September 3, 1924
I was just going to move up to Brooklyn by taking the train, but then I started finding all kinds of boxes of extra things I wanted to bring, and decided I wanted my own clothes chest instead of one of Rachel's girlie ones, so enlisted Benny to drive me up to New York in a rented truck.
We got an old Ford one that lurched along and exploded exhaust out of its pipe every ten miles or so, and it was real slow going. On top of that the Weehawken and Hoboken ferry boats were both closed because of real choppy water on the Hudson River, and autos were backed up for miles, so Benny pulled an old dirty map out of the glove box and we headed north to work our way around.
The map was impossible to read and it was my job to read it, and me and Benny spent so much time arguing directions that by the time we crossed a much narrower part of the river we accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up in Connecticut an hour later. Now I knew how Butterworth got so lost in Vermont.
Benny was being a pig-head by refusing to ask anyone for help, until I finally lost my temper, ripped the damn map up and tossed it out the window. Lucky for us we were running out of gasoline, so Benny was forced to stop at a combination petrol station/pharmacy/store/grill in this small town called Tonimicut, and I got a chance to ask someone for directions.
What I wasn't expecting was to walk into Mike and Emma's Grill and be smack in the middle of a full-scale shouting brawl. One half of the room had people wearing Red Sox hats and waving little pennants, while the other half was in Yankee caps and jerseys and sat under a wall of framed, signed photos of Ruth and Huggins and Bob Meusel. And everyone was grouped around a miniature electric board that followed reports from New York, where Boston and the Yanks were playing their last of four games. It seemed like all good-natured yelling, but I'd never seen suck a ruckus in an eatery.
After a waitress lady wrote down the correct directions for us, we decided to sit at the counter for a couple sandwiches and take in the daffiness. Tonimicut was close enough to Massachusetts to be split down the middle between the two groups, and then things got crazier. Seems that Mike, from a family of Yankee fans, had married Emma, from a family of Red Sox fans, and when they opened the grill together the place became a natural baseball earthquake spot. And having Boston hop over New York in the standings two days ago sure didn't help.
"Ruth? You can have that fat ape!" yelled one of Emma's brothers after he hit a 2-run homer in the 1st, his 42nd of the year. "He'll bust a gut and put his team right down the pike, just you watch!" "I'll be watching you bums sink into last place, that's what I'll be watching!" shouted Mike's dad in his carpenter outfit. It was 2-1 New York when doubles by Schang and Shags Horan helped them to four more runs and a 6-1 lead, and the whole room almost tilted in the Yankee fans' direction.
Me and Benny were having the time of our life, like watching a louder, more smelly burlesque show, and it got me a little nervous about me the Phillie fan being about to be married into a serious Brooklyn family. After an Aaron Ward error, single, two walks and a plunked batter gave Boston two runs in the 5th, the other half of the place started bleating again. Benny wanted to get back on the road but I had to stay and see how the drama turned out.
Each team took turns scoring a few more and it was 9-4 Yanks in the 8th when Ruth came up for the last time against Bill Piercy. It was so deafening I couldn't hear my teeth chew my cherry pie. The Babe, already with a double, walk and homer, crashed another homer, his 43rd of the year, fifth in his last four games according to Mike's nephew, and seventh in his last nine. And grapes and handfuls of bread crumbs flew back and forth across the room.
The final was 11-5 for a series split, and we stumbled back outside with our ears shaking. I had no clue the Red Sox and Yanks had such a rivalry going, but I figure once Boston gets their team good again a in a couple of years that'll all calm down.
I shared my new marriage nervousness with Benny put he poo-poohed it away. "Y'know, when I went to the restroom there I got a look at Mike and Emma themselves. Leaning over a sink in the kitchen and hugging each other with smirks on their pusses. Hell, if they can make that goofy arrangement work, anyone can."
Only other American League games today:
TIGERS 9-16-1, at WHITE SOX 6-13-1
A horrible loss for Chicago, who take a 6-2 lead into the 8th thanks to more bad Earl Whitehill pitching, only to have Detroit score five times off Lyons, topped by a Heinie Manush triple. The Tigers pick up their second half a game in two days and will now go home to face the last-place Indians.
at BROWNS 8-14-4, INDIANS 6-8-1
The Tribe is up 3-1 when their "best" pitcher Sherry Smith gives the Brownies seven runs in the 6th, a Ken Williams 3-run belt finishing off the top of the cake.
|AMERICAN LEAGUE through Wednesday, September 3|
|Chicago White Sox||68||64||.515||14.5|
|New York Yankees||64||67||.489||18|
|Boston Red Sox||64||68||.485||18.5|
|St. Louis Browns||64||70||.478||19.5|