Lester Chadwick.

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

. (page 4 of 13)
Online LibraryLester ChadwickBaseball Joe in the world series; or, Pitching for the championship → online text (page 4 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


son, although the general excellence of their staff
was very high.

But with Hughson out of the Series, it looked
as though Joe's shoulders would have to bear the
major part of the pitching burden; and though
those shoulders were sturdy, no one man could
carry so heavy a load as that would be.

Thus the problem of New York's success
seemed to resolve itself into this: Would Hugh-
son have so far recovered as to take part in the
games? And behind this was still another ques-
tion : Even if he should take part, would he be up
to his usual form after the severe ordeal through
which he had passed?

So great was the anxiety on this score that al-
most every new edition of the afternoon papers
made a point of publishing the very latest news
of the great pitcher's condition. Most of these
were reassuring, for Hughson really was making
remarkable progress, and it goes without saying
that, regardles of cost, he was receiving the very
best attention from the most skilful specialists
that could be secured.

In the meantime the National Commission —
the supreme court in baseball — had met in con-
clave at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.
They really had little to do, except to reaffirm



RECKLESS DRIVING 63

the rules which had governed previous Series and
had been found to work well in practice.

The Series was to consist of seven games, to
be played alternately on succeeding days in the
two cities. The place where the games were to
start would be decided by the toss of a coin. If
rain interfered with any of the games, the game
was to be played in the same city on the first fair
day.

The Series was to finish when either of the
teams had won four games. Only in the first four
games played were the players to share in the
money paid to see them. This provision was
made so that there should be no temptation for
the players to "spin out" the Series in order to
share additional receipts. It was up to each team
to win four straight games if it could.

Of the money taken in at these first four games,
ten per cent, was to go to the National Commis-
sion and ten per cent, into the clubs' treasuries.
The balance was to be divided between the two
teams in the proportion of sixty per cent, to the
winner and forty per cent, to the loser.

The players had no financial interest whatever
in any money taken in at other games, which went
to the clubs themselves, less the percentage of the
National Commission.

"Hurrah!" cried Jim Barclay in delight, as he
broke into the rooms occupied by Joe and himself.



64 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

"What's the matter?" asked Joe, looking up.
"Dropped into a fortune? Got money from
home?' ,

"We've won the toss of the coin!" ejaculated
Jim. "New York gets the first game."

"Bully!" cried Joe. "That's all to the good.
That's the first break in the game and it's come
our way. Let's hope that luck will stay with us
all through."

"And just as we supposed, the first game will
start on Friday," continued Jim. "So that we'll
have about a week for practice before we have to
buckle to the real work."

"McRae told me this morning that he had al-
most all the practice team together now, and that
we'd start to playing against them on Monday,"
said Joe.

"It's up to us to make the most of this little
breathing spell, then," returned Jim. "I think I'll
take a little run down to the beach to-morrow.
Care to come along?"

"I've got an engagement myself to-morrow,"
Joe replied. "I'm going for an automobile ride
with Reggie Varley and Miss Varley. By the
way, Jim, why don't you come along with us?
Reggie told me to bring along a friend if I cared
to. There's plenty of room, and he has a dandy
auto. Flies like a bird. Come along."

"Where are you going?"



RECKLESS DRIVING 65

"Out on Long Island somewhere. Probably
stop at Long Beach for dinner."

"Sure, I'll come," said Jim readily. "But don't
think I'm not on to your curves, you old rascal.
You want me to engage Reggie in conversation so
that you can have Miss Varley all to yourself."

"Nonsense !" disclaimed Joe, flushing a trifle.

"Well, then," said the astute Jim, "I'll let you
have the front seat with Reggie, while I sit back
in the tonneau."

"Not on your life you won't!" said Joe, driven
out into the open.

"All right," grinned Jim resignedly. "I'll be
the goat. When do we start?"

"Reggie will have the car up in front of the
Marlborough at about ten, he said. We'll have
a good early start and make a day of it."

"All right," said Jim. "Let's root for good
weather."

They could not have hoped for a finer day than
that which greeted them on the following morn-
ing. The sun shone brightly, but there was just
enough fall crispness to make the air fresh and
delicious.

