10.31.2009

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: It is with new regret that the Free-Enterprise announces the immediate suspension of base ball reporter Calvin Jedediah Butterworth. As evidenced by his flighty approach in yesterday's "game story," by his adamant refusal to write in the past tense favored by all trustworthy press men, and by his rebellious behavior when questioned by his superior editors on the above matters, it is apparent that his recent wanderings in the wild state of Vermont have irreparably impaired his reporting faculties, and he can no longer

AND THE FANS SHALL DECIDE!!

By C.J. Butterworth
Base Ball Writer of the People

July 28, 1924

Publishers! Editors! Who needs these blind, bloated buffoons? Followers of this glorious game hunger for freshness and daring in their daily accounts, not stodgy, predictable grammar lessons! Some dark day the newspaper form could perish altogether, and it is the craftsmen with vision, the ones who speak for the ordinary base ball fan, who will survive.

Thus, here I PRESENTLY am on Trumbull Avenue outside Navin Field, waiting in a lengthy cue which snakes up to the right field bleacher entrance. There are half-asleep working men here, dirty-fingered boys fresh from newspaper hawking or morning play, all eager for the cheapest and farthest admissions Navin can offer.

It is a small, stuffed island of fans, here in deepest right center field. Separated by yards of fence from the main grand-stand, we feel removed from most of the public yet deeply embedded in the field action. Ty Cobb patrols the grounds directly below us, and his most devoted followers on all sides of me.

"Get these bastard Mackers, Ty!" screams one impartial sort, waving his scorecard in mock Connie Mack fashion at the Philadelphia dugout. "You can take this one, Ty!" yells a boy not much older than my own, "I know you can!" When the game begins their pleadings appear fulfilled. A Rigney walk and revolting error by Galloway on Lu Blue's grounder put Tigers at second and third from the outset off Stan Baumgartner. Cobb keeps them there with a ground out, but Heilman whacks a ringing single into left, scoring them both! The bleacher section explodes with joy, a niose as deafening as I've heard all season. Woodall then doubles, Manush is hit with a pitch, and when Pratt skies a ball toward us in deep right, the sphere arcing through the blue sky like a firework rocket, Heilman scampers home and we have a 3-0 lead.

Syl Johnson is pitching splendidly for us, and with the field goings-on slowing down into the middle innings, I get to know more of my plank-mates. Reggie Drake helps assemble autos at the Ford plant, and he has been looking forward to taking this Monday afternoon off for months. Edward Snick is in his sixties and has been following local base ball for so long he attended a few games during the 1887 Detroit Wolverines' championship campaign. The situation does not present itself today, but whenever a Tiger strikes a home run, Edward removes his dentures and makes a series of bellowing shouts that can be heard in all sectors of the park.

Heilman is at his best in this affair, and doubles home Rigney in the the 5th for a 4-0 advantage. It is around this time that rumors of the great Walter Johnson being shelled from the pitching box in the very first inning down in Cleveland spreads through the bleachers like a wild fire, and the exciting anticipation of a win here doubles for all concerned.

Syl Johnson is noticeably fatigued, however. Even from my distant vantage point I can see his curve balls hanging, his fast pitch slowing down. He gives up a single and walk in the 6th but escapes free of harm. Hauser then walks to start the Philadelphia 7th, and Sammy Hale drives a ball deep over Heilman's cap, then the entire left fence and the lead is 4-2. Groans and curses fill our island, and worry etches across every sun-bleached face. Cobb summons Hooks Dauss, who retires the Athletics in succession, but the sunny mood of the proceedings have been altered.

As much as I attempt to calm the throng surrounding me, my efforts are dashed in short order. Singles by Dykes and Lamar in the 8th, a frightening double off Lamar's bat and 2-run single by Hale puts us behind by a 5-4 count. Faces are buried in hats and hands. Language I shall not utter darkens the air.

Yet all is briefly forgotten when Heilman smokes his second double leading off our 8th. After a walk and force-play, Pratt gets the knotting run home with a grounder. O'Rourke then singles, Edward Snick removes his teeth and deafens me with bellows, and the home nine are back on top 6-5! Dauss whiffs pinch-batter Welch to begin the 9th, and after a Bishop single, Dykes fans. The entire bleacher section stands to shout. If I had teeth of my own to remove I certainly would. Bing Miller is all that separates us from being eleven and a half games away from first place!

But Bing isn't listening. He clubs the first Dauss offering on a vicious parabola, straight toward the bleachers. Cobb and Heilman give chase but the ball knocks off the wall, rattling our wooden rows. Bishop races all the way around the diamond, the dust under his cleats visible even from here. Tied at 6-6! The thrill has overwhelmed me, despite the outcome, and when Lamar then singles off new pitcher Bert Cole, Philadelphia leads 7-6 and the air about me fills with lividness. Sandwich wrappers, drink bottles and other objects litter the outfield grass. I stand, turn to face my base ball neighbors, and implore them to stop. "We still have a chance!" I yell, "In life there is always the next at bat!!" "Sit down, four-eyes!" yells one crank, and I do, but my message may have influenced some.

Harry Heilman certainly may have heard it, for he works out a free pass from Roy Meeker with two outs in our 9th. Woodall does the same. Up steps Heinie Manush, burdened with a too-quiet day. The bleachers stand again, shower the field with nothing but noise this time. Meeker spins, hurls...and Manush whiffs.

The bleacher section evaporates around me. I remove my hat to feel the late afternoon sun on my face. It feels wonderful. And despite the heart-cracking loss, it shall tomorrow.

PHI 000 000 232 - 7 11 1
DET 300 010 020 -6 7 1



OTHER AMERICAN LEAGUE GAMES TODAY:

at INDIANS 8-15-0, SENATORS 6-13-0
Strange occurrences in the Washington camp of late. Big Train Johnson allows four singles and three doubles to the Tribe before being yanked from the hill by Bucky Harris with two outs in the 1st, a humiliating event for the famous mound master. It is a tragedy the Nats cannot recover from, despite plating six runs in the final three innings off Shaute and Messenger. Speaker has another fine day with three doubles and three knocked home.

YANKEES 9-17-0, at WHITE SOX 5-14-1
Has the Real Bambino finally arrived?. Down 2-0, he ties the game with a 2-run double off Lyons in the third, leading to five Yank runs. In his last nine at bats with runners in a scoring location, Babe has seven hits, including two home runs and thirteen runs batted in. Waite Hoyt gives up two quick runs and three at the conclusion, but is masterful in between as New York gains a full game.

RED SOX 8-15-0, at BROWNS 6-10-1 (12 innings)
A valiant try by the Brownies, who fight back from a 6-0 deficit to tie the score, then lose when Boston scores twice off Hub Pruett in his sixth relief inning of work. Ted Wingfield also throws nearly six frames to get the win, and the Scarlet Sockers pick up a rare road win.










AMERICAN LEAGUE through Monday, July 28
Washington Senators 6634.660
Detroit Tigers 5447.53512.5
New York Yankees 5147.52014
Chicago White Sox 5147.52014
St. Louis Browns 4654.46020
Cleveland Indians 4556.44621.5
Philadelphia Athletics 4456.44022
Boston Red Sox 4157.41824

10.30.2009

DUEL OF THE DUNCES

July 28, 1924

Who on earth can find entertainment in watching two crummy teams out-stink each other on a muggy afternoon in late July? Me, that's who.

Tony Kaufmann for the Cubs and Jimmy Ring for us have been two of the sorriest pitching specimens all year in the National League, because they both have talent enough to win but never seem to. With Tony's 3-9 mark going against Jimmy's 4-12 today with almost every ball popping out of Baker Bowl at batting practice, it was going to be a long day for me.

It was going to be longer for the players, though, and Harper got a side bet going with Cliff Heathcote on Chicago for a steak dinner. We already had a probable losing bet that we'd finish ahead of these guys, but Harper never knows when to stop.

And Heathcote must've not eaten breakfast or lunch, because he ripped a single off Ring to start the game, got singled over to third by Grimes and homered in by Hack Miller and we were down 3-0 just like that. And Ring was more worthless than he usually is. With a guy on first and two outs in the 2nd, he walked Heathcote, Friberg, Grantham, Grimes and Miller then singled in a row and he hit Hartnett before finally getting out of the mess down 7-0.

Every Phillie hitter was mad. They were snatching their bats out of my hands so fast I was getting blisters. At least they started to put them to some use. Holke bombed one over the right fence in the 4th, before two singles, two walks and a plunked batter got us three runs back. A bases-filled walk to Friberg made it 8-3 them, but then we started smoking. Harper began our 5th with a double, Sand singled him to third, Cy tripled deep to center for two runs and a Wrightstone grounder scored another and it was suddenly 8-6!

Ring finally threw a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th, and our dugout was hopping. Ford got his third single with one out and went to second when Grantham chucked it away. Ring zipped a double down the line, Harper got him to third with a hit and none else but Heinie Sand poked a single into left to tie the game! Harper could taste that sirloin as he raced home to try and give us the lead on a Holke fly to center, but guess who shot him down at home plate with a cannon throw? Cliff Heathcote. Grrrr.

