Lester Chadwick.

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

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ton stores and Mr. Matson had gone out for a

Joe and Jim had been down town with the rest
of the team having a heart-to-heart talk with
McRae and Robson about the strategy to be
adopted in the forthcoming games.

By four o'clock the sun was shining gloriously
and the roads were beginning to dry out. Just
the day, Joe thought, to hire a runabout just big
enough for two and take Mabel out for a spin.

He conjectured that by the time he got the car
and reached the hotel Mabel would have returned
from her trip with Reggie and be ready for him.

"Come along, Jim, and help me to pick out the
car," he said.

They went to a neighboring garage and selected
one which both agreed was a good one.

"Jump in, Jim," said Joe, "and I'll give you a
ride as far as the hotel."

They were bowling rapidly along, when an auto-


mobile passed them, moving at a rate of speed
that was almost reckless. Joe saw that a man and
a woman were the only occupants.

He glanced carelessly at the man and was start-
led when he saw that it was Beckworth Fleming.

But he was still more startled when his eyes
passed to the face of Fleming's companion.

It was Mabel !

Jim, too, was staring as though he could not be-
lieve his eyes.

For a moment Joe saw red and his blood boiled
with rage. He stopped the car and looked back.

Then his rage turned to alarm, for Mabel was
looking back and waving to him frantically, while
her companion seemed to be trying to draw her

She was in peril!

Instantly, Joe turned his car and tore away in


a cad's punishment

The hotel at which Mabel had been stopping
with the rest of the party was in a quiet residen-
tial section not far from the suburbs, and Joe had
almost reached it at the time of the encounter.
There was little traffic here to interfere with the
chase, and in a few minutes pursuer and pursued
had cleared the outskirts and were in the open

Joe caught a glimpse of Fleming looking back
and saw that the latter knew he was being fol-
lowed, a knowledge which was followed by a sud-
den quickening in the pace of Fleming's car.

It was, evidently, a powerful machine, and
jdespite Joe's utmost efforts the gap between the
two cars kept constantly widening.

Joe had had a good deal of experience in hand-
ling automobiles during his big league career, and
was a cool and skilful driver. But the utmost ex-
ertion of his skill could avail little when he had an
inferior car pitted against one which greatly ex-
ceeded it in horse power.



His heart was in his mouth as he saw how reck-
lessly Fleming was speeding. His car seemed to
be on two wheels only as he took the curves in the

How Mabel came to be in that car was a ques-
tion that could wait for an answer till later. The
only thing that mattered now was that she was
there with a man she dreaded and despised, and
her frenzied waving told Joe that she was in mor-
tal fear and looked for him to help her.

Jim sat perfectly still without saying a word.
Nothing must distract Joe for a second from that
car and the view of the road ahead. He knew
what nerves of steel were back of the sinewy
hand that clutched the wheel. He had grasped
the meaning of the chase, and he shared with his
friend the determination that the cad in the car
ahead should pay dearly for this escapade.

Suddenly Joe gave an exultant cry.

As they turned a curve, he saw that a railroad
crossing lay ahead and that the gates were down,
while a long freight train was lumbering leisurely

Fleming could not get past till the gates were
raised, and by that time Joe would be upon

There was no cross road between him and the
track into which Fleming's car could escape. His
enemy was trapped.


"You've got him, Joe!" exclaimed Jim, with
a thrill of exultation in his voice.

"Yes," Joe gritted between his teeth. "I've got

And his tone would not have reassured Beck-
worth Fleming.

Fleming's car had halted and Fleming himself
had jumped out and run wildly to the gate, look-
ing up the track to see if the train was nearly by.
He saw at a glance that it would not have passed
before Joe would be upon him.

From the other side of the car, Mabel had
leaped as soon as it had stopped. She came run-
ning back up the road, and Joe, who had stopped,
rushed forward and took her in his arms. She was
sobbing with fright and excitement, and Joe held
her close as he tried to soothe her.

Fleming saw that the game was up and promptly
darted off into the wood at the side of the road.
"After him, Jim!" cried Joe. "Don't let him
get away!"

Jim darted after the fugitive. Fleming put on
all possible speed, but he was no match for the
seasoned athlete, and a moment later Jim's mus-
cular hand had him by the collar.

