August 28, 1924
Ah yes, back in my own lumpy bed. Back to waking up to Mama's bacon and egg smells and an extra bowl of her maple oatmeal and geez I better write to Rachel soon if I know what's good for me. Back to Benny showing up at my door too early and the nickel streetcar ride to hot, smelly and nutty Baker Bowl, which was packed today for a weird Thursday doubleheader against the worst team in baseball.
With the number to kick the Phillies out of the pennant race down to three, I was looking forward to putting off that sad business with a nice long day running our smoking bats back and forth to the dugout while various Phils took them to the Braves' heads.
No deal. After seeing our colored replacements finish off the Bucs in extra innings yesterday, the white players were still in dreamland, and hit like a bunch of corpses against Mr. Larry Benton of Boston, who at game time had a 5-15 record and earned run average of 7.42. Formerly Luckless Lawrence walked seven Phillie hitters, all at the bottom of our lineup, and not a single one could score.
Meantime Hal Carlson got hurt after doing his typical escape tricks the first two innings, and Steineder had to take over for the next five. Casey Stengel singled in a run off him in the 3rd put he threw darn good until the 8th inning came around. A Cunningham walk and singles from McInnis and Sperber brought on Glazner, who quickly gave the Braves two more runs they didn't even need.
The 3-hit shutout got our club house all heated again between games and this time even yours truly made a speech. "C'mon guys," I piped up, "Didn't we just win three in a row in Cincy? How can we let these stinky jerks push us around? There's brats in knee socks at my school who swing harder than you!" Everyone was laughing at me under their breath up to that point, but then the brat line made everything quiet. I quickly apologized and took those words back, but Cy came over and patted my arm.
"We all hear what you're saying, kid. Just be ready to hit for me in the bottom of the 9th if we need you."
That shut me up good, and I thanked God he was kidding. Even though I did spend a little more time looking at our smaller bats before Game 2.
Dutch Stryker, who's even worse than Benton, was going for Boston, while the only pitcher who's so bad he should be in prison for impersonating one, Clarence Mitchell, went for us. Three singles gave them a run in the 2nd, but after Wilson got plunked with a ball in our 2nd, Hod Ford said enough of this malarkey and belted one into the packed bleachers in left to give us the lead, and our first runs for a few days.
Then it was time for Clarence the Clown. McInnis doubled with one gone in the 3rd. Mann singled, Felix singled. Cotton Tierney hit a two-out, three-run homer and it was 5-2 Braves. Steineder couldn't be used again, so after four Brave singles began the 4th, Art Fletcher walked out to the hill with his giant butterfly net and scooped Clarence out of the game for Glazner. Whitey wasn't much better, and it was 9-2 them when Betts took over in with two gone in the 5th.
I was suddenly hating my batboy job. The score board showed the Pirates beating up on the dying Reds to no one's surprise, and if we lost this second game we'd be finished for the year. I couldn't give another speech or even enjoy watching the game because it stunk like a dead mule and I was too busy hauling bats around anyway. All I had to look forward to was another club house of doom later and someone smashing something and everyone looking for a good illegal place to drink.
Which is when Betts tripled in a run for us. Old Huck, the only sort-of-reliable relief man we'd had all year and used more than an eskimo's snowshoes, had just knocked in our third run of the game for the sheer heck of it. From that point on, Betts didn't say a word, just pitched his brain off and gave the Braves nothing but three singles the rest of the way.
What he gave us was hope. It also helped that Stryker went out with a gimp leg and manager Bancroft stuck Lou North in, a pitcher even worse than Stryker. Cy looked a little insulted by that, and after Gus Felix dropped Heinie's fly for a 3-base error to start our 8th, he tripled Sand home, and two outs later, Wilson bombed a home run and it was 9-6 just like that!
North was still in there to begin the 9th, and after Ford walked and Henline hit a pinch-double, Skinny Graham, the best reliever on either team, came on. But Skinny didn't have a chance against the angry Phils. Harper singled right away, and Mann booted a ball in right to make it 9-8. Holke bunted the runners over, and here was Cy walking up again. The crowd was out of its skull. Skinny threw him a couple low ones, then missed high and Cy shot it on a line into right for a 2-run single and got every Brave walking off the diamond and every Phillie player and fan jumping around loony-style. What a win!
We felt like the governor had taken nooses off our necks, and Benny bought ice cold cherry fizzers for the whole room down at Mort's later. Which is exactly why you never, ever leave a ballpark early. Living for another pitch, another at-bat, another inning and another day is the sweet and sticky blood that squirts through baseball's veins.
BOS 001 000 021 - 4 10 0
PHL 000 000 000 - 0 3 0
BOS 014 310 000 - 9 18 2
PHL 020 010 034 - 10 10 1
Other National League games today:
at PIRATES 9-13-0, REDS 5-16-1
Cincy outhits the Bucs but spread theirs all over the place while Pittsburgh jumps on Dolf Luque for an Earl Smith homer in the 2nd and a single-single-single-double-single-pitcher error-single-single in the 3rd, all in a row with one out. Leadoff triples from Grimm and Traynor later produce the other runs in today's winning Pittsburgh classroom lesson for their 80th win.
at CUBS 8-9-2, CARDNALS 6-10-0
Two straight for the Cubbies over their western neighbors, and it's another teeter-totter game. the Cards wipe out 4-2 Chicago lead in 7th with back-to-back homers from Blades and Hornsby before Cubs score four times in same inning off Flint Rhem to take the lead for good. Back in the cleanup hole, Rajah also has a triple and two doubles and springs his batting mark up to .411.
GIANTS-ROBINS start tomorrow at Ebbets Field, for what that's worth.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Thursday, August 28|
|New York Giants||67||56||.545||13|
|St. Louis Cardinals||60||65||.480||21|