When you lose your last out at home something bad seems to happen right away, and it sure did. Weis doubled to begin the 7th, Hollocher singled him in and we were behind again. Steineder finally relieved to put Ring out of his misery in the 8th but he wasn't much better, giving up a triple to Hartnett and three straight walks to make it 10-8. Mokan cracked one into the bleachers to bring us close again, but Kaufmann took care of us in the 9th and as usual at Baker, we'd gotten 15 hits and nine runs and still lost.

I wasn't even the one having to foot a restaurant bill after the game, but I have no interest in eating steak for a while.

Good night, reader-people!
—Vinny


CHI 340 010 110 - 10 16 2
PHI 000 332 010 - 9 15 0

Only National League games today:

PIRATES 3-12-0, at BRAVES 1-3-0
Against the worst starter in the Bucs rotation Wilbur Cooper, the Braves get two singles, a double, and not one other base runner. Pretty hard to win that way. And here's some typical Pirate magic: With a man on third and two outs in the 6th, Barnes pitches to Earl Smith, who singles in the run. With a man on second and two outs in the 8th, Barnes this time walks Smith on purpose, and Traynor singles in the run. If they put a water fountain in the Pirates club house, it would be a wine fountain in no time.

REDS 6-10-1, at ROBINS 1-6-1
Hold on Reds, make sure the Pirates won before you do. They did? Okay, go ahead. Beat up Dazzy Vance like he's a minor leaguer. Dazzy has lost three straight now, and two of those were to Carl Mays on days the Bucs won.

CARDINALS 5-11-1, at GIANTS 3-6-2
The most disappointing team in the league is at it again, getting homers from Youngs and Meusel to take a 3-1 in the 4th, then dropping dead for Leo Dickerman the rest of the game while McQuillan gets pummeled. The Giants have been riding a bicycle in mud since the season began.










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Monday, July 28
Pittsburgh Pirates6233.653
Cincinnati Reds5941.5905.5
New York Giants5641.5777
Brooklyn Robins5644.5608.5
St. Louis Cardinals5147.52012.5
Chicago Cubs4552.46418
Philadelphia Phillies3762.37427
Boston Braves2672.26537.5

10.29.2009

A NICE, REFRESHING SHUTOUT

ROMMEL OUTFOXES TIGERS FROM GET-GO ON SUPREMELY PLEASANT AFTERNOON

By Calvin J. Butterworth
Man of Base Ball Prose

July 27, 1924

A gentle, benevolent breeze ruffles the team flags atop the Navin Field rooftop, and I am back behind our dugout with my darling wife and gracious children to take in today's Athletics-Tigers performance of base ball skill. Bonnie looks breathtaking in her yellow dress and matching bonnet, while little Callie and Cavendish are as scrubbed and well-behaved as young ones can be.

Ed Rommel throws for Philadelphia against our Earl of Whitehill, and despite our hopes for an evenly matched contest, it is simply not to be. Al Simmons singles home Dykes in the 2nd frame, a Lu Blue botch brings in a second tally in the 3rd, and Whitehill loses interest in all things base ball-related in the 4th. Simmons and Lamar open with singles, get bunted over with two out by Rommel, Galloway singles, Bishop draws a pass and Bing Miller renders the next pitch obsolete with a soaring grand slam of a bash over the left fence.

The 7-0 lead proves to be the final count, relieving all pressure of a possible win from the yard, and allowing me to take in the glorious weather. I walk Callie and Cavendish up to an ice cream wagon, where the strawberry flavor is most scrumptious, and the chilled delight has the texture of sweet silk. I also purchase an exquisitely tasty hot sausage roll for Bonnie at another vendor stand, ladle it with ample mustard, and deliver it to her seat well before the 7th inning commences. The Tigers have long been put to sleep by Rommel, and even the wonderful Ty Cobb has yet to drive a ball past the infield, but no matter. One can't win every game, correct? As long as the clouds are fluffy and the company enjoyable, why would


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Mr. Butterworth's game account has been halted due to mechanical errors in our newspaper press room. We hope to correct the situation soon.
—Percival Q. Mellon



PHI 011 500 000 - 7 13 1
DET 000 000 000 - 0 7 1

OTHER AMERICAN LEAGUE GAMES TODAY:

at INDIANS 13-14-1, SENATORS 3-7-1
Two straight Tribe wins over the first-place Nats, this one a massacre. Washington scratches out a 1st inning run but Judge ruins the rally with a double play grounder and Cleveland takes over from there. Sherry Smith triples in two off Martina to get their scoring going, and a clown parade of Marberry, Zahniser and McGrew cannot plug the waterfall of runs.

at WHITE SOX 3-4-0, YANKEES 2-9-0
New York puts men on base the entire game against Sloppy Thurston, the Sox do virtually nothing with Joe Bush, yet a lucky Mostil 3-run homer off the foul pole in the 6th gives Chicago all they need. The Bambino swats no. 26 in the losing cause.

at BROWNS 5-11-0, RED SOX 3-13-3
Boston gets five extra-base hits to the Browns' one, but they all come at the wrong times as Danforth bests Fullerton at a peaceful, largely unoccupied Sportsman's Park.










AMERICAN LEAGUE through Sunday, July 27
Washington Senators 6633.667
Detroit Tigers 5446.54012.5
Chicago White Sox 5146.52614
New York Yankees 5047.51515
St. Louis Browns 4653.46520
Cleveland Indians 4456.44022.5
Philadelphia Athletics 4356.43423
Boston Red Sox 4057.41225

10.28.2009

TAKING CARE OF DREAM BUSINESS


AUTHOR'S NOTE: With his beloved Phillies reaching the World Series again in the modern age, our young diary-keeper Vinny will be penning his mischievous quips throughout each game on that newfangled Interweb contraption called Twitter. Check in and enjoy them right here.

July 27, 1924

Dear Roy:

Hello again. Is it still swelteringly hot out in St. Louis? It's real nice to be back here and only having to change shirts once each day instead of three times.

Is my friend Benny still there? He said you and him and maybe your brother in Chicago were going to try and get some money from business people or whoever to help stage some exhibition ball between some white major league players and a bunch of colored ones, but I haven't heard from him since I left on the Phillies train so I was just wondering.

I still think it's a great idea, though as you could tell when you stepped into our club house out there, it's going to take some convincing of most of these players to look at you people as their equals, even as athletic types. I have gotten to know some of the Phillies well, but none of the ones who seem to hate black people, so I hope you guys can raise enough money to pay them well and shut their traps.

Anyway, if Benny is with you or you can reach him, tell him to write or telegram me. Thanks!

Vinny S.



Dear Rachel:

I had this weird dream the other night that the Phillies were playing in a future World Series against the Yankees and I was around 100 years old and you were sitting with me at a ball field where they were actually playing at night. It all seemed so real and amazing that I think I'll go to sleep early for a few days and try to get back there...

So I just returned from my first batboy road trip, and I guess I survived or I wouldn't be writing this. The Phillies are off today for church reasons again, which is too bad because we finally won a game yesterday with a whole bunch of home runs and it's not a good thing to take a break when you're just starting to play well.

Not that it matters. We're stuck like glue in seventh place now, probably for the rest of the year unless the Cubs break their legs or the Braves grow some arms. At least your Robins are still fighting for something, which makes going to Ebbets more than just a day in the sunshine for you. Hopefully I'll be able to join you for another game there soon.

Which brings me to more romantic things. Even though you haven't seen me in a while, I do hope our secret engagement is still a real thing, and that you still think of me as warmly as I do to you. There were many times on our road trip when I could have enjoyed an illegal drink with a local miss, but purposely did not. You would have liked riding the train around with us, though it probably would have been too cramped in my sleeping berth for two of us.

I know I still haven't talked to your father about our marriage plans, but I promise I'll do that in person as soon as possible so we can start talking about planning what we will do.

Write back to me please, so I can cherish the words.

With love and all that,

Vinny



WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM
To: SAUL STONE
From: VINNY SPANELLI

DEAR MR. STONE:

AM BACK FROM FIRST BATBOY TRIP. WOULD LIKE TO HAVE PERSONAL TALK WITH YOU BUT CAN"T GET AWAY UNTIL HOME STAND WITH WEST TEAMS IS OVER. SUGGEST WEDNESDAY AUGUST 13. I WILL BUY YOU LUNCH.

SINCERELY,
VINNY S.

Only National League games today:

at ROBINS 9-8-2, REDS 8-12-2
Fournier clubs homer no. 22 in the 1st for three runs, but the Reds fight back with four off Decatur in the 2nd. With the Bucs off, Cincy has a chance to get closer than five games for the first time in weeks. Why does anybody even think this will happen? Fournier hits a grand slam homer in the next inning off Sheehan for seven runs batted in on the day and Brooklyn holds them off.

at GIANTS 7-14-0, CARDINALS 6-14-3 (12 innings)
Thrilling back and forth party at the Polo Grounds, won in extras on a Frisch triple and Hack Wilson single. The Hackman smacks a 3-run homer in the 1st off Sherdel to get things rolling, as the Giants and Robins both pick up smidgens of ground on Pittsburgh.










