Lester Chadwick.

Baseball Joe in the world series; or, Pitching for the championship online

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couldn't possibly get a train then that would land
him in New York in time for the game."

"It might work," reflected Connelly. "It's
worth trying, anyhow, unless we think of some-
thing better. But it's going to take a good deal
of neat work to carry it through."

"It will," admitted Fleming. "And it's going
to be all the harder because he'll probably be on
his guard after what nearly happened to him the
other night. But I think it can be done. The first
thing is to get the services of half a dozen men
that can be trusted to do just as they are told. Do
you know of such a bunch that you can lay your
hands on?"

"Moriarity does," replied Connelly, referring
to the henchman whom Fleming had been intro-



192 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

,duced to on the occasion of his first meeting with
jConnelly. "He knows the tough side of Boston
jlike a book. He could get us just the gang we
t need in less than no time."

"That's good," commented Fleming. "I'd get
him busy at once."

1 "Sure thing," confirmed Connelly. "And now
let's get down to the fine points. We don't want
to have any slip up this time."

What followed was almost in whispers.



CHAPTER XXV

A RANDOM CLUE

Mr. Beckworth Fleming would, no doubt,
kavelbeen interested in knowing that while he was
speaking of Joe in Boston the latter was discuss-
ing him in New York.

It was Reggie who had first brought in his
name, as he stood with Joe and Jim in the lobby
of the Marlborough, waiting for the others of the
party to come down on the way to the train.

"Funny thing happened to-day, don't you
know," he remarked. "Fellow sitting in the box
next to me at the grounds got to talking about an
auto accident that happened on Long Island a lit-
tle while ago."

Joe and Jim pricked up their ears.

"What did he say about it?" Joe asked eagerly.

"Why, I heard him say that it was the wildest
ride he had ever had, and that he'd been wonder-
ing ever since how they got through it without get-
ting pinched. Said that half the time the car was
going on two wheels. Once they knocked down a
man on the Merrick road, and they had come near

193



194 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

to smashing up a car they passed just before
that."

"That describes the accident to Anderson,"
broke in Jim.

"Yes, and don't you remember how near they
came to running into us just before that?" added
Joe. "But did you get any clue as to who the fel-
lows were?"

"I didn't hear any full names," replied Reggie,
"but several times the man who was telling the
story referred to the reckless driving of 'old
Beck,' whoever that might have been."

"Beck, Beck," mused Jim. "That isn't much of
a hint. The directory is full of Becks."

A thought suddenly came to Joe.

"Fleming's first name is Beckworth, isn't it?"
he asked Reggie.

"Yes," replied Reggie.

"And wouldn't it be natural for his cronies to
speak of him as Beck?" Joe went on.

"Sure," said Reggie. "As a matter of fact,
I've often heard them refer to him in that
way."

"And he's known as a reckless driver, isn't he?"
asked Joe, going back in memory to the way in
which Fleming had handled the car on that memor-
able afternoon when he had rescued Mabel from
his clutches.

"Yes," Reggie responded. "In fact, he seems



A RANDOM CLUE 195

to take a sort of pride in it. I've often heard him
tell how often he had been arrested for speeding."

"It begins to look as though he might have
been mixed up in that Anderson affair," mused
Jim,

"Yes, but that's a mighty slender basis to go
on," answered Joe. "Of course he'd deny it, and
we couldn't prove it if we had nothing to back it
up with."

"By Jove !" exclaimed Reggie. "Now that you
come to speak of it, I remember catching sight of
Fleming at the Long Beach Hotel when we were
dining there. He was sitting at a table in the fur-
ther corner of the room. I thought of going over
to speak to him, but I noticed that he was with a
pretty noisy party, and as the girls were with us
I passed it up."

"Well, now, that's something more like proof !"
exclaimed Joe, with animation. "That brings him
near the scene of the accident on the day it hap-
pened. He's a reckless driver and his pals often
spoke of him as 'old Beck.' I believe he was the
fellow that knocked the old man down."

"It looks like it," agreed Jim, "and from what
we've learned of the fellow since, I think he's just
the kind that would go on without trying to help
or stopping to see what he had done. But even
now we haven't anything that would convince a
jury."



196 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

"No," agreed Reggie. "Moral proof isn't
legal proof by a long shot. The one thing we need
to clinch the matter is the number of the car that
held the party."

"What a pity we didn't get it," fumed Joe.