Reggie was on time, nor did Mabel avail her-
self of the privilege of her sex and keep them
waiting. The girl looked bewitching in her new
fall costume and the latest thing in auto toggery,
and her rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes drew Joe



66 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

more deeply than ever into the toils. Jim's mis-
chievous glance at them as they settled back in
the tonneau while he took his Seat beside Reggie,
left no doubt in his own mind how matters stood
between them.

Whatever else Reggie lacked, he was a master
hand at the wheel, and he wound his way in and
out of the thronging traffic with the eye and hand
of an expert. They soon reached and crossed the
Queensboro Bridge, and then Reggie put on in-
creased speed and the swift machine darted like
a swallow along one of the magnificent roads in
which the island abounds. Beautiful Long Island
lay before them, dotted with charming homes and
rich estates, fertile beyond description, swept by
ocean breezes, redolent of the balsam of the
pines, "fair as a garden of the Lord."

Jim, like the good fellow and true friend that
he was, absorbed Reggie's attention — that is, as
much of it as could be taken from the road that
unrolled like a ribbon beneath the flying car —
and Joe and Mabel were almost as much alone as
though they had had the car to themselves. And
it was very evident that neither was bored with
the other's society. Joe's hand may have brushed
against Mabel's occasionally, but that was doubt-
less due to the swaying of the car. At any rate,
Mabel did not seem to mind.

At the rate at which they were going, it was



RECKLESS DRIVING 67

only a little while before they heard the sound of
the breakers, and the great hotel at Long Beach
loomed up before them.

Reggie put up his car and they spent a glorious
hour on the beach, watching the white-capped
waves as they rushed in like race horses with
crested manes and thundered on the sands. Then
they had a choice and carefully selected dinner
served in full view of the sea.

"Some hotel, this," remarked Reggie as he
gazed about him. "Make a dent in a man's
pocketbook to live here right along."

"Yes," agreed Jim. "They give you the best
there is, but you have to pay the price. Reminds
me of a story that used to be told of a famous
hotel in Washington. The proprietor was known
among statesmen all over the country for the way
he served beefsteak smothered in onions. One
man who had tried the dish advised his friend to
do the same the next time he went to Washington."

"But onions I" exclaimed his friend with a shud-
der. "Think of one's breath."

"Oh, that's all right," replied the other. "When
you get the bill it will take your breath away."

Reggie laughed, and, as the afternoon was get-
ting on, ordered the car to be brought around.
They had thought to go out along the south shore
as far as Patchogue, before turning about for
home.



68 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

They were bowling along on the Merrick Road
in the vicinity of Bay Shore, when an automobile
behind them came rushing past at a reckless rate
of speed. It almost grazed Reggie's car, and the
quick turn he was obliged to make came within
an ace of sending the car into a ditch.

"My word!" cried the indignant Reggie.
"Those bally beggars ought to be pinched. A
little more and they'd have smashed us."

"Half drunk, most likely," commented Jim.
"They'll kill somebody yet if they keep that up.
By Jove, I believe they've done it now!"

From up the road came a chorus of yells and
shouts. They saw the flying automobile hesitate
for a moment and then plunge on, leaving a limp
and motionless form sprawled out in the road be-
hind it.



CHAPTER IX

A BRUTAL ACT

There was a shout from the men and a scream
of terror from Mabel.

"Oh, hurry, hurry!" she urged. "Perhaps
they've killed him!"

Reggie needed no urging, and in a moment more
they had come within a few feet of the figure that
still lay without motion or any sign of life.

Joe and Jim were out of the car like a flash and
ran to the side of the victim.

Reggie turned the car into a piece of open
woodland at the side of the road, and then he and
Mabel descended and joined the others.

The man who had been hit seemed to be nearly
seventy years old. His hair was silvery white, ex-
cept where it was dabbled with blood that flowed
from a wound in his head near the left temple.
His clothing was shabby and covered with dust.
A G. A. R. button was on the lapel of his coat.

As Joe knelt down and lifted the man's head
to his knee, the latter opened his eyes and gave
utterance to a groan.

69



yo BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

Jim, who had a rough knowledge of surgery
from his experience with the accidents that are
constantly happening on the ball field, ran his
hands deftly over the prostrate form.

"Don't seem to be any bones broken," he an-
nounced after a moment. "And that cut on the
head seems to have come when he struck the road.
But let's carry him over to this patch of grass and
bind up his head to stop that bleeding."

