August 10, 1924
By C. Jedediah Butterworth
Base Ball Freescriber
DARBY, PENNSYLVANIA—Thrilled by the anticipation of two additional games in this fascinating match, due to be played beneath a set of modern search lights acquired just for the occasion, I leave my grand stand perch prior to the fourth game for some sidewalk vendor nourishment.
It is while standing beside Minky's Frizzled Beef, Onions and Cheese Sandwich wagon that I overhear two colored gentlemen discussing rumors of Commissioner Landis "drug coma." I rush to the nearest newspaper box containing a local evening edition, and indeed, the rumors are true in the sporting headlines:
--Base Ball Czar Felled by "Mystery Tonic"--
Newspaper under my arm, dripping and scrumptious Minky's sandwich in hand, I return to my Hilldale Field seat, secure in the knowledge that our spectacle will continue uninterrupted.
The prodigious field illuminators, leased from the Kliegl Brothers at New York's Universal Electric Stage Lighting Company, have not fully taken effect when Eddie Collins steps into the batting box against Big Bill Foster. Large William is actually Rube Foster's younger half-brother, and has a left-handed fast pitch that I can barely see, even against the green infield grass. Collins does not, either, nor does Joe Sewell, who both walk away after three straight bullets. Speaker flails at an offering and lines it into right for a single, but the Babe looks more helpless than anyone and mopes out to his position in a humiliated fog.
Foster's sizzler is still on on his mind in the last of the 1st, it seems, because after Torriente singles, Stearnes drives one deep to right but the Bambino turns the wrong way, drops and kicks the ball and Turkey gobbles around the sacks on the 3-base error and 1-0 Coloreds lead. Fournier evens matters right away with a loud solo blast to begin the 2nd, but all this does is anger Big Bill.
We are now all the better for his lividness, for with two aboard and two outs, Foster fans Collins to end the threat. He then whiffs Sewell to begin the White 3rd. He then renders Speaker superfluous with another third strike. Ruth has at him again and screws himself into the ground with three airy swings. The crowd erupts, but Big Bill isn't finished. In the 4th, Fournier is called out on strikes. Brooklyn teammate Wheat swings at a pitch as invisible as a telegraph signal, and SIX mighty white hitters, all at the top of their sport's heap, have been eviscerated.
For his part, Detroit's Rip Collins proves why his mark of 18-3 is no fluke. Aside from a second Torriente single and his own flubbed grounder, the Ripper gives the Coloreds nothing but frustrating outs for some time. Night is upon us now, river moths ballet-dancing in front of every search light. The tension on the Colored bench and among the majority of dark-skinned fans intensifies. Can Big Bill keep this up? Speaker and Ruth finally reach him for singles in the 6th, but Bill bears down and whips a third strike past Fournier, clearly paying the price for his early clout.
It falls on short-stop Willie Wells to crack the scoring ice in the last of the 7th with a seemingly innocent free pass. Collins then walks Tubby Scales. Biz Mackey drops a bunt in front of the mound but Rip and Hartnett mix up on the coverage, and Mackey hustles out the hit. All sacks are stuffed, with no one retired! Foster is due at the dish, but Rube cannot let family relations interfere. He needs this victory or the series is finished. Up strides Bullet Joe Rogan, and Pittsburgh's sterling relief man Babe Adams is hailed.
Rogan digs in. Adams hurls. The ball is cracked out to Speaker in his usual shallow center field spot, but his throw to the plate is slightly off-kilter, Wells scores and the Coloreds lead! One out later, Adams bounces a pitch past Hartnett and Scales bounds home to make it 3-1!
Lefty John Donaldson takes over the Colored mound duty, and the Whites fare no better. Lefty-mashing pinch-swingers Hornsby, Wright and Jacobson go down on two whiffs and a weak grounder to the box. Adams simply cannot focus after that, as Stearns singles, Mule Suttles clubs a ball off Minky's aforementioned food wagon, and the lead surges to 5-1.
Ruth reaches on a Judy Johnson error to start the 9th, but Fournier fans for the third time, Heilman bounces to Wells for an easy double play, and the series will go five games! Big Bill Foster is nowhere near the pitching slab when the game concludes, but is mobbed by his mates in front of the bench regardless.
Pete Alexander and Smokey Joe Williams will be called upon again to decide this lovely war, and with the probable weary state of their arms, I would be shocked if we witnessed a tight hurling exhibition.
010 000 000 - 1 5 3
100 000 22x - 5 5 1
W-Foster L-Collins HRS: Fournier, Suttles
By Vinny Spanelli
Phillie Batboy and White Stars Coach
With the Coloreds pulling out a scary and rugged fourth game to tie the series again, no one in the place knew what to expect for the finale. One thing we did know is that the home team had won every dang game, so it was up to the Coloreds to change that business around.
Charleston said not a bad idea and singled off Alexander to start things. Torriente singled him to third. Tubby Scales pounced on the first fastball he saw and bammed it high and deep over the left fence and it was 3-0 Coloreds just like that. Suttles and Stearns followed with doubles to make it 4-0 before Alexander even got an out.
