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Full text of "The jinx; stories of the diamond"

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THE JINX 



STORIES OF THE DIAMOND 



BY 

ALLEN SANGREE 




ILLUSTRATIONS BY 

F. R. GRUGER, ARCHIE GUNN, C. J. TAYLOR 
AND CHASE EMERSON 



G. W. DILLINGHAM COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS NEW YORK 



The Jinx. — Copyright, 1910, in the United States and Great Brit- 
ain by the Curtis Publishing Company. 

A BxEAK IN Training. — Copyright, 191 1, in the United States 
and Great Britain by the Curtis Publishing Company. 

The Ringer. — Copyright^ zgii, in the United States and Great 
Britain by the Curtis Publishing Company. 

In Dutch. — Cop3nright, 191 1, in the United States and Great Brit- 
ain by the Cmtis Publishing Company. 

The Indian Sign. — Copjright, 1911, in the United States and 
Great Britain by the Curtis Publishing Company. 

A Foul Tip. — Copyright, 1908, by the Baseball Magazine Company. 

The Post Post-Season Game. — Copyright, 1909, by the Metro- 
politan Magazine Company. 



Copyright, 1911, by 



G. W. 




The Jim 









9- 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



The Jinx Frontispiece 31 



They finally tumbled through the doorway • • 
** Knee him— give him th' knee " . . . • 
A Peanut-seller was holding ice on his head 
As though they had known each other a lifetime 
** I'm picking the Tigers, for their club hitting " 



67 
III 
186 

238 
283 



CONTENTS 

VAGB 

The Jinx « 7 

A BXEAK IN TrAIMIMO •••• 6l 

The Ringer loo 

In Dutch 152 

The Indian Sign • • • • 195 

A Foul Tip 239 

The Post F08t>Season Game • • • • . m . \ . 276 



THE JINX 

MONTAGUE DASHER, generally known 
as The Dasher, because of his agility 
in running bases, was of a singularly ill 
humor. For some weeks the patrons of Mrs. 
O'Hara's boarding house had marked this temper 
and wondered. Could it be that the gentlemanly 
but efficient third baseman of the Pioneers was 
in love? If so, all the more remarkable, since 
their fellow-guest had never displayed any senti- 
mental weakness. Indeed, he appeared indiffer- 
ent to all feminine blandishment, though, good- 
ness knows, the neighborhood's fairness had set 
itself before him singly and in phalanx. 

Not in its memory had Grove's Court come into 
such proximity to a world-famous ball player, one 
whose picture adorned sporting pages and 
souvenir postals, and who was so popular in his 
own city that joy-mad spectators fought to carry; 

him off the field of battle. So generous was this 

7 



J J J -i ■> ■> '' 



8 The Jinx 



mantle of adulation that corners of it fluttered 
from the shoulders of Mr. Montague Dasher and 
enwrapped those of the fortunate few who shared 
his lodgings. 

When Mr. Potts, for example, cashier of an 
express office, a wizened, wry-lipped vegetarian, 
upon leaving his work at precisely six minutes 
after six fell in with The Dasher returning from 
the game, he stared from side to side, gloating, 
and expanded his puny chest. 

Fleming, head of the "gents' furnishing*' in 
Cook & Ramsey's, red-mustached, putty-cheeked 
and loquacious-lipped, seldom failed to quote the 
talismanic name every ten minutes. 

"As I was tellin' The Dasher this morning," 
he would preface — "third baseman of the Pioneers, 
you know; lives with me — ^these barred ties'll be 
all the rage in a couple of weeks." Or : "Talkin' 
of baseball. The Dasher told me last night — ^we 
have an apartment together up in Grove's Court 
— that there'll only be two clubs in th' race. The 
Prunes haven't got a chance ! Grand fellow, The 
Dasher^ and a swell dresser.' 



y» 






The Jinx 9 



Young Hopper, the red-cheeked, wide-eyed 
country lad, feasted upon the hero's countenance, 
and down in the butter-and-egg store dreamed of 
immortal fame. He read avidly every line about 
The Dasher, cut out his pictures to send home, 
and once a week pinched .himself of some neces- 
sity to buy a grandstand seat near the third-base 
line, whence he could narrowly see the prodigy 
in action. 

The women, to be sure, were more cunning in 
their demonstration. Miss Dechamp, the mani- 
curist, even announced — ^after various ingratiat- 
ing shifts — ^that professional ball players were 
common. 

"His hands are something awful," she told Miss 
Carew, the schoolmistress who wrote love stories 
for the Human Interest Monthly. "And did you 
ever notice how he eats off the side of his fork? 
That's the worst etiquette there is ! I read it in a 
book." 

Miss Carew smiled with a supreme and amused 
benevolence. At the Bohemian Club, where she 
dined and drank red wine weekly, she described 



10 The Jinx 



the manicurist as "delicious." The Dasher was 
a "naive animal." She intended using both of 
them in her "great American novel." 

An animal, perhaps, The Dasher was, and a 
fine animal, too, with his muscular grace, cutting 
blue eyes, sun-tanned face, chestnut hair and 
tigerlike strength. How naive the reader may 
judge for himself. 

At the college where he had been employed to 
pitch, before joining a minor league. The Dasher 
had learned the meaning of HgO and to keep 
quiet when he did not understand. Taciturn with 
his own teammates, he became almost mute 
among outsiders. And yet Montague Dasher was 
not devoid of speculation and conclusion. Flem- 
ing he put down as a "fresh guy"; Miss Dechamp 
was a "lightweight," and the schoolmistress- 
author he numbered as a "phony piece of ice" — 
that is to say, a fake diamond. 

When the first mentioned, of a summer evening 
as they all sat on the stoop, would inquire hun- 
grily: "Say, Dasher, what happened to the 
Pioneers today? Thought sure they'd *beat th' 



The Jinx 11 



tc 



4( 



Banshees with Yegg Miller in the box," Mon- 
tague would curtly reply : "Things broke wrong." 
Broke wrong!" Miss Carew would exclaim. 
How terribly interesting! Do tell us, Mr. 
Dasher, just what you mean. I know that you 
men have some peculiar philosophy all of your 
own, and subtle, too; I'm sure of it. Broke 
wrong ?" 

"Their pitcher had th' Indian sign on us," was 
The Dasher's explanation, accompanied by a 
searching, suspicious glint, and then he would 
usually plead weariness, excusing himself to "hit 
th' hay." 

It remained for Fleming to interpret these 
phrases of the diamond, which he did with great 
unction, unhampered by tedious truth. 

On a certain night in early August, shortly after 
the Pioneers had returned for a three-weeks' play 
on the home grounds, Grove's Court and the O'Hara 
household were in a fine commotion over the de- 
parture of Mr. Montague Dasher and Miss Nona 
O'Hara, the landlad/s daughter, whom the hero 
had invited to a roof-garden show. It was singular. 



12 The Jinx 



in itself, that Dasher should all of a sudden, without 
any intimation, evince dilection toward a young lady, 
but the logic of Grove's Court collapsed utterly in 
view of the fact that Nona's personality, though 
trim and alluring, was blighted with cross-eyes — 
eyes so startlingly, comically, confusedly crossed 
that they aroused no feeling of pity or tenderness — 
only humor. 

Little wonder that the secret of her fascination 
for the handsome Dasher should elude even the 
penetration of Miss Carew. With a twinge of bit- 
terness in her voice, and after a minute's breath- 
holding as hero and maid vanished, she comforted 
Miss Dechamp by observing: 

"It's a case of class, my dear/' 

"That's right," supplemented the manicurist 
laconically. - "Water's sure to find its level!" 

Others in the Court were more considerate. They 
appreciated Nona's pretty figure, which a scant 
eighteen years had ripely developed, her abundance 
of black hair, which needed no "rat" or "switch," 
her rose-tinted cheeks, her unclassical little nose and 
her red lips, the upper one of which was full "as 



The Jinx 18 



though some bee had stung it newly." Between 
the top of high-heeled slipper and dress showed an 
engaging flash of ankle, her hands and feet were 
small, and she wore a wide-brimmed hat of lingerie 
that appeared in excellent taste. 

"If it wasn't for her eyes," said the Court, "she*d 
be pretty as a picture. Anyhow, she's a good house- 
keeper, an' she'd make just the kind of a wife a 
ball player ought to have." 

Fleming alone made use of the incident. Hopping 
up the steps he followed Mrs. O'Hara indoors and 
tapped her familiarly on the shoulder. "Little bit 
of all right," he gushed confidentially. "Can't fool 
y'r Uncle Dudley. Reg'la* seer, I am. Saw it 
coming a month ago. Nix on th' bark thing," he 
added quickly, as the landlady frowned. "All 
masonic ; never talk in my sleep. But say, madam, 
she couldn't do better — ^five thousand dollars per 
for The Dasher. That's what he gets — saw his 
check. An' he's a good spender. Live like a lady, 
Nona will. Play the game — got his goat. Call on 
me f r best man !" 

Mrs. O'Hara gestured annoyedly, but could not 



14 The Jinx 



wholly suppress a glint of satisfaction. Fleming 
reckoned it worth two weeks' credit. 

Misled by newspaper fiction Mrs. O'Hara had no 
doubt that Montague's salary was five thousand dol- 
lars, or even ten thousand dollars, so fabulously 
were ball players supposed to be rewarded. She 
would hardly have taken it seriously had The 
Dasher himself assured her that for his expert 
services as third baseman he was receiving but 
fifteen hundred dollars, a grievance which, during 
the first year of his association with the Pioneers, 
he had borne uncomplainingly. In the minor league 
he had earned seven hundred and fifty dollars, and 
double this amount looked big then. But now, in 
his second season, when he had become the most 
skillful of infielders and base runners, when he alone 
was an attraction for thousands, he knew that he 
had been selected by the club owner, Eben Thayer, 
as a victim of unfairness and strange injustice. 

At times The Dasher had a mind to advertise his 
indignity, make it known to the public, thinking 
that President Thayer would be shamed into giv- 
ing him a raise. But pride restrained him. Mon- 



The Jinx 15 



tague Dasher, greatest of all third basemen, working 
for fifteen hundred dollars a year ! It was so pre- 
posterous that he would be called an easy mark. 

"Besides," pointed out Barney McNabb, the 
manager, "it would be sure to have the opposite 
effect on that old [prefix of hardy adjectives] gold- 
digger. He don't care what the public thinks. Th' 
fans have got t' have baseball, and so long as th' 
Pioneers play good ball they'd come even if the 
owner was a wife-beater.'* 

"Well, what's the angle, then?" demanded Dasher 
querulously. "Any club in the league'U give me 
three thousand dollars. No need tellin' you what 
I ought to be getting. Even the Schooners in the 
outlaw bunch wanted " 



"I know, Dash," interrupted McNabb with a 
note of helplessness and disgust. "It's a rotten 
shame, and worse. Three times I went to the front 
for you. Dash, and couldn't get a stir out of him. 
Says he lost a lot of money in the stock market this 
year, the [more hardy adjectives] liar. He always 
was a miser and always talkin' about what he had 
to pay for the boys. Most of 'em came in when the 



16 The Jinx 



other league started and good ball players was 
drawin' all kinds of fancy prices. He wouldn't give 
any of us more than fifteen hundred dollars right 
now if he had his way. He's the kind that thinks 
a ball tosser's same as a hod-carrier. But, Dash, 
I went to th' mat three times for you — on my oath, 
three times. And you know where I stand, old 
fellow ?" McNabb gestured appealingly. 

Sullenly the third baseman reflected a moment, 
and then : "Mac, I know you done what you could, 
but" — and McNabb twitched as he saw that nasty 
determination in The Dasher's eye — "something's 
going to happen. I won't be anybody's fool for- 
ever!" 

The Pioneers' manager bent an accusing look 
upon the other, and the hand, gnarled and broken 
with years of catching, that he laid upon Dasher's 
shoulder was no light one. "Nothing like that," 
he threatened. "Never do anything dirty, Dash. 
You'll regret it to the last day of your life. You're 
bound to get what's coming some day. But be on 
the level and stick. Tell you what," he suggested 
half-hopef ully ; "go an* see him yourself. Put it 



The Jinx 17 



straight to him and" — ^gesturing enticingly — ^**you 
never c'n tell." 

Montague, still sullen and determined, shrugged 
his shoulders and walked a^vay. 

Eben Thayer was a fat man whose thin, narrow 
lips spoke and smiled oilily. His small gray eyes 
were almost hidden by the obese curves of his 
cheeks, but you quickly learned that from behind 
those ramparts he kept a shrewd lookout. Over one 
less trained than himself in worldly wisdom he 
maintained an ascendency, even if the suppliant 
were armed with a righteous cause, and when Dash 
finally decided to act upon the manager's advice he 
began to lose control before he started downtown. 

Hardened against public admiration, knowing its 
fickleness. The Dasher, like all his profession, gen- 
erally acknowledged it with a secret twang of pride ; 
but on this morning he was too absorbed in rehears- 
ing the approaching ordeal. Straphangers, great 
merchants, even women shoppers, eyed the athlete 
with a smile of recognition. On the platform of the 
car two fans had an argument as to whether or not 
he was "swell-headed." Rich and poor craved a 



18 The Jinx 



nod from the Pioneers' third baseman. It was a 
treat to be near him. 

Dasher arrived at the club's headquarters wear- 
ing a preoccupied expression which to Eben Thayer 
was as legible as a fifty-foot signboard. The ad- 
vantage was so much in the magnate's favor that 
his narrow mouth stretched a smile of genuine sat- 
isfaction. What a bargain he had in this grand 
ball player ! What an object of envy he was among 
the financiers of the game! How sage were the 
moulders of organized baseball when they embodied 
that "reserve clause" in the constitution! Now, 
when a hardworking owner had the good fortune 
to pick up a star such as Montague Dasher there 
was no fear of his "jumping" for more money. He 
was a human chattel owned outright by the 
Pioneers, "reserved" in their employ until they 
chose to sell, trade or release him. If he broke that 
contract he would be blacklisted throughout the 
whole country, with no chance of a livelihood in his 
vocation. If he sulked or "threw" games he could 
be fined, kept on the bench, or expelled to the tune 
of the Rogues* March. He had signed for a cer- 



The Jinx 19 



tain salary and it was entirely at the option of him 
— ^Eben Thayer — ^whether the amount should be in- 
creased then or at any time. But if Montague 
Dasher broke an arm or leg, became unfit for work, 
or deteriorated in his play, he could be sent a-pack- 
ing on ten days' notice. The contract was all one 
way. 

Swiftly the magnate paragraphed this situation, 
and as the ball player gingerly stepped over the 
heavy plush carpet he determined not to waver from 
his policy. He preferred, however, to move along 
lines of least resistance, and his voice was half- 
cozening, playfully impressive, as he took up the 
issue. 

"What's that. Dasher? Why, I'm really sur- 
prised at you f Only two years in fast company and 
want another boost ? Gracious, man, we got to give 
the stockholders something! And remember, 
Dasher, that this club has made you — made you, 
my boy! Nobody ever heard of you out in th' 
bushes. You'd be a dead one yet if we hadn't dis- 
covered you. And now" — ^Mr. Thayer's fat hand 
gestured eloquently — "And now, just think of it; 



20 The Jinw 



you are Montague Dasher — The Dasher — third 
baseman of the Pioneers^ champions of the world, 
and a household word from Portland to Portland! 
Why, you're a hero !" 

Stunned by this oratory The Dasher grinned in 
whimsical admission. "That's so." He scratched 
his head. "There's something in that." Unhappily 
for him his college course had not embraced 
dialectics, and his blind mental groping amused Mr. 
Thayer. 

"But I sure done a lot for you," he pleaded feebly. 
"You said yourself that ketching that Texas 
Leaguer off Mulrooney won th' pennant last year. 
I ain't hit under three hundred since I joined th' 
club. An* haven't I got the highest fielding aver- 
age, and more stolen bases than any man playin' 
the third corner in major company? If you don't 
believe me you c'n see it in th' books, or ask 
McNabb." 

Dasher was leaning forward now, his fingers 
crushing a ten-cent cigar that President Thayer had 
given him, not neglecting to mention the price. 
Launched upon a topic with which he was familiar 



The Jinx 21 



his blue eyes gleamed with fervent assurance. To 
him the subject was so vital, its course so plain, that 
as the magnate smiled benevolently between reflec- 
tive puffs Montague thought him likewise convinced. 

So he continued more aggressively: "An* just 
look what Tm getting, Mr. Thayer — one thousand 
dollars under Jessup, on the Prunes, an' two thou- 
sand less than Picus, on the Vampires — both dead 
ones ! There ain't a man on the team but's getting 
more than me, 'cept them two bushers you just 
bought from the O-P League. 

"Hero!" Montague, blindly probing the fallacy 
of his employer's argument, spat it out with an 
ugly taste. "Hero ! I'm a cheap hero, I am. Give 
me that five hundred raise McNabb promised an' 
I'll feel something like !" 

Quick to read a countenance The Dasher in- 
stantly knew that he had made a vital blunder, but 
he was not prepared for a revulsion so trenchant. 
Eben Thayer's smile shifted to a nick in a sword. 
He planted both substantial feet on the floor, his 
small even teeth clicked, his chubby fist smote the 
desk. 



22 The Jinx 



"Is that so?" His voice, nasal, sarcastic and 
penetrating, carried to the outer room where Miss 
Bangs, the stenographer, and Eddie, the office boy, 
bobbed their heads at the keyhole. "Well, now, Mr, 
Dasher, let me tell you something, and— don't — 
you — forget — it. You've been boosted to fifteen 
hundred dollars — ^a dam sight more than Montague 
Dasher could make at any other job— and you will 
continue to get it until I decide to give you more. 
You are a young man starting in the game, and so 
long as you make good I'll try to do right by you. 
But don't ever get th' idea that you can dictate, 
and" — ^his head jerked sagaciously — "don't start 
laying down on this club or you'll sit on the bench 
the rest of your natural life. Miss Bangs" — ^he 
raised his voice — ^**some dictation, please. Good- 
day, Mr. Dasher.'' 

For a brief moment Montague, with a swift in- 
take of breath through his open mouth, sat as one 
in a straight jacket, and then made his way auto- 
matically, dazedly, over the heavy plush carpet out 
of the office, down the elevator and up the sunlit 
street. His mind, after this catastrophe, worked 



The Jinx 28 



slowly. He played the game that afternoon skill- 
fully, though in a trancelike grimness, fighting 
against some great dread that both appalled and 
tempted him. Every time the fans howled their 
applause at a fine stop it seemed that a leering 
specter gallivanted around third base chortling: 
"Fifteen hundred a year; fifteen hundred. Dasher; 
that's all you're worth !'* 

By the time he had dressed and returned to his 
hall bedroom in the boarding-house Montague's 
conflicting emotions were arrayed in a semblance 
of order, but the grievance only waxed more 
poignant, with no remedy in sight. 

Here he was, Montague Dasher, arrived at the 
age of twenty-four, a superb ball player but with 
absolutely no other means of livelihood, ordained 
to move and have his being always under the relent- 
less eye of that mighty, far-reachingj all-powerful 
empire called organized baseball. His contract, the 
usual one, bound him for one year and an indefinite 
"reserve.'' He must continue to play ball with the 
Pioneers at the same salary, and continue to play 
just as brilliantly as heretofore. His ability was 



24 The Jinx 



a matter of record, and also his sole asset. Advance* 
ment in fame he might have, but none in remunera- 
tion. A ripped tendon, chronic "charley horse," or 
a broken arm at any moment might put him out 
of the game for good and all. "Grab the coin while 
you're a star," had been big leaguers' advice to him. 
"You never know when the buzzards'll get your 
wmg. 

Pitying himself and gradually accumulating a 
portentous hatred for his miserly employer, 
Dasher's thoughts ticked off too fast for speech. 
Should he quit the game and try pugilism ? Prize 
fighters had predicted success for him in this ac- 
tivity. How about the stage ? More than one ball 
player had "made a hit" in vaudeville. But why, 
he asked himself, why, in the name of holy justice, 
should he be forced out of a profession in which he 
had worked, oh, so hard, to become adept ? 

His mind reverted to the days of his youth at 
the rolling mills in Ohio, where, in the short noon 
hour, he would gulp his bread and meat and then, 
begrimed with sweat and soot, hurry out between 
the railroad tracks to have a couple of innings on 



The Jinx 25 



the cindery diamond. It was a rough school. A 
stolen half-holiday invariably meant a beating from 
his father, "Bully" Dasher, foreman in Open 
Hearth No. i. Montague knew this was coming, 
but what of it! The warm sting of the horsehide, 
the clear rap of the ashen bat, the sweet, green field, 
the open sky, the contest, the victory — ^it was life 
to him! Small wonder that with his love for the 
game one year in fast company had made him a 
nation's hero. It was fun in those days, but work 
now, and he wanted his dues from the owner he 
had helped to make rich. 

**Great Heavens !" exclaimed the unhappy idol of 
fandom; "why won't he give it to me?" In an 
agony of bitterness, revenge, what-not, his fist 
landed on the pillow such a mighty blow that the 
cheap wooden bed nearly collapsed. 