The handkerchiefs of the party were called into
requisition and torn into strips from which a
bandage was improvised. There was a small
brook near by, and Mabel hurried to this for
water, with which she bathed the man's head and
face.

"We'd better get him into the car and carry
him on to Bay Shore," said Joe, when they had
done all they could. "I don't imagine he's fatally
hurt, although at his age the shock may make it
serious."

Just then the man stirred feebly and his eyes
opened. There was a puzzled expression as he
gazed into the faces surrounding him, and then
a look of comprehension as he recalled the fact of
the accident.

"Was it your car that hit me?" he asked. "But
no, I know it wasn't," he added, as he caught sight
of Mabel. "There wasn't any woman in that ma-
chine."



A BRUTAL ACT 71

"Don't try to talk," admonished Joe gently.
"You've had a bad shake-up, but there are no
bones broken and you'll be as good as ever in a
little while."

"They didn't give me a dog's chance," the old
man murmured wearily. "They must have seen
me coming, but they didn't honk their horn or give
me any warning. They were fooling and laugh-
ing, and the car was zigzagging as though the
driver was half drunk. An old man like me doesn't
count, I guess, with a bunch of joy riders. Did
they stop afterwards?"

"Not a second," declared Jim angrily. "They
rushed on without even looking behind. They're
not much better than a bunch of murderers."

"I wish we'd got their number," Joe gritted
savagely between his teeth. "I tried to, but they
were raising such a cloud of dust that I only caught
the numbers seven and four as part of their li-
cense number. And that isn't enough to go by."

"They ought to be made to pay handsomely for
the outrage," declared Mabel indignantly.

"We'll telephone to the towns ahead when we
get to Bay Shore, describing them as well as we
can, and try to have them arrested," said Joe.
"But now we must get to a doctor or a hospital.
This man ought to be attended to at once."

Joe and Jim lifted the old man carefully and
placed him, half sitting, half lying, in the tonneau



72 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

of the car. The others crowded in as they were
able, and Reggie threw in his clutch and started
on the way to Bay Shore.

Here on making inquiries they found that there
was a large hospital at Islip, not far away, and in
a few minutes they were at the doors of the big
institution.

A preliminary examination showed that the
wound on the head was a superficial one and that
the old man was suffering chiefly from shock. He
was put to bed in a cool private room that Joe
made himself responsible for, and the doctor pre-
dicted that in a few days he would be on his feet
again and able to return to his home.

This, they had learned from him, was Boston.
His name was Louis Anderson. He was in poor
circumstances and his visit to Long Island had
been for the purpose of disposing of a tiny bit of
property which represented his last earthly pos-
session.

"I can't thank you boys enough," he said, as
they at last prepared to leave. "I only wish there
was something I could do for you in return. I
don't suppose you often get to Boston."

"We expect to get there several times within
the next week or two," remarked Joe, as he looked
at Jim with an amused twinkle in his eye.

"Then you must be traveling men," suggested
Anderson. "What line are you in ?"



A BRUTAL ACT 73

"The baseball line," grinned Jim.

"And you're going to Boston?" repeated An-
derson. "Why, then you must be members of the
Giants and going to play in the World Series."

"Guessed it right," Jim responded.

"If I didn't hate to root against Boston, I'd
almost wish you'd win, after all you've done for
me," Louis Anderson smiled feebly.

"We're going to try mighty hard," Joe assured
him.

"They say that fellow Matson of yours is the
king of them all," the old man went on.

"Oh, I don't know," responded Joe gravely.
"I've known him to pitch some rotten ball."

They shook hands and went away, promising
to keep in touch with him and do all they could
to find the reckless automobilists who had caused
his injuries.

But although they gave the facts to the village
authorities and had a notice sent out to other
towns in the car's path, they had little hope that
anything would come of it.

"I guess they've made a clean getaway of it,"
judged Jim, as they once more headed toward
the city.

"It's a burning shame," commented Mabel.
"He seems to be such a nice old man, too. The
idea of those men not even stopping to see what
they could do for him."



74 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

"He might have died in the road for all they
cared," declared Reggie indignantly. "A good
long jail sentence would teach those bounders a
little decency, by Jove I"

"I'd like to have them soaked heavily for
damages," observed Joe. "I don't think the old
man would have much trouble in getting a heavy
verdict in his favor from a jury. And I guess the
poor old fellow needs all he can get."