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Sunday, July 27
Pittsburgh Pirates6133.649
Cincinnati Reds5841.5865.5
New York Giants5640.5836
Brooklyn Robins5643.5667.5
St. Louis Cardinals5047.51512.5
Chicago Cubs4452.45818
Philadelphia Phillies3761.37826
Boston Braves2671.26836.5

10.27.2009

HATS OFF TO OUR BRAVE BUTTERWORTH!


MISSING BALL SCRIBE RETURNS TO NAVIN PRESS DUTIES AFTER NARROW ESCAPE FROM NEW ENGLAND WILDERNESS

By Percival Q. Mellon
Publisher
Detroit Free-Enterprise

July 26, 1924

It is with unbridled joy this publisher announces the miraculous return of our esteemed Tigers reporter Calvin Jerome Butterworth. Following a three-day nightmare of thirst, famine, deadly insects and torturous solitude in a wild, largely uninhabited region of Vermont, Mr. Butterworth has returned to the bosom of his family and the eager eyes of his breathlessly waiting readers.

Before today's home-stand opener with Philadelphia at Navin Field, he was introduced to the overflowing crowd and received a thunderous standing ovation, usually reserved for heads of state or a command Stravinsky performance. So many straw boaters were tossed on the field that the start of the contest was delayed at least fifteen minutes while they were collected.

Mr. Butterworth chose to watch the game from the comfort of a choice seat behind the Tiger dugout, as opposed to his customary press porch perch, and his account of the field action—in a new "living pastoral" style," as he has coined it—follows:


The achingly blue sky over Navin's ball yard is painted with white brush stroke clouds as Topper Rigney digs in for our bottom of the 1st. Philadelphia's Burns hurls, Topper swings and the ball liberates itself from the infield, smack between Dykes and Galloway for a single. Lu Blue skies out but no matter, for the Tigers are as sharp and dedicated to their craft as ever. Cobb strokes a two-bagger down the right line, the scent of scorched grass filling my nostrils, a ball slips past Sammy Hale to the backstop for a first run, after which Heilman drives one out to Simmons to score Cobb.

And here is Heilman again in the 4th, walloping the horsehide far and deep toward left, Lamar skipping and stumbling backwards, still with a chance, flailing at the heavens with his mitt, only to have the ball drop into the happy hands of bleacher spectators! Do I hear a Manush double immediately after? Yes! A Pratt single plates him thusly, and we are ahead 4-0!

Rip Collins is hurling, and a 15-3 record for him seems pre-ordained. Four Mackmen singles leading off the 6th cannot even sway him, as a ballet dance of a twin-killing by Rigney, O"Rourke and Blue lop off the rally at its head. Burns returns to the hill for our 6th but has nothing to offer, walking three, hitting Manush and unleashing a wild throw. Soon it is 7-2 Detroit, then 82- after Hale kicks away a dribbler, and the stands around me pulsate with glee.

How can I not enjoy myself today? The skin on my forearms is tinted brown, the hot sausage roll provided by management is scrumptious, and tomorrow my wife and children will be joining me. Ah, the bliss of our grand game, may it never disappear!
—C.J.B.


OTHER AMERICAN LEAGUE GAMES TODAY:

at INDIANS 5-11-1, SENATORS 4-13-2 (10 innings)
And not that I care one iota, but might there still be a pennant chase? The Tigers pick up a full game when Tris Speaker clubs a game-deciding homer in extra innings off Tom Zachary and his previously 12-4 mark. George Uhle is in trouble for the Tribesmen throughout, but Bud Messenger saves his pitching life by snuffing out a Washington rally with two aboard in the 9th.

YANKEES 5-8-2, at WHITE SOX 4-6-0
Pennock is not given a lot of support, but just enough is on his plate for him to finish off this meal. Barrett's 3-run homer in the 4th almost brings the Sox back from a 5-0 deficit, but that proves to be their last swatting hurrah.

at BROWNS 5-11-1, RED SOX 1-5-2
Urban Shocker notches his 13th win with a 5-hitter, and the Browns pummel Alex Ferguson to drop his godforsaken record to 4-13.










AMERICAN LEAGUE through Saturday, July 26
Washington Senators 6632.673
Detroit Tigers 5445.54512.5
New York Yankees 5046.52115
Chicago White Sox 5046.52115
St. Louis Browns 4553.45921
Cleveland Indians 4356.43423.5
Philadelphia Athletics 4256.42924
Boston Red Sox 4056.41725

10.26.2009

A FINE BUNCH OF CLOUTS


July 26, 1924

Okay, enough of this already. The Phillies had lost six games in a row, and hadn't won since we beat the Cubs 5-3 nine days ago in Chicago. Heck, me and Benny had even been kidnapped by Al Capone's men and ridden to Indiana on a smuggler's boat since then.

Well, luck finally showed up today for us in the personing of Vic Keen. With his crummy 6-13 record, the Cubs hurler has loads of talent but never seems to catch a break. Ring is the same kind of black cat pitcher for us, but Johnny Couch was going instead so I knew we had a chance.

The players all have their own ways to fend off the spooks, though. Mokan always stops to grind his shoe into the foul line chalk when he runs out to left field. Holke starts wearing his underwear inside out whenever we lose three straight, and even Art Fletcher puts a dollar bill under his cap if we have a lead in the 9th. I personally don't believe in that stuff, and got no problem walking under a ladder on 13th Street on Halloween night, but I can see why baseball people do it, because sometimes there's almost fifteen seconds between pitches and they get a lot of time to think about things.

That blabbermouth catcher Hartnett got things going for the Cubs today with his 21st homer in the 2nd inning, but doubles from Wrightstone and Ford got the run right back. Then it was high time for Cy Time. After Heinie singled with one out in the 3rd, Williams crushed a Keen lob over the Lifebuoy sign in right and we had a 3-1 lead! We were all kind of expecting for Chicago to jump on us then, because like most teams, Baker Bowl is sort of an easy firing range, but a 1-run shot by Hack Miller was all Couch gave them for the next five innings.

It was another beautiful afternoon without too much humidness, so the players had more energy than usual. Especially Cy. In the 5th with one out, he knocked another ball out of the park, his 17th smash of the year. Couch nearly did the same thing but doubled instead to begin the 6th, and then Harper blasted a ball toward Delaware and it was 6-2! It was a good-sized Saturday crowd watching all this, and when they realized they might have an actual win to watch they got even louder.

Harper promised Cy he would hit a second homer, too, and off Guy Bush in the 7th he did exactly that, knocking the thing the other way into the left bleachers and making the place cuckoo! It was like we'd won the pennant. Of our sixteen hits, over half of them were for extra bases, and it was nice to get some decent pitching for a change. Sticking Couch in our pitching rotation and kicking out Glazner was the smartest thing Fletcher's done all year.

After the game I passed up going out for trouble with some of the players because Mama was baking manicotti, but I missed not having Benny around to stop off at Mort's with and get the other scores. I wonder, is he still out in St. Louis or Chicago fishing around for money for that colored game idea of his? Soon as I get a chance I'll have to write Roy a letter, because he's too poor to have a telephone.

Good night, reader-people!
—Vinny

CHI 010 100 001 - 3 8 0
PHI 012 012 21x - 8 16 0

Other National League games today:

at GIANTS 7-10-0, CARDINALS 6-12-1
Exciting stuff up at the Polo Grounds. Hornsby homers for a Cards lead, Irish Meusel homers to tie it. Cards get two runs in the 5th, Giants get two runs in the 5th to tie it again. Ray Blades socks a 3-run wallop in the 7th, Giants score FOUR times in the 8th before they make an out and beat the always tough Jesse Fowler.

PIRATES 5-7-0, at BRAVES 3-5-1
Bucs beat Boston for once, but it still ain't easy, as they come back from a Casey Stengel 2-run homer in the 1st only because Larry Benton walks eight guys.

REDS 4-11-2, at ROBINS 1-7-1
Dolf Luque goes the whole way to beat Doak, and Fournier has his second terrible game in a row with the bat. Brooklyn just can't seem to get anything going, so I better be back in touch with Rachel soon if I know what's good for me.










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Saturday, July 26
Pittsburgh Pirates6133.649
Cincinnati Reds5840.5925
New York Giants5540.5796.5
Brooklyn Robins5543.5618
St. Louis Cardinals5046.52112
Chicago Cubs4452.45818
Philadelphia Phillies3761.37826
Boston Braves2671.26836.5

10.24.2009

A JOURNAL OF DESPAIR AND ELATION


by C.J. Butterworth
A Reporter Bound to No One

July 25, 1924

The call of an annoying blue jay woke me at dawn. The musty folded blanket I had been sleeping on these two days now had spiders darting across it, and I jumped to my feet in the chill, lake-dampened air.

