Albertus T. Dudley.

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WITH MASK AND MITT ***




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WITH MASK AND MITT




BOOKS BY ALBERTUS T. DUDLEY


Phillips Exeter Series

Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth.

FOLLOWING THE BALL.
MAKING THE NINE.
IN THE LINE.
WITH MASK AND MITT.
THE GREAT YEAR.
THE YALE CUP.
A FULL-BACK AFLOAT.
THE PECKS IN CAMP.
THE HALF-MILER.


Stories of the Triangular League

Illustrated by Charles Copeland. 12mo. Cloth.

THE SCHOOL FOUR.
AT THE HOME-PLATE.
THE UNOFFICIAL PREFECT.

THE KING'S POWDER.


LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO., BOSTON.

[Illustration: Coy was nailed as he scrambled back to the base - and the
game was won. - _Page_ 293.]




_PHILLIPS EXETER SERIES_

WITH MASK AND MITT

BY
ALBERTUS T. DUDLEY

AUTHOR OF "FOLLOWING THE BALL," "MAKING THE
NINE," AND "IN THE LINE"

_ILLUSTRATED BY CHARLES COPELAND_

[Illustration]

BOSTON
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.




Copyright, 1906, by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.
Published, August, 1906.

_All Rights Reserved._

With Mask and Mitt.

Norwood Press
J.S. Cushing & Co. - Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.




TO MY FRIEND
HENRY W. ANDERSON
TO WHOSE INITIAL SUGGESTION
THIS SERIES OF BOOKS
IS DUE




PREFACE


The author has but a word to say in offering "With Mask and Mitt" to
his boy readers. The book follows "In the Line" and precedes "The Great
Year" in the sequence of the series. While it repeats no incidents
of previous books and covers wholly new ground in athletics, it will
be found not dissimilar to its predecessors in its general spirit
and character. A good juvenile must be one approved by the parent,
enjoyed by the boy, and read with profit by both. It should, of course,
interest and amuse; it should also help the parent to understand the
impulses and the mental attitude of the boy, and the boy to accept
the ideals of the parent. If "With Mask and Mitt" does not meet these
requirements, it has at least been written with a full knowledge of
their importance.

Thanks must again be expressed to Dr. E.H. Nichols of Boston for
cordially rendered assistance in the technicalities and theory of the
game of which he is an unquestioned master.

ALBERTUS T. DUDLEY.

Boston, July, 1906.




CONTENTS


CHAPTER I

PAGE

Two Apprentices 1

CHAPTER II

Hail to the Pitcher 11

CHAPTER III

Neighborly Attentions 23

CHAPTER IV

Payner the Marplot 35

CHAPTER V

The Favors of Fortune 43

CHAPTER VI

The Third String 55

CHAPTER VII

Facilis Descensus 66

CHAPTER VIII

The First Plague 74

CHAPTER IX

A New Interest 86

CHAPTER X

Mr. Carle wants to Know 100

CHAPTER XI

The Relay Race 112

CHAPTER XII

An Interrupted Evening 122

CHAPTER XIII

A Waning Star 136

CHAPTER XIV

A Captain's Troubles 146

CHAPTER XV

Outdoors at Last 155

CHAPTER XVI

Theories and Plans 165

CHAPTER XVII

A Set-back for O'Connell 175

CHAPTER XVIII

Disappointments 188

CHAPTER XIX

A Misfit Battery 200

CHAPTER XX

A Sub-Seatonian 212

CHAPTER XXI

Playing Indians 224

CHAPTER XXII

A Fair Chance 237

CHAPTER XXIII

A Tie Game 252

CHAPTER XXIV

Making Ready 268

CHAPTER XXV

As Wally saw It 276

CHAPTER XXVI

Recognition 295




ILLUSTRATIONS


Coy was nailed as he scrambled back to the base - and
the game was won (p. 293) _Frontispiece_


