Lester Chadwick.

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

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110 mistake."

"I'll get even with him yet," Fleming broke out
^tormily. "I won't let him crow over me. I won't
pay that money."

"Oh, yes, you will," returned Connelly, calmly.
"He's got you where the hair is short in that mat-
ter of the jail. It mightn't have been so bad if



you'd kept your nerve and denied everything. But
he got you so rattled that you admitted knocking
that fellow down and then the gravy was spilled."

"What was the use of keeping it up?" queried
Fleming. "He had the facts."

"Maybe he did," admitted Connelly, doubtfully,
"and then again he may have had only some half
facts and made a bluff at the rest. He's got nerve
enough to do it. I have to hand it to him. But
now you have admitted it, you'll have to pony up.
What's a couple of thousand to you, anyway?"

"It isn't so much the money," Fleming muttered
gloomily. "It's knowing that he got it out of me
and is probably laughing at me this minute."

"Let him laugh," said Connelly, with the philos-
ophy that it is so easy to use where others are con-
cerned. "We'll have our laugh later on. But
you want to get that money paid right away, be-
cause if we put over on Matson what we're plan-
ning, he'll be so furious that he'll send you to
jail sure. But if the thing is settled, he'll be help-

"Another thing, unless I'm very much mistaken,
Matson himself has given us a mighty valuable tip.
He's put a spoke in his own wheel."

"What do you mean?" asked Fleming.

"Didn't you hear him say that he was going
to run up to-night to that old man's house to see
whether you'd come across or not?"



"Well, where could we have a better chance for
pulling off our little game? It's probably a poor
neighborhood with the lights none too good and
where a scrap wouldn't attract much attention be-
cause it's a common thing. Moriarity and his
bunch could be on hand and the rest would be as
easy as taking a dead mouse from a blind kitten."

"By Jove, the very thing!" ejaculated Fleming,
a look of malevolent delight coming into his face.

"Sure it is," chuckled Connelly. "I'll get word
to Moriarity at once. In the meantime, you'd
better settle. Take in all you can of the neigh-
borhood while you're doing it."

"Even if Markwith wins this afternoon and so
ends the Series, I'd like to put this through on Mat-
son just the same," snarled Fleming, viciously.

"No we won't," declared Connelly, decidedly.
"I'm out to keep him from winning the Series and
nothing else. If Markwith wins, the game's up,
anyway, and the thing ends for me right there.
But if he loses I've got a chance, and I'll see that
Matson doesn't pitch the last game."

All Boston seemed to have turned out that
afternoon at Braves Field. The enormous seat-
ing accommodations were taxed to capacity. It
was the last chance the loyal Bostonians would
have to see their favorites in action. And the
fact that if they lost to-day their chance for the


world's pennant was gone brought the excitement
to a delirious pitch.

Landers was in the box for the Bostons while
Markwith twirled for the Giants. Before the
game had gone three innings it was seen that both
these gladiators were out to do or die. There was
an unusual number of strike outs and the bases
were occupied only at infrequent intervals. Up
to the fifth it was little more than a pitcher's duel.
But after that, though Landers kept his effective-
ness, the Red Sox began to get to Markwith more
frequently. It was not that the latter seemed to
have let down a particle. His speed and his curves
were working beautifully, but in a way almost
uncanny the Bostons seemed to know what kind
of ball was coming next and set themselves for it

In the sixth they gathered two runs. Burkett
had clouted out a home run for the Giants in
their half, but that left them still one short of a

Boston started the seventh with a rattling two-
bagger to center.

"I don't understand it," muttered McRae, un-
easily. "Markwith never seemed to be in better
shape. He's got a world of smoke."

"They seem to know just what he's going to
feed them," commented Robson. "It almost
looks "


He was interrupted by a sharp exclamation
from Joe.

"Look over there by the Boston dugout!" he
exclaimed excitedly. "There's Hartley just be-
hind the screen whispering to Banks. I'll bet that
skunk is giving away Markwith's signals !"

They looked in the direction indicated. Banks,
the Boston second string pitcher, was lolling care-
lessly against the railing of the grandstand, idly
chewing on a wisp of straw. Hartley's face be-
hind the screen was not two feet away from Banks'

As Markwith prepared to wind up for the next
pitch, Hartley leaned forward a trifle and his lips
moved. A glance and an almost imperceptible
sign passed between Banks and the man at the
plate. Then as a low incurve came sweeping up,
the batsman caught it square on the seam for a
line single to left.

