Well, no one expected this.
Practically the whole colored population of Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas turned out today to watch their favorites play the last game with the Cards, while at the same time most local whites decided to stay home. Meaning a half hour before first pitch the right pavilion was bulging at the seams and the streets around Sportsman's Park were flooded with out-of-town Negroes, so team owner Breadon did the only smart thing and opened up the grandstand sections to all colors. Something that has never happened here.
The other historic thing was that Jimmie Wilson became the first white man to play on a team with all coloreds in a major league game. Oscar picked Cy and Holke and Huck Betts too, not even bothering with our biggest racist jerks Wrightstone and Harper, but Wilson got to start behind the plate. Cy recommended Jimmie to Charleston because he was young and durable thanks to his strong legs from a good soccer career he ended just last year, and he also knew he would be tough enough mentally to handle the name-calling he might hear from the mostly-colored crowd.
Lefty Bill Sherdel started for St. Louis and whizzed the first pitch right past Lyons' ear. Our speedy centerfielder shrugged it off and ripped the next ball down the opposite line for a leadoff triple. I've decided it's never a good thing to anger a colored star. Dick Lundy got him in with a deep fly and with Wilson in the on-deck circle with two outs and Heavy Johnson at the plate, the razzing started.
"Hey Gingerbread, what you doin' out there?"
"You ain't tan enough to swing with us, cracker-head!"
"Always knew you were a cotton-picker, Wilson!"
That last one came from the Cards' dugout, probably from Hornsby because Rickey was too intimidated to shut him up. Wilson kept cool, instructed to not fight back no matter what because he needed to set an example for future whites playing with blacks. But it still seemed to bother him when he crouched behind the dish to handle Bill "Plunk" Drake's first inning. They couldn't seem to get together on the right pitches, and Flack and Hornsby both walked before Bottomley ended the scoreless inning with a deep fly. Hornsby even hit Wilson's rump with the side of his shoe as he stepped into the box and Jimmie had to crouch there and take it.
Wilson grounded out his first time up but in the top of the 3rd, I heard him cheer from our bench when Ghost Marcelle led off with a vicious double for us. After Lyons singled him to third, Lundy got him in with his second scoring fly and it was 2-0. Wilson flied out on his second at bat, which got the stands laughing and yelling at him all the more, but Oscar met him halfway to the dugout and put an arm around him like Rickey might've to let the crowd know he was accepted and everything.
The strategy sure loosened up our dugout, because we went nuts on Sherdel in the 5th. With two outs and Newt Allen on first, Lyons singled, Lundy doubled them both in for all four of our runs batted in, Rap Dixon tripled, Heavy walked and Tank Carr singled to make it 6-0! Wilson walked to the plate, trying to block out the volleys of "white boy" catcalls, and just about screwed himself into the ground swinging at strike three.
"Enough of this bunk," muttered Charleston, and put Cy into the game in center and Holke at first base to give him some white company. Drake meanwhile bored down even harder on the Cards hitters and didn't even allow them a hit through the first six innings. Heavy Johnson singled with two gone in our 7th, and then Holke silenced the colored crowd with a line double to send Heavy to third. Wilson just about ran to the dish, all excited, and singled sharply for two more runs! Even the colored people in the stands had to cheer his courage.
Hornsby didn't, though, and butchered Drake's first pitch in the last of the 7th for a deep double. A Hafey single and two walks brought in one run before Drake got Toporcer on a fly with the bases loaded. After we got three more in the 8th off Eddie Dyer, Oscar got a little cocky and put real Phillie Huck Betts in the game. This guy was probably rusty from not pitching for a week, but the colored crowd really gave it to him and he just couldn't take the abuse. He gave up three walks and three singles and three runs before Charleston finally yanked him for Martin Dihigo, who played second base for us just yesterday.
Martin singled in an extra run for us in the 9th but the crowd was more than happy to see the local white team get crushed again by their racial brothers. It was on to Cincinnati now, a team with maybe the best pitching in the league and a lot of Over-the-Rhine Boys in the stands no doubt itching for a fight. All I know is that I'm going to need a vacation from this tense craziness real soon.
SORT-OF BLACK PHILLIES
101 040 231 - 12 17 1
000 000 130 - 4 5 1
Other National League games today:
at PIRATES 4-11-1, ROBINS 3-17-1 (15 innings)
Brooklyn follows up their two biggest wins of the year with one of their absolute worst losses. Despite four Pirates out of the lineup with injuries, including all three of their catchers, the Robins waste one scoring chance after another, leave 17 men on base and lose a 2-1 lead in the 9th and a 3-2 lead in the 12th along the way. Best Player in the League without question Kiki Cuyler doubles to start a rally in the 7th, homers to tie the game in the 9th and makes every tough play in the field until Eddie Moore gets around to doubling home the winner off Ruether. Brooklyn's Art Decatur goes 11 innings with Rube Ehrhardt unavailable and does pretty darn well, but the Bucs bunch all their hits together while the Robins don't, a sure sign of eventual doom.
GIANTS 4-13-2, at REDS 3-5-1
One of the bigger mysteries of the year is why Mule Watson has a 10-4 record. The Giants' worst starter by far always manages to tough out wins, and helps himself here with a game-winning 2-run homer in the 8th off Pedro Dibut. A classic Giants moment happens in the 4th. Right after New York ties the game 1-1, Travis Jackson boots one ball and Hack Wilson misplays the next one for a three-base error, helping Cincy score twice without a hit. (I know the Giants won but I just like to make fun of any team McGraw manages.)
at CUBS 13-12-0, BRAVES 5-10-2
Boston scores three times in the 1st off the awful Vic Keen and things seem to be going their way for once. Sure they are. Four Cub runs in the 3rd and eight in the 7th, topped by a Denver Grigsby grand-slammer, finish them off yet again. Chicago's record against the Braves now? 18-1.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Wednesday, August 20|
|New York Giants||63||54||.538||12.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||56||61||.479||19.5|