FACING PAGE

School Dormitories 22

A Corner of the Yard 54

"There's the rat, sir," said Duncan 126

The Chapel Stairs 140

The Principal's House 150

He felt the bonds that held him to the tree loosen 230

He leaped, and clutched the ball hardly a foot from
the ground 250




WITH MASK AND MITT




CHAPTER I

TWO APPRENTICES


If, for the beginning of this story, the reader finds himself carried
back to the middle of "In the Line," let him not suspect a twice-told
tale. The current of school life runs swiftly through its short
channel. The present soon becomes the past, the past is soon forgotten.
While the hero of to-day enjoys the sunshine of popularity, fondly
imagining himself the flower and perfection of schoolboy development,
the hero of the future, as yet unrecognized, is acquiring strength and
determination for new records and greater triumphs. The scene shifts
rapidly; new stories are ever beginning while the old ones are still
unfinished.

In those early days of June, while all Seaton was either gloomily
anticipating or dolefully bewailing the disastrous Hillbury baseball
game; while Wolcott Lindsay, fired by Laughlin's example and spirit,
was throwing himself enthusiastically into the captain's projects for
the football season, two lads in a town in western Pennsylvania were
eagerly discussing plans for the next school year. They had sent to
various institutions for catalogues; with the catalogues had arrived
circulars, pictures, and letters. But catalogues and pictures are at
best but lifeless things; they suggest many questions and answer few. A
far better persuader is an enthusiastic alumnus, who puts personality
into dull pages of names, and pours a rosy poetic haze over the groups
of sombre brick barracks called the school. Such an enthusiastic
alumnus had the entrée of the Owen household, with the natural result
that Mr. Owen soon became a convert, and a room was engaged for Robert
in a Seaton dormitory.

Ned Carle was longer in uncertainty. His father was not as well able as
Mr. Owen to bear the expense of boarding-school life, which, like many
other luxuries of these modern days, often seems to cost more than it
is worth. Ned himself had not long manifested an intense ambition to
go beyond the bounds of the Terryville High School for his education.
He was a light-hearted, quick-witted, intelligent fellow, easy-going
and friendly, generally liked in town and liking to be liked. He would
naturally have been popular if he had never had a baseball under
his two fingers; but the fact that he was a pitcher, - and a good
pitcher, - not merely established his popularity on a definite basis,
but made him in a way a public character.

When Ned Carle pitched on the High School nine and Robert Owen
caught, the nine could generally be counted on to win. The battery
was well-known outside the limits of the town, which was, in its way,
a miniature baseball centre. The standard of play in Terryville was
high. Mike McLennan, the famous professional, had once pitched on
a Terryville nine; and Mike, when he was at home, took an interest
in the "kids" of his native place and gave them the benefit of his
instruction. Both Carle and Owen were started in their careers with
professional advice of unquestioned competency.

That Owen received a smaller share of the professional's favor than
Carle does not signify that he was an unpromising pupil. For easily
imagined reasons Mr. Owen did not regard McLennan as a wholly desirable
patron for his son. While he did not object to the boy's learning what
the expert had to teach, he distinctly discouraged an intimacy which
would expose him to questionable associations and false ideals. Robert,
too, was reserved and quiet. The great player valued himself too highly
to waste much of his attention on one who showed but small enthusiasm
for his teacher.

With Ned Carle, however, the case was different. His father cherished
no such inconvenient views as to his son's associations; if he had done
so, it would have made no difference, for it usually happened in the
Carle family that what Ned wanted the rest of the family ultimately
wanted too. Ned took to McLennan and McLennan to Ned as naturally as
if they had been born neighbors with only a low fence and a few years'
difference in age between them. The boy hailed the ball player as
Mike, chatted with him on the street corners, and listened, credulous
and admiring, to all the tales of great deeds on the diamond - McLennan
bragged like a Homeric hero - without being shocked by the language or
dazed by the improbabilities of the narrative. In return, McLennan
laid himself out to make the boy a pitcher, taught him to use his arm
properly and to care for it, helped him to acquire effective curves,
and coached him in many of the devices by which pitchers outwit their
batsmen.