"Hey, whatcher doin' — ^killin' an umpire?" The 
"fresh guy," Fleming, poked his head in, and then 
withdrew it swiftly, for third-baseman Dasher pre- 
sented a threatening appearance. 

"Jest wanted t* gfive you this article I was readin' 
about superstitious ball players. It's all right. Say, 



26 The Jinx 



Dasher, you'll say it's all right. Funny, you know. 
You want t' read it. 'S all right, that's what." 

Montesquieu used to say that an hour's reading 
could make him forget any unpleasantness, and it 
must be concluded from his gradual absorption in 
Fleming's article that infielder Dasher of the 
Pioneers shared at least one trait with the French 
philosopher. Vaguely, at first, he gazed at the col- 
umn of print, for his brain buzzed and hummed. 
But after a while Dasher's eye focused on one of 
the anecdotes so intensely that he appeared to be 
hypnotized. Silly enough it sounded, and yet in 
his baseball experience he had seen the best players 
upset by some freak of superstition. 

"It wouldn't be hard to put a jinx on this club," 
he told himself confidently. "There's a dozen of 
'm scared t' death of a wagonload of empty barrels. 
Miller — ^he's th' limit. McNabb's a nut himself. 
By gad, I'd like t' do it; old gold-digger'd never 
know — get 'em jinxed — set 'em down a couple o' 
games 



He stopped short, his jaw hanging loose, then 
stretched both his arms, his fists partly clenched, 



The Jinx 27 



leaned back his head and gave vent to a malicious 
cackle. *'Say, wouldn't she make a corker?'* he 
exclaimed aloud, with strange exhilaration. 

"Ho, ho, geewhillikins — ^if she wouldn't turn the 
trick !" The countenance that laughed back at him 
from the mirror was sly. "No; I couldn't do it. 
Wouldn't be right. Holy bats, no !" But his head 
wagged only in half-negative. "She'd never know 
— ^just try it one game!" 

With many an exclamation and fragmentary 
soliloquy he argued something again and again, 
peeping at his face in the mirror from time to time. 
Finally, just as the supper-bell rang, he slapped his 
leg, grinned, puffed out his cheeks,, looked solemn, 
and then with a half-mirthful determination de- 
clared to himself: "By th' bones of Mike Kelly, 
I'll do it! Yes, sir, I'll hoodoo th' whole darned 
club, I will. ' I'll put a jinx on 'em or my name ain't 
Dasher, an' that goes !" 

It was on this same evening that third-baseman 
Dasher startled Grove's Court by escorting the land- 
lady's daughter to a roof-garden. His resilience 
and gayety had been craftily subdued while at the 



28 The Jiruv 



supper-table, but it again escaped after they were 
settled in the "best seats in the house." Miss 
O'Hara was considerably amazed at his sudden 
turn of humor, but very discreetly refrained from 
mentioning it, a point not overlooked by the naive 
Mr. Dasher. 

"You know," he whispered, as the performing 
dogs were announced, "there's one thing I like 
about you — ^you don't fan.'* She accepted the vague 
compliment in silence. 

"At that," Montague leaned closer, "I bet 
you'd be a good rooter if you saw a couple o' games. 
Why don't you come up to-morrow?" he invited. 
"Bet a dollar you'd like it." 

"Like it!" exclaimed Miss O'Hara with aston- 
ished delight, her eyes illumined by a confusing in- 
tensity that caused Dasher to turn away in guilty 
embarrassment. "I'd simply love it." 

At intervals during the evening Montague re- 
peated his invitation, and when bidding Miss 
O'Hara good-night in the darkened hallway he 
cautioned her not to tell any one except her 
mother. 



I 



The Jinx 29 



"It's like this," he said, "every one in the house 
will be talking about it — ^you know they're a bunch 
of fanners here. Just you do as I say: come up 
early an' take that front-row seat I was tellin' you 
of, and don't let on as if you knew me. If any of 
th' ball players got wise to us" — ^he gave her small 
hand a gentle pressure, and in the semi-darkness 
quite forgot her visual defection as he noted the 
graceful lines of her white throat and slender waist 
— ^**they'd kid the life out o' mc. Ball players — 
great kidders. You understand, don't you ?" 

After some hesitancy she finally agreed, and 
third-baseman Dasher went to his room with a 
secret buoyancy of heart that was, however, not 
wholly cloudless. 

In his accustomed place at third cushion next day 
Montague seized line drives, gobbled up grounders 
and pegged the ball with tremendous force and 
beautiful precision. Occasionally he snatched a 
hasty look to his right where a dainty figure, clad 
in pink, sat quite alone, watching the game with 
unfeigned interest. 

In the eighth inning third-baseman Dasher aston- 



80 The Jinx 



ished every one by muffing a foul hoist which he 
was well under, and a few moments later called 
forth a roar of denunciation by booting an easy 
bounder. Manager McNabb said nothing in words, 
but his scowl, accusing and suspicious, was fixed 
upon Dasher in such a meaning way that the other 
players were quick to interpret it. 

"Crabber," "layin' down," "throwin' th' game," 
shot from one to another in words and glances. 

Pitcher Miller, the Yeggman, seeing victory 
slipping away, taxed Dasher openly as the home 
team came to bat. "I wouldn't V thought it of 
you. Dash," he complained sadly. "Holy gee, I 
wouldn't V thought it was in ye! That'll never 
get you any raise !" 

"Forget it," snapped the other. "You'd do th' 
same with a pair o' eyes like that borin' yuh !" He 
turned his head in the direction of the landlady's 
daughter. 

The Pioneer's masterful twirler gorged his vision 

a full minute. "By '' he breathed in awe; "ain't 

that fierce! Say, now, ain't that fierce! Excuse 
me, Dash; I thought you was throwin' it into 



The Jim 81 



i{ 



iC 



me for a while. But, say, ain't that something 
fierce . . ." 

The Yeggman had exhausted his vocabulary. 
"Fer Heaven's sake," he cautioned, "don't tip off 
th' bunch or they'll all be hoodooed !" 

But the ball players instantly knew the truth. 
A jinx, a jinx," they whispered along the bench. 
Cross-eyed girl sittin' over there back o' third. 
See her ? She's got Th' Dasher. Holy smoke, look 
at them eyes !" 

Like the discreet and experienced manager he 
was, McNabb did not chasten his men in this hour 
of peril. He treated the matter just as seriously as 
they, condoling with The Dasher, bracing up the 
Yeggman, execrating the jinx and summoning all 
his occult strategy to outwit it. 

"There, there, get that!" he barked, pointing to 
a piece of white paper that lay in front of the 
bench. Six substitutes leaped forward, and be- 
came tangled up like so many horse-shoe crabs 
in a mad effort to pick up this omen of bad 
luck. 

Th' bats, th' bats— look at 'em !" McNabb ges- 



t(» 



82 The Jinx 



tured with trembling hand. Coach and bat-boy 
cracked their heads as they groveled in the sand, 
laying the ashen sticks uniformly straight in one 
long, unbroken line. 

"Hey, you, Shrimp!" to the diminutive short- 
stop. "Blankety-blank-blank-blank your bone head, 
ttirn that belt!" The witless infielder had it 
buckled on the left side. Several of his chosen pals 
hastened to undo the leather and reverse it. 

When the Pioneers went to field in the ninth the 
substitutes, huddled together on the bench, talked 
in low, jerky tones of the calamity and strained an 
anxious gaze at the Yeggman, who savagely de- 
creased the size of his tobacco plug, tightened his 
belt, and after a malevolent grin that was intended 
to comfort The Dasher, went through his famed 
evolutions in "winding up** to hurl the ball. He 
would not trust himself to turn loose a curve in 
such a crisis. One foot on the rubber, the other 
raised, high, fie whirled his right arm and let go 
a fast one to break waist-high over the inside comer 
of the "dish.** But the aim was bad, and — ^kerchunk 
— ^the horsehide buried itself in the ribs of the bat- 



The Jinx 38 



ter, who doubled up and curled over the plate. His 
miserable groan was echoed by McNabb. 

In a moment the batter was up, one of his team- 
mates gleefully dancing alongside as he escorted 
him to first. The Gaycat coachers were ecstatic, 
maligning the Yeggman with every phrase their 
tongues could muster. "We got him going — ^the 
big stiff — ^he's yellow!" They made a significant 
gesture, passing a finger over the neck. 

"Steady, steady up!" called The Dasher through 
his hands. "Don't let her get y'r goat.'* 

"She's got it now," the Yeggman snarled 
blasphemously, breathing like a foundered horse. 

A hit, an error, a passed ball filled the bases, and 
Yeggman Miller, slamming down the ball, raced 
to the bench. "Put some one else in; she's got a 
jinx on me !" he bellowed. Grabbing his sweater he 
sent one dismayed look at the spot of pink, and 
darted for the clubhouse. 

Downtown, bulletin boards and huge presses were 
telling the story of defeat, but as is very often the 
case, the reporters had no notion of the real cause. 
"Miller Blows Up*'; "Dasher Starts a Toboggan 



84 The Jinx 



Slide"; "McNabb a Joke Manager!" and so forth. 

While unnumbered fans, in the recess between 
the double-header games, were trying to account 
for the tragedy. Manager McNabb resorted to new 
tactics, petting his lanky, muscular south-paw, Husk 
Magoon, the "Pile-driver," to whom he made light 
of the hoodoo. "You know. Husk, that Miller 
always was superstitious; never'd take berth thir- 
teen. Oh, he's a joke. Haw, haw! I remember 

the time ^" and he narrated a fiction about the 

Yeggman to prove what a silly chump he was. 

But even as he talked McNabb directed a fear- 
some eye and bitter invective at the landlady's 
daughter. Nor did he object when the players re- 
turning from the clubhouse loaded the Pile-driver 
with every sort of luckcharm at hand — ^mangy rab- 
bits' feet, old coins, iron rings, buttons and a clay 
billiken — ^until his pockets bulged. Reaching the 
plate Magoon was summoned back by the trariner, 
who had run all the way to his boarding-house 
across the avenue for a precious four-leaf clover 
nestling in a silver locket To Gaycat players and 
reporters there was something suspicious in the 



The Jinx 85 



concealed operation of fastening this around the 
pitcher's neck. They thought he was bracing him- 
self on whisky. 

With his full cargo of charms it appeared that 
Magoon had conjured the evil rays that crisscrossed 
from the radiant but eccentric orbs of Miss O'Hara. 
His long, sinewy arm pumped in curves and shoots 
with bewildering rapidity. From every corner of 
the field and in suppressed cries from the bench his 
mates encouraged him : 

"Keep it up, Husk, old boy; you kin do it; you 
got 'em guessin'; make 'em hit; that's a boy, that's 
a boy!" 

But Manager McNabb could see that his re- 
nowned port flinger was working under terrible 
stress. His eyes were twitching, and at times he 
would straighten up as though some missile had 
pierced him in the small of the back. 

In the fatal seventh, two men on base, the score 
favoring the Pioneers, 2 — i, Magoon stopped to tie 
his shoelace, and catching Dasher's eye hoarsely 
asked : 

"Is she there yet?" 



86 The Jinx 



"She is," came the prompt reply, with what to 
the Pile-driver's overcharged imagination seemed a 
lilt of triumph. 

Nevertheless, he stuck to his task, tightening up, 
grunting from the torture, bitter sweat smarting hi? 
eyes. Often he reached to his hip-pocket, fondling 
the three off hindlegs of as many deceased rabbits. 
Noticing this, a shrewd reporter passed the word 
that Magoon was putting rosin on his fingers, the 
better to twist a curve. 

"You're a' right,'* Magoon heard from the 
Pioneers' third-baseman — ^heard it above the shrills 
of mob and howling of the enemy. 

"Wha's that. Dash?" he queried off the back of 
his hand. 

"You're a' right. She's clappin' and rootin' for 
yuh. You've killed th' jinx — ^you've broken it!" 

Forgetting the injunction of his manager the 
southpaw turned to assure himself and caught the 
full dazzling cross-fire of the landlady's daughter, 
who was, in reality, looking at Montague Dasher 
and no one else. With a desperate shudder Magoon 
tried to shake oflf the effect, but his eye was 



The Jinx 87 



strangely ablaze^ his grip uncertain, and as he cut 
loose the ball McNabb, watching him as an execu- 
tioner would the mortal signal, started from the 
bench, hands held up invokingly. 

Too late! The wildest of wild pitches, barely 
touching the catcher's mitt ; a scurrying of runners 
as two tallies went over the plate; an ensuing 
slaughter that taxed the tongue of ^disappointed fan 
and sarcastic scribe ! Oh, ye hard hearts ! Ye cruel, 
cruel rooters! 

As the shades of night curtained that massacre 
thousands upon thousands tramped down the long 
runways, some stolid, some jeering, some swearing, 
"Game had been fixed," was the cry. Only one 
little body, her glowing cheeks shaded under a wide- 
brimmed pink hat of lingerie, her eyes cast down, 
shed a tear for the double defeat. Behind her a 
brute of a man was shouting to his friend : "Dasher 
started th' whole blame thing with them two errors. 
Swell head — ^that's what's a matter with him — ^he 
ought t' be canned !" 

The tail-end of the crowd was still shuffling 
through the gate when a bang fell upon the door 



88 The Jinx 



of that proscribed sanctum, the Pioneers' dressing- 
room, and in bounced President Thayer. For a 
moment he could not speak, so choked was he with 
fury. 

"Well!" he screeched. "What in is the 

trouble now?" 

If one dropped a lighted match in a barrel of 
giant powder the result could hardly have been 
more violent. Twenty-five naked athletes, some 
dripping from the shower, rushed the magnate to a 
comer, threatening his very life. 

"Trouble 1 Trouble!" they all howled. "You old 
billy-goat, you hamfatter, you blank-blank old gold- 
digger, you piece of cheese ! Trouble !" 

Vaguely Eben Thayer afterward recalled that the 
bat-boy hurled a soaked sponge at him and the 
trainer brandished a cake of soap. 

"Trouble! We had a jinx! A jinx, d'ye hear?" 
The magnate did not understand. 

"Jinx ! A hoodoo ! Cross-eyed girl in pink, set- 
tin' over by third base! Didn't you see her, you 
son of a dead skunk, you misbegotten bonehead, 
you, you 1 A jinx! A hoodoo! Trouble?" 



The Jinx 89 



A swirl of naked^ damp bodies that rocked the 
clubhouse, and Eben Thayer found himself chucked 
out of the door, and as the uproar waxed and fist 
blows resounded he tottered to the counting-room. 
Flopping in a chair he vented his feelings upon 
Evans, secretary of the club and buffer for the 
president. 

"Fire 'em, Evans!" he cried hysterically. "Fire 
th* whole damned shootin' match! McNabb's a 
loafer, an incompetent, chicken-hearted loafer. 
What d'ye think ? — says they were hoodooed ! Ever 
hear of such nonsense in y'r life ? Two games lost 
— ^knocked out of first place. Evans, wire all the 
bush leaguers we got strings on. Bring 'em here. 
I'll get a whole new club. I'll show 'em who owns 
the Pioneers. Put me out of th' clubhouse — ^my 
clubhouse ! They did. Hoodooed — ^that's their ex- 
cuse!" His ironical laugh suggested the mad- 
house. 

Tactfully the secretary endeavored to s)rmpathize 
and point out that if an Englishman's home is his 
castle the dressing-room of a big league ball club is 
a veritable bastile. "I'd just let them alone, Mr. 



40 The Jinx 



Thayer ; they'll fight it out among themselves. They 
always do. Anything for an excuse, but you know 
they are the most superstitious people. I remem- 
ber " 

*'Well, I tell you one thing I won't have/' inter- 
rupted the magnate with an emphatic whine. "They 
got to keep this quiet, Evans. You go tell 'em. 
We'll be the joke of the league, a laughing-stock 
from Dan to Beersheba. You tell 'em that, Evans. 
Just think what that sneaking reporter, Curtis, 
would do to us, always boosting the other club!" 
Blustering and fuming around the room, Eben 
Thayer finally climbed into his motor car and 
departed. 

In his duty of handy man to a baseball magnate 
Secretary Evans had encountered many an unpleas- 
antness, but this new task — ^the chasing of a hoodoo, 
keeping the story from nosing reporters, propitiat- 
ing the players and his employer day after day as 
the team met successive defeats — soon began to rack 
his nerves. Twice he filled up the front rows with 
"paper," gave tickets to the park attaches and 
friends of the groundkeeper, thinking to blot the 



The Jinx 41 



jinx from view. But Nona was easily spotted sev- 
eral rows back, with the usual result. Mr. Evans 
also ordered a couple of the good-looking substitutes 
to stand at the gate and strike up a flirtation with 
the jinx. But Nona never even looked at them, 
or— did she? As for charms, amulets, emblems of 
good luck, Evans bought them by the score, charg- 
ing the expense to "grandstand repairs," fearing 
otherwise that the magnate would "throw an- 
other fit.'' 

Meanwhile, at the park, in his office, at the res- 
taurant where he dined nightly, Evans had to an- 
swer questions, questions, questions. Was it that 
"cliques" had disrupted the club? Had the pitchers 
gone lame? Were the Pioneers in a "batting 
slump"? Was McNabb "incompetent"? Some 
twitted him about his sudden generosity in giving 
away passes, for, with the Pioneers dropped to 
fourth place, patronage had dwindled miserably. 

There were no fights in the clubhouse now, no 
pepper, no kidding or pleasantry. Like the dream 
of Brutus before the battle of Pharsalia, the hoodoo 
had produced a species of irresolution and de- 



42 The Jinx 



spondency which was the principal cause of •their 
losing one battle after another. Montague, sitting 
before his locker pulling on his stockings, glanced 
around the circle and was moved to repentance. 

Here and there he saw a teammate, married and 
with family, who so blithely a week ago had talked 
of the pennant prize — what he would do with it. 
The only player with whom he was at all intimate 
had a consumptive sister who received a moiety of 
his wages. 

Begun in a joke, his scheme had "worked" with 
unthought-of success. Revenge, after all, was not 
so sweet, and besides, it brought him no nearer 
to his goal — z raise in salary. But more than 
that 

Dasher, always a quick dresser, had left the club- 
house and was walking meditatively down the 
avenue. His thoughts were upon Nona and they 
disturbed him acutely. His conscience cried aloud 
against his despicable ruse of employing her to 
attain a selfish end. What a charming companion 
she had been in the evening as they walked together 
or attended shows ! How regardful she was of his 



The Jinx 48 



comforts — a flower on his dresser^ a button sewed 
on his coat^ a picture on the wall — and he making 
capital of her misfortune I 

"You dog!" gritted Montague, "You ought t* 
be ashamed ever to look her in the face. You'll cer- 
tainly get " 

"Hello, Dash — always first man to the dining- 
room, eh ?" It was McNabb, his hair grayer, more 
lines in his countenance. He assumed cheerfulness. 

**You beat it before I saw you, an' missed the 
news. Don't laugh, now." He playfully squeezed 

» 

The Dasher's shoulder. "But I was just tellin' the 
boys what our friend Eben handed me last night. 
He's gettin' so bughouse over this — ^this slump- 
that he says he'll give five hundred dollars cash to 
any of the boys who c'n chase th' jinx ! What d'ye 
think of that, eh ? Ain't that a good one ?" 

"Chase her!" exclaimed Montague with appre- 
hension. 

Well, you know, meet her someway an' Keep 
her away. The old goat thinks she's responsible for 
the whole thing, an' I'll admit she's a jinx — ^worst 
I ever saw. But we was due for a slump, an3nvay. 



€i^ 



44 The Jifuv 



that's what I think ; just happened to start that first 
day you piped her off. An' I was just sayin* to 
myself, as I saw you ahead here : *Dasher*d be the 
guy/ Go on ; FU give yuh a day's leave of absence. 
Be a detec', foUo' her home, see where she lives. If 
I was as good-lookin' as you I'd do it. Maybe the 
[prefix of hardy adjectives] old gold-digger'd come 
across on a raise. Hey, why don't you go to it ?" 

Montague walked on in silence. At the comer 
he halted, and facing the other he said solemnly: 
"I been to it. Mad" 

"What's that — ^you got a line; you !" 

"I met her last night, that's what I mean. I — 
think — ^I can fix it," replied Montague thoughtfully. 
"Is that right about the old robber? How do I 
know if he'll make good ? Think he will ?" 

"Think it! I know it, Dash. No, I'll say this 
for him — ^he keeps his word on them things. If he 
says he'll raise a man a certain time he does it. He's 
stingy, but you can rely on him that way." 

"Well, you fix it up with him, Mac. An' remem- 
ber this is under y'r belt an' his. Don't let any of 
the boys know anything about it. I ain't sajrin' I 



The Jinx 45 



can pull it off, mind you. I jest happened to meet 
her with some friends last night — ^that's a fact. I'm 
just thinkin*. I don't know how I c'd do it now." 
McNabb puckered his face and meditated. "You 
c'd take her to th* beach or somewhere th* next 
couple of days. I c'd use Cartwright at third. We 
go West then ; you know how we are on the road— • 
better'n on the home grounds. But then that last 
series here finishin'. If she came up again- ! 



Well," sighed McNabb, *'see what you can do, 
Dash. I'll take care of the other part. S'long." 

