SHOCKER AND PENNOCK END PENNANT RACE WITH UNCANNY WHITEWASHINGS
September 19, 1924
ST. LOUIS—With a Senator win or Tiger loss poised to finish off all American League drama, it seemed fitting to coax a flight to the Mississippi out of Dean C. Smith. If Washington were to prevail today, readers would choose to be at their side, and the spectacle of Ty Cobb reaching his volcanic peak is one I would choose to avoid at any cost.
So here I am near the banks of the Great River, watching Walter Johnson warm up to face the sinking Brownies. At 22-10, Walter will most likely finish second to Rip Collins in any Pitcher of the Year consideration, but I would not want to step into a batter box against him on a day like this. True to form, he dispatches with the first nine men he faces, but his batting mates cannot break through against Urban Shocker, despite five men getting aboard in the first three innings.
The Train does away with Sisler and Robertson to begin the St. Louis 4th, before Baby Doll Jacobson ignites the crowd with a searing triple between Goslin and Leibold. Ken Williams meekly pops out to end things, and Johnson visibly bears down all the more. Bennett nicks him for a two-out single in the 5th, but after Harry Rice lines out we move to the 6th, still scoreless. The early news from back in Detroit is encouraging, as New York has a 1-0 lead into the 4th, but the Senators want to win this prize with a win.
Yet Shocker has them in a constant bind, allowing one runner to reach base every inning and leaving him there. With one out in the Browns' 6th, Walter finally hiccups. Sisler lashes a single. Robertson gets him to third with another. Baby Doll, his triple still fresh in the Train's mind, seems to rattle him further for Jacobson then knocks a single into left for a 1-0 St. Louis lead!
Johnson smotes every Brownie hereafter. but all that does is make the Washington frustrations mount. Ruel walks with two outs in the 7th: stranded. Rice singles with two outs in the 8th: stranded. Harris singles to lead the 9th, but Peckinpaugh flies out, pinch-batter Richbourg bounds into a force, and Ruel fans on three pitches and the Nats have dropped a game they had no business losing.
We writers are allowed access then to the visitor clubhouse, where the glum but anxious players sit around in their half-dressed states and wait for the upstairs ticker machine to wire us further news from Navin Field. Ghastly quiet fills the room for a good half hour, and then a press row boy pops in with a burst of news—
The Yankees have scored five times in the 5th!
The club house explodes with cheers. Manager Harris' coaches and a few of the players try to shake his hand, but Bucky will have none of it yet. "Still four innings to go, men!" he proclaims, and the expectant hush gradually returns.
While the players largely play cards to keep their nerves in check, the reporters are forced to speculate among themselves or discuss possible Senator rotations for the World Series. The Washington scribes are a decidedly animated bunch, including a young fellow named Povich who seems smarter than the rest, and I have just as much trouble standing still as them.
Inning after scoreless inning, the press boy appears to announce the same score. My feet are becoming sore. Finally, the full bottom of the 9th action is sent down and read aloud to us by the apple-cheeked youngster:
"Haney pop out...Heilman single...Manush single...Woodall double play—"
And nothing else is heard. Roars and leaping cleats. Hand shaking and back patting and hugs and even some teary-eyed players. Harris emerges from an office with boxes of cigars and the room resembles an opium den in seconds. Joe Judge has a couple bottles of Canadian whiskey stashed in his equipment bag and those are passed around for frantic swigs.
For my part, I am happy for the first Washington pennant in years, but my heart goes out to my home fans in Detroit, wondering what in tarnation happened back there today. When I discover the answer, I am grateful I journeyed west to be share these moments with champions.
WAS 000 000 000 - 0 6 0
STL 000 001 00x - 1 5 0
Other American League games:
YANKEES 6-8-0, at TIGERS 0-6-2
Pure and simple, the Tigers are helpless against Herb Pennock, recently expunged from the rotation but resurrected for this one all-important game with Detroit. By contrast, the usually hideous Ken Holloway pitches a game even beyond his decrepit ability, falling behind 1-0 early on a triple by the punchless Everett Scott, then beginning the fatal 5th inning like this: single and error (by Holloway, naturally), Witt walk, Hendrick single, Ruth triple, Meusel triple, Pipp triple before Cobb stalks to the mound and no doubt comes within a fly's breath of tearing Holloway's throat open with his bare hands. Bert Cole comes on to stun the gathering by retiring all 15 New Yorkers he faces, but doom has drenched the ball yard for the day. Leave it to the Yanks to fail miserably in big games all year, then win the one the Tigers desperately need.
ATHLETICS 4-10-3, at WHITE SOX 2-10-2 (12 innings)
A thrilling encounter at Comiskey, as the Mackmen tie the score in the 9th after casting runners adrift against Robertson all game, then with it with two off Cvengros in the 12th, Slim Harriss getting the victory.
at INDIANS 15-17-0, RED SOX 5-8-4
It is actually 3-2 Boston in the 4th when the Tribe goes on a four-inning warpath. Ferguson, Piercy and Murray give up eight Cleveland doubles, which tends to be an impediment to winning.
|AMERICAN LEAGUE through Friday, September 19|
|Chicago White Sox||76||70||.521||12.5|
|New York Yankees||74||71||.510||14|
|Boston Red Sox||69||77||.473||19.5|
|St. Louis Browns||69||78||.469||20|