With this tuition and a natural aptitude, Ned Carle made rapid progress
as a pitcher. The arts which he had not mastered, he knew something
about, and he could talk baseball with the best. As citizens of
Terryville will recall, while the "spit-ball" was still in harmless
infancy, and only a few master pitchers were experimenting with it
secretly, before the newspapers had seized upon the mystery as a
means of filling daily paragraphs, Ned Carle was already making sage
prophecies as to the tricky new curve, and the havoc it would wreak on
batting averages and catchers' fingers.

Indirectly Owen profited by this coaching. When McLennan, as
occasionally happened, stopped over a day at his home and gave Carle
a few points behind Fosdick's stable, Owen was, of course, called on
to do the catching. When McLennan was one summer laid off a whole
fortnight for assaulting the umpire, and wished, during this period
of idleness, to keep his own arm in condition as well as assist his
protégé, Owen was given another and more serious privilege. On eight
afternoons the lad faced the professional's fire, guessed at the sweep
of his curves, and bravely struggled to grip the ball. There were times
when the man pitched at his amateur catcher as if he held the latter
responsible for his enforced vacation. The balls came hissing hot, now
a high jump that he had to reach for, now a vicious sweep toward his
feet, now a wide out that threw him off his balance, now a straight,
swift shot that sped like an arrow, looked like a marble in the air
and struck his mitt like a blow from a club. Owen worked hard that
fortnight, and his hands suffered; but he stood up to his task without
a murmur, and had the satisfaction of feeling that he gained from day
to day. He really could not hold McLennan and he knew it, but he had
lost his fear of the man; and he never again faced a pitcher with the
slightest semblance of timidity.

From much of the baseball wisdom that the professional lavished upon
Carle, Owen apparently got little benefit, though the time was to come
when he should try hard to recall details of the coaching. One thing,
however, he had received directly. It was McLennan who showed him
how to snap the ball down to second. The theory only he owed to the
veteran; his mastery of the trick was due to his own long and diligent
practice. It was not a very swift throw, at least in these early years,
but he got rid of the ball with such extreme quickness and placed his
throw so accurately that few base runners whom the Terryville battery
had to watch found it possible to steal second.

One more circumstance as to this Terryville battery, and we are ready
for our story. As a pitcher, Carle, like many another good man, had
one serious weakness. At critical times his judgment was prone to
be at fault. Three balls and one strike, especially if there were
men on bases and not more than one out, worried him badly. He could
usually put the ball where it was wanted even when a failure to do so
meant passing a man; but he possessed a strange faculty for trying the
wrong ball. It was here that Owen's good sense and cool head served
the pair. Owen knew by instinct what kind of a ball promised most in
the particular case; Carle could pitch the ball that Owen wanted,
and, strange enough, was willing to do so. The combination worked so
smoothly, and the pitching was so very effective, that Carle, and even
Owen himself, failed to appreciate how much of the strategy of the
battery originated behind the bat.

When Rob Owen quietly announced one morning in May that his father was
thinking of sending him to Seaton the next year, Carle was immediately
seized with a desire to accompany him. The circulars and letters
arrived with their tempting invitations. Enthusiastic Alumnus performed
his task, cleverly brightening his description of the opportunities of
the school with seductive pictures of school life and sport and joyous
fellowship. To the general ambition of the young American to make the
most of his life was added the particular ambition of the natural ball
player for a wider field for his genius. When Mr. Carle hesitated at
the expense which he could not afford, Enthusiastic Alumnus pointed to
the long list of scholarships offered and to the many opportunities for
self-help open to the earnest student. Ned, grown eager and determined,
vowed to content himself with what his father could supply and earn
whatever more he needed by his own efforts.

There was reason in the boy's hope. In the high school Ned Carle was
counted a good scholar. The teachers were agreed that with equally
faithful work the pitcher of the school nine could have ranked far
above the catcher. In a certain quickness of perception and facility
of expression combined with a memory at least temporarily retentive,
he possessed what boys usually consider the most important elements
of scholarship. Of industry, the great and fundamental essential, he
had as yet shown little development; but as this is the quality least
admired among boys and often the last acquired, neither Ned himself
nor his teachers as a whole considered the fault a serious one.

