Lester Chadwick.

Baseball Joe in the Central League; or, Making Good as a Professional Pitcher online

. (page 12 of 12)
Online LibraryLester ChadwickBaseball Joe in the Central League; or, Making Good as a Professional Pitcher → online text (page 12 of 12)
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chance in that! Oh, for a rain!"

"Why?" asked Jimmie Mack, as they walked off the field.

"To give Joe a chance to rest up. He needs it."

And the rain came. It lasted for two days, and a third one had to pass
to let the grounds at Washburg dry up. It had been decided to play
off the tie there, for the diamond was a fine one, and Washburg was
centrally located, insuring a big attendance.

"We should have arranged this series to be the best three out of five in
the beginning," said Gregory. "We'll know better next time. There's too
much uncertainty in a three out of four - it practically means five games
anyhow."

Reggie and Mabel saw every contest, and announced their intention of
going to Washburg for the last. At least Mabel did, and Reggie could do
no less than take her.

The rest had done Joe good, though of course it had also allowed his
opponents to recuperate. Joe felt fit to play the game of his life.

The grandstands were filled - the bleachers overflowed - the band
played - the crowds yelled and cheered. There was a riot of
color - represented by ladies' hats and dresses; there was a forest of
darkness - represented by the more sober clothes of the men. It was the
day of the final game.

"Play ball!" called the umpire, and Joe went to the mound, for Pittston
had been lucky in the toss-up and could bat last.

Joe hardly knew whether he was more elated over his own chance of
shining in this deciding game or over the fact that Pop Dutton was
playing. The old pitcher had improved wonderfully, and Gregory said, was
almost "big league stuff" again. So he had been put in centre field. His
batting, too, was a bulwark for Pittston.

Just before the game Joe had received a letter from home, telling him
news that disconcerted him a little. It was to the effect that an
operation would be necessary to restore his father's sight. It was
almost certain to be successful, however, for a noted surgeon, who had
saved many by his skill, would perform it. But the cost would be heavy.

"So I've just got to win this game; to make my share of the money
bigger," Joe murmured. "I'll need every cent of it for dad - and Pop."

The winner of the pennant, naturally, would receive the larger share of
the gate money, and each man on the winning team, the manager had
promised, was to have his proportion.

"We've just got to win!" repeated Joe.

It was a desperately fought battle from the very start. Joe found
himself a trifle nervous at first, but he pulled himself together and
then began such a pitching battle as is seldom seen.

For five innings the game went on without a hit, a run or an error on
either side. It was almost machine-perfect baseball, and it was a
question of which pitcher would break first. Joe faced batter after
batter with the coolness of a veteran. Little "no count" flies were all
he was hit for, not a man getting to first.

There came a break in the sixth. How it happened Joe never knew, but he
hit the batter, who went to first, and a runner had to be substituted
for him. Naturally this made Joe nervous and he was not himself. Then
one of the Clevefield players knocked a home run, bringing in the man
from first, and there were two runs against none for Pittston, and only
one man out.

Then, if ever, was a crucial moment for Joe. Many young pitchers would
have gone to pieces under the strain, but by a supreme effort, Joe got
back his nerve. The crowd, always ready to be unfriendly when it sees a
pitcher wavering, hooted and howled. Joe only smiled - and struck out
the next man - and the next. He had stopped a winning streak in the nick
of time.

"Get some runs, boys! Get some runs!" pleaded Gregory, and his men got
them. They got three, enough to put them one ahead, and then Joe knew he
must work hard to hold the narrow margin so hardly won.

"I've got to do it! I've just got to do it!" he told himself. "I want to
win this game so I'll have money enough for dad - and Pop! I'm going to
do it!"

And do it he did. How he did it is history now, but it is history that
will never be forgotten in the towns of that league. For Joe did not
allow another hit that game. He worked himself to the limit, facing
veteran batters with a smile of confidence, sending in a deadly
cross-fire with his famous fade-away until the last tally was told, and
the score stood:

PITTSTON 3
CLEVEFIELD 2

When the last batter had gone down to defeat in the first half of the
ninth Joe drew off his glove, and, oblivious to the plaudits of the
crowd and his own mates, hurried to the dressing rooms.

"Where are you going?" cried Charlie Hall. "They're howling for you.
They want to see you - hear you talk."

Joe could hear the voices screaming:

"Speech! Speech! Speech, Matson! Baseball Joe!"

"I just can't! I'm all in, Charlie. Tell them," pleaded Joe. "I want to
send a telegram home, telling the folks that I'll be with them when
dad's operated on. I can't make a speech!"

Charlie told the crowd, and Joe was cheered louder than before.

And so ended the race for the pennant of the Central League, with
Pittston the winner.

As Joe walked off the field, on his way to the telegraph office, being
cheered again and again, while he made his way through the crowd, a
keen-faced man looked critically at him.

"I guess you're going to be mine," he said. "I think we'll have to draft
you."

"What's that?" asked Pop Dutton, who recognized the man as a well-known
scout, on the lookout for promising players.

"Oh, nothing," answered the keen-faced one, with a laugh. Pop laughed
also, but it was a laugh of understanding.

And what it meant - and what the man's remark meant to Joe, may be learned
by reading the next volume of this series, to be called: "Baseball Joe in
the Big League; Or, a Young Pitcher's Hardest Struggles."

