1884 numbers of the Bay state monthlyBe the first and subjects of first 10 volumes and List of por.

The Granite monthly, a New Hampshire magazine, devoted to literature, history, and state progress (Volume 53) online

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had begun on the braided rug in
front of the fireplace. Then out of
the past. Bill's mother told me this

.story .

* * * *

It was in the Fall of 1918, about
the middle of November, when the
lads were beginning to come back



from France, and America was cele-
brating the signing of the Armis-
tice. Up at the college on the
hill, Professor Moore entered the
office of Dr. Rice, the genial Presi-
dent of the Grasse University. The
white haired President, whose
troubles were legion, glanced up
and asked, "What is it now, Pro-
fessor? No more pacifists on the
faculty ?

"Worse than that, doctor. Here
is a letter from the State College
expressing their desire not to ar-
range any more baseball games
with us. Their reason is that of
late our teams have failed to come
up to the standard."

"But our boys have left college
to go to France ! How can we have
patriotic students and athletic
teams at the same time? I know
there has been an ebb in our activi-
ties. Let me see. This makes the
fourth college to drop us, does it
not?" The president sighed as he
thought of the time when the col-
lege was well represented on the
athletic field ; of the time when the
college of the North Country sent
its basket ball team on a trip to
the big cities and came back with
a clean slate and a record of nine
games won and none lost ; of the
time when the football team went
down to the larger colleges and by
their lightning aerial game together
with pluck and fight swept the
heavier opponents off their feet.
This ebb in the athletic reputation
of the college came as a heavy
blow, but nevertheless, he met it
with courage and hope.

"You still have that game
scheduled with Franklin?"

"Yes, but we'll never beat that
team. Why they were the best in
the East last year. They are play-
ing us only for practice."

"I hope they get it." replied the
president, as he stepped one side
while the other passed out.



254



THE GRANITE MONTHLY



Those were hard lean years at
the smaller colleges — those years
during- the World War. Pro-Ger-
manism and Bolshevism stretched
forth their poisonous fangs. Fac-
ulty members were bitten and im-
mediately they forgot their fore-
fathers and the ideals of America.
The students listened to the call of
their country and straightway left
the class-rooms for the training
camps and then France and then —
Well, some have come back, but
many of them will never return to
tell of their ventures over there.
It was of the lads who had gone
over that Dr. Rice was thinking as
he walked down University Avenue
one day in the early Spring of 1919.
There was a touch of summer in
the air ; the sap had rushed to the
tip of every living thing ; buds were
bursting and birds were singing,
for it was Spring. And what is so
rare as a spring day in the North
Country? Yonder is the winding
river, up which you may paddle ten
miles in a canoe to the Falls, and
then a short "carrv" — and then —
trout ! — great. leaping, beautiful
rainbow trout ! Beyond are the
mountains now purple in the morn-
ing sun and then gray before the
coming rain, with patches of snow
still glistening here and there.

As he turned the corner on to
Middle Street, the president came
face to face with William Randall,
who hobbled along with the aid of
a cane. Dr. Rice stopped, put his
arm around the veteran's shoulder
as he .said, "Bless you, coach, I am
glad to welcome you back. When
did you arrive? We didn't know
you were on the way home or we
would have been at the station to
give you the royal welcome that you
deserve." The venerable university
president was not ashamed of the
tears that welled up in his eyes.

Randall, six feet two in his stock-
ings, in the olive-drab uniform of
the twentv-sixth division with the



immortal YD on the shoulder, re-
plied, "I came just as soon as I
could. I had enough of LaBelle
France. Thought I was coming
on the Mount Vernon which is
booked to sail from Brest today,
but I met Dr. Slocum there and he
fixed it so that I came back on the
President Grant and landed in Bos-
ton three days ago. I then went
to Ayer, got rid of the cooties and
then came here just as fast as that
train would bring me."

A moment's silence. Each had
his own thoughts. It was Dr. Rice
who spoke first.

''Tell me have you seen any of
our boys over there?"

"I saw Miller and Joyce at Brest,
ran into Cousins at St. Mihiel.
Was with Brigham after Chateau
Thierry. He went over with the
first bunch as a private. When
they found out he was a theologue,
they gave him a commission and
made him a chaplain. And, believe
me, he was in there all the time.
No S. O. S. for him, I'll tell the
world! He buried men all day
long after that fight there in the
woods."