For a moment or two I had forgotten where I was, and why I had come to this isolated spot, and then it all returned to my head: the train ride from Boston, the hike up to the lake from Dorset village, the wonderful quiet and lampless nights in my found cabin.

But loneliness and hunger then settled in, and yesterday morning I trudged back to Nutter's Sundries for a bit more food and human conversation.

Two men in suits, looking quite lawful, stood on Nutter's porch talking to him. I knew they were searching for me, that I'd be snatched and returned to the torments of daily baseball reportage in no time. I had to flee, and quietly slipped back up the mountain path.

Imagine my dread, then, to reach the cabin again and find its rightful owner, a stocky Vermonter and his teenage son, hauling supplies through its front door from their small truck. They both had hunting rifles. It was only a matter of seconds before they found my belongings...

Deeper into the woods I went. The trail switched back and forth over a series of ridges, and before long I was in an even more remote valley. Deer pranced by, beavers worked away at a stream, and for a time I marveled at the sights and sounds nature was providing.

But my hunger was genuine. I tried a few berries along the path but they tasted foul and I spit them out. If I had a hunting instinct I imagine I could have throttled a furry forest inhabitant and dined on its meat and innards, but outdoorsmanship has never been my forte.

So I walked on...and on. The sun climbed in the humid sky, and I wished I had filled something with stream water earlier. The bugs here were insufferable, and I soon found myself scratching small lumps on every inch of my body.

To say I was lost would be understated. Thick black clouds rolled in, making it impossible to tell which direction I was even moving. Then a summer thunderstorm hit, deafening and deadly, and I sheltered myself in a grove of birch trees. A lightning bolt cleaved one in two just yards away, and I covered my head, burrowed under an embankment and wept for myself.

It was Bonnie's darling face that kept me alive, that gave me the strength I needed to endure the ferocious storm. She was states away, pouring her heart out to me, wishing and praying for my safe return. How could I ever do myself in like this? Groveling in mud like a young peccary?

The thunderstorm rolled on ten minutes later, and spots of sun made the woods around me glisten. I rose, sopping wet, and walked on.

The mosquitoes were back in force after the rain, attacking me from all sides. I staggered in what seemed by the returning shadows, a northerly direction. My throat was parched, my stomaching screaming for substance. I reached the edge of a vast open clearing that seemed larger than an ocean, staggered and fell. In my delirium I thought of Thoreau, and words he wrote at Walden Pond:

I have heard of a man lost in the woods and dying of famine and exhaustion at the foot of a tree, whose loneliness was relieved by the grotesque visions with which, owing to bodily weakness, his diseased imagination surrounded him, and which he believed to be real.

Here I was eighty years later...his inspiration. Soon to be dinner for squirrels and a colony of ants. I lay on my back and stared up at the mocking clouds, waiting for my merciful end..

Then the buzzing of bugs and caws of pestering birds suddenly receded, and a new sound filled the heavy air.

The crack of a wooden bat.

I painfully sat up, looked around the high grass. Boisterous male shouting followed. Someone yelled "Don't stop, Rudy!" I rose to my feet, moved in the direction of the sounds. There was a second, even louder wooden crack, the shouts returned, and something fell with a thud nearby. I walked a few more steps to the edge of the high grass, and nearly tripped over something.

A scuffed baseball. Instantly a gaunt young man in bare feet and farmer's overalls bounded into the grass, out of breath, a worn brown mitt on one hand. He looked at me oddly for a moment, then yelled "Toss it!" and I scooped up the ball, threw it to him. He turned, hurled it back in the direction of a sandy home plate area with incredible force, but the opposing hitter had already rounded the bases.

It was a collection of local men, mostly farmers, having an uproarious game of ball in a flattened, tree-lined pasture. Emptied flour sacks served as bases, and home plate was an overturned metal pie cooker.

In a flash I had forgotten my hunger and thirst, my idiotic flight from daily responsibilities and the Tigers' futile pennant struggle. These men were not playing for flags or cash or a city's hopes, but for the sheer enjoyment of the game. It was a revelation, and I made my way around to the home plate area, where a farmer's wife gave me a cool washcloth, poured me a giant glass of lemonade and fed me a chicken leg.

It was the most enjoyable ball game I'd ever witnessed, and I had no stake in the outcome. One of the men crouched down and asked who I was and where I came from. I stared at him a very long time and then said, "I'm a writer of baseball games."

10.23.2009

BACK IN THE CITY OF MOTHERLY LOVE

July 25, 1924

We pulled into Broad Street Station late last night and Mama was there to hug the stuffing out of me, the first time she'd actually been there to greet me from a trip. I guess she missed me more than usual, probably because I stupidly didn't write her any letters. I guess what Cy told me yesterday about baseball not being good for marriages can also be said about mothers and sons.

Anyway it was good to be back in a bed that didn't roll, and eat Mama's oatmeal and spiced eggs again. She asked me about Rachel a half dozen times before I got out the door and I said I'd write her again soon. I think Mama's nervous about me marrying myself off and would rather have me around for a while, but until I actually talk to Rachel's father there's no sense even worrying about that.

Baker Bowl never looked so good, the horrible heat was gone and a decent crowd of five thousand or so fans were there to welcome us back from our long, tough trip.

And then we thanked them by playing like circus clowns again.

Joe Oescheger was the ringmaster, and he threw a walk out to Friberg with one out in the first. Grantham then tripled down in the right corner for one run, Oesch kicked a grounder halfway to the street for another, and the mauling was on. Hack Miller bombed one over the bleachers to make it 4-0 in the 3rd, and three runs with the help of Oeschie's second error made it 7-0 in the 5th.

Meantime we were busy getting no hits off Vic Aldridge for the first four innings. Mokan started the 5th with a line single, but then Ford erased him right away with a popout double play. What a bad comedy all around. Glazner took over for Oesch and upchucked three more Cub runs in the 7th before Clarence Mitchell gave them a few more in the 9th.

So here we were down 12-0, half the fans already hurrying home, we were about to go ten games behind Chicago in the losses column, making our bet to finish in front of them another stupid dream, and I looked at our blue dugout and suddenly yelled, "Cmon guys!!"

They looked at me like I had a faucet on my head. "C'mon what?" asked Harper. "We can't let these dopes shut us out, right? We gotta take something into tomorrow!" Hod Ford shouted out "I'm game!" grabbed his bat out of my hands and ran up to the plate. Aldridge threw and Hod whacked it into left for a single. So did pinch-hitter Schultz. The dugout was alive again. Harper drove one high and deep to Heathcote in center but after he caught it both runners advanced. Heinie swung as hard as he could three times but whiffed, and with two outs, here came the Incredible Holke.

"No shutout!" yelled Cy from the on-deck spot, and whaddya know! Holke ripped the ball over Grantham's head for a two-run single. Ford and Schultz got pounded on the back when they came in while the Cubs just stood out there tryng not to laugh at us. But we sure as hell didn't care. Cy singled just then and Wrightstone rolled out to end the thing, but we'd showed 'em how tough we can be when we put our minds to it, even if just for ten minutes.

Afterwards I got a new cigar for my inspiring from Harper, and even Art Fletcher shook my hand. Maybe I should try and be a coach or manager when my batboy career is over.

Good night, reader-people!
—Vinny

CHI 202 030 302 - 12 20 0
PHI 000 000 002 - 2 7 3

Other National League games today:

at BRAVES 5-10-1, PIRATES 2-10-2
Believe it or else, that's three wins for the Braves in their last five games with the Bucs, and they almost took another one in Pittsburgh. The American League is off today with all the east-west clubs crossing over each other, and the Bucs don't seem to like being away from Forbes that much, so hopefully the next few weeks will be interesting. Jimmy Cooney takes care of them here as Barnhart and Cuyler make huge errors in the outfield to help Boston out.

REDS 12-16-1, a ROBINS 1-5-3
Can you believe this? The first time Cincy has picked up pennant race ground on the Bucs in almost two weeks, and they do it with fashion, beating Burleigh Grimes into a coma. Eppa Rixey is back to his suffocating stuff and gets his 14th win while Curt Walker knocks in four from the leadoff spot.

CARDINALS 7-13-1, at GIANTS 1-6-1
Leave it to McGraw's guys to get back to the Polo Grounds and absolutely stink. Against hit-happy Jesse Haines New York can do almost nothing after loading the bases with none out in the 1st. Bottomley continues his crazy hitting with another homer and four batted in. The Cards are making a late push here!










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Friday, July 25
Pittsburgh Pirates6033.645
Cincinnati Reds5740.5885
New York Giants5440.5746.5
Brooklyn Robins5542.5677
St. Louis Cardinals5045.52611
Chicago Cubs4451.46317
Philadelphia Phillies3661.37126
Boston Braves2670.27135.5

10.22.2009

RIDING HOME WITH A DEEP CY


July 24, 1924

My head was foggier than the stuff we saw from our train windows this morning. After yesterday's ridiculous 12-11 loss in St. Louis, we had a full day of travel to flush it out of our brains, and it all started when Cy Williams roused me out of my upper berth and invited me to have breakfast with him.

