Mama wasn't all that upset about me walking off my job, because she never thought a "honky tonk ball yard" was a good place for a young adult person like me to be spending most every day in. She wanted me to have a more regular profession like a banker or butcher, and over our eggs this morning started asking me to look up her Uncle Salvatore at the Reading Terminal Hog Exchange again. I felt too rotten over myself to even think about work just yet, and told her that. Besides, I was too nervous waiting for a telegram back from Rachel about whether she could come down on Labor Day or not.
Benny sure didn't smooth out my mood any, showing up at the door just in the time for Mama's last plate off sunnysides. "One more with the Braves, Vin. C'mon, they need you there."
"Yeah, but I don't need that crappy job or hearing any more crud from racist jerks."
"Hey, Cy Williams asked me to come here and talk you back into it." Mama's eyes lit up at the sound of his name. She hadn't gone out with him for a while.
"He's a grownup. He can get over it."
"Okay, but you're my best friend and I need you out in the bleachers again to just watch a game and yell whatever we want at the players and chow down those salty sausage rolls and drink the best lemonade in Pennsylvania and not even care who wins." He flashed his biggest smile of bad teeth at me.
I hawed and hemmed and hawed some more. Then remembered tomorrow was a day off for the Phillies, meaning that would mean...two straight days without baseball?
* * *
It was Barnes for the Braves, Johnny Couch for us, and the usual goofers in the bleachers having a great time. Oscar the Peanut Man gave us two bags for nothing, fat Rollo Briggs was there to bet on pitches with us, and with nothing to do but watch people play baseball it was the most fun I'd had at Baker Bowl since Carlson threw that shutout back in June on Benny's birthday.
"Lew Wendell? Who's he?" Benny was as puzzled as me when the megaphone man announced the lineups, and then I remembered that for the last game of a season series between two teams, the managers sometimes start their third-string players who've been on the bench all year. Well, with the basement life of these clubs, everyone but Fletcher's pet dog was getting a chance. The Phils sent Andy Woehr out to third (fine with me, because I didn't have to see Wrightstone's ugly face all day), Wendell behind the plate, Parkinson to third, Fritz Henrich (?) to right field and first backup catcher Butch Henline out to left field—meaning straight in front of us.
"Hi Butch!" yelled Benny before the first pitch was even thrown, "Long sea no time!"
The Braves had been throwing every one of their bums on the field all year to try and get the team going, so the only new person I didn't know was Herb Thomas in center. Not that it mattered. Two singles and a scoring force-out by Casey Stengel in the 1st put them up 1-0. Padgett and mystery Herb singled to open the Boston 2nd, and Bob Smith doinked another single in front of Henline, who kicked it for an error and made it 2-0.
"Wrong glove, Butch!" I yelled, "Catcher's mitt stays in the dugout!" Benny jabbed me with a wink and Henline actually looked around for a second, recognizing my voice. The sun was beating down until we had to unbutton our shirts, there was a good chance we'd get beat by a bunch of wahoolies, and you know what? I didn't even care.
Everyone in the bleachers screamed for hits whenever the third-rate Phils went to bat, and it started paying off in the last of the 2nd. The great Lew Wendell reached second on a Smith throwing error. Parkinson and Henrich singled and then Couch did too and we were tied 2-2! Ford singled to begin our 3rd, but after the next two guys went out, Wendell banged one off the bleacher wall in front of us to make it second and third. Parkinson walked and Andy Woehr binkered a ball through the infield for the lead. Barnes was out of his mind on the mound, served up another single to Henrich.
We were all on our feet, stomping and shaking the bleachers until I thought the thing would collapse and crush forty or so people. But Johnny Couch did the crushing instead, ripping Barnes' next pitch over the right wall for a grand slam homer!
"Pretzels for the while row!!" yelled Benny, and boy if he didn't make good on that right away. We didn't score another run after that but we didn't need to, because Couch was laying back on that mound like a fat dad on a Sunday. Boston scratched out a couple more runs in the 5th thanks to two errors, one by Couch himself, but I think it was because he was getting bored. We finished the year 12-10 against the awful Braves, which wasn't great but Boston had to beat someone I guess.
The other fun thing was that Benny made sixty dollars betting on pitches with Rollo, and was already trying to talk me into going out to Atlantic City for the Phillies' day off tomorrow. I told him I was still waiting for Rachel's telegram but he poo-pooped on that idea.
"Doesn't mean they won't deliver it. Anyway, aren't guys supposed to go out for some crazy times right before they get married?"
I hawed and hemmed and hawed some more...
BOS 110 020 000 - 4 9 1
PHL 026 000 00x - 8 12 3
Other National League games today:
REDS 4-13-1,at PIRATES 3-11-2 (12 innings)
Gotta hand it to them Reds, who win their second straight at Forbes in big drama fashion. With Carl Mays up 2-0 in the 7th and mowing down the Bucs like a war ship, Pittsburgh puts together one of their famous lightning rallies. Cuyler and Smith single, Traynor walks, Wright's grounder scores one and Maranville's triple puts them ahead. Emil Yde is throwing for the Pirates but like he's done a lot, crumbles at the end of the game. Bohne, Walker and Mays all single off him in the top of the 9th to tie the score, and third-string catcher Gus Sandberg singles off Babe Adams in extras to win it.
at ROBINS 3-12-0, GIANTS 2-11-1
Happy to hear this news is the city of Brooklyn, where Osborne and Nehf both pitch awful but the teams strand anybody who could possibly be stranded until Andy High scores the winner in the last of the 9th when Frankie Frisch throws Fournier's roller into the Ebbets Field stands. It's Brooklyn's first win in days and a most huge one.
at CUBS 5-9-1, CARDINALS 3-12-0
Chicago leads this one 5-0 into the 8th when Kaufmann loses everything and gives up back-to-back smashes to Blades and Hornsby and a Bottomley double before Guy Bush takes over and shuts the big door. Hornsby also gets two singles and keeps his average at .411, as if he cares.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Saturday, August 30|
|New York Giants||68||57||.544||12|
|St. Louis Cardinals||61||66||.480||20|