9|(  a|( 4(  

Three days afterward, late at night, a small party 
of steadfast rooters at the Grand Union station 
bade the Pioneers good-by on their trip West and 
reflected some of the animation that rioted inside 
the special car — rioted because of two hard-fought 
victories which had broken the string of ghastly 
defeats. Like children the big leaguers lifted their 
voices in song, "rousted" the porter, fired pillows at 
one another and laughed for sheer joy of hearing 
themselves laugh. It was a new deal. 

'Soon as I come up," shouted an outfielder, "an' 



«« 



46 The Jinx 



seen she wasn't there it seemed as if I c'd hit any- 
thing. A spitter, too, Wiggs give me — ^that un I 
rode for three bases. Say, she was breakin' some !" 

" 'Member when I crossed old Parker on the hit 
an' run? Say, I'll never ferget his face — ^had him 
by three weeks at second !" The backstop's throaty 
chuckle was sweet music to the soul of Manager 
McNabb. Every one talked at once. 

As the fast train whizzed through town and 
countryside and the players, one by one, stretched 
out in their berths. Pitcher Miller for the tenth time 
related fondly: "A minute more an' me an' The 
Dasher's mixed it up — ^that's th' way I felt. Then 
what'd you say. Dash? Oh, yes, he says: Tergit 
it; you'd do th' same with a pair o' eyes like 
that ' " 

"Shut up— cut it out," chorused a dozen voices. 
"That's all in th' book. Cut it out— th' hay fer 
yours, Yeggman." 

Manager McNabb was last to bed. "It's a road 
team, this is," the men heard him say; "I want 
seventeen games — ^we'U go through 'em like a rat 
up a pump." 



The Jinx 47 



Following hard upon a sporting tragedy that had 
convulsed a whole nation the Pioneers' striking re- 
versal in form quickly became known in big 
headlines — "Champions Win Three Straight" ; 
^'Pioneers Hit Their Gait" ; "Pioneers Will be Con- 
tenders, Says McNabb" ; "Pioneers : One, Two, 
In The Race." Nothing could stop McNabb's men. 
Their pitchers made strike-out records; their slug- 
gers broke fences, took all sorts of chances on bases 
and got away with them, and always was Montague 
Dasher the brightest star in a dazzling firmament. 

So swiftly does hero worship ebb and flood that 
when the Pioneers returned home in second place 
a crowd of many hundreds panted to satisfy their 
gaze and mark each individual player as the train 
pulled in. 

"That's Brewster — ^tell by his scar — see hiro?" 

"Looky, th' Yeggman — ^pitched a no-hit game 
against the Prunes!" 

"Where's Th' Dasher— that him?" 

"No, it's Carroll, th' new infielder." 

"There goes McNabb— every one together now; 
three cheers for McNabb !" 



48 The Jinx 



Through this press the big leaguers, timid of 
such near applause, waded unceremoniously. 
Shrewd judges could see that they were on edge. 
Every ounce of muscle, every drop of blood, every 
particle of brain had been exerted in their desperate 
fight to reach first place. But their eyes were clear. 

As for third-baseman Dasher, he escaped by a 
roundabout way, hurriedly refreshed his toilet, and 
twelve o'clock found him approaching a huge gray- 
stone building that bore thejegend : "Eye and Ear 
Hospital." He was up the steps in a bound. 

With some labor he wrote on a card "M. Dasher," 
and shoved it over the desk. "I'd like to see Miss 
O'Hara," he asked eagerly. 

The smug official did not even glance at the in- 
scription. "Say, don't you know that th* visiting 
hour is one o'clock?" He waved to the gauntlet of 
anxious faces, mostly women, who sat along each 
side of the wide hall. 

"That's too bad," answered Montague, crest- 
fallen. "I got to go t' work pretty soon. I thought 
—thought maybe I could see this party. I got t' go 
to work " 



The Jiruv 49 



"We don't show no partiality here/' sharply from 
the other. "Take your turn with the rest." 

"That's too bad," reiterated Montague helplessly. 
"I couldn't wait that long. We got a double-header 
to-day. We " 

"A what?'* exclaimed the desk man interestedly. 
He looked at the card, then at the petitioner. His 
mouth gaped foolishly, his eyes bulged. "This ain't 
— ain't The Dasher?" he asked. 

"That's what they call me," replied Montague 
seriously. 

The desk man almost fell off his high stool and 
skipped upstairs. He returned fawning and impor- 
tant. His long absence was accounted for by the 
silent adulation of nearly every employee in the 
hospital who had been acquainted with the visitor's 
identity — scrubwomen, nurses, surgeons, convales- 
cents peeped from doors, lingered in the halls, hung 
over banisters. Dasher saw none of them. 

Reaching their destination the desk man opened 
the door to a darkened room. "It's all right for 
you," he grinned and scraped. "Doctor Stevens 
says you're to go right in." 



50 The Jinx 



For a moment Dasher could see nothing. 

*Tm *way over here/' spoke a soft voice. There 
was something in the warmth, music, pathos of the 
notes that gave the ball player a sudden thrill. Tip- 
toeing to the front of the room he could distinguish 
the form of the landlady's daughter partly stretched 
out on an invalid chair. Wide blue glasses shielded 
her eyes. Her hand, white and slender, reached to- 
ward him. Dasher took it in both his rugged 
**bread-winners." Unknowingly he manipulated it 
like a hot grounder. 

"Ouch!" cried Nona; "you squeeze something 
awful.'* Both laughed and The Dasher was more 
at ease. 

Again he took her hand, but tenderly. 

"Was that right — ^what your mother said in her 
letter? Did — did they fix you up?" 

"Oh, Mr. Dash " 

"Say," pleaded Montague, "if it's just th' same, 
why don't you call me *Monte' — ^you did one 
night." 

The girl was silent. 

"Was there much pain?" he asked huskily. 



The Jinx 51 



"No ; I don't suppose so/' answered Nona with a 
shiver, "They gave me some drug when they — 
operated, cut the cords, you know. Afterward, 
though, it hurt, hurt ** 

Her small hand tightened within his two. In that 
fragment of time a mighty wave of desire, a whelm- 
ing sense of protectiveness, a fierce yearning flooded 
the ball player's soul. His very spine chilled. He 
scarcely heard her as she went on : 

"It'll only be a week or so when I can go out in 
the daylight, but I'll have to keep the glasses on a 
couple of months. The doctors have been perfectly 
sweet to me." 

"Young fellows?" Montague recovered abruptly. 

"Oh, no. Doctor Stevens is over fifty, and Doctor 
Sparks is forty-five at least They're in that next 
room. They want to see you. They read all about 
you to me every day. They are so kind. Everybody 
is so good-— oh, Mr. Dasher" — ^her voice trembled — 
''I don't know why you ever went to this expense 
for me. I don't know how we're ever going to repay 
you. I would have had to go through life — always. 
The girls used to cross their fingers when they met 



52 The Jinx 



me. No one would sit with me at school. My 

mother '^ 

There were great tears in the ball player's eyes. 
He silenced her with a strong grip. "Promise me," 
he begged, "that you will never say anything about 
— about me doing this. You promise? Don't — 



don't thank me. I had th' money — I never done 
anything much for anybody — ^always lookin' out f 'r 
myself. An' I guess I'm happier th'n you. I guess 
I am," he said with emphasis. Her hand lay 
limp. 

With the quick determination his profession had 
engendered Montague rose to his feet. "We got a 
double-header today, Nona," he said. "You'll ex- 
cuse me, won't you ? I'll be back soon as it's over. 
I got t' go. It's a double-header." 

He opened the door briskly, cleared his throat, 
and addressed a pair of twinkling eyes that had 
been fixed on a microscopic lens. "I'm the man," 
he announced with a note of pride and holding his 
head high, "that's paying Miss O'Hara's bill." In 
business fashion he counted over five one-hundred- 
dollar bills and laid them on the table. 



The Jinx 53 



"Well, sir, I am certainly glad to meet you, Mr. 
Dasher," The bald-headed surgeon, without even 
glancing at the money, offered his hand.. "First 
time we ever saw you at close range." He gestured 
toward his confrere, who grinned with a rooter's 
grin. "Both fans,, we are, worst in the world. 
Never miss a game when we can get off. And, 
what do you think — Doctor Sparks there has bet 
me one hundred dollars that the Pioneers won't win 
the pennant?* It was questioning. 

Montague, with his dislike for fanning, touched 
the greenbacks. "I just wanted to ask you, Doc- 
tor, is that right ? Will her eyes be straight now — 
will they be like — like any other girl's?" His 
countenance was mistrusting and anxious. 

"My boy," assured the surgeon, "she's all right 
now ; the operation was entirely successful. All she 
needs is to be a little careful for some time not to 
strain her eyes. You're a lucky chap, Dasher, con- 
founded lucky. A braver girl I never saw. Every- 
body fell in love with her here." He folded the bills 
and handed them back. "Put that in your pocket, 
sir. Do you think we'd take a cent from you? 



54 The Jinx 



Why, we're thirty-third degree fans, aren't we. 
Doctor?" 

"Well, I should say so— the original article. 
Dasher/' Doctor Sparks rubbed his hands glee- 
fully. "Only way you can repay us is to win that 
pennant. I've made a bet with Stevens here, but 
that's nothing. I'd give five times that to see you 
come out on top." 

Montague, astonished, glanced from one to 
the other. "S-say, you're not kiddin' me?" he 
asked. 

"No, no!" returned the bald-headed surgeon 
peremptorily. "You and Mrs. Dasher" — he dug 
the third baseman in the ribs — "use that five hun- 
dred for your wedding trip." He winked and 
laughed. 

The ball player colored from the top of his white 
collar to the edge of his sunburned forehead. He 
felt a moisture in his eyes and was overcome. 
Gripping the surgeons until they winced he fled as 
abruptly as he had entered. 

"Well, I swear!" exclaimed specialist Sparks; 
"that fellow really appears to have some feeling. 



The Jinx 55 



You'd never think it! He's a sullen demon in a 
game.'* 

"Rats!" jeered the other. "If you weren't such 
a dried-up old cynic you could see that the Pioneers' 
third-baseman is head over heels in love. That's 
sv^hat's the matter with him." 

"By jingoes !" ejaculated Doctor Sparks sorrow- 
fully; "I'm afraid ifs good-by pennant then, 
Stevens. He'll never be able to get his mind on 
the game." 

"Nonsense," snapped Doctor Stevens, turning 
'down his cuffs, the rooter's light of battle already 
in his eyes. "Nerves of steel — forget all about her 
when he gets in the game. Come on; it's nearly 
time to start. If you want to make that two hun- 
dred, I'm willing," 

     

Two weeks later Montague Dasher marched into 
the Pioneers' headquarters and with dignified ges- 
ture introduced: "My wife, Mr. Thayer!" The 
magnate beamed, bowed as eloquently as his fat 
body would permit and paid suitable compliment 
to the rosy cheeks and blue goggles. While his 



56 The Jinx 



world-famous third-baseman was signing a new 
contract at a thousand dollars advance in the sec- 
retary's room and getting a check for five hundred 
dollars extra, President Thayer entertained himself 
and Nona with a sprightliness quite unusual. 

"Too bad, Mrs. Dasher, you couldn't 'a' seen that 
last game. Your husband won it for us — ^won th' 
pennant. Say, it was a wonder, a heartbreaker ! 
You may know — one man dropped dead from the 
excitement — had to cart him away in th' ambulance. 
Exciting ! Gee-whiz ! 

"Imagine! Score two to two, last inning, one 
man out, Monte on first. He can score from second 
on a long single, you know. But that bloddiead 
Carter had to raise a fly! Fly, mind you; con- 
found Oh, well. Did the best he could. 

Right field she went, and Dasher was off soon as 
Hagan caught the ball. One chance in a thousand. 
Hagan — ^grand thrower. Put my hands over my 
eyes — thought sure it was all over. Then a yell 
broke loose. Holy Christmas! Dasher was there 
on second. Beat th' throw. Only man in fast com- 
pany could *a' done it. 



The Jinx 57 



"Little Barry come up, weakest hitter on th' club. 
Thirty-two thousand there— crazy — ^just crazy, 
that's all. I was worse th'n any of 'em. Bit right 
through that cigar-holder. See there ! Given to me 
by th' Masons, too. Didn't look as if there was a 
chance in th' world. Our pitchers were all in ; an- 
other inning they'd 'a' gone to pieces. McNabb said 
so himself. Dasher takes a big lead, and th* minute 
Hepburn turns to throw to second, Dasher shoots 
like a coyote, like a coyote, Mrs. Dasher, fall-away 
slide — steals third. 

"Course you heard about him stealing home? 
What! He's a queer fellow! Talk o' the whole 
country. Most wonderful thing ever happened in 
baseball." Eben Thayer pranced about the room, 
on his short legs, his face crimson with the exertion, 
his pig eyes dancing, as he illustrated this historic 
event, what every player did, how the Gaycats tried 
to assault the umpire, the arrival of police, and the 
parade over the field of ten thousand fans bearing 
Dasher aloft on shoulders. 

"By gracious !" He sank down on the revolving 
chair out of breath and mopped the perspiration on 



58 The Jinx 



his forehead. 'Too bad, too bad/' he condoled, 
"you couldn't 'a' seen it, Mrs. Dasher." Recover- 
ing presently, he inquired: "Didn't you see any 
of the games this season ?" 

Nona, her face flushed with pleasure at hearing 
the recital of her husband's prowess, frowned 
whimsically. "Well, yes, I did, Mr. Thayer," she 
admitted; "but it was the strangest thing. Every 
single time I went the Pioneers lost. I began to 
think I must be a hoodoo. And, oh, I did root so 
hard for Monte, and — ^and all of them." 

"Eh — eh, what did you — ^when was that? Was 
it in August you went up? — ^August — ^middle of 
August?" 

"Yes," answered Nona, startled by the mag- 
nate's intense concern; "that's just when it 
was. I wouldn't 'a' gone up if it hadn't been for 
Monte ** 



"Hey there, what you doin' — ^taking my name in 
vain?" The Dasher, folding his contract and 
check, stepped in, laughing, heart-free. Then, not- 
ing the ashen, flabby face of the Pioneers' president, 
he sent a flash of inquiry : 



The Jinx 59 



"Wha's the matter?" 

''Nothing," said Nona. "Mr. Thayer's been 
terribly interesting, describing to me all about the 
last game. I was telling him about my being a 
hoodoo* I ^" 

"Wha's that — ^he said you was a hoodoo ?" The 
Dasher took a step forward, and the magnate 
crowded against the back of his chair. 

"No, no," corrected Nona; "I was telling Mr. 
Thayer how the club lost every time I went up, 
until I began to think I was a hoodoo. It was 
strange, wasn't it?" she appealed to both. 

Slowly the color returned to the magnate's putty 
cheeks. A hard loser, he could not but have some 
respect for this sort of shrewdness. Rising abruptly, 
his eye evaded The Dasher's, and he tried to peer 
through those blue goggles. "I bid you good-by," 
he breathed heavily. "I hope you have a pleasant 
journey." 

Outside, in the marble-flanked hallway, as they 
were waiting for the elevator, Nona lifted the 
glasses a moment and tilted her chin. 

"Monte, Mr. Thayer looked at me so queerly. 



CO The Jinx 



Tell me, honest and true, are my eyes straight — ^just 
— ^just like other girls' ?" 

"Well," said Montague, teuderly replacing the 
glassed with one hand, his right fist unconsciously 
hardening, "I'd like to see the guy that says they 
am t. 



A BREAK IN TRAINING 

LATE one drizzly afternoon in October, Left- 
fielder Dan Bunts and Catcher Steve—* 
**Big Steve" — Doyle were beginning to feel 
the effects of many libations which, though para- 
graphed from Harlem to West Street, seemed by 
the very leisure of their absorption to have accrued 
a strange potency. Clasping a wellwom suitcase 
in his right breadwinner, whence glinted a three- 
carat chunk of **ice," the. National League's hardest 
hitter vigorously but uncertainly led the way, as 
he thought, to the Boston steamship docks. Di- 
rectly in his wake followed catcher Doyle, similarly 
enciunbered and adorned. "Wet grounds — no 
game" had provided this opportunity for a short 
break in training ; but, a double-header being sched- 
uled in Boston next day, they were loath indeed that 
the manager or captain of the club should observe 

their plight. 

61 



62 jH Break in Training 

"'Like as not Macll be at the gate coantin' off 
th' bunch," urged Steve thickly, elbowing a com- 
muter. 

" T he is," muttered Bunts, "we got t' lay low. 
Maybe we c'n crawl in the basement somehow." 

Confused by the stir of traffic, swept by the rain 
now blowing in torrents, oppressed by fear of Man- 
ager Barney McNabb's wrath, the two ballplayers 
zigzagged under a high vaulted roof among piles 
of merchandise. An endless stream of trucks lum* 
bered back and forth. 

*'Gangfway! Gangway!" they heard at every 
turn ; and stevedores, grinning maliciously, bumped 
these national heroes with no more consideration 
than if they had been immigrants. 

Jostled into a grotto of temporary safety. Big 
Steve laid hands upon a person who commanded 
his attention by reason of a nautical cap. ''Say, 
old boy, y* belong to th* boat?" 

"Hey, un'cr y'r belt!" put in leftfielder Bunts 
pleadingly. "You know Just a litT after- 
noon 'th friends. Get's on quiet; well make 't all 
right. Be goo' fella!" 



Id Break in Training 68 

The mariner scrutinized the strangers closely, 
noting the weather-beaten skin, capable hands and 
well-knit figures that showed unusual strength de- 
spite their swaying. 

'Well, now," he suggested — ^''you want to see 
the captain, don't you?'* 

The extreme fervency of their denials, the fresK 
vigor of their imprecations against any such calam- 
ity, somewhat puzzled the other. 

"I'm mate of this windjammer," the stranger 
said slowly, "and have no wish to get into trouble. 
The captain told me to be on the lookout for you." 
He paused. "Don't want to see the captain?" — 
grinding his eye over the huge proportions of 
catcher Doyle. 

"Captain, manager — ^none of th' team, y'un'er- 
stanM" they protested. "Jes' get us on — ^Lay low 
til morning — Sleep it off — Make 't a* right 'ith 
you — ^Un'erstan'? — Un'er y'r belt! — ^Jes' get us 
aboard." 

Shortly after midnight, when the three-masted 
schooner Melrose, bound from New York to the 
River Plate with a general cargo, was abeam of 



64 A Break in Training 

Sandy Hook, Captain Ross ordered the watch to 
close-haul and set the main staysail. There was 
a fair breeze, a bright moon, and the trim vessel 
slipped over the silver-crested waves as noiselessly 
as a great bird. Before the mate, Mr. Evans, who 
was just as Welsh as Captain Ross was Scotch, 
turned in, the master of the Melrose, himself a 
trifle hectic, announced that in his opinion the newly 
shipped sailors had been sufficiently rested. 

"Wear diamonds, eh?'' he grunted jeeringly. 
"Glass, you mean. PVaps they're dagos." 

"No fear, sir," from the mate. "They look like 
downright Yankees. I was surprised clean through. 
Haven't seen a genuine American sailor come 
aboard in ten years." 

"We'll have a peek at them," decided Skipper 
Ross, with no great intensity, though he was plainly 
interested. 

Tacking to leeward, captain and mate stepped 
over loosened tackle, past the galley, and, {ducking 
a smoky lantern from a beam near the forecastle 
door, went directly to the bunks from which wafted 
jarring snores. 



A Break in Training 65 

^'Crimes o' Paris!" uttered the master of the 
Melrose. "They'd open the seams o' the ship! 
Mr. Evans, shove this bully in the ribs. By crimes ! 
He is a little bit of all right. Never thought that 
crimp'd get hold of the like. From what he said I 
expected a couple o' wharf-rats that had to get away 
from the police. Diamonds !" 

Mate Evans, prodding catcher Doyle with a 
rough hand, a freedom from which any player in 
fast company would have shrunk, caused the big 
fellow to turn toward the light and toss his hand 
over the bunkside. The setting of his massive 
ring, purchased with a month's salary from Dia- 
mond Joe, gleamed even in that murky illumination. 
The backstop's thick, muscular neck was exposed; 
likewise a tattooed emblem on his forearm. 

"Well, well!" laughed Skipper Ross, with tri- 
umphant humor. "That's one on you, Evans. 
Nothing but a big piece of glass — ^that's what it is. 
But, see there I" pointing to the India-ink American 
flag. "A sailor for fair and a knockout. Probably 
a man-o'-war's-man taking it on tick. I'll make 
a second mate of him, Evans, and send that half- 



66 A Break in Training 

breed lubber forward. Wake 'em up, lad; hand 
'em one in the ribs. Crimes o' Paris ! I'll give him 
Ju-ju's berth in the cabin." 

Mate Evans, a rawboned, sea-hardened output 
from Cardiff, tried a species of jiu-jitsu this time, 
twisting Big Steve's wrist and simultaneously 
twisting what was left of a nose that had been 
sadly damaged by a spitball. 