Cy hasn't had as good a power season as he did in 1923, when he hit 41 clouts, but I didn't realize until he made Wrightstone apologize to me that he's really the quiet leader of our club house. He's over six feet tall with a hard but friendly face, and he looks right in your eyes when he talks so you tend to listen.

We had one of those fancy dining cars again with white tablecloths and fresh flower vases, and we ordered steak and swiss cheese omelettes and potatoes with herbs on them and grapefruit juice which I never get to have, and the other players sitting around us stayed clear the whole time. Cy asked me about my family and what I planned to do after the season ended so I told him about Papa dying in the War and my plans to marry Rachel if I ever got around to asking her father, and so on. He laughed, said that "baseball and wives aren't always the best marriage," and I said don't I know that already from seeing how some of the married players carry on.

Cy perked up all of a sudden as we entered Indiana because he's from a town there called Wadena. He went to Notre Dame and studied architecture, of all things, and even played football with Knute Rockne before the Cubs drafted him for baseball. I had no idea he was so smart, and I guess you learn stuff like that about athlete people when you have a meal with them. He told me how important it was to learn a trade you can make money at it in case your "fun job" never pays off, and asked how much I liked batboying. I said except for the last few days, an awful lot, and he went on to tell me about how you had to be careful not to make enemies of anyone and just do what I was supposed to do day in and day out.

By the time the meal ended I was a little sick of all the lecturing, and joined him and some of the players in the smoking car for some poker. I did my usual losing, and it was horrible-hot so Henline and Ford set up a big cake of ice at one end of the car and blew it in our direction with a fan.

"Did you tell Vinny about the shoe thief yet?" Harper suddenly asked Cy, and Williams leaned over and told me that some joker on the train had been stealing some of the players' shoes at night, so tonight it would be my turn to stand guard and watch for anything suspicious.

That sounded exciting, so when midnight rolled around there I was hiding inside the rest room in the front sleeping car, waiting for the snatcher with a knife in my pocket I'd grabbed from the dining car. Benny would sure enjoy this, I thought, except I kept nodding off and had to splash cold water in my face a bunch of times.

Finally around 1 a.m. I heard a noise in the hall, looked out and could see this shadowy figure reaching into one berth after another to take the players' shoes! "HA!" I yelled, jumped out of the bathroom, and knocked the guy against the wall.

It was one of the colored porters, as surprised as I was, and every sleeping player in the car had woken up to stick out their heads and laugh at us. Players leave their shoes out every night for the porters to collect and polish, and here I was holding a butter knife to the poor guy's throat.

Thanks a lot, Cy. Mr. club house leader. I'll get you back somehow.
Good night, reader-people!
—Vinny

Only stinking National League game today:

at PIRATES 3-4-3, ROBINS 0-2-2
Why did anybody think Dazzy Vance had a chance in this one? Cincy wasn't playing, and the Reds haven't picked up an inch of ground on the Bucs for a week and a half. Best player in the league Kiki Cuyler drives in the only runs of the gsme with a 2-run single in the 1st and sacrifice fly in the 8th. Vance gets himself a triple for the losers and Brown chips a single past the infield, but Emil Yde gives up nothing else and goes to 10-4. Vance retires 14 in a row himself at one point, but when your team can't hit, it don't matter much.

That Butterworth guy is still missing, and I don't know sorry Benny feels, but I'm gonna fill you in on all the American League games today for a change:

at YANKEES 6-7-1, TIGERS 4-10-2
The Mighty Bambino slugs his 25th homer, a 3-run job, to get the scoring going. The Tigers tie it in the 7th off Shawkey and would have had a grand slammer and the lead if Heilman's ball didn't get blown back by the win and land in Meusel's glove for just a scoring fly that inning. A Combs triple and Ward pinch single give the Yanks the game after losing the first three.

at ATHLETICS 1-3-0, BROWNS 0-4-0 (10 innings)
Talk about crappo luck! Dixie Davis has a no-hitter going until Al Simmons singles to start the A's 8th, but the Browns can't score a lick off Sam Gray the whole game and they go extras. Miller singles, Lamar doubles him in and that's that, folks.

at RED SOX 11-12-1, INDIANS 4-11-1
One more hit for Boston and seven more runs; that's sure the way to use them. Harris and Boone hit homers in a row to finish the scoring in the 7th and Ehmke goes all the way with the help of three double plays.

at SENATORS 10-16-1, WHITE SOX 1-8-1
Heard a rumor that Chicago had a tough team this year. Well, you could fool me by the way they drop three out of four in D.C. Mogridge wins his tenth straight to go to 13-4, and the Nats offense is cooking with 24 guys getting on base in the game. And I thought our race was over!





















NATIONAL LEAGUE through Thursday, July 24
Pittsburgh Pirates6032.652
Cincinnati Reds5640.5896
New York Giants5439.5766.5
Brooklyn Robins5541.5737
St. Louis Cardinals4945.51612
Chicago Cubs4351.45218
Philadelphia Phillies3660.37926
Boston Braves2570.26636.5
AMERICAN LEAGUE through Thursday, July 24
Washington Senators 6631.680
Detroit Tigers 5345.54113.5
Chicago White Sox 5045.52615
New York Yankees 4946.51616
St. Louis Browns 4453.45422
Philadelphia Athletics 4255.43324
Cleveland Indians 4256.42924.5
Boston Red Sox 4055.42125

10.21.2009

GET OFF MY PORCH, FLATLANDERS


July 23, 1924

by Ezekiel Nutter
Nutter's Mercantile & Sundries
Dorset, Vermont

Here I was, living a fine life providin' local folks with fishing gear and hot bread and the young'uns with more root beer barrels they can fill a bag with, and now I got nosy lawmen and typewriter characters botherin' me.

All because I wrote up the American League ball scores the other day after that missing feller Buttermilk said I could do it for him. Well how was I supposed to know he was missing? He bought a few groceries and sundries from me and I swear that was the last I seen him. All I did was wire my scores report to his newspaper in Detroit and the next thing you know I got his editor boss ringing me up and two men from the Bureau of Investigation gettin' their muddy shoeprints all over my porch and not even buying one root beer barrel.

Well, I didn't say a genuine word to any of them. Ellie Nutter's been sick upstairs these last two months and I can't afford to be carted off as a kidnapping suspect, especially when I ain't one in the first place. I told them all I was just a fan of Buttermilk's writing and sent my game stuff to his newspaper hoping they'd publish it. No sirs, I said, it's real quiet up here and you people are the first flatlanders I've seen since the last leaf time.

What I didn't say is that Buttermilk actually did show up this morning all unshaved and bloodshot to buy a cutlery set and some eggs. Looked like he'd been walking for an hour at least and I asked if he was okay and he said oh yes oh yes with a big half-loony smile, paid me too much and just walked back out. I figured he was just camping somewhere nearby and was new to all this nature around here like some of these hikers can get.

Anyways, now that I seemed to have scared off these big city garbage-eaters maybe I'll snoop around in a day or two after I close up and see what he's up to. If he ate some poison berries or got trampled by a black bear or a moose I'd get twice as many of these idiots up here all over again, so maybe I can give him an assistance or two and keep that from happening.

Thanks for listening!

MORE OF THEM AMERICAN LEAGUE GAMES TODAY:

TIGERS 5-10-0, at YANKEES 4-14-1
How about this for a reversing of bodies? Buttermilk's team hits three dongers, including Heilman and Manush right after each other in the 1st, and another from Manush later, while the Yankers get only one double and 13 singles. Two junky pitchers, Wells and Hoyt, have at each other until the relief folks make a bigger mess of things and Lu Blue wins it in the 9th with a high scoring flyball. That Ruth fella hasn't been gotten out for a couple of games and gets five singles here but they still fall down the chute. Ain't it a stitch, though, that Buttermilk's team starts winning the second he disappears on 'em?

at SENATORS 4-13-2, WHITE SOX 2-7-1
Everybody better jump off the tracks, because Big Train Johnson ain't stopping. 15-6 now is his record after he shuts down the smelly Sox on two hits in the last seven innings, and from what I've been reading that's a mighty tough bulldog to muzzle.

INDIANS 8-13-3, at RED SOX 6-13-1 (10 innings)
Boston finds another way to lose, this time on a triple by George Burns in the extras off Wingfield. Too bad, because they got three in the 9th to tie this thing before crappin' the bed again.

at ATHLETICS 11-16-0, BROWNS 4-11-1
Yahoo for the Mackers, who score six times off Wingard in the 2nd on eight hits, making a winner out of that usually useless hun Fred Heimach. Figure there might have been a few dozen crazies in the stands for this one.










AMERICAN LEAGUE through Wednesday, July 23
Washington Senators 6531.677
Detroit Tigers 5344.54612.5
Chicago White Sox 5044.53214
New York Yankees 4846.51116
St. Louis Browns 4452.45821
Cleveland Indians 4255.43323.5
Philadelphia Athletics 4155.42724
Boston Red Sox 3955.41525

10.20.2009

HOW TO HIT ROCK BOTTOMLEY

RECENTLY, IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE: Cards shock Phils after Vinny kicked out of clubhouse for near-fight with Russ Wrightstone...Bucs lose and Reds lose. Again...Too hot in St. Louis to breathe...