The knowledge, however, that the accident
would not prove fatal and the consciousness that
they had done all they could to help, served to
dissipate the shock caused by the affair, and before
long they were chatting as merrily as ever. So
that when at last they parted at the doors of the
Marlborough their only feeling of regret was that
the day was ended. As for Joe and Mabel,
snugly ensconced in the tonneau, they would have
been willing to ride on forever. Joe said as much,
and Mabel had acquiesced with her eyes if not in
words.

It was a discordant note, therefore, when as
the chums were going toward their rooms they
almost ran into "Bugs" Hartley, the former
pitcher of the Giants, who had been released
earlier in the season for dissipation.

That erratic individual, whose venom against
Joe had once led him to drug his coffee so that
our hero might be unable to pitch, had rapidly



A BRUTAL ACT 75

gone from bad to worse. He had exceptional
ability when he kept sober, and even after his
release by McRae he could have found some other
manager willing to give him a chance if he had
kept away from drink. But he had gone steadily
downhill until he was now a saloon lounger and
hanger-on.

He had been drinking heavily now, as was evi-
dent by a glance at his bleared face, and had
reached the ugly stage of intoxication. His for-
mer team mates stepped back as he lurched against
them.

"Hello, Hartley," said Joe not unkindly, for
despite his just cause for resentment, he was
shocked and sorry to see how low "Bugs" had
fallen.

"Don't you talk to me!" snarled Hartley vi-
ciously. "You got me off the team and knocked
me out of my chance of World Series money."

"You're wrong there, Bugs," returned Joe,
keeping his temper. "I did everything I could to
help you. When you were drunk in St. Louis, Jim
and I smuggled you off to bed so that McRae
wouldn't find it out. You're your own worst
enemy, Bugs."

"Why don't you brace up, Bugs, and cut out
the booze?" broke in Jim. "You've got lots of
good pitching left in you yet."

"Quit your preaching, you guys," growled Hart-



?6 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

ley thickly. "It doesn't work with me. You've
done me dirt and I'm going to get even with you
yet and don't you forget it."

He moved away unsteadily, and the chums
watched him with a sentiment of pity.

"Poor old Bugs," remarked Jim. u He can't
bat successfully against the Demon Rum."

"No," assented Joe. "I'm afraid he'll be struck
out."



CHAPTER X

THE OPENING GUN

The practice games of the next few days were
by no means tame affairs, even though there was
nothing especially at stake.

The All-National team was, as has been seen,
chosen from among the stars of the profession,
and though they lacked, of course, the team work
of the Giants, they gave the latter all they could
do to hold their own. They had been ordered to
"tear things wide open*' and play the game for
all it was worth.

This they proceeded to do with such effect that
when the time for the great Series arrived the
Giants had been put on their mettle and were at
the very top of their form.

It had been an especially busy week for Joe.
He had spent one day in Boston, to which city he
had run over on the midnight train at the direc-
tion of McRae, in order that he might observe
the practice of the Red Sox and get a line on their
batters. He had been impressed but not dis-
mayed by their show of strength, and had

77



78 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

come back knowing that his work was cut out for
him.

He had taken advantage, too, of his presence in
Boston to arrange for rooms for his family, as
well as for Reggie and Mabel, as they expected
to go back and forth during the fateful week the
Series lasted on the same trains taken by the two
teams.

Thursday was made memorable to the New
Yorks by the appearance of Hughson. There was
an affectionate roar and rush for the veteran as
he came into the clubhouse among his adoring
mates.

To the torrent of questions poured out on him
as to his condition, he responded that he was feel-
ing fine physically, but was not yet sure of his arm,
His shoulder was still somewhat lame and tender,
but he hoped to get into some of the games later
on. He tossed the ball about for a little while,
but made no attempt to cut loose with any curves
or fast ones. But the very sight of their crack
pitcher once more in uniform was a tonic and
inspiration to his mates, and they put an amount
of "ginger" into their practice game that after-
noon that was full of promise to McRae and Rob-
son, as they watched their men from the side lines.

"I think we're going to cop the Series, Robbie,"
declared the former when the practice was over.
"The men are as full of pep as so many colts."



THE OPENING GUN 79

"They certainly look good to-day, John," was
the response. "But I'd give a thousand dollars
out of my pocket at this minute if Hughson was in
shape."