"Let me go," snarled the wretch, struggling des-

"Come along," growled Jim, dragging him to
the spot in the road where Joe was comforting


Mabel, who was gradually getting back some of
her self-control.

The tender look in Joe's eyes was replaced by
one of a different character as he looked at the
flushed, dissipated face of the man who stood be-
fore him, still held by Jim.

"Now, Mr. Beckworth Fleming, I have an ac-
count to settle with you."

Fleming shrank back as far as Jim's grip
would let him before the steely look in Joe's

"Don't be afraid," said Joe, contemptuously.
"I'm not going to thrash you in the presence of a

Relief came into Fleming's face.

"It was only a lark," he began, but Joe cut
him short.

"I don't care for any explanations," he said.
"I want you to go down on your knees in the road
and beg Miss Varley's pardon."

Fleming looked around for some means of es-
cape but found none. His furtive glance at Mabel
fell before the scorn in her eyes.

"I apologize," he jerked out sullenly.

"Down on your knees, I said," remarked Joe
with dangerous calmness.

Fleming hesitated before this last humiliation,
but Jim's knuckles in his neck decided hiro,

w "? ^^ your pardon," he muttered, getting down


on his knees and scrambling again to his feet as
hastily as possible.

"And now, Jim," Joe continued, "if you'll just
take Mabel up the road a little way around that
curve, I'll finish this little account with Mr. Flem-

Fear sprang into Fleming's eyes.

"You said you wouldn't," he began.

"I said I wouldn't thrash you in the presence of
a lady, and I'm going to keep my word," said Joe,
imperturbably. "Please, Jim."

He relinquished Mabel to his friend, and Jim
assumed the responsibility with a cheerful grin.

"Don't hurt him, Joe," Mabel urged, hesitat-

"I won't kill him, Mabel," Joe answered. "I
only want to impress a few things on his memory
so firmly that he'll never forget them."

Jim gently urged Mabel out of sight beyond a
curve two hundred feet away.

When they had vanished, Joe turned to Flem-

"Take off your coat," he ordered curtly.

"What are you going to do?" asked Fleming,
fearfully. "I warn you that if you hit me "

"Take off your coat," repeated Joe, setting him
the example.

As Fleming still hesitated, Joe reached over
and slapped his face lightly.


"You seem to need a stimulant to get you go-
ing," he taunted.

Even a rat will fight when cornered, and Flem-
ing, with an exclamation of rage, threw off his
coat and rushed furiously at Joe.

The latter met him with an uppercut that shook
him from head to foot. Then he sailed into Flem-
ing and gave him a most thorough thrashing.
Nor did he let up until Fleming with a highly dec-
orated face lay helpless in the road, sobbing with
shame and rage and whining for mercy.

"I guess that's enough for the present," said
Joe, who had not a mark on him, as he resumed
his coat. "You'd better get into that car of yours
and drive home before your eyes are entirely
closed. And remember that this isn't a circum-
stance to what you'll get if you ever dare to speak
to Miss Varley again."

He turned his back upon the discomfited cad,
and, jumping into the runabout, drove around the
curve where he rejoined Mabel and Jim.

"Did you impress those things on his memory?"
asked Jim with a grin.

"I don't think he'll forget them in a hurry," Joe
laughed, though rather grimly. "And this time,
luckily, there was no policeman handy."



"I HOPE you didn't injure him too much, Joe,"
said Mabel, snuggling close to him in the crowded
little runabout.

"Do I look like a murderer?" chaffed Joe.

"But really, Joe, what did you do to him?"
asked Mabel.

"Less than the rascal deserved," Joe answered.
"He got a good thrashing; and it was surely com-
ing to him. I don't think he'll ever trouble you

"I was so relieved when I caught sight of you
in this car," sighed Mabel.

"How did it happen that you were riding with
him?" asked Joe, as he threw on a little extra

"He was out at the Country Club when Reggie
and I reached there," Mabel replied. "I hadn't
told Reggie how he had acted the last time he
called at the Marlborough, because I didn't want
to make trouble, and I thought after the way I cut
him then he'd never bother me again. But he was



dining at the Country Club with a party of friends
that we both knew, and I couldn't make a scene
without being conspicuous. I avoided him, how-
ever, as much as I could.