The result was sudden and unexpected. Mr. 
Doyle, resting none too comfortably on an empty 
stomach, sprang upward, cracked his head on the 
berth above, hurled himself out and, leaping to his 
feet, yelled: "Shoot it. Jack! Shoot it! Home I 
Home !" 

He clapped his big mitts together, caught an 
imaginary ball, and, seeing the master of the Mel- 
rose in a half -crouching position, "put it on" him 
for as fair an out as ever an umpire called. 

"I got him!" exulted the National League's 
brawniest catcher. "I got him !" His clenched fist 
landed in the captain's eye. 

"You did, eh?" howled the infuriated navigator. 
Straightening up, he capsized Steve, upset the Ian- 



A Break in Training 67 

tern, and together they whirled into the bunk occu- 
pied by leftfielder Bunts. 

Fully aroused from his crapulous nightmare, Mr. 
Doyle conceived the notion that he was an object 
of plundering assault. Even as he crooked one 
stout arm about the mariner's neck he felt for the 
band of gold and its costly setting. Its presence 
stimulated him to resistless exertion. 

"Dan! Dan!" he yelled, as skipper and catcher 
rolled on the floor. "Get up ! Look out ! Thieves ! 

Y'r diamond ! '* His speech was cut short with 

a gurgle-gurgle, for Captain Ross buried his sinewy 
fingers in the big leaguer's neck. 

Leftfidder Bunts took in the situation as though 
it were an organized play, and, flinging himself on 
the struggling forms, luckily clenched the ship- 
master's whiskers with a fierce grip. 

Mate Evans, momentarily palsied by the adven- 
ture, recovered himself and joined the animated 
mass which swayed and lurched in the narrow 
aisle and finally tumbled through the doorway into 
the broad luster of a full moon. 

The majesty of an autumn heaven — stars, plan- 



68 "A Break in Training 

ets, milky way; the spread of bellying canvas, the 
long, rolling, silvered waves, the pitch and toss 
of the schooner, the gathering of black faces, the 
hoarse orders of captain and mate — ^what in the 
name of reason could it all mean? 

The Melrose carried only three sailors in each 
watch — black boys from the Western Islands — be- 
sides a second mate, who hailed from Brazil, and 
a Chinese cook. Obedient to the master's partly 
stifled commands, delivered in a hybrid dialect, 
these came to the rescue, some armed with belaying- 
pins. In the distorted imaginations of Messrs. 
Bunts and Doyle they suggested goblins, ogres, 
something unearthly. 

The two were dad in their underclothes — sleeve- 
less shirts and knee-breeches. Thus unhampered 
and easily discerning their immediate enemies, they 
fought with frenzied energy. 

Though not so massive as his fellow leaguer, 
leftfielder Bunts was regarded as a bad man to 
tackle on field or in clubhouse. He stood an even 
six feet, was built proportionately and had panther- 
like quickness. A pitcher by occupation, he devel- 



A Break in Ttaining 69 

Oped such hitting ability that Manager McNabb had 
shifted him to the left garden, using him in the 
box only on occasions. His wits were more nimble 
than the catcher's; so it was he that first realized 
the situation. 

Disposing of the Welsh mate with a deft and 
vicious right swing, Mr. Bunts shouted: 

"We've been kidnapped Steve! They drugged 
us. Wallop that old duffer. He's the manager!" 

Bunts laid two black men low, chased another 
around the galley house and turning the second 
comer ran into the cook, whom he flattened with a 
blow in the neck. Big Steve found the schooner's 
captain, for all the grizzled whiskers and fifty years, 
a surprisingly tough customer. Over and over 
they rolled, hands gripping each other's neck, hot 
breath meeting hot breath, and gasping oaths of 
their several vocations — ^that is to say, catcher 
Doyle used the strong and unprintable language 
of the ballfield, while Captain Ross confined him- 
self to the harmless oath, "Crimes o' Paris!" an 
expression which, for him — a stem Scotch Presby- 
terian — covered the gamut of blasphemy. He felt 



70 14 Break in Training 

a secret pride in having coined the phrase after a 
two-days* sojourn in the gay French capital. But, 
if obedient to the Third Commandment, Captain 
Ross was in nowise hampered by the Beatitudes. 
Feeding his men on decayed horsemeat, robbing 
them of wages and hazing them with overwork 
was for him a matter of business. 

Backstop Steve Doyle, of course, knew nothing 
of these eccentricities. He was "up against" a 
stout opponent and it required all his strength to 
finally drive the shipmaster against the bul- 
warks so hard that he lay there limp as a wet 
towel. 

Puffing for wind, Big Steve leaned up against 
the galley. His heart, from fright and exercise, 
beat like a steam riveter. 

Wha' is it, Dan?'' he wheezed. 

7es' what I said, Steve. Somebody kidnapped 
us. ICnockout drops. Must *a' been in that last 
saloon. I've read about such things. Oh, great 
kingdom, Steve! What'll McNabb say? We 
throwed him down once, an' he said " 

"Zwush!" 



^<^ 



ti 



14 Break in Training 71 

A nasty thud and Leftfielder Bunts flopped to 
the deck without a quiver. After the fashion of 
his race, the Chinese cook had crawled to the roof 
of the galley and an iron belaying-pin did the rest. 
Big Steve wheeled about, got tangled in a coil 
of rope, and, losing his balance, fell heavily; and 
quick as one might dump the ball and start for 
first base half a dozen sailors were atop of him. 
At the same time Mate Evans arrived and 
smote the hero with the butt end of a heavy re- 
volver. Also Skipper Ross,, for good measure, 
added sundry kicks and blows until catcher Doyle 
and leftfielder Bunts were as ignorant of their 
whereabouts as Manager Barney McNabb, who was 
at that very hour searching the luxurious Boston 
steamer for his two high-priced stars. McNabb, 
in a wretched mood, walked the decks all night, 
taking his only hope in a chance that Doyle and 
Bunts had missed the boat and were traveling by 
train. 

"They may have been held up or got to gam- 
bling, but they'd never throw me down at this 
stage of the game by going on a spree," he argued 



72 ^A Break in Training 

with the club's secretary. "Why, man, it means a 
couple of thousand apiece if we win four out o* 
the next eight games. Think Big Steve'd let that 
get by him? Nix." 

Manager McNabb conjured a number of excuses 
for the catcher and fielder, but not in his wildest 
dream could he have imagined them lying under a 
tarpaulin, almost naked, bumping each other on 
the foredeck of a schooner that was charging into 
head-seas of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Dry-throated, empty-stomached, every bone and 
joint aching, the two athletes were apprised of the 
dawn's early light by Captain Ross, who soused 
them with a pail of sea water. 

"Fetch another!" he commanded one of the 
crew. 

Messrs. Doyle and Bunts scrambled to their feet 
and backed against the forecastle, holding the can- 
vas in front of them. 

"Don't! For the love of Heaven, don't!" cried 
the catcher, brine stinging his eyes, his mighty 
shoulders shuddering. 

"Don't! For the love o' Mike! Please don't, 



^A Break in Training 78 

sir!" chattered the intrepid Bunts, cringing, spine- 
less and terror-stricken. 

Captain Ross fingered a bright revolver ; and, to 
judge by his ferocious appearance, he proposed 
instant assassination. The skipper's upper lip was 
puffed, two front teeth were missing and an ugly- 
wound on his forehead marked the size of Steve 
Doyle's diamond. 

Possibly he knew that the puffed lip made him 
look a trifle silly, for his invective was unusually 
scathing as he talked of "double irons," "mutiny" 
and "twenty years' imprisonment." His red cheeks 
were almost purple from ill-contained rage. Shout- 
ing and ranting, he galloped up and down as he 
gripped his pistol and occasionally caressed his 
bruised lip. 

"It's a mistake — ^mistake — a fierce mistake!" 
Doyle and Bunts reiterated. In a momentary lull 
Big Steve managed to announce : 

"But, mister, we ain't sailors at all!" Then, a 
little louder and with an inflection of pride : "We're 
ballplayers I" 

"World's champions!" put in Bunts. "This 



74p 'A Break in Training 

is Big Steve Doyle," waving one arm trem- 
blingly. 

"This is Dan Bunts; used to be pitcher — ^left- 
fielder now," introduced Doyle. 

"Show 'em your hand, Steve," suggested Dan, 
for Captain Ross appeared to be skeptical. At 
least, he raised his eyebrows and his face wore an 
inscrutable expression. Steve displayed his throw- 
ing hand, with its broken and gnarled digits. 

"Baseball players, eh ?" inquired the skipper, with 
a jeering relish that escaped the big leaguers. 

"That's right ; you got it," they chorused, honey- 
mouthed. How easy it would be now ! The magic 
of that word — ^baseball! The might of those 
names — Doyle and Bunts! Another rooter, this 
grim seafarer. Very likely he would be wanting 
to "fan" presently. 

Big Steve regained his doughty bearing. 

"An* if it's all the same to you, Cap, you c'n 
put us on that steamer over there." He pointed 
to a plume of smoke and a long black hull. "We'll 
pay you for th' trouble. Certainly's a good joke on 
us." Mr. Bunts joined in the laugh. 



"A Break in Training 75 

"Ballplayers, eh?" The skipper of the Melrose 
twisted his swollen lip into a queer grimace. 

"Sure!" promptly replied the cheerful Bunts. 
"We're with th' Pioneers. Barney McNabb's our 
manager. Heard o' Barney, haven't you? Well, 
say, Cap, we're in pretty bad. Barney'U give us 
thunder f'r missin' that battle today. Only eight 
more games, y' know. Got t' win the pennant. 
Can't you signal that steamer? Be a good fella. 
We'll make it worth y'r while." He motioned in 
the location of his trousers pocket. "Or, maybe* 
you c'd put us on shore " 

"Ballplayers !" 

It was the roar of a prehistoric animal. Even 
the black crew shrank from the terrific blare and 
the brandished revolver. "Ballplayers? Loafers! 
Drunkards ! Scum of the earth ! I'll ballplay you ! 
I got you — you snakes, you scorpions, you hell cast- 
offs! Oh, don't I know you! Go round th' country 
with your diamonds luring innocent girls from 
home. By the crimes o' Paris! Want to go to 
sea, ch? Well, you're going then, by Crimes! — 
going to the River Plate and to the Bight of Benin 



76 Id Break in Training 

and then to China. Ha! Ha! Ballplayers!" He 
stopped abruptly. "Get below! Put some clothes 
on. See this?" He waved the pistol. "If you 
raise a hand to me just once I'll shoot your heads 
off." 

It was nearly ten o'clock when Steve and Dan 
had an opportunity to converse. Qad in castnDff 
overalls stiff with paint, hobnailed shoes and cheap 
soiled sweaters, they lurched about doing odd jobs 
on deck. Their breakfast of weak coffee, a hunk 
of salt meat and biscuit was but a memory and an 
ugly one. At six bells Mate Evans ordered the 
vessel put about on the starboard tack. 

"Get to the main sheet!" he yelled; and as poor 
Steve looked bewildered the Welshman, both of 
his eyes blackened, swung hard on the backstop's 
ribs. Utterly cowed. Big Steve rushed inside the 
forecastle and ptdled desperately at the covers on 
his bunk. 

Mr. Bunts, assigned to pick rust off the anchor- 
chain, fared better, having attached several of the 
crew by giving them plugs of very good chewing 
tobacco, a luxury to which he had long been ad- 



( 



A Break in Training 77 

dieted. As the mate sang out his unintelligible 
order to "Stand by I" Dan was tipped off; and 
skipping to the waist of the Melrose he did 
his part in hauling away. His blood boiled when 
he saw both mate and captain take a wallop at 
the National League's grandest pegger as he 
emerged from the forecastle and reported that he 
could not find any sheets. But leftfielder Bunts 
had no stomach for the butt-end of a revolver. 
His pate was still sore from the night's bicker- 
ing. 

The weather becoming thick, balloon jib, upper 
jib and the three topsails came down. Short tacks 
required constant pulling of the ropes. Messrs. 
Doyle and Bunts, accustomed to Lucullian meals 
at the best hotels, were nigh faint from hunger. 
The schooner, buffeted with heavier seas, dipped 
and rose, canted and righted, with sickening irregu- 
larity. Big Steve, polishing some bright metal, 
lost his footing, plumped an elbow through one of 
the cabin skylights, and for his awkwardness re- 
ceived another blow on the chin. 

"Send the idiot forward, Mr. Evans," bade the 



ir 



«1 



78 A Break in Training 

shipmaster. ''Hell fall against one of the masts 
d'rectly and snap it off." 

"Dan!'* groaned Steve, as he staggered to the 
windlass on the forecastle deck. 

'Wha's matter now, Steve ?" 

'I fell through a window back there above the 
parlor; and say, Dan, I heard a woman scream — 
on the level!" 

"Nix!'* grunted the outfielder. "No woman'd 
ever come to a place like this. It was a poll-parrot, 
Steve. I've read how they always have 'em on 
ships." 

*'Take it from me," warmly returned catcher 
Doyle, who prided himself on his omniscience of 
the gentler sex, "it was a woman " 

"Silence, you swabs! No talkin' while you're 
on watch; don't forget that!" Mate Evans had 
followed Steve forward. He was nearly as per- 
plexed over the situation as the ballplayers. Why 
did not Captain Ross put them in irons? Even 
though some mistake had been made, it was a 
clean case of mutiny. For himself, he had never 
heard of America's national pastime. The skipper 



A Break in Training 79 

\, , 
vouchsafed no information and his grim enjoy- 
ment every time he muttered the word "ballplayers" 
puzzled the executive officer of the Melrose. 

"Dan," murmured Steve, as the mate disappeared, 
"this is a pirate ship. They got a woman locked 
in the parlor back there. We're in for it, Dan. 
Ain't this somethin* fierce?" 

A long silence followed as Bunts and Doyle 
chipped rust off the anchor-chain. Each knew 
what the other was thinking. About this time — • 
nearly noon — ^the Pioneers would be chatting in 
the lobby of the Copley Square Hotel, waiting for 
the dining room to open. They could see the col- 
ored head waiter bowing and grinning as the 
world's champions filed in to their choice of rich, 
nutritious soups, meats and dessert. 

"Dan," said Steve in a hollow voice, "I don't 
think I'm long f'r this world. There's something 
coming over me — ^like — I don't know what. Dan, 
if I die, you tell 'em " 

"Cut it out, Steve. You don't feel any worse'n 
I do." Dan grabbed the windlass, for he, too, was 
experiencing seasickness for the first time. "But" 



80 A Break in Training 

— he gritted his teeth — "I'ln going to put one over 
on 'em yet." He looked warily to the quarterdeck, 
where captain and mate were squinting through 
their sextants preparatory to "shooting the sun," 
and whispered excitedly: "All we have to do is 
cop 'em, Steve. Look there !" He pointed to sev- 
eral vessels passing at close range. "We c'n make 
these dingeys row us over. F'r your own sake, 
Steve, brace up! Come on — they're not lookin*. 
Nothing buit a fast ball — now, mind you — ^and 
put everything you got on it. It's our last 
chance, Steve. We'll be blacklisted in th' big 
leagues !" 

It is a celebrated thought of Socrates that if 
all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a 
public stock, in order to be equally divided among 
the whole species, those who now think themselves 
the most unhappy would prefer the share they are 
already possessed of before that which would be- 
fall them by such a division. So it was with Big 
Steve Doyle, who could at that moment imagine 
no one so miserable as himself. Yet, five minutes 

after he and leftfielder Bunts had craftily made 



14 Break in Training 81 



their way inside the forecastle and secured, each, 
two slightly tarnished baseballs from Bunts' suit- 
case, you could not have looked upon a more elated 
human being than catcher Doyle. 

Absorbed in their nautical observation — for "Old 
Jamaica" was flirting with the clouds, now bright, 
now obscured — Captain Ross and Mate Evans had 
no warning as the two ballplayers stealthily ap- 
proached within twenty feet, one on each side of 
the mainmast. 

"Now!" shouted Bunts; and with the very word 
he hurled a fast ball that caught Mate Evans so 
squarely on the chin that he dropped in his tracks 
and lay as though never to move again. Catcher 
Doyle, though a famously accurate thrower, in his 
weakened state did not trust to so narrow an aim. 
Picking out the skipper's watch charm, that 
marked the region of his solar plexus, he drew 
back for a fragment of time and then let go with 
his well-known flat-footed peg that had killed off 
the fleetest of base-stealers. A cannon ball could 
not have done better service. The master of the 
Melrose doubled up !ike a splintered mast and 



82 A Break in Training 

groveled upon the deck, his face contorted in his 
agony. 

With a wild Irish yell, Steve Doyle precipitated 
himself upon the Scotch shipmaster, his Celtic 
blood tingling with victory as he manhandled the 
skipper and trussed him up with a length of rope, 
shouting, as he worked, what dire punishment he 
intended to mete out. Dan Bimts, ever on the 
alert, spied the Chinese cook running aft, with a 
long knife upraised, and methodically fitted the 
second ball in his right hand. As a pitcher, his 
genius lay in control, putting the pill where he 
wanted to. The untutored Celestial saw the horse- 
hide whizzing toward him and kept ducking away, 
but with diabolical sureness the strange missile 
continued darting for his face. When it landed 
solidly Mr. Bunts turned unconcernedly to the 
task of tying up the mate and frisking him of his 
pistol. Often before he had witnessed the eflFect 
of that "bean ball." 

Big Steve, utterly jubilant, began to roar forth : 

"Has anybody here seen Kelly? 
K— E-double I^Y.'' 



'A Break in Training 83 

Bunts had just lent his tenor accompaniment 
when^ above their paean, above the lashing of 
waves, creak of blocking, slatting of canvas and 
clamor of crew, there sounded a feminine voice, 
trembling but clear: 

"Remember, I can shoot — and shoot straight!" 

At the cabin companionway leaned a young 
woman, holding a small-caliber pistol, which wob- 
bled pitifully, belying the brave words. Her 
blonde hair was disheveled, dark circles flanked 
her eyes and the pallor of her face was exaggerated 
by the sea-mist. 

Doyle's jaw relaxed, but his hand still pinioned 
the skipper's throat. He gave Dan an I-told-you-so 
look. 

"You must not kill him!" she exclaimed, with a 
defiant sob. "He's my uncle." 

"Excuse me, miss," vindicated Steve ; "but that's 
what he nearly done to us. All we asked for 



was " 



tt^ 



Why, It's Mr. Doyle— Steve Doyle !" The girl's 
eyes widened with astonished relief, her bosom 
heaved with a big intake of breath and her lips 



84 'A Break in Training 

half smiled. "Mr. Bunts, too— of the Pio- 
neers l" 

Steve and Dan could only nod, gaping 
assent 

"Then," cried the mysterious person ere she 
gracefully collapsed and swooned, "Barney got the 
telegram, after all!" 

Though no benedick, Big Steve had a way with 
women, and Mr. Bunts tacitly assigned to him the 
delicate task of carrying the girl below to the 
cabin while he, in possession of both pistols, did 
a man's duty on deck. 

"Come hither, pickanins!" He summoned the 
crew with a stem smile. "See that?" He pointed 
to a small patch near the throat of the main top- 
sail. In his baseball travels Dan had devoted 
many an hour to shooting-gallery practice. So, 
with the briefest of sight, he put a bullet through 
the target. 

"Well; understand?" He stared at the second 
mate. "I'm handlin' this team now; an' you kids 
jump th' hurdles or I'll spot the ace on y'r wish- 
bone!" 



A Break in Training 85 

Meanwhile Mr. Doyle listened attentively to Miss 
Gretta Ross, niece of the skipper, as she told of 
her secret marriage to Barney McNabb, manager 
of the Pioneers, twice world's champions and now 
striving for a third "rag." The girl was semi- 
hysterical and skipped from one disjointed sen- 
tence to another so jerkily that Steve had diffi- 
culty in following. 

She had lived most of her life in New Bedford, 
Massachusetts, Manager McNabb's native town- 
Her parents had died and Uncle John had taken 
care of her. Captain Ross, an un-Americanized 
Scotchman, for some reason had taken a violent 
dislike to baseball players, especially to one Mc- 
Nabb. He considered the profession irreligious, 
unreliable, given to poolplaying and gambling. It 
was of no consequence that Barney McNabb, base- 
ball manager, earned in a year four times more 
than John Ross, shipmaster. 

"Everybody in New Bedford likes Barney," de- 
clared Miss Ross, dabbing a tiny handkerchief to 
her streaming eyes. 

"Surel" said Steve, wondering what explana- 



86 A Break in Training 

tion he could make to the Pioneers' manager for 
his absence. 

"Everybody wanted to sec us married except 
Uncle John," continued the tmhappy young wife. 
"He's so terribly religious, you know." 

Catcher Doyle rubbed a prodigious bump on the 
side of his head and unconsciously gave vent to a 
doubting snort. 

"It was when the Pioneers played that exhibi- 
tion game at Rocky Point, below Providence— 
don't you remember ?" 

"I got a homer that day," Mr. Doyle modestly 
reminded her. 

"Yes ; yes, it was grand ; and Mr. Bunts was fine, 
too." 

"Three singles and a triple." Steve emfrfiasized 
the gallant record to counterbalance the remarks 
of leftfielder Bunts, whose voice — ^berating Cap- 
tain Ross and demanding food from the cook — 
penetrated the cabin. 