That evening Joe's parents and sister reached
New York. Joe had received a wire telling him
on what train they were coming and was at the
station to meet them, full of affection and impa-
tience.

He scanned eagerly the long train as it rolled
into the station. Then he detected the familiar
figures descending the steps of a Pullman coach,
and in a moment more there was a joyful family
reunion.

"Momsey — Dad!" he cried, grasping his
father's hand and kissing his mother, who had all
she could do to keep from throwing her arms
around his neck then and there. "And Sis, you
darling! Sweet and pretty as a picture!" he ex-
claimed, holding her out at arms' length so that
he could look at her sparkling face. "Poor, poor
Jim!" he teased. "I see his finish!"

Clara's color deepened, but before she could
retort, Joe was hurrying the little party through
the crowd to the street, where he hailed a taxicab
and had them whirled away to their rooms at the
Marlborough.

He had arranged to have a nice supper served
in their suite that night, as he knew that they



80 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

would be tired and excited after their long jour-
ney. So they dined cosily and happily, and the
hour or two of dear familiar talk that followed
marked one of the happiest experiences the united
little family had ever known.

But Joe could not stay nearly as long as he
wanted to, for to-morrow was the day of the first
game and he had to retire early so as to be in
perfect condition.

McRae had told Joe that afternoon that he was
slated to pitch the opening game.

"I'm banking on you, Joe," the manager told
him. "You've never failed me yet, and I don't
think you'll do it now. If you fall down, we're
dead ones."

"I'll do my very best," declared Joe earnestly.

"Your best is good enough for any one," re-
plied McRae. "Just show them the same stuff
you did the Chicagos in that last game and I won't
ask for anything more."

The next morning dawned bright and clear, and
the city was agog with expectation. New York,
usually so indifferent to most things, had gone
wild over the Series. The morning papers bore
the flaring headlines: "Matson Pitches the First
Game" Crowds gathered early about the bulletin
boards. Long before the time set for the game,
cars and trains disgorged their living loads at the
gates of the Polo Grounds, and before the teams



THE OPENING GUN 81

came out for practice the grandstands and bleach-
ers were black with swarming, jostling humanity.
The metropolis was simply baseball mad.

Within the gates, hundreds of special officers
lined the field to keep order and prevent the over-
flow back of centerfield from encroaching on the
playing space. The Seventh Regiment Band
played popular airs. Movie men were here, there
and everywhere, getting snapshots of the scene.
The diamond lay like so much green velvet under
the bright sun, and the freshly marked white base
lines stood out in dazzling contrast. It was a
scene to stir to the depths any lover of the great
national game.

There was a thunderous roar as the teams
marched down from the clubhouse, and there were
bursts of applause for the sparkling plays that
marked the preliminary practice. Then the field
was cleared, the gong rang and the umpire, taking
off his hat and facing the stands, bellowed in sten-
torian tones :

"Ladies and gentlemen: The batteries for to-
day's game are Fraser and Thompson for Boston,
Matson and Mylert for New York."

Loud applause followed, and this grew into a
cyclone when Joe took the ball tossed to him and
walked toward the pitcher's box.

"Matson! Matson! Matson!" yelled the
crowd.



82 BASEBALL JOE IN WORLD SERIES

Joe cast a swift look at the box where his fam«
ily were seated with Mabel and Reggie. Then
he touched a little glove that rested in a pocket
of his uniform.

The head of the Red Sox batting order had
taken up his position at the plate.

"Play ball !" called the umpire.

Joe straightened up to his full height, wound up
deliberately, and the ball shot over the corner of
the plate like a bullet. The batter lunged at it
savagely, but only hit the air.

The crowd yelled its delight at the auspicious
beginning.

"That's the way, Joe!"

"He can't touch you !"

"Missed it by a mile!"

A ball followed, then a foul, then another ball,
and a final strike that sent the batter discomfited
to the bench.

The next man up raised a towering skyscraper,
which Larry gathered in without moving from his
tracks, and the third man died, as had the first, on
strikes.

The half inning had been short and sharp, and
Joe met a tempest of encouraging cheers as he
walked in to the bench.

"You've got their number, old man I"

"They'll break their backs trying to hit
you!"



THE OPENING GUN 83


1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryLester ChadwickBaseball Joe in the world series; or, Pitching for the championship → online text (page 4 of 13)