"Great Scott!" cried McRae, leaping up from
the bench. "They're stealing our signals !"



McRae rushed over to the umpire.

"There's a fellow over there in the grandstand
giving away our signs," he stormed.

Cries of derision came from the stands.

"Hire a hall!"

"Write him a letter!"

"Play ball!"

The umpire called time and walked over with
McRae to where Banks was standing.

"Get away from there," he ordered.

"Why?" asked Banks, impudently.

"Never mind why. Get away I tell you."

There was nothing left but to obey and Banks
sauntered off.

"And as for you," said the umpire, addressing
Hartley, "if I see you talking to any of the play-
ers I'll have you put out of the park."

"You're a disgrace to the National League,"
cried McRae, glaring at Hartley, "and I'll see that
you get all that's coming to you for this bit of



"Aw, what's eating you?" retorted "Bugs" sul-
lenly. "I wasn't doing anything." But he seemed
to shrivel up before the rage in his former mana-
ger's eyes, and for the rest of the game obeyed the
umpire's injunction.

Markwith and Mylert, who was catching him,
instantly changed their signs and the Bostons
scored no more. But the damage was already
done, for Landers was doing some demon pitch-
ing, and the game ended with the score two to one
in favor of the Red Sox.

It was a hard game to lose, and Markwith re-
ceived nothing but condolence and sympathy from
his mates. He had pitched superbly and though
beaten was not disgraced.

"I wonder how much that traitor got for giving
away his own league," said Joe, bitterly.

"Probably just enough to fill up his wretched
skin with booze," returned Jim. "Fellows like him
come cheap."

"He won't get another chance," put in McRae,
angrily. "I'll have the stands searched to-mor-
row, and if he's there he'll be bundled out neck
and heels."

Once more the hard-won lead of the Giants had
vanished into thin air. But they took heart of
hope and braced up for the struggle on the mor-
row. They were to play on their own grounds and
Joe would be in the box.


All the members of Joe's party were boiling
over with indignation. If anything they took the
defeat harder than the players themselves, who
had learned in a hard school to take what was
coming to them and brace up for revenge.

"Well, to-morrow's a new day and what we'll
do to those fellows then will be a caution," Jim
declared philosophically.

Perhaps his cheerful view of things was in-
creased by the fact that Clara had promised to let
him take her for a cozy little spin to see Bunker
Hill Monument by moonlight. The moon just
then was in high favor with these two young peo-

It was arranged that the pair need not come
back to the hotel, but that Jim could bring Clara
directly to the train. Mr. Matson and Reggie
would escort the others.

Joe grudged every minute spent away from
Mabel and stayed with her as long as he could that
evening. But he had promised to drop in on Louis
Anderson to see that the arrangement with Flem-
ing had been carried out, and at last he left her
reluctantly, promising to see her again on the train
if only long enough to say good-night.

But though he was deprived of her physical
presence, his thoughts were full of her as he was
whisked away in the car he had summoned, and
the time passed so quickly that he was surprised


when the driver drew up in front of Anderson's

"Wait for me here," he directed as he stepped
out. "I'D only be a few minutes."
"Very well, sir," was the response.
Hardly had Joe gone inside when a man stepped
up to the curb.

"I want you to take me to the North Station,"
he said, preparing to step inside.

"Sorry, sir," was the answer, "but I'm waiting
for the fare I brought here."

"But I must get that train, I tell you," persisted
the other. "I'll pay you anything you want. Ten
dollars, fifteen even."
The driver was tempted.

"Make it twenty and I'll go," he said. I sup-
pose the gentleman can pick up another car."

"Sure he can," replied the other. "Twenty it
is. Get a move on, now."

He got inside and the car whizzed away.
Joe found Anderson and his wife radiant.
"He did it, Mr. Matson!" the old man cried.
"He grumbled a lot about having had to telegraph
on to New York to have his bank wire the cash
to him, but he did it. And I signed a paper giving
him a release of all claims against him. Oh, Mr.
Matson, we can never thank you enough for what
you have done for us."

His wife joined in his expressions of gratitude.


