There I was on Monday, meaning yesterday, all excited about joining Cal and seeing my first World Series, and we still had no clue where the thing was going to start. The Pirates had decided to mess up everyone's Pittsburgh reservations by starting to lose, and if they could just beat the Cubs in the last game or have Boston pounce on the Nats again, the event would open in their park.
Rachel was sad and a little angry she wasn't coming along of course, but still packed me a bag and promised to put a few sandwiches in. I told her it was Butterworth's special invitation and besides women weren't allowed in most press rows, and certainly not at the World Series. This caused her to go on a ten-minute speech about how females still weren't allowed to do anything except vote, and how that was all going to change someday soon if she had anything to do with it. I was sure she would.
To make her feel better I talked her into going out to Ebbets for the final game of the year against the Braves, a pretty good bet that Brooklyn would make 90 wins. Well, that wasn't the smartest idea. The Braves were out for revenge for some dumb reason and after Doak hit Ray Powell with the very first pitch they racked up eight hits and four runs on him in the first three and a half innings.
"I can't watch this," Rachel cried, "Take me home. I'd rather peel potatoes!" Her father was the brilliant one, giving up the game to actually work for a living. She was obviously still upset about losing the pennant, and even more upset that the Pirates now looked like garbage (They were down 4-0 in Chicago on the score board.) I took her hand, turned her face to mine, and lowered my voice.
"Don't you know why they call this a pastime? Because that's what you do. You pass the time. My lousy Phillies have lost 96 games this year, and that's with colored all-stars taking over for a whole week. How do you think me and Benny got through the whole season?"
"Because you're nuts?"
"No, because we know how to sit and enjoy the sunny afternoons and all the little things that go into watching a baseball game. Look out there now. Fournier's leading off, and he's a great hitter so every Boston infielder gets more tense right before the pitch is thrown. See that? You can use your perifery vision and just catch it. It's also the only game where the defense has the ball. And almost every game I go to, something happens I've never seen before."
For the moment, Rachel wasn't thinking of killing herself. She even smiled. And then Fournier cracked a single off Larry Benton into right. And so did Brown. And Mitchell walked. And Taylor singled. Milt Stock did, too. Bill Doak singled. Bernie Neis tripled. Andy High doubled. Rachel was standing on her seat screaming with deliriousness, eight Brooklyn runs were home, and our world was all healed up again.
And guess what else? The Cubs blanked the Bucs, Zachary and the Senators eeked out a 3-2 win at Fenway Park, and everything would come down to tomorrow's Washington game in Boston. Pittsburgh had the higher difference between runs scored and given up, meaning that if they lost and finished with the same record as the Bucs, Pittsburgh would get the advantage.
And good old Cal Butterworth was starting our big party early. He wired me to join him up in Boston for the final game, with Walter Johnson pitching, and Rachel was in such a good mood after the Ebbets game she didn't even mind seeing me off a day early.
* * *
Fenway Park was stuffed like a Thanksgiving goose for the last game, and there were even a few pockets of cranks in the stands that had come up from Washington. Cal was in great spirits and had a stool for me set up in the press row, right behind his typewriter spot.
Alex Ferguson and his 18 losses was going for Boston, and he had no chance. After Ruel walked to start the game, Clark flubbed a grounder at third and Judge singled to load the bases. Slumpy Goslin whiffed again, but Sam Rice did the almost-impossible, singling in two to put the Nats ahead and give himself 102 runs batted in with NO homers for the year. Bluege and the Train added run-scoring singles and it was 5-0 just like that.
One run for Johnson sometimes is enough, but just to make sure, the Senators added five more in the third, with Rice, Bluege, Harris, Peckinpaugh, Johnson and Ruel all reaching base before an out was made. It was a rout, folks, and Harris felt so good about things that he put Marberry in for relief after the 5th to make sure Walter had his 24th win and could start getting rested for the World Series. The Red Sox made a little bit of noise but not enough, and even their home fans were on their feet applauding in the 9th when Williams and Clark bounced out to lock up Griffith Stadium for Games One and Two.
After a rough week, Washington finished strong, and as I boarded their train car with Cal and a flock of reporters at South Station, we were starting to wonder how the Pirates would really do against these guys. Tomorrow we will begin to find out.
All games played in last two days:
at ROBINS 8-14-0, BRAVES 5-14-0
Doak recovers great after getting beat up early, and Fournier is on base all five times to finish off Rachel's wonderful day.
at GIANTS 8-12-3, PHILLIES 7-10-2
And my dear departed Phillies go out in typical style. Down 4-0 after one inning, they score seven times off Barnes, then lose when Hubbell and Steineder give up three in the bottom of the 8th. Stinkin' bums.
at CUBS 6-9-0, PIRATES 0-4-1
Keen mows down the pennant winners this time, as the Bucs don't score a blessed run in their last 23 innings. Hartnett homers again to end up leading the league with 31, along with 143 runs knocked in. Wanna see something strange? Look at these NL standings for September:
Even stranger are the final NL standings below. What looks like a great pennant race was actually an awful one for 90 percent of the year.
REDS 9-16-1, at CARDINALS 3-9-2
Carl Mays finishes with 21 wins and Hornsby goes 1-for-4 to end up at .402. Also three Cincy triples give them 127 on the year, two more than the Bucs got.
SENATORS 3-8-0, at RED SOX 2-7-0
SENATORS 13-13-1, at RED SOX 4-6-2
at ATHLETICS 8-14-3, YANKEES 6-11-0
Pennock stinks up his bed one more time, giving up 11 hits and 8 runs to the last-place A's in just four and two-third innings and ruining the 6-game New York win streak. For extra frustration, Ruth misses a grand slam for the second straight day by about five inches.
YANKEES 7-14-1, at ATHLETICS 3-13-1
Joe Bush survives another crummy performance, Combs gets four hits, Ruth singles in his 143rd run, and the Yanks finish in a tie for third place with surprising Chicago.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The 1924 World Series between Pittsburgh and Washington will be "tweet-casted" live right here beginning Monday night at 10 p.m. Eastern time, 7 Pacific and continuing at that time through the week, with full accounts to appear on this site the following morning.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE FINAL|
|New York Giants||90||64||.584||2|
|St. Louis Cardinals||75||79||.487||17|
|AMERICAN LEAGUE FINAL|
|New York Yankees||81||73||.526||12|
|Chicago White Sox||81||73||.526||12|
|Boston Red Sox||72||82||.468||21|
|St. Louis Browns||71||83||.461||22|