July 23, 1924

There was a knock on my hotel room door at eight this morning, and I knew it was too early for Heinie. When I asked who it was I heard "room service!" so I opened the door and two big carts filled with breakfast food came rolling in, pushed by Harper, Wrightstone, and the rest of the Havana Grit Faction, with Heinie and Hod Ford bringing up the rear! Even Cy Williams was there, and at first I thought it was some kind of late birthday present, but it wasn't.

"Russ has something to say," said Williams, who I realized for the first time was probably the quiet spokesleader of the club house. Wrightstone walked up, shook my hand with me still in my night shirt, and said, "Sorry for everything I said to you, Vinny." After the Cards scored five late runs to beat us yesterday the second I was booted up in the stands, Cy and some of the other players believed it had given the team bad luck, and that I had to be apologized to if we were ever going to turn that stuff around. So here they all were.

We had a huge breakfast in my small room for the next half hour, even had time to play some cards before we had to pack up and get to the ball park. It was the last game of the long road trip and in two days we'd be back at Baker Bowl to play the Cubs. All anybody wanted was a nice, normal game and hopefully a win to board the train with.

Benny showed up in the seats behind our dugout before game time to tell me he was sticking around in St. Louis and Chicago for a while to try and get Roy and his brother and some people with money to set up a Phillies vs. colored players exhibition game. I wished him luck with that, but there was no way I was going to bring this up with anybody on the team after what's happened the last few days with this colored business.

Bottomley booted Harper's grounder to start things, and Holke blasted a 2-run homer to put us all in a good mood already. A Harper triple and Holke single in the 3rd made it 3-0, and it was 3-1 when we started throwing the ball in weird directions. Errors by Holke and Wrightstone helped the Cards tie it in the 4th, and after Bottomley homered off Carlson to put us behind 4-3, Ford flubbed one, Max Flack doubled, and Carlson was called for a balk by the home umpire for sneezing as he was throwing a pitch.

So we were suddenly down 5-3, and Cy Williams walked by every player sitting in the dugout to punch his arm. I had no idea he had anger like this in him. Wherever it came from, it sure worked. He picked out a Flint Rhem fastball to start he 6th and creamed it over the pavilion in right. Wrightstone then got plunked, and Wilson hit one out to Douthit in center, who dropped the ball. Mokan singled in two. Carlson doubled with one out, Harper tripled in two more, and Johnny Stuart took over on the mound for them.

It didn't help. Heinie singled, the Incredible Holke bombed another homer, and we had eight runs and an 11-5 lead! There was lots of huzzahs in the dugout, and everyone was looking forward to the train party tonight, but Fletcher reminded us we still had a game to win.

Boy, was he ever right. The Cards got two runs back right away and one in the 7th, and the score was then 11-8. Ray Blades tripled to start the St. Louis 8th, and Steineder took over for Huck Betts, who had relieved Carlson. But Ray was worse then awful. Hornsby walked right away, and Bottomley sent his second smash of the game over the fence for three runs and an 11-11 tie!

Jesse Fowler came in for the Cards, and people haven't been hitting him all year. Sure enough, a Ford double was the only thing we got off him four the last four innings. Steineder did his best for us, but it was a lost battle. With one out in the 11th, he walked Fowler, and Toporcer and Douthit singled to give them the exciting and sickening win.

Lucky for us, Mokan had bought some gin bottles from someone in town, so we were deep into those before the train pulled out of Missouri. It'll be nice to have a full train day tomorrow, because after going a crummy 6-14 on this trip we all could use one.

Good night, reader-people!
—Vinny

PHI 201 008 000 00 - 11 13 3
STL 001 222 130 01 - 12 19 2

Other National League games today:

ROBINS 8-14-1, at PIRATES 6-12-0
Tiny Osborne isn't any good, but Wilbur Cooper is much worse, and the Brooklyns have taken two of three so far at Forbes with Dazzy Vance going tomorrow. The Robins pile up seven runs on nine hits in the 5th, and it's just enough to win.

GIANTS 6-10-0, at REDS 0-7-1
Pennant race lockjaw continues, as even Carl Mays has no chance of a win with the Pirates already going down. Art Nehf hurls a rare shutout, but the Giants' club house toilet cleaner could have thrown one the way this curse is going.

at CUBS 5-10-0, BRAVES 3-10-0
Well, at least we just have 60 losses instead of the 70 the Braves now have. Hartnett's 20th homer is the game-decider and Jacobs gets the win with a save from Wheeler.










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Wednesday, July 23
Pittsburgh Pirates5932.648
Cincinnati Reds5640.5835.5
New York Giants5439.5816
Brooklyn Robins5540.5796
St. Louis Cardinals4945.52111.5
Chicago Cubs4351.45717.5
Philadelphia Phillies3660.37525.5
Boston Braves2570.26336

10.19.2009

YOU HAVE GOT TO BELIEVE!


July 22, 1924

Dearest Calvin:

When I heard the news that you were missing from your Boston hotel, my heart sank as low as a human organ can possibly descend.

Had I realized how discouraged and despondent you had become over the fate of your ball team, I might have encouraged you to take a week of vacation at mid-season, or at the very least escorted you to a local psychological practitioner here. As it is, I am left here alone in our Southfield dwelling, seeing to the wee ones and fending off the newspaper hounds and telephone calls concerning your disappearance.

I contacted your editor at the Free-Enterprise to have this missive published, so if you are by chance reading it now, know that I long for the day when you resurface in my arms, or at the very least in the press row of Yankee Stadium or Navin Field, the team's next apparent destination. True, we have been lacking when it comes to expression of our innermost desires, but that is a normal approach of married couples, and when we were joined in holy matrimony I assumed we would still consult each other when mental strains grew too severe.

Do you remember my friend Eliza? Since her poor younger brother succumbed to malaria in the Congo last year she has found solace in the spiritual workings of Madame Blishky, a noted occultist from Toronto who frequents family members in distress across the upper American states. She sat with me and some of our friends last evening in our parlor, reading my palm and soothing my worst worries.

Oh darling, she sensed you all around us! There was a liquid sensation, she said, as if you were immersed in cold water, and I immediately feared you had drowned in Boston Harbor or somewhere else. She said no, you were certainly alive, and was part of the natural world now. How could that be? The smallest insect bite sends you running into the house for ointment!

Dare I say that I fear the worst has overtaken you. Come back to us, dear Calvin, or at the very least, send me a spiritual sign you are safe and alive. I await with hushed breath.

Love unblemished,

Bonnie


MADAME BLISHKY'S AMERICAN BALL GAME READINGS:

TIGERS 6-9-0, at YANKEES 3-10-1
There is a man with the initials T.R.C., a short, hard-scrabble fellow no one seems to like...and he propels a home run in the game's beginning for a 2-0 Detroit lead. A princely type with the last name of Whitehill, perhaps an earl, pitches well enough, and I see a famous, rotund man wearing white stripes reaching base all four times for the home nine, yet mysteriously driving in no one...

at SENATORS 5-13-0, WHITE SOX 4-8-0
A man named Ogden with curly hair throws for the home club, bestows three triples on the visitors from Chicago, yet from a sure divine miracle still wins the contest...The number three figures again in the 7th, as a free pass to Harris is followed by three straight singles from Messers. Judge, Goslin and RIce.

BROWNS 12-16-0, at ATHLETICS 6-12-5
I feel nothing but tragedy in the brotherly love city, as a short-stopper named Galloway hangs himself by making four of the five flubs for his team. A baby doll named Jacobson hits a home run and a pair of two-sack hits off a vanishing spectre of a pitcher named Rommel.

INDIANS 5-9-1, at RED SOX 4-8-1
The Cleveland hurler Smith with a female first name gives Boston two runs right away, then turns their sticks into hardened ectoplasm. Smith triples in three runs himself as the key moment of the Tribe's four-run 4th inning to seal the lead forever.










AMERICAN LEAGUE through Tuesday, July 22
Washington Senators 6431.674
Detroit Tigers 5244.54212.5
Chicago White Sox 5043.53813
New York Yankees 4845.51615
St. Louis Browns 4451.46320
Cleveland Indians 4155.42723.5
Philadelphia Athletics 4055.42124
Boston Red Sox 3954.41924

10.17.2009

CAN'T BLAME THIS ONE ON ME


July 22, 1924

I had put a note under Heinie's door at the Chase last night to let him know I'd be staying over at Roy's so they wouldn't think I got kidnapped again, but to tell you the truth I was so mad at the team for shoving my friends out of the clubhouse yesterday I didn't care if they thought I was dead.

Roy and his family took good care of us again, and because it was incredibly hot and muggy this morning we sat out on their shady front porch for breakfast, something every other person in "the Ville" was doing. It was great. If someone on one porch ran out of butter or syrup for their flapjacks they'd yell across and send one of their kids over to borrow some.