"Don't mention it," smiled Joe. "I only did
what any decent man would do to right a great
wrong. And you squared the account when you
gave me that warning the other day. I was just
on the point of stepping into a trap when I thought
of the warning and it saved me."

"Is that so?" cried Anderson, delightedly.
"I'm mighty glad if it helped you."

They chatted happily for a few minutes and
then, as his time was getting short, Joe took his
leave with their repeated thanks ringing in his

He was dumbfounded when he saw that the
taxicab was not there.

"Where in thunder is that fellow?" he asked
himself. "I suppose he's getting a nip in the near-
est saloon."

But when, after a minute or two spent in wait-
ing, no car appeared, Joe started for the nearest
thoroughfare, three short blocks away.

He was just passing the second corner when a
man stepped out of the shadows with something
in his hand.

"Hi, there, stop !"

"What do you want?" demanded Joe, trying
to make out the face in the darkness.

"I want you!" hissed the man.

He took a step closer and raised the object he
carried in his hand.


Joe tried to dodge, but it was too late.

There was a quick blow. Joe felt no sense of
pain. Rather it was a gradual sinking, sinking,
ten thousand fathoms deep !

Then the famous young baseball player be-
came unconscious.



Joe's father and mother, together with Mabel
and Reggie, had reached the station a few min-
utes before train time, and Clara and Jim, who
might be excused for tarrying, had joined them
a little later. They were somewhat puzzled at
not finding Joe on the platform.

"You folks get on anyway," suggested Jim.
"Probably Joe is up in the car with the team.
McRae may have nabbed him to have a talk with

After they were safely in their coach, Jim hur-
ried forward to the Giants' cars. He went
through both of them, but before he had finished
his search the gong rang and the train started.

"Seen anything of Joe?" he asked McRae.

"No," was the answer. "I suppose he's in the
car behind with his folks."

"But he isn't," replied Jim. "I thought I'd find
him here."

"What?" fairly yelled McRae, springing to his
feet. "You don't mean to say he's missed the



In an instant all was agitation.

The smoker was first searched, then every car
in the train from end to end, but, of course, Joe
was not to be found.

McRae and Robson were wild and the rest of
the team were glum.

"Of course, he can get that eight o'clock train
in the morning," was the only comfort McRae
would allow himself. "That will get him to the
grounds in time, but he won't be in good shape to
pitch right after the trip."

But Jim had reasons of his own for fear, and
a cold sweat broke out on him as he thought of
Fleming. But he put on as good a face as pos-
sible in order to reassure the girls and the rest of
Joe's party, who were torn with anxiety and ap-

It was broad daylight when Joe woke to a
sense of his surroundings. His head swam and
it was some time before he could recall the events
of the preceding night.

He was in a shabby room, sitting on the floor
against the wall with his hands tied behind him.
As his brain cleared he was conscious of a face
looking at him curiously. There was a sweet
sickly odor in the room.

"Waking up, eh?" asked Moriarty with a grin.

"You'll pay for this," said Joe, thickly.

Moriarty laughed.


"Now don't get sore," he counseled. "No-
body's going to hurt you. You'll be out of this in
a little while now. We're going to let you go just
as soon as the New York train has gone."

Joe tried to digest this. Why should they keep
him from getting the train for New York. Then
in a blinding flash his brain woke from its daze.

It was the day of the last game ! And he was
in Boston! And if he missed the morning train
he could not get to New York before the game
was over !

His heart turned sick. What would McRae
and the rest of the boys say? What would Mabel
and the folks think?

He pictured the consternation when he should
fail to turn up in time. The team would be de-
moralized. Whom would they pitch? Only Jim
was available and he had pitched two days before.
And he would be so full of worry over his friend
that he could not be at his best.

Was the World Series then to be lost? Was
the splendid fight the boys had put up to go for

"You only got a little tap on the head," Mo-
riarty was saying. "It was just enough to make
you quiet, and chloroform did the rest. We didn't
figure to be any rougher than we had to be."

Joe made no reply but he was thinking hard
and fast.


He tested the bonds that held his hands behind
him. They seemed tight but not excessively so.
Probably his captors had put most of their faith
in the chloroform.

With as little apparent exertion as possible, he
began to stretch and strain at them. His power-
ful wrists and hands seemed endowed with double
their ordinary strength and to his delight he could
feel the cords give.