"Ah, we're proud of you, proud of
you all. You have lived up to all
of the finest traditions of the col-
lege and that i.s more than all the
athletic victories in the world.
Even though we have been dropped
from the schedules of every college
but Franklin, we have the great
satisfaction of knowing that our
boys have been loyal to the flag."

"What's that ? Been drop-
ped ? You don't mean they've

cut us off?"

"Yes. Our former rivals refuse
to play us because our teams have
fallen below the standard these last
two years. But now that you shall
be back to coach us, I know that
our teams will improve."

The two walked along together
in silence. When they arrived at
the Administration Building Dr.



LOOKING THE FIRST ONE OVER



255



Your coming
load off my



Rice stopped. "I have a conference
in a few moments. If I can be of
any service to you do not hesitate
to call upon me. Good luck to you
and God bless you. I am glad that
you are home again
has taken a heavy
shoulders."

Hilda Newcombe sat idly dream-
ing in her dormitory window when
the coach hobbled past her line of
vision. She jumped up and ran
out into the hall shouting, "The
coach's come ! the coach's come !"• —
The result of which was that a few
minutes later, five hundred boys
and girls stood shouting outside
the door of the gymnasium de-
manding a sight of the returned
veteran.

"Altogether, now, the long cheer
for the coach ! Let er go — one,

two, three !" shouted Curtis, the

cheer leader. The response W9S be-
yond description.

"Speech, speech !"

Randall knew that he must re-
spond. So he ran his fingers
nervously through his red hair and
said in his characteristic style,
"What do you mean, speech? I'm
glad to get back to this man's
town. Glad to get back to this
gym. Prexy just told me that
we're up against it for athletes.
Xow. I want every mother's son to
get the spirit of this college into
them and report at the field this
afternoon for baseball. We have
only one game on our schedule and



You girls



Will
Glad



see
you ?



I'm



we must win it.
that they get here.
That's all for now !
back!"

Curtis held up his hand for
silence and then said, "That's what
we want — the old spirit, that go-
get-em spirit. We're glad you are
back, coach, to give it to us." Then
turning, he said, "All together
nof, let's sing — 'Oh Rah for the
Scarlet, Rah for the Brown !' " They
did. And as the old refrain echoed



and re-echoed across the campus,
the old spirit was born anew.
Then and there was a resurrection
of the life that had been passing
away. It was the dawning of a
new morning for the college on the
hill. But it was not until the fifth
day of June that the sun broke
through the clouds and the day
stretched into noon.

April and May came and went.
All the while Coach Randall was
endeavoring to hammer into shape
a team that would win that one
game on the schedule, the game
with Franklin on June fifth. It was
to be one of the events of Com-
mencement Week. The one desire
of the coach was to bring joy into
the life of the President of the
University by winning that game.
Chances for victory looked very
slim at first. After the first few
days of practice, Turnbull, who, un-
heralded and unsung, had come
over from New Hampshire, showed
promise of developing into a good
pitcher. Under the skilful tutelage
of Randall, "Turn," as the fellows
called him, developed into a phe-
nomenal twirler, so much so that
even the coach found difficulty in
getting a hit off his delivery. His
curve was a beauty, with a hook
on it that fooled the coach nearly
every time; his fast ball came down
the groove like a marble ; while his
slow ball was the most tantalizing
of all things. Around this pitcher
Randall had developed a team with
a stonewall defense — but on the of-
fense — well, the team wasn't there
— that's all.

On the night before the game,
after the fellows had retired to
their rooms after the smoke talk at
which Prexy and the coach and the
captain had endeavored to instill
courage and confidence into the
students, Dick Baird and George
Griffin, both of whom played on
the star nine of '12 and who had
come back to help out in the last



256



THE GRANITE MONTHLY



week of practice, were sitting in
their room discussing the pros-
pects.

"I hate to say it, Dick, but it looks
to me like a ten to one shot that
we lose tomorrow. We won't get
beaten by a large score for I don't
believe Franklin'll be able to hit
Turnbull but we've got no hitters
on our team and you can't win
baseball games without hitters.
Not a fellow on that team can hit
anything but a straight ball. Oh,
if we only had Jewell and Stone and
Calder we'd win in a walk. As it i.s
I can't see any light."

Baird had risen during Griffin's
little outburst and stood gazing at
the picture of Steve Jewell that
hung on the wall over the fireplace.
But Jewell could not come back,
only in memory. His was the star
that had turned to gold on the
service flag. Turning he said,
"Cheer up, old fellow, something
may happen yet. You never can
tell. Remember that time we al-
most won that game from Franklin,
when Larry Joyce dropped a fly in
the field and then Bugbee busted
that outshoot of mine and sent it
clear over the wall ?"