Mrs. McNabb did not seem to hear it, so 
wrapped up was she in her own narrative. 

"Well, it was the next morning that Barney and 



tr 



ti' 



A Break in Training 87 

I went to Boston and got married. We were so 
afraid the papers would find it out. Barney wanted 
to keep it quiet until the season was over. Uncle 
John, you know, might have been violent.'* 

It's in him," agreed Mr. Doyle firmly. 

'Yes; and when he asked me to make a short 
trip with him in the old Melrose down to Charles- 
ton I thought it would be a good way to— to " 

Young Mrs. McNabb paused at the uncommon 
sounds on the deck, where leftfielder Bunts had 

« 

organized a non-volunteer bucket brigade. He was 
sousing the skipper and mate with pails of cold 
salt water. Captain Ross' protests and pleadings 
should have drawn sympathy from any woman, 
much more a relative; but his niece pressed her 
lips together and tried to control her voice. 

"Oh, but just think, Mr. Doyle!" She gestured 
dramatically. "If I hadn't looked in the marine 
news this morning — I mean yesterday morning; 
you see, I'm so rattled I can't think right. I haven't 
eaten a bite in hours " 

"You've got nothing on me," Mr. Doyle thought 
it proper to interpolate. 



88 A Break in Training 

"Why, I'd never known we were going to South 
America instead of to Charleston. Covld you be- 
lieve that your own uncle would tell such a story? 
Wanted to get me away from Barney, you see !" 

"Well, f r me," declared catcher Doyle, "I 

wouldn't put anything by that old " He halted, 

with an apologetic wave. 

"We had a terrible scene. I told tmcle all about 
it — ^how we were married and everything. That's 
when I telegraphed Barney. But why" — she 
turned, querulously indignant — "didn't he come 
himself?" 

Catcher Doyle, despite his wounds and his hun- 
ger, had been thinking swiftly, as though handling 
a ninth inning, with one out, the bases full and the 
home club one run ahead. 

"Miss — er — Mrs. McNabb," he said, slowly and 
solemnly, "Barney couldn't make head or tail out 
of that telegram." 

"Heavens knows what I wrote!" admitted Mrs. 
McNabb. "I should have told him to come to the 
botel; but you see my clothes were on board here 
— ^and who— who" — she appealed — "would ever 



A Break in Training 89 

suppose one's own uncle could be so heartless ? He 
locked me in that room!" 

It was real tragedy, acted by a real Bernhardt. 
Catcher Doyle inwardly commented that Barney 
McNabb's wife had plenty of ginger. 

"We saw you lookin' out the window," lied Steve 
buoyantly. "And I said: *Dan, there's something 
doing here or Miss Ross'd be outside lookin' for 
Barney.' You see, Barney didn't tell us you were 
married — ^just that you were fianceed." 

Mrs. McNabb smiled with sly fondness. 

"Of course," assured Steve, "if Barney had fig- 
ured anything like this was coming off he'd 'a 
been here himself, though he was terribly busy— 

"Barney would have killed Uncle John!" inter- 
rupted the niece passionately. 

"Well," said Steve doubtfully, "he'd 'a' had some 
battle. Soon as we told him we were ballplayers, 
him an' that red-mustached guy an' the whole team 
jumped on us for fair — ^tried t' beat us t' death!" 

"Oh, I'm awfully sorry !" exclaimed the mariner's 
niece. "Isn't it the strangest thing, Mr. Doyle, how 
he hates baseball men ?" 



>-.> 



99 



90 A Break in Training 

"Mrs. McNabb," informed Steve gravely, "you'd 
be surprised how many uneducated people there 
are. I seen a man once who didn't know what the 
hit-and-run was, never had been inside a big league 
park; an' yet they told me he was a professor in 
some college!" 

There was a commotion on deck, loud orders 
delivered in Portuguese, a running of many foot- 
steps and a turn in the vessel's course. 

"Steve!'* yelled Bunts down the companionway. 
"We've put on the brakes an' we're going to get 
off. Get a wiggle on you. Hurry up ! Come on ! 
Hurry!" 

In response to the shouts and wigwagging of 
Bunts, a small tug about a quarter of a mile to 
starboard had come to a dead stop and was now 
bobbing up and down in the choppy sea. Amid- 
ships, the crew of the Melrose, having 
thrown the schooner into the wind, were lower- 
ing a gig, unheeding the remonstrances of Cap- 
tain Ross, who for once found his pet oath in- 
adequate. 

Catcher Doyle bounced out on deck. 



A Break in Training 91 



"She's going along, too, Dan — ^Barney McNabb's 
wife!" 

"Hey, Steve!" chided Dan. "You sure this is 
on the level? You know you're always fallin' f'r 
women in trouble. How d'you know but what it's 
a plant?" 

"Forget it!" Steve replied with deliberate cer- 
tainty. "She's a big leaguer an' on the level. An' 
just think, Dan, what Barney'U say when we bring 
his wife back!" 

"That's just what I am a-thinkin'/' Bunts re- 
torted significantly. 

"I'm a son of a gun if you ain't going batty!" 
snorted Steve, his anger rising. "That gal goes 
or I don't go." 

Halting a moment to abuse the struggling cap- 
tain and mate, Steve ran to the forecastle, arrayed 
himself in his own clothes, then relieved Mr. Bunts, 
who felt in better humor on finding his money safe. 
Whatever doubts Dan had as to the fair captive's 
identity were removed when she appeared on deck 
and endured the verbal assault of her uncle. 

"That'll be about all f'r you!"— Big Steve cut it 



92 A Break in Training 

short — "you old billy-goat! You ought t' be 
ashamed o' yoiwself going round th' country part- 
ing husbands from their wives. An' don't you ever 
come in a park where I'm playing; b'cause I'll get 
you if I got t' pull you off the grandstand itself!'* 

Left fielder Bimts was the last to descend the 
shaky rope-ladder, but upon arriving at the tug, 
whose destination was Baltimore, he was the first 
to get aboard. When he explained the exigency 
of the "captain's daughter" being hurried to a hos- 
pital, at the same time slipping over a fifty-dollar 
bill, few words passed before the bell sounded for 
"full speed ahead!" 

In New York, Messrs. Doyle and Bunts occu- 
pied several hours to gregit advantage at a Turk- 
ish bath, where hero-worshiping rubbers erased all 
signs of the recent conflict and so loosened up their 
joints that, upon arriving in Boston, leftfielder and 
catcher felt in prime shape. The team had already 
left for the park, but Steve and Dan donned span- 
gles and went out in a taxicab, meekly taking a seat 
at the far end of the bench. McNabb grilled them 
with one outraged look and then turned his atten- 



^ Break in Training 98 

tion to the game, which was being tossed away. 
Savagely twisting a scorecard with which he now 
and then gave signals, McNabb kept silent as the 
battle raged against him for seven innings; but 
when the college catcher let in a run on a passed 
ball, and the newly-bought bush leaguer failed to 
double up a man at the plate on a short drive to 
left field, he flooded Doyle and Bunts with insult- 
ing satire. Backstop and fielder wilted at first, but 
the tirade became so obnoxious, the sneers of team- 
mates so unbearable, that Catcher Doyle rushed 
over, put his hands against the manager's ears and 
bellowed ominously at him: 

"Mrs. Barney McNabb's down at the Copley 
Square Hotel nearly dead. Did you get that ? Me 
and Dan Bunts saved her life! Did you get 
that?" 

It was evident that the Pioneers' manager "got" 
something, as his long legs scuttled over the green 
and through a grandstand aisle. 

The C. N. D. operator in the press stand, on 
ticker service, cut the news down to the bone. He 
merely flashed : "Doyle now catching : Bunts in left 



94 A Break in Training 

field/' But the special correspondent with the Pion- 
eers elaborated and his sporting editor wired back : 
"Find out what's happened. Send good story for 
sporting edition. Rumor here that Doyle and 
Bunts did not accompany team to Boston." 

At nine o'clock that night the correspondent was 
still unenlightened, for Doyle and Btmts were im- 
mured in their room. Though gorged upon planked 
steak and puffing good cigars, they were uneasy; 
and when summoned to the manager's apartment 
they buttoned and unbuttoned their coats, smoothed 
their hair and adjusted their neckties — ^fidgety, like 
timid witnesses approaching the stand. 

McNabb's face was drawn with anxiety and he 
evaded the apprehensive looks of his two stars. 
Some mental tragedy seemed to affect his phjrsical 
control. He upset a chair and knocked Steve's hat 
off jthe table. Balancing himself on the edge of 
the sofa he finally blurted : 

"Steve — and you, Dan — ^you're good friends o' 
mine, ain't you ?" 

The answer was loud and impulsive : 

"You know it, Mac!" 



A Break in Training 95 

The manager wet his dry lips and reaching out 
grabbed a hand of each. 

''Boys/' he said earnestly, "I c'n never thank you 
for what youVe done/' 

Steve and Dan gestured disclaimingly. 

"The wife's pretty sick/' apologized Barney, *'or 
she'd thank you too. I got a doctor in there now. 
But, boys," and his eyes were again guiltily eva- 
sive, "sick as she is she's sore on me for not goin' 
after her myself. She thinks — she's got the idea 
that I sent you fellows!" 

Doyle and Bunts looked astonished. 

"And, Steve an' Dan/' begged McNabb, turn- 
ing his gaze frankly upon them, "that's what I 
wanted t* see you about. For Heaven's sake, don't 
tell her anything different, will you?" 

Doyle and Bunts laughed curiously. McNabb 
held up a hand for silence. 

"Truth is, boys, I never opened that tel^fram. 
I thought it was from Thomson, over in Philadel- 
phia. I'd had him on the long distance about that 
kid, Harris, the southpaw I'm after, and Thomson 
said he'd wired me. I supposed it was from him 



96 A Break in Training 

an' I left it layin' in my room — ^maybe in the waste- 
basket, for all I know. But I daren't tell her that. 
Women," he explained mournfully, "are so darned 
queer !" 

Big Steve nodded understandingly. "Mac," he 
pledged, "it'll never go any further than us, y' 
can bet a season's salary!" Bunts supplemented 
strongly. 

There was a minute of freighted silence. 

"I don't know, boys," ventured McNabb tact- 
fully, "but what it might be just as well f 'r me to 
have the facts. Un'erstand ? Just in case she ever 
did bring it up, you know." There was forgiveness 
in his voice. 

Leftfielder Bunts cleared his throat. 

"Mac," he admitted accusingly, "there's no credit 
comin' to me. Give it all to Big Steve. I was for 
going to a vaudeville show ; we didn't want to hang 
around fanning and maybe have a couple o' drinks. 
Y' un'erstand? Big Steve says we go down and 
see a battleship, just to pass away th' time* Well, 
that was a pretty lucky thing for you, Mac." Bunts 
was convincing. "We was coming up to the Bos- 



ft i1 



A Break in Training Wf 

ton boat, when all of a sudden Steve pipes off the 
lady. 

Dan/ he says, grabbing me like that!" Mr. 
Bunts illustrated on the manager's shoulder — " *if 
that ain't Barney's girl I'll never wear a mask 
again !' He'd seen her that day we played at Rocky 
Point'' 

"Bumper Williams pointed her out," verified 
Steve. 

"Just like him!" censured McNabb, smiting his 
knee, his eyes alight with the bizarre narrative. 
"The old noser! Lives just down the street from 
the wife." 

"So there was nothing for Steve but to follow 
along," recounted Bunts. "Got t* give it to the 
big fella, Mac. I was for gettin' to the steamer. 
'Fraid we'd miss it. But Steve kept sayin' : 'That's 
McNabb's girl and there's something ain't right 
about this!'" 

"Looked to me," put in Steve judiciously, "as if 
that old pirate was draggin' her along — against 
her will, you know !" 

Manager McNabb cast a glance of gratitude at 



98 A Break in Training 

his devoted backstop. Mr. Doyle bowed his head 
as though overcome. 

"Well," affirmed Mr. Bunts; **not much more to 
tell, Mac. We went on board, told th' captain who 
we was an' asked to see the lady, same as if she 
was any friend's wife in trouble. Y' understand? 
A Christian, wasn't he" — Bunts turned to Doyle 
—"that old battler?" 

"Battler, all right!" Steve ejaculated, with em- 
phasis. 

"Took us into th' kitchen, nice as you please, and 
then" — Bunts leaped from his chair, the ring of 
sincerity in his voice — "all of a sudden him and 
his whole bunch of dingeys pounded us into 
jelly!" 

Mr. Doyle, inspired by fresh memories, joined 
in the dramatic recital. 

McNabb sat amazed and enthralled. "That's one 
for the book," was all he could say. "One for the 
book. Nobody'd ever believe it !" 

As they reached the climax Manager McNabb 
also rose to a point of fury. 

"And that sneakin' secretary," he exclaimed. 



'A Break in Training 99 

"was trying to tell me that you boys were on a 
jag!" 

"What !" roared the heroes. "An' you stood for 
it, Mac?" 

"No!" denied McNabb. "No, I didn't— the 
blankety-blank nickel-squeezer ! I'll show l^im who's 
running this club! I'll make out the contracts for 
next season." His glance was pregnant with prom- 
ise. "I told him you might 'a' been held up or 
something, but I knew you'd never throw me 
down " 

A woman's querulous voice came from the other 
room. 

"Good night, boys !" finished McNabb softly. 
His grasp was fervent. 

^'G' night, Mac" 



21663B 



THE RINGER 

v'^ A BOUT three weeks before the Pioneers 
JLm^ started South on their training trip Man* 
ager Barney McNabb instructed outfielder 
Dan Bunts and catcher Steve — Big Steve— Doyle 
secretly to take up quarters in the diminutive vil- 
lage of Atwater, South Carolina, for the single 
purpose of discovering whether Mr. Bunts could 
"come back" as a star pitcher in fast company, a 
position in which he had been eminent until spit- 
ball-throwing weakened his wrist, compelling him 
to play left field. The enterprise meant much to 
McNabb. If Bunts could acquire an underhand or 
sidearm-raise ball, to mix, in his masterly fashion, 
with other "hooks" and "smoke," then McNabb 
could afford to trade his ten-thousand-dollar young- 
ster, Gifford, who in two years' opportunity had 
not made good. Manager Nichols of the Prunes, 

nevertheless, had vast confidence in this expensive 

100 



The Ringer 101 



fellow, and was willing to give six thousand dol- 
lars and a shortstop for him. It was one judgment 
against another; but McNabb reckoned that he 
would far overreach his rival, provided solely that 
Bunts recovered his old-time form. The deal was 
open until March first, and muteness was the watch- 
word enjoined by the Pioneers' general as Dan and 
Big Steve swung on the train at Pittsburgh. 

"Play it safe, now !" ordered McNabb. "Don't 
let anybody know who you are. Nichols thinks he's 
going to weaken my pitching staff and put us out 
of the race. I c'n take that six thousand bucks an' 
buy Shadow Metzgar. He's got another good 
year in him; and with him f'r southpaw an' Dan 
back we'll have the swellest bunch of moundsmen 
in th' league. Besides, I want that shortstop. 
Hecker's ankle's gone back on him — ^busted it playin' 
handball. This kid of Nichols' is a wonder, an' 
I'm going t' start him right away. Everything 
on the q. t., now, boys. If Nichols gets wise to 
this he'll call the deal off. You come through 
and there'll be a bonus f'r both o' you in October." 
A last glimpse of the Pioneers' manager showed 



102 The Ringer 



him standing with a mutilated forefinger pressed 
to his lips, his heavy eyebrows in a warning pucker. 

Messrs. Doyle and Bunts conducted themselves 
warily, eschewing all advances from fellow pas- 
sengers; and, on changing trains at St. Charles, 
twenty miles from their destination, they sidled 
unobtrusively into the rear seat of the day coach. 
Their suitcases, among similar impedimenta belong* 
ing to a party of young men and women, were piled 
in the forward part of the car and the watchful 
Bunts after a while took a turn up and down the 
aisle to make sure no one had af^ropriated his 
parcel, which was recently bought and of excellent 
make. The initials "D.B.," executed boldly, reas- 
sured him. 

^Seems t' me, Steve," he confided, "that I've run 
across that lad somewhere — one with th' sandy 
hair." 

'Stranger t' me," returned Doyle. "He ain't in 
the big leagues — swear to that. But, say, Dan, pipe 
the dame — black-haired one; some class there, 
ehr 

Dan frowned. "Same old stuff, huh ? You want 



*i{ 



€t{ 



The Ringer 103 



t' cut that out. No mixin' up. 'Member what Bar- 
ney said." 

Mr. Doyle accepted the rebuke meekly, but did 
not remove his audacious eye from the company of 
five, whose tailoring indicated wealth and good 
taste. Big Steve, far famed as a shrewd and self- 
possessed catcher, was no ordinary observer of 
lights and shadows, circumstances, causes and ef- 
fects. He concluded that the tall, freckle-faced 
young man, of cheerful and guildess countenance, 
though with the company, was not exactly one of 
them. The attention the young man received from 
the lady of the raven tresses was plainly displeas- 
ing to the stern, longish-faced man, who occasion- 
ally smiled sourly as he replied to a question, but 
for the most part gazed out the window. The 
plump, blonde girl prattled incessantly to him and 
to the stolid, well-set-up gentleman, who so sedu- 
lously caressed, curried and coaxed his long, droop- 
ing mustachios that Steve found himself imitating 
the movements. Doyle's final conclusion, as the 
conductor announced *'Atwater! All out!" was 
that the brunette really wanted to "sign" with the 



104 The Ringer 



sandy-haired youth and that she was not using the 
blonde "for a stall/' 

The party of five alighted first, sorting out their 
luggage, and stepped into a purple mammoth of a 
touring car, whose speed tallied with its size. Dan 
and Steve, learning that the hotel was "jes' up 
yonder," put their baggage on a tottering spring- 
wagon and walked, glad indeed to stretch their 
cramped muscles. A red February sun was drop- 
ping behind the distant hills. From far and wide 
one could whiff the rancid odor of frying bacon. 
Across the fields, from a low, shingled veranda, 
came the twang of a banjo ; and presently a treble 
voice of strangely yearning flavor set up : 

There'll be no dark places when Jesus comes, 
There'll be no dark places when Jesus comes, 
There'll be no dark places when Jesus comes, 
To carry his loved ones home. 

All about was the redolence of Southern spring- 
time; and as they neared the hotel a hot breath of 
air, with its presage of warm weather, kissed the 
cheeks of Barney McNabb's two illustrious em- 
ployees. Steve took a deep inhalation and squared 
his massive shoulders. "Peach of a place t* train, 



The Ringer 105 



Dan !" he said eagerly to his friend. "I c'n see the 
Big Swede fannin' already on that sidearm-raise 
of yours." 

Clerk Heinze, redhaired, long-nosed, rubbed his 
hands in relish and his porcelain eyes twinkled as 
he witnessed the approach of two substantial guests. 
Atwater was far from the beaten track of North- 
em tourist invasion — its hotel a frame structure 
consisting mostly of veranda ; but Clerk Heinze as- 
sumed all the airs of a metropolitan host as he 
directed the negro help, welcomed the strangers 
and, with a flourish, displayed the register, simul- 
taneously holding out the inked pen. 

The matter of selecting assumed names had 
occupied a considerable part of the ballplayers' 
journey and it was Mr. Bunts who thought of 
the simple but adequate aliases : "J. Stevens" and 
"J- Daniels." While engaged in the labor of tran- 
scribing these, Doyle took occasion to enlighten the 
clerk that Mr. Daniels had come South on account 
of ill health. "Un'erstan'," he said; "particular 
friend o' mine ; and I'm, as you might say, trainin' 
him." 



106 The Ringer 



The clerk had just begun to extol the climate 
when Mr. Bunts gave a startled cry. His athletic 
figure had a dramatic pose ; his mouth hung open ; 
his eyes were wide. 

"Steve! Steve! Hey, Steve!'' 

Catcher Doyle was there with one bound; and 
as he looked from Dan to the clerk his amazement 
heightened, for there on the opposite page of the 
register, of a date one week prior, plain as could be, 
was the signature : "Daniel Bunts, Cincinnati." 

Luxuriating for a full minute as one who re- 
presses a choice morsel of gossip, Qerk Heinze 
grinned covertly and then winked. "Ah, ha! gen- 
tlemen ; I see you are baseball fans. Know who it 
is, eh? Well, you're right. Not much of a place, 
this, but we get them from all over. Yep, that's 
the genuine article — ^Dan Bunts, of the Pioneers. 
H-s-h-t ! Here he comes now !" 

There was a flash of white flannel suit, topped by 
a freckled face, as the sandy-haired youth of the 
train passed into the dining room. 

"Long as you're going to be here a while," went 
on the derk, "I might as well tell you, gentlemen, 



The Ringer 107 



that he don't care about having it known. Under- 
stand — ^he's down here ahead of the Pioneers, get- 
ting in condition. Pitches every day out on the 
field there. I'll introduce him to you. Sweller fel- 
low y* never met. Just something — he don't want 
th' newspapers to get on to it. Ought t' see him 
pitch I Holy Christmas! maybe he can't sting 'em 
in! Be a good thing f'r you to exercise with him," 
the clerk volunteered to Dan. "D'you two gentle- 
men ever play ball ?" 