Moriarty was alone with him, but Joe could
hear low voices in an adjoining room. One of
them he thought he recognized as Fleming's, and
his teeth gritted with rage.

At last he wriggled one hand free, although he
had rasped his wrist till he felt it was bleeding.
A moment more and he had freed his other hand,
though he still kept both behind him.

Moriarty was yawning after his night's vigil.

''What time is it now?" Joe muttered sleepily.

"Just a little after eight," Moriarty answered.
"The train's just about started now, but we'll let
you cool your heels here for another hour or so.
Then you can walk the ties if you want to."

"You've got me pretty well trussed up here,"
said Joe. "The fellow who tied these knots knew
his business."

"Yes," said Moriarty, complacently, strolling
over to look at them. "He's a dandy when it
comes to doing "


But he got no further.

As he bent down, Joe's muscular hands darted
out and clutched him by the throat. The yell he
started to give was stifled at its birth. In a mo-
ment Joe was on top of him with his Tcnee on his

Moriarty struggled as hard as he could, but his
liquor-soaked frame speedily collapsed before
Joe's onslaught, and in a moment he lay limp and
senseless. Then Joe flung him aside and rose to
his feet.

He rubbed his legs vigorously to restore the cir-
culation until he felt the strength coming back
into them.

There was but one door leading from the room.
Joe went to it on tiptoe. He could still hear the
murmur of voices. He flung the door open sud-
denly and burst into the adjoining room.

Fleming and Connelly sprang to their feet in
consternation. With a powerful uppercut, Joe
sent Felming crashing to the floor. Connelly re-
treated and Joe had no time to bother with him.

He flung himself down the stairs and out into
the street. Half a block away he saw a taxicab
coming toward him. He rushed toward it.

"To the South Station!" he gasped. "Quick!
Quick! Quick!"

In an amazingly short time, the taxicab, run-
ning at high speed, landed him at the depot. Joe


saw by the station clock that it was a quarter to

Frantically, he sought out the traffic manager
and ordered a special.

"I must be in New York by one o'clock," he
cried. "I must, I tell you. Never mind the price.
Get me a special."

The official hummed and hawed. It would take
a little time to make it up, to get a car. It
WO uld "

"Don't wait for a car," interrupted Joe, in
frenzy. "I'll ride on the locomotive."

In ten minutes the train despatcher had ar-
ranged for the right of way, and one of the road's
fastest locomotives puffed up. Joe sprang into the
cab, the engineer flung the throttle open and they
were off.

"Can you make it?" questioned our hero, anx-

"We'll make it or bust," was the grim response
of the engineer.

He was one of the oldest and most reliable men
on the road and as Joe looked at him he felt his
confidence rising.

Yet a good many miles lay between our hero
and New York City.

And a hundred things might happen to delay
the special.

On and on they went, humming over the steel


rails at such a rate of speed that Joe could scarcely
see the telegraph poles.

Suddenly the engineer pulled on a lever and
the big locomotive slackened speed so quickly that
our hero was all but thrown to the floor of the

"Wh — what's the matter ?" he gasped, when
he could catch his breath.

"Signal against us," was the short reply. "It's
O. K. now;" and once more the locomotive sped
on its way.

"Phew! you have to have your eyes open, don't

"That's it — just like you do, when you are
pitching," answered the old engineer.

"Some work, running a locomotive," mused the
young baseball player. "I guess an engineer
earns all the money he gets."

Half an hour later came another scare. Again
the locomotive pulled up, this time to allow an
automobile full of people to pass over the tracks.
An instant sooner and the big engine would have
ground the "joy riders" to death.

"Meet such fools almost every trip," said the
engineer. "Seems as if they wanted to be killed."

"Why don't you have gates at such crossings?"

"It would cost too much money to have a gate
at every crossing," was the explanation. "We do
have 'em on the main roads. That was only a


little dirt road — I don't know why the auto was
on it. I wasn't looking for anything faster than
a farm wagon or a buggy."

"You must have some accidents?"

"Oh, yes, but not many, considering the risks we
run. But we wouldn't have hardly any accidents
if the folks were a bit more careful. But some
of 'em don't heed the warnings. They will read
a 'Safety First' sign and then run right into dan-
ger, just as if they were blind," went on the old
engineer, with a grimace.