"You know, of course, Reggie's car is in New
York and we were using a hired machine. When
we were getting ready to come away, I had just
stepped into the car when Reggie was called to
the telephone. This man, Fleming, was standing
by, and before I knew it he jumped in, took the
wheel, and started the auto going.

"I ordered him to stop, but he only kept going
faster. He had been drinking, and he was loud
and boisterous. I begged and threatened, but he
only laughed and went on at a greater speed. Said
he was going to get even with me for the cut I had
given him the other night, and was going to take
me on a long ride whether I wanted to go or not.

"I never was so frightened in all my life. I told
him that my friends and my brother would pun-
ish him for what he was doing, but he only laughed
and said they would have to catch him first. I
hoped a policeman would stop us, for he was go-
ing at a furious rate. Then I thought of jump-
ing, though I knew I would probably be killed if
I did. I screamed, but we were going at such a
rate and making so much noise that no one heard
me. Then I caught sight of you, and when I
looked back and waved and saw that you were


coming after us, I knew that everything would be
all right. Oh, Joe, it seems as though you are
always on hand when I need you most."

Her nerves had been so badly shaken that she
was on the verge of tears again, and she fumbled
for her absurdly little handkerchief in the cuff of
her sleeve.

Joe's heart thrilled, and if Jim had not been
there and he could have taken his hands from the
wheel, he would have comforted her again as he
had on the road.

"I'd have followed you to the end of the world,"
he said rather huskily.

"How lucky it was that that freight train just
happened to be passing at the time," chuckled Jim.
"Can't you imagine how desperate Fleming must
have been when he saw the way barred?"

"It was a friend in need for us, all right,"
grinned Joe. "Fleming wasn't quite tipsy enough
to try to butt the train off the tracks."

"He ought to sue the railroad for damages,"
Jim suggested.

"He might get them, too," laughed Joe. "If
a jury saw his face as it is just now, they'd know
that he'd been in a mix-up of some kind."

They found Reggie in a state of great bewilder-
ment and agitation at the hotel. They had told
him at the club that Fleming had driven off with
Mabel, and though he had not known of the lat-


ter's offensive behavior toward his sister pre-
viously, he knew that Fleming had been drinking
that afternoon and was in no condition to handle
a car.

He was enormously relieved, therefore, when
he saw Mabel return safely, though he wondered
to see her escorted by Joe and Jim.

They told him all the circumstances and he was
furious. He was for starting out at once to hunt
up Fleming, but Joe dissuaded him.

"He's had a good trimming already," Joe as-
sured him. "We don't want anything that may
bring notoriety to Mabel's name. I don't imagine
we'll ever be bothered by him again."

In the meantime, Fleming, left battered and
disheveled on the country road, was wild with
pain and rage. His heart was a tumult of seething
emotions. He had undergone that afternon more
humiliation than comes to most men in a lifetime.
He had been thwarted in his impudent venture.
He had been taken by the collar and shaken as a
rat by a terrier. He had had to get down on his
knees in the dirt of the road and humbly apolo-
gize. And then he had been bruised and beaten
until he had begged for mercy.

He ground his teeth in unavailing fury. He
had been accustomed all his life to have his way.
Money had made his path easy. He was not used
to the sensation of being the "under dog."


He took out his handkerchief and wiped the
blood and dust from his face, brushed and ad-
justed his disarranged clothing as well as he could,
then climbed into the car and by a roundabout
route made his way back to town.

His first visit was to a Turkish bath where he
attempted to have some of the soreness rubbed
from his battered frame. Then he visited one of
the facial artists who make a specialty of paint-
ing black eyes into some semblance of flesh color.

In this way he managed to efface the worst
traces of the afternoon's encounter, though his
face still remained somewhat swelled and puffy.
Then he set out to make a night of it and drown
his troubles in the way with which he was the most

He was seated at a table in a crowded cafe
patronized chiefly by gamblers, when he was ac-
costed by a friend whose dissipated face showed
that he was of the same type as Fleming.

"Hello, old man," said the former. "Drink-
ing here all by your lonesome ?"

"How are you, Bixby," responded Fleming.
"Sit down here and have something with me."

His friend did so and Fleming motioned to the
waiter and ordered a couple of drinks.

"Why, what's the matter with your face, Flem-
ing?" asked Bixby, as he looked at his friend
curiously. "Been in a scrap?"