Bunts, still hypnotized by the familiar name, only 
gulped. 

"Why, uh, yes," Steve answered vaguely. "We 
figured on doin' a little o' that otu^dves. My 
friend, y' see, is goin' to college next fall, an' he 
want s " 



"Come on," broke in Dan; "let's get to our 
room." His eye Mazed, his fists were clenched. 

The door had hardly closed on the negro porter 
when outfielder Bunts, by way of commanding at- 
trition, drove, his fist into catcher Doyle's kid- 
neys with impetus enough to have disabled an ordi- 
nary human being for several days. 



108 The Ringer 



"What'd I tell yuh! Didn't I say I seen that lad 
somewhere ! It must 'a' been in Newell's Cafe, in 
Pittsburgh, where Barney was talkin' to us. Nichols 
is on to us an' he's sent this man t' shadow me. 
He's a detective er something." And then, with 
another body blow : "But what's he taken my name 
for, heh? I say, what's he call hisself Bunts for?" 

Catcher Doyle, with admirable nicety, parted 
his hair with a wetted comb, 

"I'm no Sherlock Holmes," he confessed. "All 
I know is that I wants eats and I wants 'em 
quick." 

"Steve," declared Dan, "what we'll do is to beat 
it out of here on the first train tomorrow." 

Big Steve set his elbows akimbo and thrust out 
his jaw. "I didn't think that of you," he said. 
And then, tauntingly: "Well, if you can't take care 
of him I can; and we're going to stay right in 
At water. If this guy comes gumshoeing round 
where we work I'll " Steve, catching the fra- 
grance of fried ham, did not finish his threat. 

The pretender gave not a look at his fellow 
gfuests. In high good humor he bandied jests with 



The Ringer 109 



the waitress and the clerk. Even upon leaving the 
table he ignored his quarry, 

"Foxy, all right," growled Bunts. "If he ever 
breaks into the league there'll be a good one for 
the book, take my oath." 

"Fresh, all right," proclaimed Mn Doyle, whose 
overtures toward the waitress met no response. 

Clerk Heinze, strolling from office to dining 
room, tried to ingratiate himself and learn more 
of the newcomers, but had little success. Marveling 
at the dexterity with which the invalid, Daniels, 
cleared his plate he remarked: 

"You're getting well fast." 

"Change of climate," explained Mr. Doyle curtly, 
rapping for more comcakes. 

Heinze reentered the office and it was thence 
that the ballplayers presently heard hot words, 
accusings, denials, mention of "suitcase," "train," 
"mistake." Some typically real American epithets 
followed; and then, in a twinkling, sounded the 
smack of a blow, the capsizing of chairs, breaking 
of furniture. 

Messrs. Doyle and Bunts methodically com- 



110 The Ringer 



pleted their meal; methodically fished out a dime 
each, the prescribed big league tip; methodically 
cut the ends off cigars and then, with somewhat 
quickened motion, strode toward the pit of alter- 
cation. 

Gathered at the doorways they saw half a dozen 
villagers; back of them the ebony faces of the 
negro help, for all the world like the white and 
black stops of an organ. Clerk Heinze was danc- 
ing about, imploring this one and that to help him 
stop the fight. Squared off in the center of the 
room, the contestant — ^namely, the pretender Bunts 
and the glum-visaged man of the train — were spar- 
ring for time. Both were livid with passion, con- 
vulsed evidently by some extraordinary feeling. 

"Help! Help!" screamed Heinze, tugging at 
Big Steve, who was regarding the fray with a 
professional eye. He had not hoped for such 
pleasant after-dinner entertainment. 

Steve blew a full mouthful of smoke and leaned 
against the desk. "Not on your life," he declined. 
"Never butt in on anybody else's fun." 

Bunts was not so calm. His own hands itching. 



THE NEW tORK 
prBLlC UBKARY 



A«Ol. LBWOX AWD 



The Ringer 111 



he encouraged the pretender's opponent with ges- 
tures and underbreath advice : "Cross him now — 
uppercut — ^block that — hit f'r th' kidneys!" 

Though evenly matched in height and reach, it 
soon became apparent that the sandy-haired youth 
would prevail. He did not exert his full strength 
until his antagonist, between breaths, maligned him 
unmercifully, denouncing him as a "blackguard" 
and "thief." His fate* and neck scarlet, the young 
man then, with a swift rush, hurled his opponent 
across the room and landed a neat blow flush on 
his right eye. He; fell oyer a chair and his head 
struck a stone spittoon with an tfgly thud. 

"Knee him — give him th* knee!" burst forth 
Dan. 

'Shut up!" snarled Steve; and seizing his team- 
mate by the arm he led him to the veranda. 

"He calls hisself Bunts!" muttered Dan. "An' 
one good wallop ought t' done the trick." 

The defeated was in a sorry plight — ^semi-con- 
scious and blood streaming from his temple. While 
Qerk Heinze hovered over him, the victor, his 
voice ringing with boyish honesty, cried out : 



«( 



112 The Ringer 



"Accused me of stealing her suitcase! Me — 
stealing — ^me!" There were tears of mortification 
and anger on his cheeks. "Why, I never stole in 
my life !" He held his hand aloft in appeal. "What 
would I steal for!" The appeal was received in- 
differently by the onlookers, who were dwindling 
away. 

There is always something inexpressibly forlorn 
about an imjustly accused person who cannot clear 
himself. He tells his story, reiterates, asks his 
friends to pass it along. Waking or sleeping, his 
mind is centered there. Always there is the doubt 
whether he has b^n convincing or not. Even an 
acquittal by jury does not free him from this hor- 
rid burden, though it be only imagined. So it was 
that young Mr. Garrison Caruthers, after one more 
protestation of innocence, fltmg himself out of the 
door and began to tramp mile after mile over the 
sandy roads, as unhappy a scion of wealth and good 
family as one could find in a month's journey. 

The present predicament was partly his own fault, 
partly that of his father, the Honorable Endicott 
Caruthers, president of the Mutual Consolidated 



The Ringer 118 



Trust Company, director in fifty corporations and 
a financier of international repute. As third vice- 
president of the Mutual, Caruthers, Jr., had been 
selected for the "goat" when that concern got into 
difficulties with the Federal authorities. If there 
were an investigation the officers, including his 
father, feared that he would make a very indiffer- 
ent witness, to say the least. A bigger-hearted, 
better-natured student had never been graduated 
from Harvard. Nor, in all its history, had the 
university turned out so skillful a baseball pitcher. 
But "Slats," as he was known because of his tall- 
ness and angularity, had not developed, in his three 
years' ex-college experience, notable aptness for 
finance. 

If you had paid more attention to the office and 
less to baseball," rebuked Caruthers, Sr., as he 
shipped his son to Atwater, South Carolina, "you 
would not bring this possible humiliation upon the 
family. As it is, I cannot blame our people. The 
whole investigation will pivot upon your depart- 
ment." 

A father's love shone in the eyes of Caruthers, 



ii^ 



114 The Ringer 



Sr., and he was about to add some softening words ; 
but "Slats" took on such an expression of relief 
and pleasant anticipation that the old man con- 
cluded scowlingly: 

"Now, for your own sake, don't make an ass 
of yourself! You must sink your identity — take 
another name. You must not even communicate 
with your mother or Evelyn. Keep in touch with 
me only. I have hopes that the scare will blow 
over. But under no condition must you appear 
until I give the word." 

Caruthers, Jr., scarcely heard the admonition. 
Already he fancied himself in the balmy climate 
of Dixie, toying with a horsehide-covered base- 
ball and exercising himself into perfect condition. 
Perhaps there might be an opportunity to try his 
skill in a real game ! Away with musty finance and 
the cares of third vice-president ! "Slats" was once 
more a sophomore. 

Unlike the two professional players, Bunts and 
Doyle, the collegian gave no thought to the detail 
of taking an alias. Hesitating as he held the inked 
pen before the hotel register, the name of Daniel 



The Ringer 115 



Bunts, of whom he had been reading in sporting 
pages on the way down, recurred to "Slats ;" in fact 
it pleased his fancy,, and without a serious thought 
of possible consequences he filched the identity of 
Barney McNabb's illustrious hireling. 

The homage he received from Clerk Heinze 
amused "Slats." It added to the romance of the ex- 
pedition. After a couple of hours' work-out with 
some of the village boys he would run back to the 
hotel, sweating and bright-eyed, skip under the 
shower and laugh loud and long. It would be a 
corking story to narrate at the. Harvard Club. 
Even Caruthers, Sr., would relish the adventure. 

It was not until the third day of his sojourn that 
the college hero had some misgivings about his 
wisdom in posing as a professional ballplayer. 
Clerk Heinze, though pledged to secrecy, had not 
been entirely discreet; and, having acquainted Ca- 
ruthers of the history of the Brewster family, he 
likewise informed their butler, Haggerty, that At- 
water was entertaining a celebrity. Miss Dorothy 
Brewster was immediately interested, and it was 
her touring car that halted by the ballfield just 



116 The Ringer 



ti{ 



when Caruthers, thoroughly wanned up, was hurl- 
ing his finest brand of shoots to his earnest but in- 
efficient catcher. 

^Slats," or, as he was also known to his many 
friends, "Garry," Caruthers had had a close look 
at Miss Brewster in the village post-office that very 
morning; and so profoundly, if one may use this 
adverb to describe a young man's fancy in spring- 
time, was he disturbed that he was of half a mind 
to declare his real name and seek an introduction. 
From assurances of Qerk Heinze, who had a pretty 
intimate knowledge of all local situations, political 
and sentimental, "Slats" believed that the lady was 
engaged to neither Mr. Lucius Bolton nor the other 
visitor. Lord Hemmingway. He longed intensely 
to be "in the running," but concluded that, under 
the guise of a professional ballplayer, this desidera- 
ttmi was out of the question. 

You may be sure then that Garry's heart jumped 
and his eyes danced when he saw the beauteous 
Miss Brewster dispatching Bolton on an errand, 
the purpose of which could be none other than to 
summon tKe athlete over to the car. Bolton did 



The Binger 117 



not appear to enjoy the task, picking his way slowly 
through the sand toward the pitcher's box, where 
"Slats" was going through some extra convolutions. 
Bolton had used every argument to dissuade Dor- 
othy, but the imperious young woman had insisted ; 
and her friend, little Miss Bearing — ^she of the 
blonde hair and polite prattle — ^had, of course, sus- 
tained her. 

"Bit of a lark, I say," was Lord Hemmingway's 
opinion. "He looks to me a jolly agreeable chap." 

"Rats!" sulked Bolton. "You don't understand. 
He's not a cricket player. These men are hired 
athletes, professionals, on the same plane as pugil- 
ists. If he meets Miss Brewster he'd likely brag 
about it to his friends, and that sort of thing." 

"Nonsense !" Miss Brewster maintained. "I was 
in a dining car once with one of the clubs and they 
seemed to be very much like other men. Only" — 
she shrugged her shoulders teasingly — "rather more 
interesting. They're heroes in our country, y'know. 
Lord Hemmingway." 

"Quite so," returned the Englishman. " 'Twould 
be a diversion I say — ^what?" 



118 The Ringer 



'*Oh, all right !" agreed Bolton petulantly. "I'll 
get him." But he darted a vengeful look at Hem- 
mingway, who was not perturbed. 

Bolton, after years of acquaintance with Dor- 
othy and her father, the wealthy dyspeptic savant, 
who enjoyed better health in his South Carolina 
home than elsewhere, had come to regard himself 
as the logical claimant for Miss Brewster's hand. 
A successful lawyer of singular concentration, he 
had complete charge of Mr. Brewster's large busi- 
ness affairs; and he availed himself of this fact 
to see a great deal of the talented daughter and 
heiress, even accompanying them on several o|f 
their trips abroad. It was at Florence, the preced- 
ing autumn, that they had met Lord Hemmingway, 
traveler and soldier, who so entertained Dorothy 
with his narrative of queer adventures that Bolton 
had come to estimate him as his foremost rival and 
not a mere bench warmer, as he appeared to be 
when first introduced. 

Narrowly watching both Dorothy and the Eng- 
lishman, Bolton gave even more heed to the atti- 
tude and expression of the philosophizing father. 



The Ringer 119 



because in the capacity of legal adviser he knew 
something of Mr. Brewster's notions as to his 
daughter's prospective husband. They were pro- 
nounced and unusual. Contrasted with those of 
the ordinary millionaire, for example, he did not 
care a rap whether Dorothy married a man of 
wealth. He was not even greatly concerned in the 
matter of family, pointing out numerous examples 
of men who had risen to distinction despite early 
drawbacks — such men as Cromwell, Jeremy Tay- 
lor and Lincoln. 

'Health first," he was wont to tell his daughter 
in their casual talks. "Health first, stamina and 
good morals. For myself, I have led the life of a 
dreamer, hoping to become a Pericles, Plato, Caesar, 
Shakespeare, Goethe or Milton. But ill health has 
prevented my happiness. You have inherited some 
of my ambition. But I want you and your chil- 
dren to be happy. So, I say, marry a man with 
perfect health and fine habits. Remember that true 
beauty is not on the outside. The peach with rotten 
kernel may have ever so lovely bloom. Beauty is 
in the bone. If this nation is to be regenerated it 



tr 



120 The Ringer 



must be, let me speak plainly, through sane breed- 
ing. Never mind the excellence of his wit. You 
have enough for both. Health first, I say. This 
is my wish, whether I am alive or dead when you 
make your decision." 

In her considerable experience with wooers, sin- 
cere and self-seeking, she had held this in mind; 
and she was slightly diverted by Lucius' zeal in 
keeping up his tennis practice. The intent was 
so obvious. 

Bolton read her thoughts ; and when, after awk- 
wardly making his acquaintance with the supposed 
Dan Bunts, he presented him to Miss Brewster there 
was a sharp pang of anxiety and jealousy, the like 
of which he had never felt. 

"Great pleasure, Miss Brewster," said Caruth- 
ers easily. "I have noticed you motoring by sev- 
eral times. Are you interested in the national pas- 
time?" 

Dorothy's brown eyes opened widely and she 
smiled exultingly. The professional ballplayer was 
not at all as Lucius had portrayed him. Leaning 
an arm on the tonneau, Caruthers wiped the sweat 



The Binger 121 



from his sunburned brow and talked entertainingly 
of his art. His low-buttoned sweater disclosed a 
neck unribbed with cords, yet musctdar — 3, classic 
neck, for "Slats" had rounded out physically since 
college days. His smallish ears lay close to his 
head, denoting gameness. His nose was too stub- 
by, his mouth too large. But how dear and honest 
were those mirthful eyes — ^how wholesome the 
skin! 

Miss Brewster had a good opportunity to study 
his hands, for in a moment she touched on that 
fascinating secret of the game — ^how to make a 
ball change its course, out, in or down ; and the col- 
lege expert waxed voluble. When her white, pa- 
trician fingers, embracing the soiled sphere, met 
the freckled, sweaty ones of the ballplayer it was 
almost more than Bolton could endure. Lord Hem- 
mingway, stroking his mustache at intervals, ob- 
served: "Extraordinary!" ^ 

As they were leaving, Dorothy sai^ : "Mr. Bunts, 
won't you come over some time and give an exhibi- 
tion for my father? He's so interested in all these 
scientific things. I'll tell you, make it Saturday. 



122 The Ringer 



We're giving a little informal lawn party, and you 
must be the entertainer. I'd love to have you." 

Quite unnecessarily she again shook hands, leav- 
ing young Mr. Caruthers, of Harvard, with cap in 
hand and bowing elaborately. Her manner was 
just as warm when they met the following Friday 
at St. Charles, where each had been shopping; and 
catcher Steve Doyle, studying them on the train, 
was far from astray when he guessed her senti- 
ments toward the sandy-haired youth. Preposter- 
ous as it might seem for another of her substance 
and social status to wed a professional ballplayer. 
Miss Brewster knew and Bolton feared that, if 
impulse, reason and fondness dictated, she would 
not be daunted. Up to then, pitcher Bunts had been 
a miracle of good behavior. 

Perseverance, decision, constancy, character — 
have you ever heard those words, gentle reader? 
To be sure, for they have been drummed into the 
ears of us poor ordinary mortals since preaching 
began. "Know thyself!" "To thine own self be 
true!" There are whole libraries of such advice; 
and yet, if the truth were known, the big leaguers 



The Ringer 128 



who wrote it fell by the wayside, many and oft. 
Some, possibly, got drunk ; others may have bought 
votes, and maybe others thumped their wives if 
they nagged them. All well and good to talk about 
controlling circumstances and emotions, but who 
ever did it! A "boot," fumble or mistaken signal 
has wrecked the most perfect baseball machine ever 
organized and lost the game by i-o on the home 
grounds. The strongest mentalities are veered 
from their course by trifles. How much more ca- 
pricious a maid of twenty- four ! 

When Dorothy Brewster reached home she so 
infected her morose father with her sunshine of 
spirits that he began to play a gay Mexican waltz. 
Dorothy, in her boudoir dressing for dinner, tripped 
eccentric steps to the music, assured her French 
maid that she intended going on the stage, sang, 
gossiped, forgot this, mislaid that, wanted her hair 
done one way, then changed her mind and finally 
sent Rosa scurrying for the suitcase. Upon open- 
ing it, mistress and maid were at first mystified 
and then Dorothy threw herself on the bed, con- 
vulsed with laughter. 



124 The Ringer 



"Oh, delicious! Don't you see, Rosa — the in- 
itials, D.6.? Mr. Bunts was on the train with us 
and we've mixed up our suitcases! He must have 
mine. Grood gracious!" She sprang up quickly. 
''I must send over for it !" And Rosa was bidden 
to explain things to the faithful Lucius. 

Exposed on top of his belongings were various 
parts of Dan Bunts' imiform, or, as he would have 
expressed it, "spangles" — ^long, footless woolen 
stockings; sleeveless shirt; spiked shoes, and what 
appeared to be a leather glove in the last stages of 
decomposition. Dorothy was about to re fasten the 
lid when the edge of a photograph caught her eye 
and. Evelike, she could not resist the temptation. 

It was the portrait of a buxom, saucy-looking 
girl — ^attractive enough after a fashion, but not 
reeking with refinement. Miss Brewster slowly took 
in every detail and turned to the other side. Three 
times she read the inscription : "Oh, you big-league 
kiddo !" The signature was "Peaches." 

Now, surely there was nothing in that to dis- 
concert a young woman so gifted and determined ; 
and yet, as she sat before her mirror, all the life 



The Ringer 125 



and sparkle seemed to have left Miss Brewster's 
face. Her father was playing a dulcet classic selec- 
tion. 

"Poor old daddy!" murmured the girl. "A 
dreamer you are and always will be. One more il- 
lusion gone ! You see, I couldn't do it, 'kiddo.' *' 
Languidly she concluded dressing. 

Lucius, arriving from his encounter with Ca- 
ruthers, face swollen and lacerated, did not so 
much stir her indignation as settle her convictions. 
He reported that "the blackguard had refused to 
give up the case," and she believed that. On the 
veranda after dinner she held cracked ice to his 
brow, sympathized with him and agreed that she 
had been utterly foolish in demanding the ball- 
player's acquaintance. She tried to believe that 
pity was really akin to love, but her voice was harsh 
when she ordered the butler to bring more ice. 

About this time Barney McNabb's two stars, 
smoking numerous cigars and discussing the pre- 
tender Bunts from their mouth comers, were inter- 
rupted by Qerk Heinze, who flopped into a chair, 
limp and distressed. 



126 The Ringer 



''Gosh-hangdest night I ever put in!" he ex- 
claimed. "I can't get head or tail of it. Funny, 
ain't it?" 

"If you say so," replied Mr. Doyle, determined 
to be non-committal. 

Heinze went on to give some particulars. "I've 
been all through Bunts' room; an' if he's got her 
suitcase he must have hid it somewhere. That 
would be funny, wouldn't it ?" 

"If you say so," again from Mr. Doyle. 

"But she's got his all right. They opened it — 
an' there was his uniform and glove and letters, 
and a girl's photograph — Teaches,* she signed it. 
There was " 

"P-peaches !" exploded Mr. Bunts. 

"Yeh. Mr. Bolton said that. It was one of the 
things that made Bunts sorest.' 

"G-got t' get a drink." Outfielder Bunts jumped 
up and scuttled away like Ty Cobb turning third. 

"What's th' matter with him?" inquired the clerk. 

"He gets — er — gets them spells once in a while," 
Steve stumbled. "Heart, th' doctor says. Got t' 
have plenty o* water.' 



» 



» 



The Ringer 127 



"Looks healthy enough/' observed Heinze. "I'd 
say he c'd fight his weight in wildcats." 

"Strong, you know; but — er — ^weak," explained 
Steve. 

"Well," continued Heinze, "I ain't blamin' any- 
body, but I'd give a five-dollar bill if that baseball 
player hadn't come here. We get half our trade 
from the Brewsters; people stop here when their 
house is full. Sometimes they have fifteen, twenty 
guests at a time. They'll have the sheriff after 
Bunts, sure as shootin' ! Mr. Bolton said so. Fun- 
niest thing I ever seen, isn't it? Beats hen- 
wrastlin'." 