"We weren't to blame for that," replied Reggie.
"They were going so fast and raising such a cloud
of dust that we couldn't see it. That is, we didn't
get it in full. Seems to me, though, that I heard
you say something, Joe, about some numbers that
you caught sight of."

"That's so," confirmed Jim. "What were they,
Joe? Do you remember?"

"There was a seven and a four," answered Joe.
"But I couldn't be sure that they were next to each
other. There may have been another figure in
between. And anyway, as there were probably
five or six figures in the whole number, that isn't
very much to go on."

"I tell you what," cried Jim, eagerly. "Every
car is registered in the State Registry Bureau, isn't
it?"

"Yes," answered Reggie. "Mine is, I know.
They put down the name of the man when they
give him his number."

"Exactly!" returned Jim. "What's the matter
then with our making inquiries at the proper de-
partment and finding the number of the car that is
registered as owned by Beckworth Fleming?"



A RANDOM CLUE 197

"The very thing," assented Reggie. "But when
we find it, what then?"

"Nothing, perhaps," Jim admitted. "And then,
on the other hand, it may mean a great deal. Sup-
pose, for instance, the number has a seven and a
four in it?"

"That would certainly bring it much closer to
Fleming," observed Joe, thoughtfully, "and it
would make us that much surer in our own minds
that he's the man in question. But it would still
fall far short of legal proof."

"Bother legal proof!" snapped Jim. "The one
point is that all these things taken together would
make us feel so sure that we were on the right
track that we'd feel justified in accusing Fleming
to his face of having done it."

"I see !" exclaimed Joe, his eyes kindling. "You
mean to put up a great big bluff and try to catch
him off his guard."

"That's what," agreed Jim. "Trust to his
guilty conscience. He knows whether he did it or
not, and he won't be sure how much we know. If
we act as if we were sure we have him dead to
rights, he may give himself away. Try to explain
or excuse it and in that way admit it. At any rate,
it seems to me it might be worth trying. We can't
lose and we may win."

"By Jove!" exclaimed Reggie. I believe it
might work."



198 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

"It's a dandy idea," approved Joe, warmly.

"It would do me a whole lot of good to make
him come across handsomely to Anderson," said
Jim. "The old man needs money badly, and Flem-
ing has a good deal more than is good for him.
And he can consider himself mighty lucky if he
gets off with only a money payment."

"Well, whatever we do in that line, we'll have
to do right away," remarked Joe. "To-morrow's
the last day we'll be in Boston, and I'd like to fix
up the matter at once. Anderson we know is there
and Fleming probably will be, too."

"I wish we'd known of this earlier," remarked
Jim. "Of course all the official departments are
closed by this time."

"Yes," said Joe, "but I'll tell you what we'll do.
We'll ask Belden here at the desk to look up the
matter for us the first thing to-morrow morning.
He can find out the number and call me up on the
long distance 'phone to Boston. We ought to
know all about it as early as ten o'clock."

"The very thing," said Jim.

Joe went over to the hotel desk, where Belden,
the night clerk, had just come on duty. He was a
warm admirer of Baseball Joe, and, like everybody
in New York just then, was happy to do anything
he could for the famous pitcher of the Giants.

"Mr. Belden," Joe began, "I want to ask a
favor of you."



A RANDOM CLUE 199

"Only too glad, Mr. Matson," replied the clerk,
his face wreathed in smiles. "What is it?"

"I'd like you to call up the city office of the
State Registry Bureau, Broadway and Seventy-
fourth Street, early in the morning," said Joe,
"and find out the number of the car owned by a
Mr. Beckworth Fleming. Then I'd like to have
you call me up on the long distance 'phone, of
course at my expense, and let me know what it is.
If you'll do this for me I'll be greatly obliged."

The clerk made a note of the name and also of
the hotel where Joe would stay in Boston.

"I'll do it without fail, Mr. Matson. You can
depend upon me."

Joe thanked him and returned to his party,
which had now been joined by Mr. and Mrs. Mat-
son and the girls. A couple of taxicabs were
pressed into service, and they were carried to the
Grand Central Terminal where they embarked on
the last trip that was to be made to Boston dur-
ing the Series.

"What with the game to-morrow and perhaps
this Fleming matter on our program, I imagine
we're going to have our hands full," Jim remarked
in an aside to his friend.

"Yes," laughed Joe, "it looks like a busy day."

But just how busy a day it was destined to be
it would have startled him to learn.



CHAPTER XXVI

A BLUFF THAT WORKED

Every member of Baseball Joe's little party
had by this time become thoroughly acquainted
with every other, and they formed a very congenial
group.