"Do I? Well I'll say I do!
Never'll forget' it ! Coach kept
.saying 'keep em close.' Then in
the seventh Bugbee hit one of those
close ones, so when he came up
with Joyce on second, I called for
an out and you pitched it but the
ball never reached me. I don't be-
lieve anyone ever found it. The
last I saw of it, it was going south
west and climbing all the time!
Ever since then I've been keen for
obeying orders."

Baird walked over to the win-
dow and looked out on the campus.
Some kind-hearted fellow had ar-
ranged things so that Dick could
have his old room again. There
was the Phi Sig house just across
the way. He listened and he heard
the old familiar, "Carrv Me Back to



Old Virginia, " as some impulsive
under-grads went rolicking by be-
neath his Window; he heard the
old calls and yells and cries from
the lads who were making the old
campus ring with their laughter on
this last night before vacation ; he
heard the co-eds away off in the
distance at the Delta House sing-
ing that rousing, stimulating song

that recalled pleasant memories

"Oh rah for the scarlet, rah for the brown,

Rah for old Grasse College, rah!

We'll pour forth our praise for dear

Alma Mater,
Rah for old Grasse College, Rah, Rah,

Rah !"

It was the old, familiar night be-
fore, when every alumnus and
every undergraduate could think of
but one thing and that — victory
over Franklin. What though, the
prospects were not bright for vic-
tory, the students were all loyal to
the last degree.

"Gee, Dick, the old spirit's alive
again — listen." And they sat there
in the moonlight far into the night
thinking of the days of long ago.
They both travelled that night over
the trail of memory and drank deep
at the bubbling springs on the way.
At length they tumbled into bed.

June fifth dawned bright and
fair. A cloudless sky and a large
number of returned alumni served
to hearten the men.

At one thirty, the Franklin team
trotted on to the field and limber-
ed up for the game. In a joking,
carefree manner they expressed by
their every act the confidence which
they felt.'

At one forty-five, the college team
ran on to the field and at once began
to warm up for the contest. Ran-
dall was everywhere, speaking
words of encouragement to his
nervous men. "Steady there,
steady, Blake — all set now, get this
one — man on first — double it up —
quick !" And then he drove the
ball down toward third base. Blake



LOOKING THE FIRST ONE OVER



257



scooped it up and threw to Jones
at second, who. turning as he
caught the ball, threw with the

same motion to Badger at first

"All right, enough." A wave of ap-
plause swept over the field. Ran-
dall called his men around him and
spoke words of encouragement.
"Play like that and we win ! They
can't score on us and we'll find a
way to score on them. Tire that
pitcher out. He can't last. Make
him work. Remember now every-
one of you — let the first ball go by
every time. Then wait 'em out.
Go to it and the best of luck. Over
the top !"

The grandstand was crowded
full. There were fathers and
mothers and uncles and aunts and
alumni and sweethearts — oh yes,
there were sweethearts, who had
been lazily canoeing all morning ;
they were all there, massed to-
gether beneath the huge scarlet ban-
ner on which the name of the col-
lege was written in letters of
brown. The college paper report-
ing the events later referred to the
stands as being a riot of color. It
was — a riot of scarlet and brown.

As the players trotted out to
their positions and Turnbull threw
the ball a couple times over the
plate to Curran, whose catching had
a resemblance to that of Bill Carri-
gan, there was a silence in the
stands. Then Curtis, Fields and
Miller, the cheerleaders, in their
scarlet sweaters and white trous-
ers, flourished their brown mega-
phones and shouted — "All together
now the long yell for the team — "
and then with arms held aloft, they
waited until all had filled their
lungs : — "What's the matter with
Grasse?" Back came the answer
rolling like thunder. "She's all

right!" "Who's all right?"

"Grasse-she is, she is, she is all
right !"

President Rice leaned over and re-
marked to Major Conlon "I haven't



seen anything like it for three
years. Do you know, I feel that
we are going to win. I feel as
though it were our game now."

The umpire adjusted his mask
and protector and then from his
position behind Curran called out —
"Play ball!"

And the game was on. The one
game of the year, on which the
future of the college rested. With
victory the president knew that he
would be able to go to the alumni
for the funds to build what the war
had torn down. Defeat meant
waiting and struggling against
heavy odds — perhaps disaster !
Victory meant life. It meant in-
creased revenue. It meant a well-
paid and contented faculty. Defeat
meant death. It meant decreased
revenue. It meant an underpaid
and disgruntled faculty.