"Nothing like that," lied Fleming in a surly-
tone. "Ran a car into a ditch and had an upset."

"Doesn't improve your beauty any," laughed
his friend lightly. "Still, you can't kick if you've
come out of a smash with nothing worse than that.
What are you doing here in Boston, anyway?
Come over to see the game?"

Fleming growled a moody assent.

"They say Matson is going to pitch to-morrow,"
Bixby continued.

Fleming greeted the mention of the name with
a lurid outburst that left no doubt as to his feel-

His friend looked at him with surprise.

"You seem to be horribly sore," he ventured.
"I thought that like most New Yorkers you'd be
rooting for him to win."

"I hope they knock him out of the box," Flem-
ing hissed, with the venom of a snake.



"There are lots of people in Boston hoping
the same thing," replied Bixby. "But I think
they're due to be disappointed. It isn't often they
send that boy back to the shower."

"He can be beaten like any one else," snarled
Fleming, his gorge rising as he heard Joe praised.

"Sure," conceded Bixby. "The best of them
have an off day at times. But they say he's in
splendid shape just now. That arm of his is cer-
tainly a dandy."

Fleming could have told him better than any
one else just how good that stalwart arm was.
Not four hours had passed since he had tested its
strength. And he knew that it was good for some-
thing besides baseball.

But not for the world would he have had that
beating come to light. It would make him the
laughing stock of the clubs. He was sure that
Joe himself would not tell of it nor would Reg-
gie, because of their desire to prevent Mabel's
name being dragged into the affair. So that his


THE PLOT i 4 r

secret was safe, unless he himself should reveal
it while he was in his cups.

"He's a false alarm," he growled. "Lots of
these fellows start out as though they were going
to set the league afire, but after a year or two you
find them back again in the minors. They go up
like a rocket and come down like the stick."

"Well, if he's a false alarm, he's deceived a
good many people," answered Bixby with a dimin-
ished respect for his friend's judgment. "All the
dope is that he's going to be another Hughson."

They drained their glasses and ordered more
liquor. While they were waiting for it to come,
Bixby glanced around the cafe. His eye rested on
a table in the further corner of the room where
three men were sitting.

"Do you see that big fellow over there with the
other two?" he asked Fleming.

"I see him," replied Fleming, shortly.

"Well, that's Big Connelly the notorious Chi-
cago sporting man," returned Bixby.

"Well, what if it is?" said Fleming, indiffer-

"Oh, n^'-hing special, except that he seems to
feel a good deal the same way about Matson that
you do. I was sitting near him just before I came
over here to join you and he was grouching to
beat the band."

"Is that so!" ejaculated Fleming with a quick-


ening of interest. "What does he seem to have
against him?"

"Oh, that's more than I know," was the reply.
"But he seems to have a bitter grudge from the
way he talks."

"Do you know Connelly personally?" demanded

"In a way I do," replied Bixby. "I met him at
a prize fight once in Chicago and was introduced
to him. I don't know whether he'd remember
me or not. But why do you ask?"

"I'd like to meet him if you don't mind," an-
swered Fleming.

Bixby was somewhat surprised but did not ob-
ject, and the two wended their way among the
tables till they came to the one in question.

"How are you, Mr. Connelly?" said Bixby. "I
don't know whether you recall me, but I met you
at that Welsh-Leonard bout in Chicago last year.
Bixby is my name."

It was Connelly's business to recollect faces, or
to pretend to even if he did not.

"Sure, I remember you," he replied with the
real or assumed heartiness of his class. "Glad to
see you again, Mr. Bixby."

"This is my friend, Mr. Fleming," introduced

Connelly's shrewd eyes appraised Fleming as
one of the "idle rich," the plucking of whom had


often feathered his nest, and his greeting was

"Won't you sit down and have something with
us?" he inquired, introducing the two men who
were with him and making room at the table.

"We'd be glad to if we're not intruding," re-
plied Bixby.

"Not at all," said Connelly, and to seal the ac-
quaintance he ordered a bottle of champagne.

It was not long before they were talking freely,
and it goes without saying that in the one engross-
ing thought that prevailed everywhere they fell
to discussing the World Series.