Mr. Doyle, shifting and uneasy, agreed that the 
latter diversion might be outclassed and abruptly 
departed. 

Hurrying to Dan's room he found that gladiator 
brandishing ^il feminine garment of surpassing qual- 
ity and roaring anathemas at everything and every- 
body. 

Tut it back," said Big Steve, with the delicacy 
of Sir Galahad. "That girl's real fast company. 



4r 



1 128' The Ringer 



Dan, and she'd be sore as a boil if you went through 
her junk." 

"Sore!" flared Bunts. "What about mine? 
Didn't that goldfish downstairs say they turned it 
all over — ^my clothes, my photographs, my letters, 
probably read 'em!" 

"It's y'r own fault," blamed Steve. "Why don't 
you look after your baggage? What you need is a 
nurse, not a ketcher. Your own fault !" 

Dan subsided, but slowly; one can readily appre- 
ciate his feelings. There is hardly anything so 
mortifying as to have one's traveling effects un- 
furled. It is like a masquerader coming home un- 
der the 'T)road grin of day." 

"But my glove, Steve, my glove 1" Bunts re- 
sumed in tones of anguish. "It's that fielding glove 
I broke in two years ago. 'Member ? You caught 
me the day I wore it in Chicago, last game I pitched. 
I had ten chances — an' got 'em. I been saving it 
all this time, in case I ever went back to th' rub- 
ber!" 

Catcher Doyle instantly became solicitous; and 
well he might. A Cremona to the violinist, an apt 



The Ringer 129 



accompanist to the singer, an inspiring model to 
the artist — that and no less is his pet glove to the 
ballplayer. Hours, days — ^yes, weeks — he fashions 
it ; anointing it, rubbing it, trimming here, adding 
there, until it becomes part of his craft, part of him- 
self. Twisting his hand to any angle, he has con- 
fidence that the ball will stick. A strange glove is 
treacherous, feels out of place, like a man in wom- 
an's clothes. 

Big Steve pondered over the calamity but a mo- 
ment, then dropped Miss Brewster's suitcase out 
of the window. 

"You pick it up while I fan with the goldfish, 
he commanded Bunts. "We got t' get your mitt. 

A full moon shone, pine trees cast weird shad- 
ows, frogs chirruped their lullaby and an owi 
hooted dismally as the two ballplayers trudged 
through the sand uphill toward the Brewster man- 
sion, its veranda aglow with electric lights. When, 
half-way, a dilapidated buggy passed them, the 
malodor of a cheap cigar wafting from under the 
occupant's wide-brimmed slouch hat, Steve ex- 
claimed, "Sheriff," and the pace was quickened. 



>» 



99 



180 The Ringer 



Arriving, they stood unnoticed while the sheriff 
talked of "warrant" and "bloodhounds"; and then 
Steve, ignoring formalities, stepped up. 

"Miss Brewster, I guess this is what you're look- 
ing for." 

Steve's remarkable prescience told him that the 
least show of mirth would indicate that he had 
opened the parcel; so he fortified himself with an 
expression stem as John Knox reprimanding the 
frivolous Mary, Queen of Scots. Mr. Bunts, 
taking the cue, exhibited the same inexorable 
countenance as he wailked tmder the bunch- 
light. 

"Mr. Bu — ^Daniels," introduced Steve impres- 
sively. "I'm Mr. St-Stevens. We're stopping at 
the hotel. Mr. Daniels is training to go t' college. 
We " 



"I say, didn't I see you there to-night ?" Bolton, 
his right eye embalmed now in beefsteak, got up 
from his chair. 

"That's what!" Outfielder Bunts assured him 
artfully. "And you give that fellow as pretty a 
wallop— cross-counter — as I ever saw." 



The Ringer " 131 



Bolton's visible eye glowed. "Fell over a chair/* 
he vindicated, "or I'd have got him!" 

"Chair's what did it," verified Dan and Steve. 

The shadow of Mr. Brewster darkened the door- 
way. The millionaire philosopher blinked through 
double-ply spectacles. He extended a hand that felt 
like smoke in the maws of the big4eaguers. 

"They've brought back my bag, father," ex- 
plained the daughter. Then, turning to Steve : "I'm 
a.wfully grateful; but I — ^I don't quite understand. 
Where was it? How did you make Mr. Bu — that 
man — ^give it to you?" 

"Oh, we didn't have a: word with him,'* Steve 
answered. "The clerk told us about the trouble, 
and Mr. Daniels and I did a little detective work 
of our own. We went around th' bases, as you 
might say; and what d'you suppose? Back of the 
woodshed — ^that's where it was!" 

"Some nigger stole it," put in Bunts, his soul 
delighted at his partner's cleverness. "That's what 
I told St — Mr. Stevens." 

"Not a bit of it !" denied Bolton hotly. "Bunts 
took it and no one else. He knew we'd search his 



132 The Ringer 



room. That's his idea of a joke. He's a profes- 
sional ballplayer. You've probably heard of him 
— Bunts, of the Pioneers? I begged Miss Brew- 
ster not to meet him. This is the result !" 

Big Steve straightened his shoulders, his glance 
threatening. "Well, what of it?" he questioned. 

"Good and bad in all professions," Bunts has- 
tened to say. 

The sheriff had not spoken a word, auto- 
matically clamping his jaw on a ration of fine cut. 

"Time is flyin', folks," he now interrupted, "an* 
my advice is to look in that satchel and see if any- 
thing's been stole." He squinted shrewdly at the 
heroes. 

Lord Hemmingway suggested adjournment to 
the billiard room, where Bunts and Doyle wetted 
their whistles on a brand of Scotch whisky that few 
lucky mortals can afford. Heightened color lent 
attraction to Dan's strong face, and the millionaire 
philosopher peered at him with favor, as one might 
at a gallant three-year-old emerging from the pad- 
dock. 

Well, anyhow," insisted the sheriff as he saw 



tfr 



The Ringer 183 



fame and reward slipping away, Miss Brewster re- 
porting that the contents were intact, "there's 
enough to get a warrant out for him. We have 
his suitcase for evidence " 

Dan's cheeks paled. "The newspapers!" he ex- 
claimed, invoking his teammate. 

Big Steve launched his eloquence: "Make th' 
mistake of your life. Miss Brewster. They'd have 
a fierce article in th' papers. You know — ^anything 
about a ballplayer. That's what they all read. 
Know — myself. I played a while — ^you im'erstand ; 
an amachoor. It'd go all over the country. Bet- 
ter just let me take his suitcase back an' drop it 
behind th' desk or some place. That's it — ^you take 
my advice!" 

"He's fifteen miles on th' road by this time," 
murmured the sheriff ; *Tbut I c'n loose the dogs an' 
get him 'fore sunrise." 

There was a chorus of dissent. "No; oh, no; 
please!" implored Miss Brewster. "I wouldn't 
have this come out for anything in the world. Mr. 
Stevens is quite right. Let it drop; do! I've for- 
gotten it already.' 



99 



184 The Ringer 



Lord Hemming^ay noted the sheriff's bargain- 
ing challenge of eye, and a crinkling of bills was 
heard as he led the official out to the veranda. Half 
an hour later, Dan Bunts and Steve Doyle cavorted 
down the moonlit road, chucking the suitcase aloft, 
thwacking each other and exclaiming : "In dutch — 
we certainly got him in dutch !" 

They fell asleep smiling, their capacious lungs 
drinking in the sweet night air, Mr. Bunts with 
glove on hand. 

To find a human being so unselfish and great- 
minded that he or she never entertains a grudge or 
desire for revenge is as difficult as Diogenes' task. 
Even though not expressed, the thought is there. 
Oftentimes a bitterness of this sort becomes a 
sotd obsession, to be erased only by a gluttony of 
retaliation, if then. That choleric, red-faced, 
hard-swearing, hard-drinking trooper. General 
Bliicher, when defeated at Auerstadt, his hus- 
sars and horse batteries cut to ribbons, conceived 
an everlasting personal hatred for Napoleon. The 
French emperor had a like feeling for this "de- 
bauched old dragoon,'* as he termed him ; and, being 



The Ringer 185 



dictator, forced his retirement from the Prussian 
army. Hence it was that afterward on the night 
of Waterloo the English were content with vic- 
tory; but Bliicher, rankling for revenge, pursued 
the Grand Army, sabering, shooting, hacking with- 
out mercy until darkness stopped the slaughter. 

As the days sped by in Atwater, Lucius Bolton 
grew more and more vindictive toward the man 
who had humiliated him, albeit young Caruthers 
had packed up and departed. Two messages "Slats'* 
sent, the last one containing a full confession that 
explained everything but the suitcase mystery, 
which he himself did not understand. Both mis- 
sives were returned from the Brewster mansion 
unopened. Chafing under the miserable indignity, 
he changed his abode to Gre)rtown, the neighboring 
country-seat, and also changed his name. His tele- 
grams to Caruthers, Sr., were in turn pleading and 
sarcastic, but the only answer was: "Progress- 
hold out another month." He wrote to his sister, 
asking her to help him; to find out if she did not, 
with the Brewsters, have some mutual friends. One 
notion was uppermost — ^he must straighten things 



186 The Ringer 



out with Dorothy, as he already called her to him- 
self. He determined to see her at all hazards be- 
fore he left the South — ^and the opportunity came 
in an imexpected way. 

An active, vigorous fellow, not given to moping, 
Caruthers kept up his baseball training with the 
local club, which, upon witnessing his skill, extended 
him its warmest fellowship. Would he pitch for 
them in the first of their championship games 
against those "lobsters" over in St. Charles ? Would 
he! Woidd a duck run from water? Would a 
hungry dog shun a succulent bone? In contem- 
plation of this tilt — what he had hoped and longed 
for — ^the Harvard athlete was able temporarily to 
forget his grievance and mishap. 

By all tokens, it was going to be an old-fashioned 
battle for blood between communities that had 
cherished a fierce rivalry since before the war, a 
provincial contest under the auspices of Southern 
chivalry and beauty, with much glory for the 
victors, plenty of betting and turbulent rooting. 
Caruthers, of Harvard, caught the enthusiasm and 
passion of Greytown's citizens; and when the day 



The Ringer 137 



arrived and he looked over the partisan crowd it 
occurred to him that he had never seen such inten- 
sity at a ball game. Somehow it took him back 
to old pictures of the Johnny Rebs, Andersonville 
Prison and desperate deeds of the Civil War. Even 
the scores of pretty girls in summery frocks, who 
occupied the grandstand and chairs that flanked the 
right foul line, could not dissipate this fancy. 
They were daughters and granddaughters of those 
heroines who loved their country and their pro- 
tectors with a blind devotion, ready to sacrifice life 
for the cause. Instead of a merry diversion, this 
affair — ^he could not abandon the foreboding — 
promised to be serious. 

"The St. Charles bunch!" shouted one of his 
teammates when a great cheering was heard down 
the street. "They're a tough lot, but we cleaned 
'em up one year in a free-for-all." A brass band 
blaring "Sunbonnet Sue" appeared at the gate, fol- 
lowed by two hundred men and boys; and, as the 
delegation arranged itself in a solid body along 
the left foul line, Caruthers recognized the red hair 
and long nose of Qerk Heinze. 



188 The Ringer 



"Slats" felt his spine chilling. So this was the 
foreboding — this marplot of a hotel clerk — this 
"picture of hard luck." 

"I knew it; I knew it — ^knew something was 
going to happen," he repeated bitterly. 

There was the chug-chug of a big purple touring 
car that, contrasted with the other and smaller 
machines, suggested a transatlantic liner surrounded 
by dumpy tugs; and, following the darting move- 
ments of Heinze, "Slats" saw him shaking hands 
with the Brewster's chauffeur. In the tonneau 
were Dorothy, Miss Dearing, Bolton and Hem- 
mingway. The Harvard man made a step in their 
direction and then halted. Yes, they had seen him. 
Dorothy, conspicuous with her black hair, her 
Panama hat, saucy brimmed, and her white serge 
suit, swept him briefly with a surprised glance ; then 
turned away. But Caruthers held his gaze, drink- 
ing in every bit of her — ^the shape of her lips with 
their winsome upward twist at the comers; her 
ivory skin; the brown eyes of such wonderful depth 
and humor. Ye gods! What a vision of loveli- 
ness ! What a woman to call one's very own ! She 



The Ringer 189 



was the sort, soliloquized "Slats" as the band struck 
up "Dixie/' who could turn him from a half-baked 
college graduate into a man of affairs. She 
could 

"Well, there's one good thing!" Doc Leeds, the 
Greytown catcher, broke up Caruthers' reverie. 
"They've picked Ham Doggett f'r umpire, and I 
know Ham's got his roll on us." It was an aid not 
to be despised, but "Slats" only smiled vaguely. 
He was still regarding Dorothy and his gaze shifted 
with hers to the visiting bench, where Lucius Bolton 
stood talking excitedly with two sunburned, busi- 
ness-looking ballplayers. Then young Caruthers, 
of Harvard, awdce indeed. 

Except the white jacket of a bartender, there is 
no better disguise than a balljrfayer's uniform. Pro- 
portions, lines, even countenance, appear changed. 
On the field you know him well; on the street he 
is a stranger. 

"Slats" had passed by Big Steve Doyle and Dan 
Bunts in the Atwater hotel without recognizing 
them; but here, in their uniform, he only had to re- 
call the spring of 1904, when Harvard came within 



140 The Ringer 



one run of trimming the Pioneers. And Caruthers 
was not nervous. He remembered that Doyle had 
struck out twice on a low one outside and that 
Bunts could kill the same sort. He met the stare 
of Doyle, Bunts and Bolton with a nasty, grim 
smile, but the two professional ballplayers returned 
it with a familiar hand-wave. Once having faced 
a good pitcher, your big leaguer never forgets him. 
They said nothing to Bolton. 

"You leave it to us," assured Big Steve. "We 
don't care for Dan Bunts or anybody else. He'll 
get all he's lookin' for." 

Steve and Dan, having settled down to regular 
training in Atwater, had nearly forgotten the pre- 
tender Bunts. When Clerk Heinze arranged for 
them to take part in the St. Charles-Greytown 
game they consented, the more readily because Miss 
Brewster and her party were going over. It would 
be a good work-out for Bunts, who was gradually 
acquiring the coveted underhand raise. 

The reinjecting of the pretender into the scene 
did not alarm McNabb's stars — only amused them. 
It was "that Harvard lad," and a "swell pitcher, 



The Ringer 141 



all right." He was "kidding" somebody — ^maybe 
"himself." But Bolton took the matter seriously, 
tragically, revengefully. He wanted to expose the 
"professional" to the gulled fans from St. Charles. 
It wasn't "fair." Then he promised Steve and Dan 
five hundred dollars if they won the game — and 
Big Steve listened closely. Five hundred to a ball- 
player in the springtime ! Sweet music, this. Steve 
was not backward. 

"That'd help my friend Daniels through college," 
he observed thoughtfully. "And, say, old man, you 
might as well write out that check now, f *r we'll 
cop this game. Nothing to it !" 

Bolton, only half assured, made his way back to 
the Brewster car. 

It has well been said thiat of all honest sports 
baseball is the most uncertain, the reason being 
that there are eighteen men engaged and any one 
of them is likely to do the unexpected, the un- 
usual. In this instance, advantage would appear 
to have been with the professional battery; and 
yet there were three handicaps for Bunts, of the 
Pioneers. To begin with, Dan did not dare "cut 



142 The Ringer 



loose" at this time of year. There was a long 
season ahead of him, with its bonus. He must 
nurture and fondle his "s^klary wing/' Secondly, and 
not counting in the umpire, he did not have the 
Pioneers' machinery behind him. And finally, he 
had been upset by a traveling salesman who accosted 
him by his right name : "Hello, Dan ! Remember 
me ? We met down in the Piedmont at Atlanta last 
year. Hopton is my name. Gro to it, old boy. No 
fear," he said, as Dan froze him with a look. 
"Won't say a word. I got twenty-five on St. 
Charles." 

There were no such restrictions upon Caruthers, 
of Harvard. "Slats" concluded that his footsteps 
had been dogged and that this whole event was a 
"frame up" by Bolton and the Brewster crowd. The 
notion was nauseating; but when he saw Dorothy 
wave to Doyle and Bunts it was convincing. Every 
muscle in his body tightened. He was eager to 
pitch his arm oflF. 

He motioned his catcher. "Those two men"— 
he pointed — "are professionals and in the big 
league, too " 



The Ringer 143 



ci 



"That's funny," laughed the other, interrupting. 
There's a red-haired guy — ^hotel derk over in At- 
water — going round saying that you're Dan Bunts, 
of the Pioneers. Of course, nobody believes him. 
I wouldn't 'a' said anything only " 

"Well," instructed "Slats," "I just wanted to 
say that I'll sign you when they're at bat. An' watch 
me — watch close !" 

Caruthers surveyed his battle array and at any 
other time he would have been regaled. His short- 
stop wore Sunday-go-to-meeting togs, white boiled 
shirt, high collar and pointed-toed patent-leather 
shoes. His blue serge, peg-topped trousers were 
properly creased. To him the occasion was social 
more than athletic. The third baseman wore an 
extravagantly padded football uniform, with some 
college insignia on the sweater. He was a favorite 
with both sexes, with all the spectators, because 
he was fat. Every time he jumped for a drive or 
stooped for a sod-cutter one could hear from the 
side lines : "You're all right. Bob." Some said he 
should have been a professional. 

For Messrs. Doyle and Bunts, accustomed to 



144 The Ringer 



the greased whir of Barney McNabb's machine, the 
game did not progress favorably. Belts flew off; 
levers jammed and wheels stopped. The teasing 
raise ball that was to become famous in fast com- 
pany later on did not fool the "rubes" so much 
as the lightning speed of Caruthers, aided by the 
umpire. If a curve was very wide the latter called 
"ball" when the leather was twenty feet from the 
plate. Doyle stood it for three innings — ^and then 
rushed at the arbiter and with trained skill stepped 
on his toes. 

"Call 'em when they're over," he demanded. 
"You got an eye like a dead fish !" 

Steve tried to explain to the St. Charles men 
that the enemy's pitcher had nothing but a "high 
fast one," but it did not help. Bunts himself, hero 
of many a batting rally, struck out principally 
because the umpire called two strikes that were 
neck-high. On the third, Caruthers sneaked over 
a drop and his catcher, though! fumbling, re- 
covered in time to nail the illustrious Pioneer at 
first. 

Slats" glanced over at the Brewster party. 



t({ 



The Ringer 145 



Was Dorothy smiling? In his exultation "Slats" 
thought so. 

Big Steve had even harder luck. With two on 
base and two out, he pulled a drive between third 
and short — a drive so terrific that the football-clad 
Bob did not know which way to jump. But, as 
village clown, his impulse was alive; and, flinging 
out his cap, lo! did the pill not stick? 

This was looked upon, even by St. Charles, as a 
manifestation of genius. 

I' 

"Aw, what's the use, now, you men? Give the 
boy a chance. That ball would 'a' knocked him 
down if he hadn't 'a' took his cap to it!" they 
shouted when Steve and Dan protested to the 
umpire. 

The latter was defiant "Get out o' here, you 
smart Alecs!" he ordered. "I know all about this 
game; that ball ain't teched the ground yet!" 

By this time McNabb's stars were in a fine 
state of frenzy, for the game and five hundred dol- 
lars were slowly and surely fading away in spite 
of their heroic efforts. One, two, three, four runs 
they either scored themselves or drove in with solid 



146 The Ringer 



wallops, but the others backed from the plate, dazed 
by the college man's speed, and seldom got on 
base. 

Doyle and Bunts, with midsummer zeal, from the 
coaching lines poured forth upon Caruthers such 
calumny as only a big leaguer can muster: "Hey, 
keep y'r toe on the rubber! Watch that step, Mr. 
Umpire. Yellow? Why, you're right from the 
daisy fields. When'd you leave deah old Hahvad, 
kiddo? It's a balk, a balk!" And then, from 
Bunts: "Better take back that suitcase you 
stole." 

But "Slats" had been through like ordeals and 
only clamped his jaws the tighter and let out an- 
other link in his speed. So madly bent was he on 
winning this game that, as victory fluttered near, 
he failed to notice the crowd's sentiment. Even 
his own teammates eyed him coldly; Heinze had 
done his work well. Instead of an ovation when 
the last St. Charles man "died" in the ninth, there 
was silence; but only for a moment. The pretty 
girls, with gestures and cries of alarm, scrambled 
from the grandstand, automobiles spluttered and 



The Ringer 147 



wheeled away, but five hundred men and boys 
surged to the center of the diamond; and they of 
St. Charles, the losers, joined in one mighty, threat- 
ening accusation: 

"He's a ringer! A ringer!" 

Not a person there but had learned that Grey- 
town's pitcher was Dan Bunts, the renowned 
Pioneer. 