Mathews, the big left fielder for
the Franklins, swung two bats back
and forth, and then, after tossing
one of them aside, he walked up to
the plate. All was silence. He gave
his cap a nervous pull down over
hi.s left eye and then waited. Three
times he swung at the ball and miss-
ed every time.

"Batter out," said the umpire.

The Grasse rooters cheered.
Coldini stepped up to the plate and
knocked the first ball sizzling down
the third base line. Just before it
reached Blake, the ball hit a stone
and caromed off to the outfield.
McGinnis could not reach it and
before Curtis could get in from left
field and throw it to Jones, Colidin
had reached second base. The
Franklin rooters roared. "Nothing
to it, nothing to it !" That cheer
.swept across the field and instead of
disconcerting had rather the effect
of steadying young Turnbull who
gave Coldini the privilege of watch-
ing the next two batters strike out.

"Nice work, Turn," said the coach
as the team came running in while
the Grasse rooters went wild. The



258



THE GRANITE MONTHLY



coach continued to talk, "Take off
your hat to the ladies, Turn, now
then Short, stand up therer and wait
them out. Don't swing at any of
them and remember all of you
everytime — look the first one over —
see what that pitcher's got — tire
him out — go to it !"

Short obeyed orders and was re-
warded by a base on balls.

"Wild as a hawk," shouted an
enthusiastic Grasse supporter.

"Nothing to it," said the coach to
Curran as though he really believ-
ed it. But MacMahon, the Franklin
pitcher, was apparently due for a
good game and showed that he de-
served all of the fine things that the
press had written about him. For
after Jones got to first on an error,
Curran popped up a little fly, Blake
struck out, and Jones was caught
off first base.

Neither team scored in the sec-
ond nor again in the third. In the
fourth, Franklin got a man around
to third, with only one man out.
Dr. Rice, sitting on the edge of his
seat, expressed by his rigid pos-
ture the tension of the whole stand
of rooters. Curran ran out to Turn-
bull, whispered a word of encour-
agement and then went back to his
position and signalled for a wide
ball. Turnbull threw it and Cur-
ran snapped it in time to third to
catch Humphries who had taken
too big a lead. A drop, an out and
a fast ball caused Nicol to fan the
air three times and the side was
out and the suspension was over.
The weight was lifted from the
shoulders of President Rice. Un-
der the direction of the cheer-lead-
ers the old song swept across the
diamond, while Major Conlon pok-
ed Dr. Rice with his cane and said,
"If they win thi.s game I'll build a
new gymn in memory of Jewell."

The coach in a surprisingly gentle
tone gathered the players around
him and said, "Boys, I want to win
this game more than any game I



ever played in myself, not for my
sake but for the sake of Prexy up
there. Look at him. He's been
through a lot and he deserves a
winning team. We've got to give
it to him. Badger up. Remember
let the first ball go by."

Up in the stands, Dick Baird and
George Griffin sat about as easily
as a schoolboy just before recess or
a bridegroom just before the cru-
cial moment. Dick looked at Grif-
fin, whose face was white and
still; with him it had ceased to be
a game between eighteen men on
the diamond but a struggle for a
new gymn. He had overheard the
Major's promise.

"I say, Griff, what's the idea in
Randall's making them let the first
ball go by? That pitcher's wise to
the fact that they aren't hitting his
first one and he's just .sending
straight ones down the groove.
See ! Strike one. Same old story."

Something inside of him made
Griffin think of that disastrous
game when he disobeyed the
coach's instructions. He replied,
"I don't know. But orders are
orders. And those kids will follow
him through to the end."

Five, six, .seven, eight innings
came and went without any scor-
ing by either team. In the first
half of the ninth inning, the Frank-
lin team made a desperate effort
but the scarlet team pulled off the
cleverest double play ever seen on
the field and stopped the rally just
as it began.

As the players came in to the
bench, Turnbull pulled his sweater
over his pitching arm, took another
chew of slippery elm bark and
said, "Looks like extra innings,
coach."

"Extra innings nothing ! Here's
where we win the old ball game.
Head of the order's up. Short,
Jones, Curran come here. The
players named bent low and the
coach whispered something to each



LOOKING THE FIRST ONE OVER



259



one of them and then said aloud,
"Now go to it. We've got them
just where we want them. You've
got to win !" and then in a voice
that choked a bit he asked quietly.
"Can you do it?" The three men
answered with one voice, — "We'll
do our best."

