles, homers and pitches a 5-hitter and Brooklyn stays hot and ties Cincy for second place.
at GIANTS 9-14-0, REDS 1-11-1
New York can't seem to beat anyone but the Reds. Youngs drives in five and Virgil Barnes easily escapes the ridiculous 11-single Reds attack.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Friday, August 8|
|New York Giants||60||47||.561||9|
|St. Louis Cardinals||54||54||.500||15.5|