Connelly — "Big" Connelly, to give him the
name by which he was usually referred to — was,
as his name implied, a ponderous man with a hard,
smooth-shaven face and cold, calculating eyes. He
was a hardened "sport" and a shrewd politician,
with strings out everywhere in the underworld that
he could pull when he felt so inclined. He was
wholly unscrupulous and stopped at nothing to
achieve his ends.

"I hear you're expecting Boston to win the Se-
ries, Mr. Connelly," remarked Bixby.

"I've picked 'em to win," agreed Connelly, "and
I think they would to a dead certainty if it weren't
for one thing, or perhaps I ought to say one man."

"And that one man is Matson, I suppose?" put
in Fleming.


* 'Exactly," frowned Connelly. "With him out
of the way it would be a walk-over for the

"You'd go into mourning if he broke a leg or
anything like that," grinned Bixby.

"No such luck," grunted Connelly. "Nothing
ever happens to that bird. He must carry a horse-
shoe around with him. I came all the way from
Chicago to see Brennan's team win, only to see
Matson smear a defeat on them. But it isn't that
I'm sore about especially."

"Some little personal feeling, eh?" ventured
Fleming, tentatively.

"He turned me down on a little deal once,"
Connelly spat out viciously, "and I've vowed to
get even with him some time."

He refrained from explaining that the "deal"
referred to had been a crooked bit of work that
he had dared to suggest to Joe at the time the lat-
ter was with St. Louis and the club was struggling
to get to the head of the second division. Not only
had Joe rejected the proposition hard and in-
stantly, but Connelly had only saved his face from
disfigurement by beating a hasty and undignified
retreat. From that moment he had cherished a
bitter grudge against the man who had humiliated
him, and this was intensified at the present by the
young pitcher's popularity.

"Yes, sir-ee," he grunted vindictively, "I'd give


ten thousand dollars to have Matson put on the

"You could have him put out of the way for a
good deal less than that," suggested one of his
companions, an evil-faced man named Moriarity.
"There are fellows in New York or Boston who
would do it for a thousand."

"Nix on that stuff," growled Connelly. "You
could get away with a good many things, but you
couldn't get away with that. You might as well
try to do away with the President. Any one who
puts the extinguisher on Matson would go to the
electric chair sure, and nothing could save him.
Even if he got off, the public would tear him to
pieces. Forget it."

Moriarity was squelched and shrank back be-
fore the big man's disapproval.

"Just the same," ruminated Connelly, "I wish
I could think of something that didn't have any

A thought suddenly came into Fleming's mind,
but he hesitated to express it in the presence of
Bixby, who was an ardent partisan of the New
Yorks. He sat toying with his glass and turning
the idea over in his mind.

It was a relief to him when Bixby rose a few
minutes later and left them on the ground of an
engagement. Fleming hitched his chair a little
closer to Connelly's.


"I've just thought of something that may help
you out a little, Mr. Connelly," he began.
Connelly looked at him in curiosity.
"Let's hear it," he said eagerly.



The four at the table put their heads together,
and Fleming lowered his voice so that he might
not be overheard by those in the adjacent

"Of course, I don't know whether we can make
the thing work," commenced Fleming a little dif-
fidently, "but it won't do any harm to figure it out
and see what there is in it."

"Sure thing," said Connelly, encouragingly.

"As you say, it won't do to injure Matson phys-
ically," Fleming went on. "Though nothing
would suit me better," he added with sudden sav-
ageness, as the stinging recollection of that after-
noon's events came back to him.

"I see that he isn't exactly popular with you,"
grinned Connelly. He reflected that this man
might be a valuable aid to him, if he nourished a
personal grudge.

But it was not in Fleming's mind to betray him-
self, and he pulled up short.

"As I was saying," he continued, without re-


plying to Connelly's suggestion, "the public
wouldn't stand for a minute for any rough work
with Matson. But we can injure him in other

"Just how?" asked Connelly.

"Well," asked Fleming in turn, "what do you
think is the most important thing in the world to
him just now?"

"The World Series," replied Connelly,

"Exactly," assented Fleming. "It means more
to him just now than anything else on earth. It
means money and reputation and a big future if
he wins. Now if we could knock him out of win-
ning, we could hit him in his pride, his prestige and
his pocketbook all at the same time, and hit him

"No doubt of that," admitted Connelly, "but
I don't see just yet what you're driving at."

"What I'm driving at is this," explained Flem-
ing. "We've got, in some way, to keep Matson

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