Short stepped up to the plate.
The first ball hit him in the side.
He crumpled up in a heap as he
fell on the plate. As they helped
him to the bench he muttered some-
thing about, "Fooled me — I'm all
right — got to win — ouch," as he
doubled up in pain.

"Beaman, run for Short," Call-
ed out Randall. as he helped the
fastest runner in the college take
off his sweater. Twice that spring.
Beaman had trotted down the cen-
tury in ten flat and once in nine
and four-fifths.

The cheerers had forgotten to
yell for a minute or two but sud-
denly the spell was broken, the ten-
sion was released and a cheer went
up for Short and then another for
Beaman ; and then one for Jones
rang out on the June air.

White fleecy clouds were floating
lazily in the sky. Jones did not
see them. The whole college sec-
tion arose as one man and waved
scarlet and brown pennants aloft.
Jones did not 'see them. All he
.saw was the pitcher standing be-
fore him. He saw him raise his
arm and then throw the ball. For
one brief instant, he saw that ball
coming down the groove. Then
he swung his bat to meet it. Crack !
The sound rang out like a pistol
shot. On, on the ball sped. As it
went over second base it was about
ten feet high in the air. but as it
went over the center fielder's head
it was rising higher and still high-
er. It was the longest hit ever
made on that field. As the ball
left the pitcher's hand, Beaman
was off, flashing toward second
and then third and then across the



plate he sped and then — pande-
monium !

What's the use of trying to des-
cribe that riot of hilarious joy. It
would take one of those mob-
psychology fellows to do it.

That evening, between dances at
the Prom in the gymn, Griffin and
Baird went down stairs to the
coach's room and found him there.
"Some strenuous day I'll say.
Some game. Some little head-
work, too," laughed Baird as he
slapped the coach on the shoulder.

Randall looked up and asked,
"Were you wise?"

"No, it never dawned on us un-
til after it happened."

The coach arose as he said, "All
spring long, I've trained those
fellows to hit a straight ball. When
they started they couldn't hit any-
thing. All they could do was to
field. You fellows did a whole lot
towards polishing up that end of
it. Never .saw anything like that
exhibition this afternoon for fast
fieldng-. But thev couldn't hit. So
I took them one by one and trained
them. Just like you trained that
youngster of yours to walk, Dick.
First I lobbed slow ones, and then
as they learned how to take that
horizontal swing, and then as they
got so they could see the ball, I
kept increasing the speed until I
got them so they could spank it
right on the nose. Well, they im-
proved. Not a curve-ball did I
throw to them, not a hook, not a
drop — just straight right over the
middle of the plate. Guess you
fellows thought I was crazy. But
I knew that MacAIahon's strength
lay in his curve ball. I also knew
that he usually weakened and
would take every opportunity to
rest his arm by throwing straight
ones whenever he dared. So we
gave him just what he wanted.
When he discovered that the men
were passing up the first one every
time, he began throwing straight



260



THE GRANITE MONTHLY



ones to every man as he stepped
up to bat. The rest was simple.
Short's misfortune gave us Bea-
man on first, and then Jones
smashed that first ball that
MacMahon hurled at him. And
then — well you know the rest."
He rose and stood by the desk.
Suddenly he felt a hand on his
shoulder, and turning he saw Dr.
Rice.

"I thought that perhaps you
might be alone, and I want so to
thank you for the victory."

"If you are pleased then I have
my reward."

"Will you please draw up any
plans you might have in mind for
a new gymnasium, Mr. Randall,
and present them to me as soon as
possible?" The president smiled.
The coach stared as he exclaimed,
"What!"

"Yes, Major Conlon is going to
give us one in memory of Jewell.



This has been a great day for

Grasse College. It seems as though

it were the dawn of a new and

better day."

"Oh boy, just watch us next

year. We're going after curved

balls then."

* * *

The fire had burned low in the
fireplace. Mrs. Randall arose and
said — "That's William now. Did
you hear him ? Why ! It's half
past twelve. I hope that I haven't
bored you."

Well I wish that we had more
mothers in the world like Bill's. It
was not necessary for Randall to
inform me that he did not intend to
return home with me. And when
I did return after that wonderful
W r orld's Series, it did not surprise



Online Library1884 numbers of the Bay state monthlyBe the first and subjects of first 10 volumes and List of porThe Granite monthly, a New Hampshire magazine, devoted to literature, history, and state progress (Volume 53) → online text (page 27 of 57)