Mr. and Mrs. Matson, as Joe had predicted
when he had sent on for them to come, were hav-
ing the time of their lives. The great world had
opened up its treasures for them after the long
years they had spent in their quiet village, and
they were enjoying it to the full. And their de-
light in the new vista opened up was, of course,
immeasurably increased by their pride in Joe and
his achievements so far in the World Series.

Mabel, too, had taken them right into her heart
and had won their affection from the start. They
could easily see how things stood with her and
Joe and were eagerly ready to welcome her into a
closer relation.

Reggie was full of life and good-nature, and his
knowledge of city life made him invaluable as a
guide and companion. As for Clara, she was in

200



A BLUFF THAT WORKED 201

a perpetual flutter of happiness. Was she not with
her idolized brother? Was she not tasting the
delights of a broader life that she had often read
of and longed for but scarcely dreamed of seeing?
And had not that handsome Mr. Barclay shown
himself a devoted and perfect cavalier? Could
any girl barely out of her teens possibly ask for
more?

So it was a happy party that laughed and
chatted as the train sped through the night toward
Boston.

"Our last trip to Boston, for a while at least,"
smiled Mabel.

"I wonder whether the Series will be settled
there or at the Polo Grounds," remarked Clara.
"It would be glorious if when we come back to-
morrow night the Giants should have won the
Series."

"Well, we have two chances to the Bostons'
one, anyway," observed Jim. "They must win
to-morrow or they're goners. We can lose to-
morrow and still have a chance."

"A chance!" objected Clara. "You ought to
say a certainty."

"Fve learned already that there's nothing cer-
tain in baseball," laughed Jim.

"But Joe will be pitching that last game," re-
turned Clara, as though that settled the question.

Joe laughed.



202 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

"I wish I could make the Red Sox feel as sure
of that as you do, Sis. If they did, they'd quit
right at the start."

"Well, they might as well, anyway," declared
Clara, with assured conviction.

"What is this I see in the paper about a tour
of the world after the Series is over?" asked Mr.
Matson.

"Why, there's nothing very definite as yet,"
answered Joe. "McRae has been giving some
thought to the matter, I believe. If we win the
Series, we could go with the prestige of being the
champions of the world, which would be a big ad-
vertisement. Mac could easily get up another
team composed of crack players which could be
called the All National or the All America Nine.
Then the two teams could travel together and give
exhibition games in most of the big cities of the
world."

"Would there be much money in it?" asked Reg-
gie.

"Oh, probably not so much, after all the ex-
penses were taken out," Joe answered. "Possibly
there might be a thousand dollars for each player.
Some of the trips have panned out as much
as that."

"Then this isn't entirely a new idea," remarked
Joe's father.

"Oh, no," replied his son. "It's been done be-



A BLUFF THAT WORKED 203

fore. The boys have always drawn big crowds
and aroused a good deal of interest."

u And they'd do that to-day more than ever,"
put in Jim. "Baseball is no longer simply an
American game but a world game. You'll find
crack teams even in Japan and China."

"It would be a wonderful experience," re-
marked Reggie.

"You bet it would!" exclaimed Joe, enthusias-
tically. "Think of playing ball in sight of the
Pyramids! We'd take in all the great cities of
Asia and Europe and some in Africa. It would
be a liberal education. And instead of spending
money in making a tour of the world, we'd be paid
for taking it."

"Rather soft, I call it," laughed Jim.

"How long would the party be gone?" asked
gentle Mrs. Matson, who was somewhat alarmed
by the prospect of her boy being separated from
her by the width of the globe.

"Oh, not more than five months or so," Joe re-
plied. "The boys couldn't very well get started
much before the first of November, and they'd
have to be back for spring training."

"They won't need much training, I imagine,"
remarked Jim. "They'll have been playing while
the other fellows have been loafing. They ought
to be in first class shape to begin the season."

"Of course," observed Joe; "it isn't a dead sure



204 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

thing that we'll go, even if we win the Series. And
if we lose, it's dollars to doughnuts that Mac will
call the whole thing off."

It was getting rather late, and Joe and Jim said
good-night to the others and sought their berths.

They were up and abroad earlier than usual
the next morning, for the matter of the automobile
accident promised to engross all the time they
could spare from the game.

Reggie was able to find out for them the place
at which Fleming was putting up in Boston. Hav-
ing ascertained from the clerk that he was still
staying there, the next thing was to get hold of
Louis Anderson.

