HEILMAN'S WORDS PREFACE LATE AND SHOCKING TIGER RALLY OVER YANKS
By C. Jedediah Butterworth
Base Ball Freescriber
August 6, 1924
As I watch the Tigers take swatting practice before today's finale with New York, the formidable Harry Heilman walks over to me. His usually tan face appears a bit pale, and there is a furtive look in his eye.
"I'm telling nobody else but you about this, Cal. There's a full-blown exhibition game between whites and Negroes this Sunday in Philadelphia, and I am definitely going to play."
So it is true! I then relate what the Babe had told me last night at Ford's mansion, and we spend the next five minutes confirming other rumors. Aside from a treasure trove of great players from the National League, Eddie Collins of the White Sox is interested, as are Joe Sewell, Glenn Myatt and Speaker from Cleveland, Baby Doll Jacobson from the Browns, and Jimmie Dykes from the Athletics. I ask him if any of the first-place Senators have been contacted, but he isn't sure. "The thing is, with such a huge lead in the race, they can afford to skip out on a game." I then ask how in the world all these great players are going to disappear for a day without Commissioner Landis finding out. "There's a young Philadelphia fanatic of a fan involved in this thing named Benny something, and he supposedly has a clever plan."
I look up to see a swarm of other reporters studying us, along with a few of the Tiger players, and Heilman walks me further away from them, down the left field foul line. "Keeping this quiet is the biggest problem," he says, "You can tell Ruth if you want but make sure he keeps his big trap shut. And Cobb? Don't mention one word. He'd probably want to play, too, but no one can stand the son-of-a-bitch so we'd probably end up telling him to stick it." That's an amusing line, I tell him, vowing to remember it.
"If we really pull this off, Cal, we're going to need a first-rate reporter to do it justice. So me and Speaker are hoping you'll be there. We really liked that story you wrote abut the knothole kids the other day. Whoa—gotta hit!" He lumbers off to the home plate area and I repair back to my lofty press perch, a place I haven't seen for a few days.
And with good reason. The cloistered spot feels more removed from the action than ever, and it doesn't help today to have dozens of neighboring writers' eyes glancing at me. Things improve when the actual contest commences, but when the Yanks pepper Ken Holloway for five hits and three runs in the 3rd, a crabby silence permeates the row.
"What were you and Heilman blabbing about?" asks Grover Quincy, a cantankerous word-man from the Grand Traverse Herald. I tell him nothing in particular and go back to my typewriter, but it isn't long before Edward Needlemeyer of the Kalamazoo Gazzette is approaching me at the sandwich table. "Hey Butterworth what's this about Heilman wanting more money?" Again, I say little, reminding him that I have a very cordial relationship with Heilman and even had a fine interview with him on a train trip earlier in the season. But my greatest gossiping fears have surfaced, and when the stooge continues to probe I ignore him, pack up my scorebook and pens and hastily leave the press area.
By the time I settle comfortably into a vacant grandstand seat past first base, it is the bottom of the 6th and the Tigers have made an art form out of stranding runners against Sad Sam Jones. They abandon seven through the first five innings, and three more as I'm watching with Rigney popping to left. Holloway has soothed the Yankee lumber since the fateful 3rd, and Dauss takes over to throw a 1-2-3 7th.
Then Wingo singles sharply in front of Ruth to begin the Detroit 7th. Cobb forces him but Heilman rips a clean safety and Cobb scampers around to third. The recently disappointing Manush lines out, but Bassler walks, Pratt singles home two, the mob explodes around me and Sad Sam takes his tears to the dugout.
The New York relief corps is a sorry lot, possibly the most ineffective in base ball, and Milt Gaston proves this instantly. He walks the free-swinging O'Rourke to re-stock the sacks, and with Cobb unwilling to remove the tough Dauss from the game, he lets Hooks bat. Gaston throws him an impotent fastball, Dauss' bat flashes and the ball is cracked on a line between Meusel and Witt to deep left-center! Three runs are home on the startling Hooks Dauss triple, and the Yanks have coughed up another late lead.
To their credit, they do not succumb yet. Johnson doubles to lead the 8th, Ruth singles him home and Meusel doubles Ruth home, but Dauss squeaks out of the frame without further molestation. To make our fans even more unnecessarily nervous, the Tigers strand the bases filled once more in the 8th, and with two outs in the Yank 9th, reliever Cole walks Ward and Johnson to bring up the Bambino with the winning digits on the base paths.
The Navin throng is on its feet. The knothole pack out on Trumbull Avenue can be heard screaming and shouting past the right fence. Heilman inches back almost to the bordering dirt track. Cole winds...throws...
...and the Mighty Babe pops out to second to end the game.
Later, I manage to get Ruth to myself in one of the club house tunnels, and I've never seen him look so frustrated. "Tough day, Babe. But hey—that exhibition game you asked me about? It's real." A look of absolute heaven fills his big face, and he pounds my back. "Thanks for the tip, kid." I implore him to keep it quiet, and he says, "Aw, you know me. And Pennock and Goslin won't tell a soul." He walks away to catch their train to Cleveland. My thoughts are spinning, and I turn to begin thinking about how I will begin this account.
When I see Ty Cobb, fully dressed, standing with reporters outside the Tiger club house. Staring at me.
NYY 003 000 020 - 5 9 0
DET 000 000 60x - 6 11 0
THE DAY'S OTHER AMERICAN LEAGUE CONTESTS:
at BROWNS 5-11-1, SENATORS 4-10-2
Washington finds a way to drop three of the four games in St. Louis, falling to Dixie Davis with the help of two more untimely errors by Prothro and Tate. Mogridge loses his second in a row after a flurry of wins, and the Tigers pick up another rare game on the leaders. The Browns, meanwhile, stand a mere two games away from the Yankees.
at WHITE SOX 6-5-0, ATHLETICS 1-9-2
Your typical Chicago win, as they are outhit for the game yet make the most out of every opponent gaffe. A monstrous two-base flub by Lamar in the 1st leads to three Sox runs and all that Robertson needs.
RED SOX 4-11-0, at INDIANS 2-6-0
On their way to Navin Field, the Bostons give the Tribe another rough time. Ehmke shuts down the potent Cleveland bats and chips in with a game-deciding single in the 9th off the quietly horrific Stan Coveleski. The big Slav has now dropped his last ten decisions and amassed a 4-15 record on the campaign.
|AMERICAN LEAGUE through Wednesday, August 6|
|Chicago White Sox||56||51||.523||13|
|New York Yankees||53||54||.495||16|
|St. Louis Browns||52||57||.477||18|
|Boston Red Sox||47||60||.439||22|