They were now on an upgrade, but presently
they gained the top of the rise and down they
streaked on the other side, at a rate of speed that
fairly took Joe's breath away.

"Some running, and no mistake!" he gasped.
"You must be making a mile a minute, or better !"

"Running at the rate of seventy-five miles an
hour. But we can't keep it up. Here is where
we slow down," and they did so, as a long curve
appeared in the tracks.

"I don't know as I want to be a locomotive
engineer. You run too fast."

"And I don't want to be a baseball player —
you pitch too fast," chuckled the old engineer.

"Well, everyone to his own calling, I suppose."

On they plunged in the wildest ride Baseball
Joe had ever known. Under arches and over
bridges, thundering through towns with scarcely


a lessening of speed, past waiting trains drawn up
on side tracks to give the special the right of way,
on, on, lurching, swaying, tearing along, until at
ten minutes before one the panting engine drew
up in the yards at New York City.

The game was to begin at two.

Baseball Joe leaped into a taxicab with orders
to scorch up the pavements in a mad dash to the
Polo Grounds. Then the clubhouse, into which
Joe tumbled, covered with grime and cinders, amid
the frantic exclamations of the rubbers and at-
tendants. Then the cooling shower and a quick
shift into his uniform, after which Joe, cool, col-
lected, thoroughly master of himself, strolled out
on the field where the whole Giant team forgot
their practice and made a wild rush for him.

He had fought a good fight. He had kept the



There was a mad scramble and Joe was almost
pulled to pieces by his relieved and exulting mates.
Then came a torrent of questions which Joe good-
naturedly parried.

"After the game, boys, I'll tell you all about
it," he said, "but just now I want to get a little
practice in tossing them over."

"Didn't I tell you that nothing could stop that
boy from getting here?" crowed Robson, gleefully.

"I thought so myself," answered McRae, "but
when they 'phoned up to me that he hadn't come
in on that regular morning train, I thought our
goose was cooked."

In some mysterious way, though McRae had
tried to keep it a profound secret, the news had
got abroad that something had occurred that
would keep Matson out of the game, and the
crowds that had put their chief reliance on that
mighty arm of his had been restless and fearful.
So when they recognized him the stands rocked
and thundered with applause, and the general re*



lief was not much less than that felt by the Giants
themselves at the return of their crack pitcher.

But it was toward an upper box that Joe's eyes
first turned. There was a wild flutter of handker-
chiefs and clapping of hands. Mabel and Clara
were leaning far out and waving to him. But
Mrs. Matson's face was hidden by her handker-
chief, and Joe saw his father quietly slip his arm
around her. Joe did not dare to look any longer
for he suddenly felt a dimness come over his own
eyes, and he hastily turned to the tremendous task
that confronted him.

For that afternoon he was fighting against odds.
His head was still aching from the effects of the
blow and the chloroform. The rocking of the
engine had made his legs unsteady. And the only
food he had had since the night before was a sand-
wich he had sent for while he was slipping into
his uniform.

But it is just such circumstances that bring out
the thoroughbred strain in a man, and as Baseball
Joe took his place in the box and looked around
at the enormous crowd and realized the immense
responsibility that rested on him, he rose magnifi-
cently to the occasion. Gone was weariness and
pain and weakness. His nerves stiffened to the
strain, and the game he pitched that afternoon was
destined to become a classic in baseball history.

The first ball he whipped over the plate went


for a strike. A second and a third followed. And
from that time on Joe knew that he held the Bos-
tons in the hollow of his hand.

There are times when to feel invincible is to be
invincible. Joe was in that mood. He was a
glorious figure of athletic young manhood as he
stood there with forty thousand pairs of eyes riv-
eted upon him. He had discarded his cap because
the band hurt his head where he had been struck,
and his brown hair gleamed in the bright sun as
he hurled the ball with deadly precision toward
the batter. Like a piston rod his arm shot out un-
tiringly and the ball whistled as it cut the plate.

"Gee whiz, see that ball come over!" muttered

"He'll wear himself out," said Robson, anx-
iously. "It isn't in flesh and blood to keep up that
gait for nine innings."

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Online LibraryLester ChadwickBaseball Joe in the world series; or, Pitching for the championship → online text (page 11 of 13)