Ned's persistence, seconded by the fluent superlatives of Enthusiastic
Alumnus, was more than a match for Mr. Carle's doubts. By midsummer the
question was settled. Among the one hundred and twenty-three trunks
distributed by Laughlin and his express wagons on the first day of the
fall term were two marked "Terryville, Pa."




CHAPTER II

HAIL TO THE PITCHER


The two Terryville lads roomed apart. Owen had already engaged his room
in Hale before Carle decided to accompany him to Seaton; the latter
found cheaper quarters in Carter. The difference in character between
the two boys appeared in the experiences of their first days in school.
Before the first Sunday Ned seemed to be on friendly terms with every
fellow in the entry. Rob, on the other hand, hardly knew the names of
the occupants of his own floor.

The most interesting of Owen's neighbors were Donald and Duncan Peck,
two lively specimens belonging to his own class and section, as
indistinguishable and mischievous a brace of twins as ever looked upon
the world as a happy hunting-ground, and on the inhabitants thereof as
fair game. The tales concerning the Pecks passed on by his room-mate
Simmons, Rob considered barefaced attempts to impose on his simplicity.
Later he found that many of them were true. Between the room which
he occupied and that of the twins lay, according to one informant, a
natural feud. At least such had prevailed the year before in the days
of Tompkins, Rob's predecessor. He was advised by Lindsay, the football
man who roomed opposite, to ignore this fact and avoid a continuance
of the custom; and the stories in circulation concerning the amenities
of Tompkins and the Pecks seemed to prove that the advice was both
kindly and sound. Beyond Lindsay came Payner, a little, saturnine,
black-haired, dark-visaged lower middler from the extreme Southwest;
and opposite Payner the two Moons. The other room on the floor was
tenanted by a dull-witted toiler named Smith. With Smith an unfeeling
Faculty had yoked Crossett, a volatile senior, who spent as little time
as possible in the society of his room-mate. Durand shared Lindsay's
quarters.

Payner was no ordinary individual. In recitation, Rob was informed,
he halted and stumbled, pretending to know what he evidently did not
know, and receiving corrections with an ungracious if not defiant air.
Outside he cultivated a morose and forbidding manner, and went his
solitary way as if he scorned society. Whether this unsociability was
due to homesickness or sensitiveness or a naturally ugly disposition,
Rob was for a considerable time in doubt. He was at first inclined
to charge it up against homesickness, feeling himself for a time the
forlornness of his exile from the home circle, and the burden of his
independence. At the end of a fortnight, however, when all trace of
discontent had vanished from Owen's mind, Payner remained as sour and
taciturn as ever. Rob next ascribed the fellow's conduct to shyness,
and put himself to some inconvenience to show himself friendly. All to
no purpose; Payner's only salutation was still a niggardly nod of the
head and a scowl. He then tried to make a call on pretence of borrowing
a book; Payner merely projected his head through the partly opened door
and remarked that he had no books to lend. Thus repeatedly discouraged,
Rob gave up his benevolent attempts in disgust; the fellow was too
disagreeable to waste a thought upon!

With Lindsay he got on much better, though as the football season
advanced the senior became more and more absorbed in the work of the
eleven, and had less time for incidental acquaintances. Lindsay's
visitors especially interested the newcomer; they were such important
characters in the school that he soon came to know them by sight,
though they, of course, had no interest in him. Among them were Ware,
the manager of the eleven, Hendry, a football player, and big, serious
Laughlin, the captain of the team, who appeared but occasionally in
the dormitory until near the end of the season, when the conferences
in Lindsay's room became frequent. Of the non-football players no
one seemed to Owen more wholly desirable as a friend than Poole, the
captain of the nine. He was a straight, dark, wiry fellow of average
height and weight, with an open face and an air of quiet confidence and
simple honesty and unaffected common sense combined visibly with energy
and principle. According to Lindsay, Poole possessed all the admirable
qualities except brilliancy. Being but a fair scholar and compelled
to work hard for whatever he learned, his classroom performances were
not extraordinary and he was not distinguished either as a speaker or
as a writer. At the first school meeting, however, Owen learned that
Poole's utterances, though lacking in finish, were listened to with
greater respect than those of almost any one else; and in all the
sub-surface carping and criticism, which is as prevalent in the school
world as elsewhere, Poole was more often spared than other conspicuous
characters.

