SELF-EXILED TO LEAGUE PARK, I AM TREATED TO A LOWLY MASTERPIECE
By C. Jedediah Butterworth
Base Ball Freescriber
August 2, 1924
AUTHOR'S NOTE: When Cecil Fitzgibbons, the Tigers' press secretary, rang me at breakfast this morning with a "tidy piece of advice," little did I know he was creating me a blessed day. In short, Cecil asked me not to spend so much time in the visiting team dugout today because it "appeared patronizing and possibly traitorous" to the local team and its fans. Shocked as I was, I expressed my thanks, hung up the telephone, and quietly made plans to motor down to Cleveland, take in the Athletics-Indians contest, and write whatever the fudge I want. Welcome, loyal readers, to one of the best games all season.
CLEVELAND, OHIO—One of the certainties of base ball is the strong daily possibility of witnessing a thrilling drama, no matter the clubs involved. Here are the Philadelphians and Clevelanders, both watching the pennant chase through field glasses, yet separated in the lower pecking order by a mere half game and a perfect 8-8 against each other. The League Park stands are half filled on this glorious Saturday, but the Tribe cranks are spirited and loud, and smoke from sausage grills fills every inch of the shadowy grandstand.
Lefty Baumgartner and righty Coveleski are the pitching principals, and the Indians provide the lone early action when Joe Sewell doubles to lead off their 1st and the unflappable Tris Speaker singles him home two outs later. Two double play bounders bail Coveleski out twice in the first four frames, but his wobbly nature betrays him in the 5th. Singles by Hale and Galloway, a wild pitch, sacrifice and single by Bishop put the Mackmen in the lead, and old Connie looks quietly pleased as he fans his creased temple at the edge of their dugout with his scorecard. After a Hauser single, error by Burns and single from Al Simmons make it a 3-1 count in the 6th, the modest throng sinks into a premature hush. Not that they (or I) can be bothered at this August juncture, but the scoreboard way out in left shows Washington leading up at Navin Field 1-0 with Mogridge throwing, he of the ten-game victory streak.
The Indian players have their own battle to fight though, and promptly respond. Riggs Stephenson clangs a double down the line to open the Tribe 6th. Summa fans and Luke Sewell pops out, but Ellerbe pinch-hits for Coveleski and brings home their second tally with a crack single. After reliever James Edwards silences the Elephant bats for the 7th and 8th, Luke Sewell singles with one out. Rube Lutzke hits for Edwards and walks. Joe Sewell singles to fill the sacks and bring the local denizens to roaring attention. George Burns then rifles one into right-center, driving home two runners and the first Cleveland lead! When Jamieson then doubles, the grandstand rocks with earth-quaking force.
But a 5-3, 9th inning lead in a game with these teams is like watching a pair of crippled soldiers balance on a floating log. Sure enough, with one out and one aboard, pinch-batter Wells rolls a perfect double play ball out to Sewell at short. Joe plucks it off the turf, sets himself, and throws it wide of Stephenson's glove at second for a painful gaffe, Cleveland's third of the afternoon. Unnerved, reliever Dewey Metivier walks Bishop to load the bases. Another free pass to Harry Riconda makes it 5-4, but Miller grounds into a home plate force and there is but one man to retire.
Unfortunately, it is Bill Lamar, the A's best slugger. He instantly ropes a single over the leaping Yoter at third to tie the game at 5-5 and silence the crowd yet again.
The Tribe gets back on their warpath in short order with lead singles from Stephenson and Summa, but with runners at each corner, Slim Harriss gets Luke Sewell on a grounder, fans Metivier, who is forced to bat with no one else of any mettle left in the bullpen, and with the crowd razzing him for his untimely flub, Joe Sewell grounds out to send the game into extra time.
Metivier gets the first two Athletics in the 10th, but then the Devil strikes. Little Chick Galloway pops a fastball down the right field line, which drops over the corner of the fence by a bee's breath and gives Philadelphia a 6-5 lead!
It is a tribute to the Cleveland crowd, though, that none abandon their seats. In fact, most are allowed to move even closer in a circle around home plate, where they become even louder, like a small medieval horde taking in a community play. "You can beat these stinkin' willywags!!" is one vocal sample, and Burns must hear him for he begins the Indian 10th with a vicious double. Jamieson walks. Speaker is gone on a foul pop, but pinch-batter Brower walks and the bases are filled yet again. The play-watchers leap to their feet, madly wave anything they still carry. Stephenson lifts a fly out to Lamar in left but Burns scampers in with ease and we're tied again! Even I am on my feet now, flapping my pen-riddled program in true Mackian style.
But Homer Summa grounds a ball painlessly out to Galloway at shortstop, the mighty-mite who gave them their last short-lived lead. Everyone in the stands screams and shouts at him. Poor Chick's hand sweats up, and there goes the ball, sailing over Hauser's mitt at first, bounding free off the grandstand rail, hats and sausage wrappers flying into the air, as Jamieson races home with the Indians' winner!
Drifting out of the ball park as stunned as everyone else, I catch sight of the DET 3 WASH 1 final score. So the Tigers halted Mogridge's win streak, and I missed it. And I care not one morsel.
PHL 000 021 002 1 - 6 13 3
CLE 100 001 030 2 - 7 15 3
THE DAY'S OTHER AMERICAN LEAGUE CONTESTS:
at TIGERS 3-8-1, SENATORS 1-8-2
As mentioned in passing, the Tigers and Syl Johnson silence the Nat bats, with Woodall breaking the 1-1 tie with a scoring single in the 5th. Wonderful for them.
at WHITE SOX 3-8-0, RED SOX 2-10-0
How to Lose a Ball Game, courtesy of Boston. A Flagstead homer gives Ehmke a 1-0 lead to hold for five innings while he pitches 1-hit ball. The other Red Ssx hitters spend that time stranding base runners in scoring position, eight all told against the very hittable Lyons, until a Mostil double ties the game in the 6th, a hooper single reties it in the 8th, and a Barrett scoring fly after a Kamm triple wins it for Chicago in the 9th.
at BROWNS 4-9-2, HAPLESS YANKEES 3-12-2
A continuation of the How to Lose a Ball Game theme. Down 1-0 in the 3rd, Pipp triples. Meusel doubles and Schang homers off the often atrocious Elam Vangilder, and the New Yorkers are never heard from again. Shawkey finally gives away the lead in the 7th with two Brownie doubles, two singles and a hit batter. The recent winning Yankee surge was obviously a mirage, as they leave 13 men adrift and Ruth chips in with two whiffs and a feeble ground out when power is needed in lefty-friendly Sportsman's Park. St. Louis now stands but four games to their rear.
|AMERICAN LEAGUE through Saturday, August 2|
|Chicago White Sox||54||49||.524||14|
|New York Yankees||52||51||.505||16|
|St. Louis Browns||49||56||.467||20|
|Boston Red Sox||44||59||.427||24|