Anyway, Roy and us got talking about the dumb Jim Crow laws all over again, and then about how good some of those colored players are that play around the country. Roy's brother Thomas asked us in Chicago on our last trip out here whether we wanted to watch some of them play sometime, but there wasn't enough time. Thomas actually knows Oscar Charleston and Rube Foster, and Roy told us that a friend of an old girlfriend's brother-in-law knows Judy Johnson, the star third baseman of the Hilldale Daisies, the champs of the Eastern Colored League who play in Darby which is right next to Philadelphia!

This got us thinking all over again, and before you knew it we had this nutty idea about collecting enough money to set up a game between some colored players and the Phillies in one of their off-days, just so they could eat their own jim crow. Benny thought it was the best idea anyone had ever had, and promised to start "working on it" right away.

With that hot little secret on my mind, I took a trolley back over to Sportsman's Park to get our bats ready for game time. Jimmy Ring and his luckless 4-12 record was going against Leo Dickerman, and we were about due for a win against these guys. But there's something about brutal hot weather that turns everyone into ghouls, and by the time I had the bats set up in the dugout my wool jersey felt like it weighed two tons and nobody looked like they wanted to play. There were so many people in the stands waving fans it seemed like the whole ballpark was going to fly off.

Then things started off great for the Cards. Ray Blades tripled with two outs in the first, and Fletcher decided to walk Hornsby on purpose. Not a bad idea, except when Sunny Jim Bottomley is up next, and I started grumbling to myself by the bat rack that this wasn't going to work. One of the coaches overheard and told me to shut up and sure enough, Bottomley cracked the next pitch out of the park and we were down 3-0.

We couldn't do a thing with Dickerman for four innings, then squeezed out single runs in the 5th and 6th with the help of a Cooney error and Ford sacrifice fly. The energy came back in our dugout, maybe because by then everyone was pouring cold water on their heads between innings, and we finally started hitting. Holke and Cy singled and Wilson walked to load our bases with two outs in the 7th. Mokan then shot one down the left field line to score everybody and put us ahead 5-3!

In the 8th, Harper, Holke and Cy all singled to make it 6-3, and Wrightstone yelled at me to get his bat. Russ was having a lousy day with no hits in four tries and I think he was still mad because I was friends with a colored because he'd never been this nasty to me before. When he lined out on the first pitch he came back in the dugout, shoved me out of the way and said "See what you did to me by bringing that coon in the club house?" I stood right up in his face, said "Don't you ever call my friend that!" and Heinie and Ford had to get between us to keep a fight from starting. Fletcher told me to go back to the hotel and cool off, as if that was possible. Instead I got dressed and went up in the stands and found some shade.

And it was just in time to see the Cards wake up. A Hornsby double and three singles off Ring and Steineder made it 6-5. Hi Bell shut us down in the 9th, and then the bottom of the 9th happened. Quickly. Specs Toporcer singled, Douthit doubled, Ray Blades tripled them both in, and we'd exploded to death with a 7-6 loss. To quote Wrightstone a little differently, that's what they get for kicking me out of the dugout.

Back at the hotel later where it was too hot to eat, Heinie showed me how to cool off the sheets by dumping ice buckets on them. He felt bad about the way Wrightstone was treating me, but said not to worry because him and his Havana Grit bunch were probably out drinking and cavorting all night and they wouldn't remember a thing by morning. Doesn't mean I won't.

Good night, reader-people!
—Vinny

PHI 000 011 310 - 6 13 1
STL 300 000 022 - 7 13 2

Other National League games today:

ROBINS 7-14-2, at PIRATES 4-10-1
The Robins crush Meadows for the first five innings but Art Decatur walks the ballpark in the 3rd to let the Bucs back in. Fournier homers off Babe Adams in the 9th, though, to seal the game and set up a certain loss for the Reds.

GIANTS 8-20-2, at REDS 5-10-0 (11 innings)
That loss you ordered because the Pirates went down? Here you go. Cincy almost pulls it out, taking a 3-1 lead to the 8th only to have Hack Wilson tie it with a homer. Down 4-3 in the 9th, Cliff Lee smacks a pinch homer, but Jakie May is terrible and the Giants pummel him in the 11th with two singles and two straight triples from Frisch and Wilson. For eight of the last nine days now, the Pirates and Reds have matched each other's wins and losses.

at CUBS 3-8-1, BRAVES 2-6-0
You'd think Pete Alexander would take care of the Braves easy, but a Frank Gibson two-run homer in the 9th makes it a close one. The big news is that it's Boston's tenth homer of the year in their 94th game, and their first one in almost two months. Gadzooks.










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Tuesday, July 22
Pittsburgh Pirates5931.656
Cincinnati Reds5639.5895.5
New York Giants5339.5767
Brooklyn Robins5440.5747
St. Louis Cardinals4845.51612.5
Chicago Cubs4251.45218.5
Philadelphia Phillies3659.37925.5
Boston Braves2569.26636

10.16.2009

BLISSFULLY ADRIFT


A Journal of Serenity
by C. J. Butterworth

July 21, 1924

DORSET, VERMONT—The trail wound up into the beckoning green hills, urging on my muddied shoes. I had arrived in the quaint town of Dorset after sharing a truck ride from the larger town of Brattleboro, where the train from Boston and Springfield had let me out. A man on the sidewalk steered me in the right direction, further cementing my belief that you can go far in life by talking to strangers.

I was searching for Emerald Lake, a destination I had seen in a magazine photograph while idling for a few minutes in my Boston hotel lobby. It spoke its serenity to me in heavenly liquid tones, a feeling I'd always linked with the lush green of ball field grass, and seemed a suitable escape from the crashing ineptitude of the home nine that has been consuming me. In short, I had to float on this lake.

I had wired ahead to a local peddler of rented properties in the area, but his office was closed when I arrived as he had apparently forgotten our appointment. A young man at a gasoline station revealed where I could find a trail head that made its way to Emerald Lake, and it was not long before I had fashioned a walking stick out of a fallen branch and begun my quest.

There was plenty of shade on the walk, but hot sunshine beat down on me in long cleared stretches, and I loosened my starched collar before long. An amiable general store merchant in Dorset named Ezekiel Nutter had provided me with nuts and fruits, though when he tried to offer the day's base ball scores I gave him my contact at the Free-Enterprise and said he could provide the published details himself.

Wild berry bushes were here, adorning the trail, and I filled my pockets for appetite insurance as every turn of the trail provided fresh, pastoral views of leafy green trees. Within hours I came to Emerald Lake, a modest-sized body of water lodged under a high hill. How I wanted to unclothe myself and swim in the crystalline expanse for hours on end! A scoop of my hand into the frigid water ended that fantasy quickly, however, and I strode about the lake's perimeter in search of a less painful activity.

An abandoned cabin was there, tucked under some maple trees, and a rowboat tied to a stake beside it. Within minutes I had left my belongings inside the tiny wooden structure, untied the craft, and rowed myself out.

How can I describe this blissful quiet, this tweeting and twittering of birds all about me, this lapping of lake water in my ears? The struggles of Cobb and Heilman and Stoner and lesser men, the exhausting push to meet my news room deadline, all receded from my mind like bad childhood memories, and I was left with floating cotton clouds overhead, every one shaped like my lovely wife's face.

I may never return.

ALL THEM AMERICAN LEAGUE GAMES TODAY
by Ezekiel Nutter,
Nutter's Mercantile & Sundries
Dorset, Vermont


TIGERS 6-10-1, at YANKEES 5-7-0
From what that Cal character was tellin' me, only these two teams could play a game this frustratin'. Detroiters get six runs right off the bat with seven straight hits off Pennock, then get their ass-ends shut out on three hits the rest of the way. Meantime the Yankee bird peck away at Rip Collins for nine innings and leave the tying run on base with the Bambino waiting on deck to end it. Figured Cal might be all excited about relatin' this one to you folks but he didn't seem to care one bean.

WHITE SOX 8-13-0, at SENATORS 4-9-2
Well if I ain't a plucked chicken! Good ol' Sloppy Thurston, who happens to be my ace pitcher on my imaginary base ball Bar-B-Q team, takes care of those damn annoying Nats here and the Sox are now 6-3 against them. Eddie Collins chips in with three singles early and they put those first-place flatlanders behind 7-0 ater three.

at RED SOX 8-12-0, INDIANS 3-10-1
When a 2-9 thrower (Roy) faces a 3-12 one (Ferguson), one of the stinkpots needs to boil over, and Ferguson wins the smelly war when Boston gets five runs in the 5th and three more in the 7th to get their sorry behinds out of last place again. Sure glad I root for the Pittsfield Hillies instead of them!

BROWNS 9-11-0, at ATHLETICS 1-8-0
That city feller Urban Shocker wins his 12th game of the year and ball-crusher Williams crushes out two off Baumgartner and knocks home six. If he ever comes by my store I'll be sure to give him a box of my homemade deer sausages.










