August 19, 1924
When I woke up on my back porch cot this morning, Rube, Oscar, Roy and Benny were already gone. I thought maybe they all got arrested for peace disturbing, or that a mob came and took them away without waking me up.
Then Lucille stuck her head outside with a mixing spoon in her hand and said they went to the ballpark early to meet the new players and do I want some flapjacks? New players?? In no time I was all washed and dressed and gulping down breakfast and running out the door.
Crazy Rube had yet another scheme in his cuffs, and this time it was to use a second stringer team of colored players who he'd gotten together outside of town two days ago just in case things got scary at Sportsman's Park which they sure have. He was even using a roster of just 21 guys instead of the 28 to show what a good sport he was. He also made the first-stringers love him by sending everyone but Oscar to the horse racing track with a whole bunch of cash to enjoy their day off.
I'm not sure how upset or insulted the Cards were about this, but they had to feel like they had a better chance. Anyway, here's the lineup Oscar was going to manage (and not play for) on the field. Another band of characters to get to know!
CF Rap Dixon
RF Charles Blackwell
LF Frog Redus
C Oscar Heavy Johnson
1B Ben Taylor
2B Martin Dihigo
3B Tank Carr
SS Dick Lundy
SP Roosevelt Davis
Alan Sothoron was throwing for St. Louis, and he can be tough, but these new Black Phillies were happy to be showing their stuff and probably wouldn't even be afraid of facing Dazzy Vance or catching a case of Eppa Rixey.
The park was even more packed than yesterday, and I noticed a lot more colored fans sitting on the pavilion roof and on anything that could pass for a fence outside of the park. There was even a couple of them halfway up the flagpole.
And I don't have to tell you that Dixon and Blackwell singled to start the game and put the park right back in the hot kettle. Dixon has small feet, skinny legs and big shoulders and even though he's from Georgia they cal him "Rap" after the Rappanhock River in Virginia for some reason. Anyway, him and Blackwell are as fast as Oscar and Cool Papa Bell and they danced around on the bases for a minute until Sothoron bore down and got Redus, Johnson and Taylor in a row to give us nothing.
Roosevelt Davis throws a spitball and an emery-ball, and when the Cards couldn't score off him in the first two innings they were barking at him from the dugout. The home plate ump went out to look at the ball because he kind of had to, and I could hear Davis all the way from our bench. "I throw the kind of ball any big leaguer can hit. If they can't do that then they don't belong here."
Great. Something else to get our team riled up. There went Blackwell, singling with one out in the 1st. Redus walked, Heavy Johnson, who was one of those black "buffalo soldiers" during the War and plays for the K.C. Monarchs, singled right under Sothoron's legs and up the middle for the first run. Taylor singled, Dihigo was out on a force, and then Tank Carr, who if he isn't built like one he's built like the other, cold-cocked a pitch completely over the right pavilion to send it into a frenzy and give the Black Phils a 5-0 lead. Second-stringers my foot!
After Frog cracked one in the gap with Rap aboard in the 4th and hopped all the way to third with a triple, it was 6-0, half the crowd was ready to riot again, and Branch Rickey just sat there in the shade of his dugout like he'd rather be taking a nap.
But then his players woke up. Max Flack walked, Howard Freigau doubled into the corner and one out later Specs Toporcer tripled in two and scored on a grounder to cut the lead in half. Lefty Jesse Fowler and his 1.48 earned run average took the Redbird hill, and the fill-in Black Phils walked three times to start the inning. Fats Jenkins pinch-hit a sacrifice fly, a wild pitch and second scoring fly from Dihigo gave us two runs back without a hit, and it was back to a 5-run lead.
The Cards smelled blood, though. Hornsby got into the act with a scoring triple in the 8th off reliever Brown, spitballer Phil Cockrell came on and Bottomley got Rajah home with a fly and it was 8-5. Freigau doubled with two outs but Phil got Gonzalez on a pinch grounder to end the trouble.
Hornsby singled with two outs in the 9th to put two Cards on and make Bottomley the tieing run. Sportsman's Park was a crazy house all over again, but Sunny Jim's fly was caught under a garbage shower in deep right by Blackwell and we'd won another one even playing the irregulars.
Rickey came over to Oscar and Cy and Rube afterwards and had a new suggestion no one had even thought of. "Why not mix your colored Phillies with some of your best white ones tomorrow?" It seems that a fair amount of the real Phillies had come to town separately to watch from the stands. Cy kind of liked the idea but wasn't sure Wrightstone and Harper would go along, and Rickey said, "Well, then they're probably not your best men."
He had a point there...
005 102 000 - 8 13 0
000 030 020 - 5 10 1
Other National League games today:
ROBINS 7-16-0, at PIRATES 5-15-1 (14 innings)
Two straight days, two straight Brooklyn scintillators. They score one in the 1st and the Bucs get one in the bottom. They score two in the 3rd and the Bucs get three in the bottom. They go ahead with two in the 5th and the Bucs tie it in the last of the 9th off Ehrhardt. Babe Adams goes five relief innings until Zack Wheat triples in the 14th to give the Robins the lead. Fournier's walked on purpose but Eddie Brown singles in another, and the Pirate leads drops under five games for the first time since forever. More important, Rabbit Maranville is knocked out for three games to join catchers Smith and Gooch in the doctor's office, bad roster luck Pittsburgh hasn't had all year.
at REDS 7-11-0, GIANTS 4-13-3
How many ways can the Giants lose? Let me count them. Kelly's triple in the 1st helps give them a 2-0 lead on Dolf Luque. Roush's homer makes it 2-1. Jack Bentley gives up a single and two doubles, the last to the pitcher, two outs later to put Cincy up 4-2. Two Giant doubles make it 4-3 in the 6th. After Youngs' triple ties it in the 7th, Bentley gives up a triple immediately to Burns and the Reds are ahead again. Finally, the crappy New York defense goes to work in the 8th. Travis Jackson makes probably his 83rd error to start the inning. After a single and sacrifice, Irish Meusel drops a ball for another error and two insurance runs. What a travesty this club is.
at CUBS 10-12-2, BRAVES 4-12-1
The latest Boston massacre has Gabby clouting his 26th homer, one behind Fournier now, and Friberg belting two off Marquard. The Braves, by the way, have hit 12 homers as a team.
American League games today that Butterworth couldn't write about for some reason:
BROWNS 9-14-3, at RED SOX 7-13-1 (10 innings)
Life in the A.L. bottom division is a whole bunch of fun. Boston gets four in the 5th to break a 2-2 tie. Browns gets five in the 7th. Boone homers last of the 9th to tie it again and a Wambsgansss error in extras sets up a winning bases-filled pinch single by Robertson.
at ATHLETICS 10-18-0, INDIANS 9-22-2 (12 hits)
More fun. The Tribe raps out over twenty hits, come back from being down 8-2 in the 7th to take the lead with seven runs off Rommel, the A's tie it up and win it in extras on a Cy Perkins hit. These "bad" teams over there seem to get 15 hits each every game!
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Tuesday, August 19|
|New York Giants||62||54||.534||12.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||56||60||.486||18.5|
|AMERICAN LEAGUE through Tuesday, August 19|
|Chicago White Sox||60||58||.508||14.5|
|New York Yankees||58||59||.496||16|
|St. Louis Browns||58||61||.487||17|
|Boston Red Sox||55||63||.466||19.5|