12.23.2009

A TALE OF ONE CITY


BAMBINO BLUNDER HIGHLIGHTS LATEST SHOWCASE OF GHASTLY GOTHAM PLAY, 13-3

August 21, 1924

By C. Jedediah Butterworth
Base Ball Freescriber

BASE BALL CZAR EMERGES FROM COMA

Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis is finally on the mend, and our fine sport is all the better for it. After being bed-ridden and unresponsive for nearly two weeks, the Illinois Cyclone spoke to reporters in his Chicago home this morning. "Those rumors of possible white vs. colored exhibitions in mid-season may have been what did me in," he joked. "And it's wonderful to be able to read our daily standings again after so many days away from them. For example, this Phillies club seems to have found its sea legs." Judge Landis will rest at home a few more days before returning to his base ball office, where acting commissioner Rutledge has proven a fine back-up in his absence.


NEW YORK—I snap my copy of the Herald-Tribune shut and stretch before taking in the lush grass of year-old Yankee Stadium. After the joyous days of last year's championship campaign here, it has been a most foul waking-up for the legions of New York fans. The fact that the usually reliable Giants across the river have also played themselves out of the pennant chase doesn't make for a jolly neighborhood, to say the least, and it's been up to the city's pesky cousins in Brooklyn to carry the local torch.

What has been wrong with these Yankees? After winning only two World Series, their fans may be a bit inexperienced and provincial to examine such matters, but from what I've seen and learned, the team's flaws are clearly defined. Despite Babe Ruth's .353 average, 32 home runs and 97 runs knocked in, all among the league leading marks, his failure to produce at desperate game moments have crippled the team time and again. Bob Meusel's .318, 12 and 101 contributions have helped, but aside from them, no one has stepped up with any stick-swinging regularity. Wally Pipp's stock has dived after a bell-ringing April, and team management may be wise to give young Columbia University slugger Gehrig a shot at first base one of these days.

In the pitching department, things have been just plain disastrous. Ace Herb Pennock is a paltry 14-13 while Joe Bush takes turns being either magnificent (3 shutouts) or ghastly (4.48), and between Beall, Gaston, Mamaux, and Markle, the Yanks would be better served putting their clubhouse attendant on the mound to relieve the starters.

Chief target of this hideous Yankee rotation is Waite Hoyt, who after today's bloodletting has given up 270 hits in just 191 innings of work. The Tigers break open their hitting champagne early when Heinie Manush, lover of all things Bronxian, smashes his fifth homer and third here into the short right seats for a 2-0 lead. Two singles and a Hoyt error make it 3-0 in the following frame, before Ruth explodes his 33rd shot into the bleachers with as usual, no one aboard.

Still gloating over his prodigious blow, the Bambino lazily runs over to catch Lu Blue's fly the next inning and lets it roll past him for a three-sack error and two more Detroit runs. After Pratt singles it's 6-1, the fans around me have begun their daily verbal abuse, and the rout is on. A booted single by Meusel, Manush and Bassler doubles, and a Blue single crank it to 8-1 in the 6th, and after New York plates single runs in the 7th and 8th off Wells and Cole, the Tigers clean house against Gaston in the 9th. Blue gets plunked, Pratt doubles, O'Rourke and Cole single, and Manush does it again, a ferocious smash into the bleachers for his sixth on the season, three more runs and the final 13-3 score.

It doesn't help that the Yanks' sorry play has been largely featured in their own spanking new yard, where they are now 28-33. If the Browns weren't going through a sudden rash of ailments, New York could easily be in the second division by now. They certainly belong there.

The series resumes after another strange day off tomorrow with Holloway facing Bob Shawkey, as I've been relegated to finding something to do in this fitfully dull metropolis. Hmm...

DET 002 132 005 - 13 18 1
NYY 000 100 110 - 3 9 2


Other American League games today:

at SENATORS 5-5-1, WHITE SOX 1-5-2
Needing to sweep the slumping front-runners to have any chance, Chicago bows down to the pitching king who is Walter Johnson, whose record now stands at 19-8. Joe Judge's triple gets a 1st inning Nat rally going and his double highlights a second flurry of runs in the 5th. The White Sox mark since July 1st is 17-29 and they have plummeted to a notch above .500.

at ATHLETICS 8-14-0, BROWNS 2-10-1
It is Heimach's turn to have his way with the largely bruised Brownies, as DIxie Davis throws his worst game in a while. McManus and Jacobson both return tomorrow, but slugger Ken Williams highlights the occasion by going out with a bad leg for a week and a half.

at RED SOX 6-13-2, INDIANS 3-9-1
Quietly slinking through the tall grass are the Bostons, who get more great pitching work from Ehmke and batting strokes from Harris and Picinich. Like St. Louis, the Tribe has been in the hospital ward of late, not that it matters given the month of the year and their station in American League life.










AMERICAN LEAGUE through Thursday, August 21
Washington Senators 7644.633
Detroit Tigers 6656.54111
Chicago White Sox 6059.50415.5
New York Yankees 5860.49217
St. Louis Browns 5863.47918.5
Boston Red Sox 5763.47519
Philadelphia Athletics 5468.44323
Cleveland Indians 5369.43424

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