"I hear you are a catcher," said the captain one morning, about a
fortnight after the opening of school.

"Yes, I've caught a little," replied Owen, modestly. "How did you find
that out?"

"Why, your friend Carle told me. He says he has pitched a good deal. Is
he good?"

"He's all right!" Owen made haste to say in the hopelessly vague, yet
emphatic phrase of the day. "He's the best pitcher of his age I've
ever seen! He's got speed, curves, and fine control. He's had a lot of
experience, too."

Poole's expressive face beamed with delight. A man who could really
pitch and had had good experience was just what he was on the lookout
for. In a moment, however, the radiance had passed away and a dubious
shade settled into its place. Terryville High School and the famous
Seaton Academy were two very different places. Poole had known other
much-vaunted performers on high school teams who had not "made good" on
the Seaton field. It was a question of standard of play.

"What kind of teams has he faced?" he asked, with doubt showing in both
countenance and voice.

Owen understood very well the suspicion that lay behind the question.
"Good ones, some of them, and some poor," he answered dryly, smothering
the sharp retort that sprang to his lips. "We played other nines
besides the high schools. Carle had as good coaching as any young
fellow can get. Mike McLennan of the - - 's has had him in hand for
several years."

Poole caught his breath, and his eyes danced with joy. A pitcher
coached by the famous professional whose name appeared as often in
the newspapers, if not as honorably, as that of President Eliot or a
member of the cabinet! Here was a find indeed! But suddenly a horrible
suspicion laid hold of him. He seized Owen by the arm and swung him
round so as to bring his face close to his own. "Tell me straight
now," he demanded with an earnestness that was almost stern, and
looking squarely into Owen's eyes. "I want the truth right now and all
the truth. Is his record clear? Has he ever been paid for pitching,
directly or indirectly, or been hired by hotels to play summer ball, or
been given expense money in a lump so that he could clear a margin - or
done anything of the sort? If he's got anything in his record against
him, or if he's the least bit crooked or shady, I want to know it
before I tackle him. We can't have any questionable men on our teams."

Rob's first impulse was to be angry, his second to laugh aloud; but
Poole's earnestness was contagious, and his own second thoughts assured
him that the captain's suspicion was natural and his object wholly
praiseworthy. Rob had seen something of the malodorous borderland that
lies between amateur and professional. McLennan's vulgarity he could
put up with, because of McLennan's marvellous skill in his business.
But the third-rater and the semi-professional, who represents a fair
laborer or mechanic eternally spoiled to make a poor ball player,
and in whom is the essence of all that is lowest and most evil in
athletic associations, he viewed with unwavering contempt. So it was
with cordiality and inward approval that he looked directly back into
Poole's dark, fiercely shining eyes and answered confidently:

"His record's as clear as yours. He's had chances to play for money and
refused them. McLennan advised him to keep clear of it until he was
through school."

Poole dropped his arm. "I'm mighty glad to hear that. Of course we
shall have to look him up, but what you say reassures me. You used to
catch him, didn't you?"

"Yes, usually," replied Owen.

"We've got a good catcher now," said the captain, "but we want good men
for other positions. Did you ever play in the infield?"

"Not much," answered Owen.

"Well, you must come out and try for the nine anyway," concluded the
captain, turning away. "There'll be chance enough for any one who knows
the game and can hit the ball."

Owen had an attack of homesickness after that interview which he found
some difficulty in shaking off. The Terryville battery had always


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