Joe hurried home that night, stopping only to say good-bye to Mabel,
and promising to come and see her as soon as he could. The operation on
Mr. Matson was highly successful. It cost a large sum, and as his father
had no money to pay for it, Joe used much of the extra cash that came to
him as his share in the pennant series. Had his team not won he would
hardly have had enough.

But there was enough to spare for the simple operation on Pop Dutton's
arm.

"Joe, I hate to have you spend your money this way - on me," objected the
grizzled veteran of many diamonds. "It doesn't seem right."

"Oh, play ball!" cried Joe, gaily. "You can pay me back, if you want to,
you old duffer, when you get into a bigger league than the Central, and
are earning a good salary."

"I will!" cried Pop, enthusiastically. "For I know I'm good for some
years yet. I have 'come back,' thanks to you, Joe."

They clasped hands silently - the young pitcher at the start of his
brilliant career, and the old one, whose day was almost done.

Pop's operation was successful, and he went South for the Winter, there,
in company with an old friend, to gradually work up into his old form.
Hogan seemed to have vanished, but Reggie got all the pawned jewelry
back. The Pittston players, in common with the others in the league
teams, went their several ways to their Winter occupations, there to
remain until Spring should again make green the grass of the diamond.

"Oh, Joe!" exclaimed Mrs. Matson, with trembling voice, when it was
certain her husband would see again, "how much we owe to you, my son."

"You owe more to baseball," laughed Joe.

Clara came in with a letter.

"This is for you, Joe," she said, adding mischievously:

"It seems to be from a girl, and it's postmarked Goldsboro, North
Carolina. Who do you know down there?"

"Give me that letter, Sis!" cried Joe, blushing.

And while he is perusing the missive, the writer of which you can
possibly name, we will, for a time, take leave of Baseball Joe.


THE END




THE BASEBALL JOE SERIES

By LESTER CHADWICK

_12mo. Illustrated. Price 50 cents per volume._

_Postage 10 cents additional._


[Illustration]

1. BASEBALL JOE OF THE SILVER STARS
_or The Rivals of Riverside_

2. BASEBALL JOE ON THE SCHOOL NINE
_or Pitching for the Blue Banner_

3. BASEBALL JOE AT YALE
_or Pitching for the College Championship_

4. BASEBALL JOE IN THE CENTRAL LEAGUE
_or Making Good as a Professional Pitcher_

5. BASEBALL JOE IN THE BIG LEAGUE
_or A Young Pitcher's Hardest Struggles_

6. BASEBALL JOE ON THE GIANTS
_or Making Good as a Twirler in the Metropolis_

7. BASEBALL JOE IN THE WORLD SERIES
_or Pitching for the Championship_

8. BASEBALL JOE AROUND THE WORLD
_or Pitching on a Grand Tour_

9. BASEBALL JOE: HOME RUN KING
_or The Greatest Pitcher and Batter on Record_

10. BASEBALL JOE SAVING THE LEAGUE
_or Breaking Up a Great Conspiracy_

11. BASEBALL JOE CAPTAIN OF THE TEAM
_or Bitter Struggles on the Diamond_

12. BASEBALL JOE CHAMPION OF THE LEAGUE
_or The Record that was Worth While_

13. BASEBALL JOE CLUB OWNER
_or Putting the Home Town on the Map_

14. BASEBALL JOE PITCHING WIZARD
_or Triumphs Off and On the Diamond_


_Send for Our Free Illustrated Catalogue._

CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, Publishers New York




THE BOMBA BOOKS

By ROY ROCKWOOD


_12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. With colored jacket._

_Price 50 cents per volume._

_Postage 10 cents additional._


[Illustration]

_Bomba lived far back in the jungles of the Amazon with a half-demented
naturalist who told the lad nothing of his past. The jungle boy was a
lover of birds, and hunted animals with a bow and arrow and his trusty
machete. He had a primitive education in some things, and his daring
adventures will be followed with breathless interest by thousands._

1. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY
_or The Old Naturalist's Secret_

2. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AT THE MOVING MOUNTAIN
_or The Mystery of the Caves of Fire_

3. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AT THE GIANT CATARACT
_or Chief Nasconora and His Captives_

4. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY ON JAGUAR ISLAND
_or Adrift on the River of Mystery_

5. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY IN THE ABANDONED CITY
_or A Treasure Ten Thousand Years Old_

6. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY ON TERROR TRAIL
_or The Mysterious Men from the Sky_

7. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY IN THE SWAMP OF DEATH
_or The Sacred Alligators of Abarago_

8. BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AMONG THE SLAVES
_or Daring Adventures in the Valley of Skulls_


_Send for Our Free Illustrated Catalogue._

CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY, Publishers New York




* * * * *




Transcriber's note:

- Printer, punctuation and spelling inaccuracies were silently
corrected, except as noted below.

- Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

- Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

- Author's em-dash style has been preserved.

- Changed "Rocky-ford" (p. 17) to "Rocky Ford", the Resolutes ball
team's home town, for consistency with previous and subsequent
books in the series.



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Online LibraryLester ChadwickBaseball Joe in the Central League; or, Making Good as a Professional Pitcher → online text (page 12 of 12)