Jim hurried up to the address the old man had
given them. It was in a humble neighborhood,
but the three rooms in which Anderson and his
wife were living were neat and clean.

Jim did not want to raise false hopes, in the
light of the imperfect information he had. So he
told Anderson that he thought he had a clue,
though he was not at all sure, as to the men who
had run him down.

"Do you think you would be able to recognize
the man who was driving, if you should see him?'*
Jim inquired.

"I'm sure I could," answe**^ Anderson. "He
was on the side nearest me and I got a good look
at his face just as the car bore down on me."



A BLUFF THAT WORKED 205

"That's good," replied Jim. "Now if you'll
get ready and jump in with me, we'll go down to
where Mr. Matson is."

The old man complied eagerly, and they were
soon on their way down town.

Joe, in the meantime, had hovered in the vicinity
of the telephone, waiting impatiently for the long
distance call.

Shortly after nine o'clock it came.

"Is this Mr. Matson?" the voice inquired.
"Good morning, Mr. Matson. This is Belden
talking. I called up just now at the registry office
and found that the number of Mr. Beckwortb
Fleming's car is 36754. Did you get that?
3-6-7-5-4. Yes, that's it. Not at all, Mr. Matson.
Don't mention it. Glad to be of service. Hope
you win to-day. Good-bye."

Joe stared at the number that he had jotted
down as Belden had called it off. 36754. There
were the two figures, 7 and 4, the 7 coming first
as he remembered.

It was not proof. But it was corroboration,
enough, anyway, to justify the audacious bluff that
he had in mind.

Jim returned shortly afterward with Louis An-
derson, who greeted Joe, gratefully.

"It's an awful lot of trouble you two young men
are putting yourselves to for me," he declared in.
a grateful voice.



206 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

"That's all right," returned Joe. "It was a das-
tardly thing that was done to you, and the man
who did it has got to pay for it if we can make
him. But you mustn't build your hopes too high.
We've only probabilities to go on instead of cer-



tainties."



They stepped into the taxicab which Jim had
retained, and were soon at the Albemarle where
Fleming was stopping.

"Suppose he refuses to receive us when the
clerk sends up your card," asked Jim. "You can't
very well force your way into his rooms."

"There isn't going to be any card," replied Joe.
"Reggie gave me the number of his suite and we'll
just go up in the elevator without being an-
nounced."

"But he may slam the door in your face when
he sees who it is," Jim remarked.

"I've got a pretty capable foot," grinned Joe,
"and I guess I can keep the door from being shut."

They got off at the fourth floor and walked
along the corridor till they reached the number
for which they were looking.

Fleming was already engaged with a visitor.
He and Big Connelly were in earnest conversation
when Joe rapped on the door. Fleming looked up-
with some irritation at being interrupted.

"What does that clerk mean by not announcing
a caller?" he growled.



A BLUFF THAT WORKED 207

"I'll just step into the bedroom while you see
who it is," said Connelly, tiptoeing into the ad-
joining room.

Fleming went to the door and opened it. He
started back in surprise and alarm when he saw
Joe's face. Then with a snarl he started to slam
the door, but Joe thrust his foot between the door
and the jamb. Then he gave a push with his
brawny shoulder and the next moment he and his
companions were in the room. Jim coolly shut the
door and stood with his back to it.

"What does this mean?" shouted Fleming, al-
most stuttering with rage. "Get out of here this
minute or I'll have you thrown out."

"No, you won't," replied Joe, coolly. "I've got
a little business with you, Fleming, and I don't
go out till it's finished."

Before the cold gleam in his eye, Fleming shrank
back.

"If you attempt any violence " he began in

a voice that trembled.

"There isn't going to be any violence unless you
make it necessary," Joe interrupted. "Though I
ought to give you another thrashing for that trap
you laid for me the other night."

"I don't know what you mean," growled Flem-
ing, sullenly.

Oh, yes you do. But we'll let that go. I came
here this morning to tell you that we've identified



208 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

you as the driver of the car that ran this man down
on the Merrick Road and then went on without
stopping to see how badly he was hurt."

The accusation was so sudden, so positive, so di-
rect, that, as Joe had hoped, it took Fleming fairly
off his feet. He stood staring wildly at the group,
his face an image of guilt. Then he tried to rally.

"It's false!" he shouted. "I didn't do anything
of the kind."

"No use of lying, Fleming," said Joe, coldly.
"We've got the goods on you."

"He's the man!" cried Louis Anderson, excit-
edly. "He had a cap on then, and his face was
red, as though he was drunk, but he's the same
man. I could swear to him."