AMERICAN LEAGUE through Monday, July 21
Washington Senators 6331.670
Chicago White Sox 5042.54312
Detroit Tigers 5144.53712.5
New York Yankees 4844.52214
St. Louis Browns 4351.45720
Philadelphia Athletics 4054.42623
Boston Red Sox 3953.42423
Cleveland Indians 4055.42123.5

10.15.2009

JIM CROWS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER


July 21, 1924

Me and the team were put up at the famous Chase Hotel here in St. Louis, while Benny went over to Roy's house on the colored side of town. With me being missing for almost two days, I didn't want to push my luck by getting Benny into my room, and besides, Roy is a great guy and Benny had been looking forward to seeing him.

We met his brother first in Chicago the last time the Phils were out west, then stayed with him and his family, sat in the Negro pavilion for one game, then bandaged Roy up and snuck him into the regular white seats for the next game. This time, with me having to batboy all day, I didn't have a chance to see Roy until I spotted him back behind the pavilion chicken wire in right field, sitting with Benny again.

Cy got us a 1-0 lead for Bill Hubbell with a long sacrifice fly in the 3rd off Sherdel. The Cards are back over .500 again but they never seem to go much higher than that. Like us they play in an easy hitters' park, so road teams come in and knock their heads around regularly.

Except us, naturally. After we take the lead we can't do a lousy thing for three straight innings, and then Hubbell loses it in the last of the 6th. The Great Hornsby whacks a single with one out, and the ball hitting his bat is so loud it makes my ear ring being so close to him. Sunny Jim Bottomley then clubs a pitch high and deep over the pavilion, and I can make out Roy jumping up and down while Benny sits like a monk right next to him. The smash turns Hubbell into a mental case, because Clemons singles, Flack walks, and Cooney and Sherdel single for a 4-1 Cards lead!

From there it's all frustration. We had nine singles off Sherdel in the first six innings but only could score one run. Now we start hitting doubles and triples off him, but still can score just once in the 7th and 8th. Poor Heinie rolls into double plays to end two of the innings, which doesn't help and makes me think there will be more drinking later.

Butch Henline bats for Huck Betts to start our 9th and singles. Schultz whiffs but a ball gets past their catcher to move Butch to second. A two-out cheap single from Holke gets him to third, and ace St. Louis relief man Jesse Fowler enters to take care of Cy. Williams makes it easy for him, flying out to center on the first pitch, and we all trudge back in the club house. There's a lot of cussng and equipment throwing and food being knocked over and Fletcher slams himself in an office and nobody talks to reporters. Outhitting the other team 15-9 and losing by one run is one of the worst baseball things that can happen.

And then Benny picks the wrong time to walk into the room with our friend Roy. "Who let that nigger in here?" asks Harper, and "Shoo, Darkie!" yells Wrightstone, and before I can even think about introducing him, two other players are shoving him and Benny out. I'm embarrassed and real angry and I don't even know what to do. Will I still be the Phillies batboy if I defend him in front of the Havana Grit Faction? Should I even care?

All I know is that I need to see my friends, so I make a dumb excuse to go down the hall and catch them just outside the park, where Benny is getting ready to punch a security cop. We had saved a couple bottles of Canadian whiskey we got from the smugglers to give to the team tonight, but after that bit I'm in no mood to give them a thing. Instead I apologize to Roy, give him the bottles and we go over to Roy's house for a huge chicken dinner, more stickball in the street, much whiskey drinking and long talks about the way America just has to get rid of these Jim Crow laws someday.

Benny actually asked me who this James Crow was at one point and I had to give him an education right there. My best friend isn't too bright about important things but has a good sense of what's right and wrong, and to him, walking Roy right into the Phillie club house seemed as natural as mailing a letter. If everyone else only felt that way.

Good night, reader-people!
—Vinny

PHI 001 000 110 - 3 15 1
STL 000 004 00x - 4 9 0

Other National League games today:

at PIRATES 5-13-0, ROBINS 4-13-3
Give the Bucs and their opponent the same number of hits, give them both good pitchers and Piitsburgh always finds a way to win. Three Brooklyn errors don't lead to anything but the usual timely doubles and tripels off Grimes sure do. Zack wheat doubles and homers late with off Kremer with no one aboard, and fans earlier with men on second and third. Typical.

at REDS 10-15-5, GIANTS 5-10-3
Pittsburgh wins? Okay, cue the Cincy win. Nobody can catch a ball in this one, and Virgil Barnes is just awful, allowing two standard Reds triples to Daubert and Fowler, as Dolf Luque easily survives his own terrible outing thanks to the Giants stranding eleven runners.

at CUBS 4-13-2, BRAVES 3-7-1
Joe 2-12 Genewich has a 3-1 lead on Keen and the Cubs, and it's only a matter of time before Chicago wakes up. Grantham's 7th inning homer ties it, Friberg's scoring fly in the 8th wins it.










NATIONAL LEAGUE through Monday, July 21
Pittsburgh Pirates5930.663
Cincinnati Reds5638.5965.5
New York Giants5239.5718
Brooklyn Robins5340.5708
St. Louis Cardinals4745.51113.5
Chicago Cubs4151.44619.5
Philadelphia Phillies3658.38325.5
Boston Braves2568.26936

10.14.2009

THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC SCORE SHEET

WORLD FAMOUS BRITISH SLEUTH TAKES ON BUTTERWORTH'S DISAPPEARANCE

By Hodgkins Ruddy
Special to the
Detroit Free-Enterprise

July 20, 1924

9:46 a.m. I am disturbed from a pleasant sleep in my suite at Boston's Hotel Touraine by a cacophonous knock on the door. Dare I answer it? Why yes, for otherwise there would be nothing to tell. The knocker is Percival Q. Mellon, publisher of this newspaper, standing beside a Boston police sergeant, and they implore me to investigate the mysterious vanishing of one Calvin J. Butterworth, noted writer of game stories concerning the Detroit base ball club.

Now cricket has long been my game of choice, not this American bastardization, but for a healthy wage and the promise of a clam dinner I agree to take time from my precious holiday and offer them my services.

12:55 p.m. I arrive at Fenway Park, strangely devoid on this Sunday of players and ball fans. What could be amiss? I am met at the door of the press porch by newsman steward William Mulligan. He explains that Butterworth was last seen leaving the park at half past five in the afternoon two days previous, unaccompanied, and carrying his fat leather case of base ball scoring sheets and statistical compendiums provided for him at the various ball parks.

1:41 p.m. Finding no one to assist me at the Copley Plaza (Butterworth's hotel), I am forced to woo a maid to allow me access into his former chamber. The authorities have disturbed nothing, but within seconds I have made up for that. All of Butterworth's clothes and the tell-tale leather case are missing, yet I spot a crumpled piece of paper in the waste basket below the writing desk. Could it be...a clue?

Yes! It is a discarded scoring sheet, apparently from the last game Butterworth witnessed. After the eighth section of play he lost interest, for he stopped tracking individual plays and began to scribble odd, cryptic notes to himself in the batter boxes. For instance:

useless shell of a man...uninspiring...

He was describing himself! How else to explain his flight from all responsibility?

need green now...pick up trail...must find Dorset...

Aha! This bloke Dorset must be involved, and Butterworth is on his trail! Or could it be a Lady Dorset, a woman of ill-favored repute? Is "green" the money this Dorset lured him to his doom with? Surely it must be! As always, the simplest solution is the one in the waste receptacle.

4:06 p.m. I have procured the census records for every male Dorset and ill-favored female Dorset in the greater Boston area, and will contact them all, even if it takes me a fortnight. Tea, a filled pipe, and my reading spectacles await.

ONLY AMERICAN LEAGUE MATCHES ON THE DAY:

at YANKEES 12-17-2, INDIANS 10-11-2
Everything I have read overseas about this corpulent, ball-busting behemoth named G. H. Ruth is in evidence. Trailing in the contest by a 3-2 count, he strikes a sphere tossed by S. Coveleski far over the barrier for three scores, then repeats the feat an inning later with the base positions devoid of feet. Sad Sam Jones reaps the benefits of such slugging, although his arm tires in the latter sets and Beall and Gaston are forced to rush to his aid.

at SENATORS 5-10-1, BROWNS 4-8-5 (11 innings)
How fitting that the leading American League club is one based in America's Capitol! St. Louis actually tallies three times in the 3rd set, but Elam Van Gilder's weak offerings and the Browns' porous defense creates a tie by the seventh section of play. G. Mogridge is replaced on the Washington hill by one A. Russell, who snuffs the St. Louis swingers from there to the game's climax. An S. Rice walk, M. Ruel single-sack hit and another by O. Bluege close the latest act of B. Harris' long-running victorious hit.










AMERICAN LEAGUE through Sunday, July 20
Washington Senators 6330.677
Chicago White Sox 4942.53813
Detroit Tigers 5044.53213.5
New York Yankees 4843.52714
St. Louis Browns 4251.45221
Philadelphia Athletics 4053.43023
Cleveland Indians 4054.2623.5
Boston Red Sox 3853.41824