Not thinking he had to pitch again tonight, old Pete had obviously gone down the street to find a speakeasy and succeeded with that mission, because he had nothing. After he gave up a Charleston walk and Torriente smashed homer in the 2nd, it was 6-0, the whites in the stands were booing , and Cy walked out to the mound. Pete barked something at him and I could see Cy turn away from his boozy breath. He stayed in to get Scales and Suttles out, but after Hornsby muffed a grounder to start the 3rd, Pete plunked Beckwith and finally got yanked. A Mackey double off Rixey made it 7-0, and three singles, a walk and Suttles triple in the 4th off Mays put us down 10-0. The Colored players were running past third so fast and so often we were all getting cool breezes.
Most of the white crowd had started to head home, and as they gave up their seats, more and more coloreds took their place and made the park even louder. Babe Ruth by this point was managing for Cy, walking up and down the bench and hollering everyone to death. He had a walk and single off Smokey Joe his first two times up, and doubled Traynor over to third with one out in the 5th. Speaker got a run in with a deep fly, Hornsby doubled before a Fournier single, and we had three on the board.
But the Coloreds wouldn't let up. Biz Mackey singled home two more in the 6th off Sherry Smith and it was 12-3. Now Bullet Joe Rogan's a guy who can hit and pitch, and sure enough Rube sent him out to the mound after he hit for Williams to end that inning. But we weren't all that impressed. A Myatt double, Traynor walk and Wheat pinch single loaded them up, and Ruth got two in with his third hit of the game. After Speaker hit another sacrifice fly it was 12-6 and nothing was safe!
Make that 12-7 in the 8th, because the Bambino mashed one out off Sam Streeter, and a few whites came back in the stands to try and re-get their seats. Dazzy Vance had taken over for us in the 8th, our sixth pitcher of the game, but he was more out of gas than Old Drunk Pete was. Luis Santop pinch-hit a double off him with one gone in the 9th, and Oscar Charleston hit a ball that left the park faster than I've ever seen a ball leave a park. 14-7 was now the football score, and Webster McDonald came in for the Coloreds to try and finish us off. Hartnett singled with one out, but Joe Sewell grounded one out to Scales, who flipped the ball to Willie Wells without looking to start the double play and end the series!
We heard that the Coloreds went back to their chop house to celebrate, and Cy and Eddie Collins proved good sports by going along and buying them the food, but none of the other Whites seemed to happy. I mean, did this really happen? An incredible team of 28 big leaguers beaten in a five-game series by 28 colored players? Benny and Rachel had the same reaction as me: happy for the Coloreds but a little scared about what this could mean. We're dying to see what these reporters say in the newspapers tomorrow. It seems like this Butterworth guy from Detroit will tell what happened pretty fairly, but who knows? None of us really know him.
The search lights got unplugged around midnight, the grand stand and graveyard emptied out, and crickets chirped again in the outfield grass. We walked back to our trolleys and houses under a curious moon, peeling food wrappers off our shoes. The first and maybe only Hilldale/Darby White-Colored Classic was over, but its moments would burn into our eyes forever.
421 302 002 - 14 18 0
000 033 010 - 7 13 2
W-Williams L-Alexander HRS: Scales, Torriente, Charleston, Ruth
BIG LEAGUE GAMES THAT ACTUALLY STILL HAPPENED TODAY:
at ROBINS 8-10-0, CARDINALS 0-5-4
No Hornsby or Wheat or Fournier on hand, but Dazzy Vance throws six scoreless innings for the win and whiffs out the side in the 6th before hopping a train to Philly and playing for us.
REDS 3-10-2, at GIANTS 2-7-1
Typical, McGraw finds out about the exhibition and doesn't allow any of his players to go. Not that it matters. With Kelly and Jackson both hurt, the feeble Giants drop another to the Reds and Carl Mays, who doubles, homers, throws a complete game and still gets to go to Darby and help us out. So there.
at INDIANS 6-12-1, YANKEES 4-12-2
Ruth is the only absent Yankee hitter while the Tribe misses Speaker, Sewell and Myatt, but Shawkey makes up for that with a horrible performance, handing a 3-run blast to Brower in the 1st that the Yanks never recover from.
at TIGERS 8-16-3, RED SOX 7-8-0
Cobb gets a big triple and two singles with Heilman gone and Ed Wells almost manages to lose Detroit's early 8-1 lead all by himself.
at WHITE SOX 6-10-2, SENATORS 0-4-0
Without Goslin and Judge the Nats are worthless against Sarge Connally and drop three out of four at Comiskey to breathe some life back into the American League. Bibb Falk breaks open a 1-0 game in the 7th with a two-out triple off the idiot Washington relief clown named Firpo Marberry.
ATHLETICS 6-13-0, at BROWNS 2-6-2
Sam Gray outpitches Wingard and gets a single, double, and triple off him while he's at it to cool off the piping hot Brownies.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Sunday, August 10|
|New York Giants||60||49||.550||11|
|St. Louis Cardinals||54||56||.491||17.5|
|AMERICAN LEAGUE through Sunday, August 10|
|Chicago White Sox||59||52||.532||11|
|New York Yankees||56||55||.505||14|
|St. Louis Browns||54||59||.478||17|
|Boston Red Sox||49||62||.441||21|