"You're crazy," snarled Fleming. "I wasn't on
Long Island that day."

"Didn't you have dinner at the Long Beach
Hotel that day, eh?" asked Joe.

"N-no," Fleming denied, avoiding Joe's eyes.

"Yes, you did," declared Joe, sternly. "And
afterward you nearly crashed into the machine I
was in. I saw you hit this man. I looked for the
number on your car. The number of that car is
36754. Ever heard those figures before, Flem-
ing?"

His eyes were like cold steel now and seemed to
be boring Fleming through and through. He
seemed so sure of his facts, so unwavering and re-



A BLUFF THAT WORKED 209

lentless, that Fleming crumpled up. The arrow
shot at a venture had reached its mark.

"It was the old fool's own fault," he growled,
casting aside all further pretence of denial. "If
he hadn't run in front of the machine he wouldn't
have got hurt."

"It wasn't so," cried Anderson. "You were
swerving all over the road. Your crowd was
shouting and singing. You didn't blow your horn.
You were half drunk. And after you hit me you
didn't stop."

"We're his witnesses," said Joe. "And I don't
think he'd have any trouble in getting heavy dam-
ages from a jury."

"Let him try it," snarled Fleming. "I've got
more money than he has and I'll fight the case
through every court. He'll die of old age before
he ever gets a cent from me."

"Oh, I don't think so," remarked Joe, care-
lessly. "I don't suppose you'd care to go to jail
now, would you, Fleming?"

"It isn't a question of jail," replied Fleming.

"Oh, yes it is," rejoined Joe. "You may not
know that a law has been passed making it a prison
offense in New York State to run away after
knocking a man down with an auto and not stop
to see what you can do for him."

"I don't believe it," said Fleming, going white.

"I know what I'm talking about," answered Joe,



210 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

in a voice that carried conviction. "You'd better
come to your senses, Fleming. We've got you
dead to rights. You ran this man down. You've
admitted it. You ran away without stopping.
Half a dozen of us saw you do it. Nothing can
save you from going behind the bars if the mat-
ter is pressed. You'll do the right thing by this
man, or I'll see that you're arrested the minute you
set foot in New York."

"What do you mean by the square thing?" asked
Fleming, who now was thoroughly wilted.

"We're not unreasonable," said Joe. "You
came within an ace of killing this man. He had
to go to a hospital. At his age he'll feel the ef-
fect of the shock as long as he lives. It will prob-
ably shorten his life. A jury under those circum-
stances would certainly give him several thousand
dollars. I think you ought to give him at least
two thousand. Will that be satisfactory, Mr. An-
derson?"

The old man nodded.

Fleming reflected a moment. Then he nodded
surlily.

"I'll do it," he muttered.

"And do it to-day, if you please," Joe went on
smoothly. "I want to know that this thing is
settled before I go back to New York. Write
down your address, Mr. Anderson, and Mr. Flem-
ing or his lawyer will be up to see you before night.



A BLUFF THAT WORKED 211

And I'll run up myself before I leave, to see
whether it has been done."

There was a threat in the last words that
warned Fleming against any attempt at evasion or
delay. The latter agreed with a nod of his head.

There was no pretence of a farewell that would
have been mere hypocrisy under the circumstances,
and without a word Baseball Joe's party left the
room, while Fleming stared after them with baf-
fled rage and hate in his eyes.

Once more in the taxicab, Anderson broke out
with a flood of thanks that Joe waved aside
lightly.

They drove around by way of his humble home
and left him there, and then went hurriedly down
to their hotel.

Left to themselves in the car, Jim and Joe
looked for a long time steadily at each other.
Then Jim burst out into a roar.

Joe grinned happily.

"Joe," cried Jim when his paroxysms had sub-
sided, "as a bluffer you're a wonder, a real won-
der!"



CHAPTER XXVII

STEALING SIGNALS

Fleming sat in his chair, limp and sprawling,
'after the departure of the trio who had burst in
on him so unexpectedly. So swept and exhausted
was he by the tide of emotions aroused by their
visit that he had forgotten all about the presence
of Connelly in the adjoining room, and only be-
came conscious of it when the fellow plumped him-
self down in the chair beside him.

"Some stormy session," he remarked, as he
lighted a fat, black cigar.

Fleming only growled in reply.

"Don't wonder that you feel sore," Connelly
'commented. "They certainly put the skids under
"you in great shape. That Matson is a bird and


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