North, East, South and West, in this free land 
of ours, a legion of fans are quickly stirred to vio- 
lence by one rank decision of an umpire. But to 
be imposed upon and lose money through the "ring- 
ing in" of an imposter, a professional, what honest, 
law-abiding American citizen would not lend a hand 
with the "tar and feathers"! For that was the 
program. 

Like a chip in a flood, the unfortunate "Slats" 
was carried this way and that. They ripped off 
his baseball shirt, then his undershirt. Naked to 
the waist, he fought a good fight; but a htmdred 
blows fell upon him, a dozen hands throttled him. 
And now came that inevitable weapon of a base- 
ball mob — ^the pop bottle. Willing hands passed 



146 The Ringer 



wallops, but the others backed from the plate, dazed 
by the college man's speed, and seldom got on 
base. 

Doyle and Bunts, with midsummer zeal, from the 
coaching lines poured forth upon Caruthers such 
calumny as only a big leagner can muster: "Hey, 
keep y'r toe on the rubber! Watch that step, Mr. 
Umpire. Yellow? Why, you're right from the 
daisy fields. When'd you leave deah old Hahvad^ 
kiddo? It's a balk, a balk!" And then, from 
Bunts: "Better take back that suitcase you 
stole." 

But "Slats" had been through like ordeals and 
only clamped his jaws the tighter and let out an- 
other link in his speed. So madly bent was he on 
winning this g^me that, as victory fluttered near, 
he failed to notice the crowd's sentiment. Even 
his own teammates eyed him coldly; Heinze had 
done his work well. Instead of an ovation when 
the last St. Charles man "died" in the ninth, there 
was silence; but only for a moment. The pretty 
girls, with gestures and cries of alarm, scrambled 
from the grandstand, automobiles spluttered and 



The Ringer 147 



wheeled away, but five hundred men and boys 
surged to the center of the diamond; and they of 
St. Charles, the losers, joined in one mighty, threat- 
ening accusation: 

"He's a ringer ! A ringer !" 

Not a person there but had learned that Grey- 
town's pitcher was Dan Bunts, the renowned 
Pioneer. 

North, East, South and West, in this free land 
of ours, a legion of fans are quickly stirred to vio- 
lence by one rank decision of an umpire. But to 
be imposed upon and lose money through the "ring- 
ing in" of an imposter, a professional, what honest, 
law-abiding American citizen would not lend a hand 
with the "tar and feathers"! For that was the 
program. 

Like a chip in a flood, the imfortunate "Slats" 
was carried this way and that. They ripped off 
his baseball shirt, then his undershirt. Naked to 
the waist, he fought a good fight; but a hundred 
blows fell upon him, a dozen hands throttled him. 
And now came that inevitable weapon of a base- 
ball mob— the pop bottle. Willing hands passed 



146 The Ringer 

wallops, but the others backed from the plate, dazed 
by the college man's speed, and seldom g^t on 
base. 

Doyle and Bunts, with midsummer zeal, from the 
coaching lines poured forth upon Caruthers such 
calumny as only a big leaguer can muster: "Hey, 
keep y'r toe on the rubber! Watch that step, Mr. 
Umpire. Yellow? Why, you're right from the 
daisy fields. When'd you leave deah old Hahvad, 
kiddo? It's a balk, a balk!" And then, from 
Bunts : "Better take back that suitcase you 
stole." 

But "Slats" had been throt^h like ordeals and 
only clamped his jaws the titter and let out an- 
other link in his speed. So madly bent was he on 
winning this game that, as victory fluttered near, 
he failed to notice the crowd's sentiment. Even 
his own teammates eyed him coldly; Heinze Iiad 
done his work well. Instead of an ovation when 
the last St Charles man "died" in the ninth, there 
for a moment. The pretty 
id cries of alarm, scntmbled 
automobiles s[duttered and 



The Ringer 147 



wheeled away, but five hundred men and boys 
surged to the center of the diamond; and they of 
St. Charles, the losers, joined in one mighty, threat- 
ening accusation: 

"He's a ringer! A ringer!" 

Not a person there but had learned that Grey- 
town's pitcher was Dan Bunts, the renowned 
Pioneer. 

North, East, South and West, in this free land 
of ours, a legion of fans are quickly stirred to vio- 
lence by one rank decision of an umpire. But to 
be imposed upon and lose money through the "ring- 
ing in" of an imposter, a professional, what honest, 
law-abiding American citizen would not lend a hand 
with the "tar and feathers"! For that was the 
program. 

Like a chip in a flood, the unfortunate "Slats" 
was carried this way and that. They ripped oflF 
his baseball shirt, then his undershirt. Naked to 
the waist, he fought a good fight; but a hundred 
blows fell upon him, z, dozen hands throttled him. 
And now came that inevitable weapon of a base- 
ball mob — ^the pop bottle. Willing hands passed 



146 The Ringer 



wallops, but the others backed from the plate, dazed 
by the collie man's speed, and seldom got on 
base. 

Doyle and Bunts, with midsummer zeal, from the 
coaching lines poured forth upon Caruthers such 
calumny as only a big leaguer can muster: "Hey, 
keep y'r toe on the rubber! Watch that step, Mr. 
Umpire. Yellow? Why, you're right from the 
daisy fields. When'd you leave deah old Hahvad, 
kiddo? It's a balk, a balk!" And then, from 
Bunts: "Better take back that suitcase you 
stole." 

But "Slats" had been through like ordeals and 
only clamped his jaws the tighter and let out an- 
other link in his speed. So madly bent was he on 
winning this g^me that, as victory fluttered near, 
he failed to notice the crowd's sentiment. Even 
his own teammates eyed him coldly; Heinze had 
done his work well. Instead of an ovation when 
the last St. Charles man "died" in the ninth, there 
was silence; but only for a moment. The pretty 
girls, with gestures and cries of alarm, scrambled 
from the grandstand, automobiles spluttered and 



The Ringer 147 



wheeled away, but five hundred men and boys 
surged to the center of the diamond; and they of 
St. Charles, the losers, joined in one mighty, threat- 
ening accusation: 

"He's a ringer ! A ringer !" 

Not a person there but had learned that Grey- 
town's pitcher was Dan Bunts, the renowned 
Pioneer. 

North, East, South and West, in this free land 
of ours, a legion of fans are quickly stirred to vio- 
lence by one rank decision of an umpire. But to 
be imposed upon and lose money through the "ring- 
ing in" of an imposter, a professional, what honest, 
law-abiding American citizen would not lend a hand 
with the "tar and feathers"! For that was the 
program. 

Like a chip in a flood, the unfortimate "Slats" 
was carried this way and that. They ripped off 
his baseball shirt, then his tmdershirt. Naked to 
the waist, he fought a good fight; but a htmdred 
blows fell upon him, a dozen hands throttled him. 
And now came that inevitable weapon of a base- 
ball mob— the pop bottle. Willing hands passed 



148 The Ringer 



the missiles forward; others hurled them indis- 
criminately. One landed square on the victim's 
forehead, cleaving the flesh. Blood spurted and 
down he went, lost in the crowd. 

Big Steve and Dan Bunts, careful of their arms, 
had rushed to the bench for their sweaters, intend- 
ing, after the big-league habit, to hurry away and 
escape the crowd. They stopped now. Judgment 
told them to run. It was a nasty, dangerous fray 
to mix in. But there was another instinct. The 
game over, they bore no grievance, no personal re- 
venge. They glanced at each other, wordless ; but 
what they said was: 

"He's a grand ball-player— one of us." 

And now, plunging into the mass, Dan leading, 
there were presently heard groans and oaths, for 
two of the toughest warriors that ever broke into 
fast company were the assailants. 

Immediately in their wake followed a partly bald, 
check-suited stranger, whose ancestors had fought 
with the Black Prince at Crecy. His language was 
ambiguous, but not his blows. 

With two sweeps of his arm Big Steve cleared 



The Ringer 149 



a space around the unconscious Caruthers ; and Dan, 
thumping himself on the chest, shouted : 

"Hey! Hey! Let him alone. He's only a col- 
lege kid. I'm Dan Bunts, if you want t' know ! 
I'm Bunts, of the Pioneers !" 

"Yes, damn you, and you threw the game!" It 
was the traveling salesman. "What'd I tell you 
all ? That's Dan Bunts ! I know him. And that's 
his catcher, Steve Doyle. All bets are off!" 

Five seconds of amazed silence and then the root- 
ers of Greytown joined those of St. Charles in a 
blood-<:urdling yell : 

"They're all ringers ! Tar and feather 'em ! Kill 
them ! Ringers !" 

For the first time Steve noticed Lord Hemming- 
way. 

"Duke," he said coolly, "get behind us and hold 
'em off. Over there!" He nodded toward the 
purple touring car. Each taking an arm of the 
helpless collegian, Doyle and Bunts, heads down, 
butted, kicked and potmded their way, digging their 
cleats into the earth, humping their powerful shoul- 
ders, straining their sturdy legs, but never releasing 



150 The Ringer 



hold on Caruthers. Shooting out his fists, jab- 
bing with his elbows, Lord Hemmingway ably pro- 
tected the rear; and in this wise they reached the 
car. 

"Here ! Here ! Yes, I have him I Quick ! Quick ! 
Oh, hurry !" Leaning out of the opened door. Miss 
Brewster, a breathing passion of distress and terror, 
dragged Caruthers into the tonneau. The others 
piled in on top. Two halting "chunks" of the giant 
machine, then a gatling volley, and away they went 
through a plowed field, over a ditch to the highway, 
followed by stones, dods and pop bottles. 

They had gone a mile before Mr. Doyle discov- 
ered that he was sitting on Miss Dearing's lap. 

"Excuse me, miss," he apologized, blushing. "I 
was kind o' rattled." He crawled over to the front 
seat and sat down by Dan. 

Caruthers still lay unconscious, his naked body 
and bleeding head resting against Dorothy's knees. 
With her arm about his neck, she held a lace hand- 
kerchief to the wound. 

"Oh, I'm so glad — so gladl" she kept repeat- 
ing. 



The Ringer 151 



<r 



Five miles farther on, Big Steve took a look 
around. 

What'd I tell you?" he nudged Dan, who had 
borrowed a cigarette from the chauffeur. 

"Said she'd sign up 'th him. I c'n read 'em like 
a book." 



IN DUTCH 

IN that part of the slums designated as Hell's 
Delight and at the outlet to one of its notori- 
ous alleys — Growler Lane — ^stood a taxicab, 
cranked up but motionless, the driver none too 
secure. It was about eight o'clock of a Saturday 
evening. Young ruffians scrambled on the machine, 
tppted the horn, opened and shut the doors, jeered 
and bullied in the argot of the neighborhood. Older 
and stouter loafers, low-browed gangsters, most of 
whom had "done a stretch," gradually assembled. 
A word or gesture was all that was needed to excite 
this riffraff to violence, for idleness and viciousness 
are much at one. 

As the driver anxiously peered this way and that, 
hoping to see a policeman, two men came briskly 
from the opposite side of the street and put the 
question : 

"Hey, chofoor, c'n you tell us where is Growler 

Lane?" 

152 



In DutcK 158 



if 



«i 



In contrast to the timid mechanic, these aliens in 
Hell's Delight were bold, indifferent, swaggering — 
a physical challenge. The shorter, thicker-set one 
pushed aside one of the ring-leaders; and he, 
strange to say, did not resent it. His evil mouth 
wrenched a smile as though the pleasantry were dis- 
tasteful. 

Hi, yuh, Steve! Big Steve Doyle, airft it?" 
^Hi, yuh. Bunts! Hello, Danny!" This occa- 
sioned a general recognition. 

And in the time that Mathewson could strike out 
a weak hitter, every dive and gin-mill in Hell's De- 
light, where blazed their pictures and records, knew 
that Catfcher Doyle and Pitcher Bunts, of the 
Pioneers, were in Growler Lane, visiting Larry 
Malone, who that very day had been knocked off 
the fence at the ball park by a policeman and "broke 
his back." 

With incredible pluck and effort, the boy had 
dragged himself to a grocery wagon and thus had 
been transported to his mother and what was called 
"home." He lay there now on a pallet, suffering 
intensely, surrounded by street urchins and slat- 



154i In Dutch 



temly women who rocked forward and backward, 
groaned and gossiped dismally, as though the ex- 
pected wake were already in progress. 

Out of deference to Miss Caroline Hunter, of 
Settlement House Number Two, which the Hunter 
fortune had established, a tin pail — ^that familiar 
utensil of the Lane — stood unemployed on the table, 
a mouth-watering C3mosure. Mrs. Malone's friends 
felt ihis occasion unusually fit for celebrating with 
a "quart of suds." 

"Mrs. Malone, you're making a terrible, terrible 
blunder!'* the settlement worker was imploring. 
"Larry should have been sent to a hospital hours 
ago. I beg of you, please, let me put him in my 
cab— it's waiting outside now; or, better still, let 
me call an ambulance " 



"Ambulance! Hospital!" cried she. "Never, I 
say. They'd butcher him! Faith, don't I know!" 

"Sure an' they'd have his heart out before he was 
dead," voiced Mrs. O'Toole, shrugging her fat 
shoulders. "De-sect him, they would. What hap- 
pened to Mary Ryan?" She paused, pugnaciously 
inquiring amid groans and exclamations. "Weighed 



In Dutch 155 



a hundred and eighty pounds when they took her 
away and — Mrs. Joyce, I'm after asking you what 
she weighed when they brought her back. Tell 
the lady." 

"If it was a pound more'n seventy-five," quoted 
the other, "my man said he'd never lift another 
corpse. Jim said he c'd 'a' carried his side o' the 
coffin 'ith one finger — ^and Jim ain't what you'd call 
husky at that." 

The pale, freckled face of the crippled boy 
writhed in agony. 

"Oh, gee! Oh, gee! Oh! Oh, me mudder— do 
sumpin' ! Can't stand it !— oh— can't stand it ! Get 
de ambula-n-c-e, Miss Car'line. Oh, I'm hoited 
sumpin' fierce!" 

Out of patience with their obstinacy and igno- 
rance, Caroline Himter, the only one of Josh 
Hunter's progeny to employ her wealth mercifully, 
wept as she dried the lad's tears of agony. Well 
she knew that every moment was precious ; and she 
loved this sunny Irish boy — so willing he was to 
learn, so grateful for any help or tenderness. 

The uncarpeted steps resounded with a heavy 



156 In Dutch 



tramping and clatter as Steve Doyle and Dan Bunts 
entered, part of the Lane's population following. 
Framed in the doorway of the tiny kitchen, they 
looked enormous. Abashed in this nearness to the 
Hunter millions, they introduced themselves awk- 
wardly. Big Steve thought he had never seen a 
smile so wondrously sweet. 

"It was very good of you to come so soon," she 
said. "I was afraid the messenger would not find 
you " 



"Not at all, miss, not at all," Steve dissented. 

"This poor boy," she explained, "idolizes you 
and Mr. Bunts. He was badly injured at the ball 
game to-day." She lowered her voice. "K his 
spinal cord is affected I'm afraid there isn't a chance 

for him ; and he  I did so want to gratify him. 

He asked for you — asked constantly; and it was — 
it is — good of you." She whispered to the ball- 
players. The crowd was oppressive, jamming the 
narrow stairway and the two little rooms. 

"Mr. Doyle" — she laid her hand on Steve's arm 
as her eyes flashed with spirit — "it is a perfect out- 
rage that they won't let me take Larry to a hos- 



In Dutch 157 



pital. I've reasoned with them one precious hour. 
Now I'm going to do it, no matter what happens. 
Can I count on you to help me?" She included 
Bunts. "Try to persuade the mother — do!" And 
she was gone. 

With difficulty the ballplayers edged through the 
children and women. Mrs. Malone's glare was 
sinister and suspicious, but her friends admired the 
athletes and their diamond ring. They repre- 
sented more distinction than the wealthy Samar- 
itan. 

A smile of great joy touched the gamin's lips, as 
of one suddenly lifted from hell to Heaven. 

"Say, dis ain't Big Steve, is it ? Oh, gee ! Steve, 
I never t' ought t' see yuh s' clost! And Danny—- 
Dan Bunts ! You wuz t' bat, Dan, w'en th' copper 
nicked me. Did yuh make good, Dan?" 

The cripple's eyes were very bright, though a 
spasm of pain contorted his face. His narrow chest 
heaved and collapsed. His delight was terrible to 
witness as his breath fluttered through the open, 
narrow mouth. He darted a look of pride and 
triumph about the room to his mother, the women. 



158 In Butch 



his urchin friends — ^beyond to the ruffians who 
grinned in savage adoration of the ballplayers. 

What a strange thing is hero worship! In this 
country, as a rule, the only live hero is a dead one. 
Dewey, just arrived from Manila, had an ovation. 
Men and women thrilled to the heels at sight of the 
conqueror. A few months later a reaction set in 
and all was changed. Once grown up and a hero 
to yourself, you lack such sentiment; where there 
is envy, selfishness or indifference there can be no 
hero worship. It is an intangible quantity, dis- 
sipated by familiarity. 

Big Steve Doyle and Dan Bunts in a hovel of 
Growler Lane, shaking hands with little Larry 
Malone who "got hoited" at the ball game, formed 
the infrequent and necessary combination. Even 
Mrs. Malone succumbed to the mystic passion and, 
heeding Bunts' argument, prepared to accompany 
Larry to the hospital. Perhaps, too, the novelty of 
riding in a taxicab had something to do with it. The 
crippled boy held tightly to one of Big Steve's 
fingers on his throwing wing. 

"Gee, Steve !" he said, "I ain't never goin' t' fer- 



In Butch 159 



get dis. Any time I c'n do yous a favor " A 

groan of agony interrupted. 

Doyle averted his head. "That cop," he said 
presently in a husky voice, "ought to be broke!" 

"Take it from me," called a big, thick-necked fel- 

/ low : "if he ever pounds in this precinct " He 

elbowed his way to the bedside. "It all comes," he 
declared wrathfuUy, "from cuttin' out dem twenty- 
five-cent seats. De kid here had his quarter — ^he 
used t' go up every Saturday ; but he can't raise no 
fifty cents — ^none of us kin. Dem magnates is a lot 
of bloodsuckers ^" 

"Cheese it!" The cripple tried to sit up. "Dat 
ain't Steve's an' Dan's fault " 

AH was commotion as the ding-ding-ding-ding of 
an ambulance sounded. Very tenderly catcher 
Doyle lifted the cripple in his arms and Bunts 
cleared the way. 

"HuUy gee! Steve, you're strong!" said the 
boy. "I was hopin' t' be a ketcher meself some 
day '' 

The gate of the ambulance was closed, the gong 
tapped and in ten minutes Hell's Delight had re- 



160 In Dutch 



turned to its usual Saturday night of drinking, 
cursing, gambling and fighting. 

In their apartments at the Hotel Braddock next 
morning Messrs. Doyle and Bunts dressed leisurely 
and ate plentifully, contemplating a day of rest ; but 
Dan had just finished his grapefruit when, in un- 
folding the Sunday paper, his eye caught on the 
first page two-column pictures of himself and his 
partner, while Doyle, scanning the sporting page, 
was startled out of his appetite. The articles were 
well worth reading, for a reporter covering the 
Memorial Hospital had thoroughly "pumped" Mrs. 
Malone, telephoned the facts to his office, and a 
clever rewrite man had squeezed out twelve dol- 
lars' worth of space and earned a bonus for turning 
in the month's best "human interest story.'* 

"Good chance to rap the Pioneers," the night city 
editor had said to the sporting editor. "A kid is 
knocked off the fence by a cop— breaks his back — 
a protege of Caroline Hunter. Had twenty-five 
cents, but couldn't raise th' fifty. Why don't you 
tear off something about the Pioneers raising the 
admission fee ?" 



In Dutch 161 



The Star's baseball reporter, Tom Simmons, a 
man of thirty-five, had trudged his way up from a 
cub, through police courts, through the routine of 
general work, until, having developed a light and 
entertaining style, he reached the goal of special 
sporting writer. He was both conscientious and 
daring, after a newspaper fashion — ^that is to say, 
when the Pioneers first eliminated their twenty-five- 
cent seats he alone of his cult had the bravery to 
denounce the management, making himself so un- 
popular that he was threatened with exclusion from 
the park. The crusade had gradually crumbled for 
lack of nourishment — for lack of a capital cause. 
Simmons was careful, too, in writing of ballplayers' 
personalities ; but, imder the whip of the city editor, 
there came the newspaper instinct of "taking a 
chance," and thus it was that Big Steve Doyle, over 
his ham and eggs, read words he had never 
uttered : 

"When I saw that poor little kid djring — ^all be- 
cause of raising the prices in our park — I wanted 
to go right down and tell the magnates what I 
thought of them.' 



» 



162 In Dutch 



"After a while," Dan was supposed to have said, 
"only millionaires can afford to see a ball game. 
First thing you know, the ballplayers themselves 
will start a league — and then the poor will be taken 
care of as well as the rich." 

For some moments Catcher Doyle and Pitcher 
Bunts regarded each other in heavy silence, not 
knowing whether to be vexed or pleased. As they 
finished the meal and repaired to the hotel reading 
room, where every morning a few favored admirers 
gathered, their conclusion was that "the dopester 
on the Star had his nerve all right." Listening to 
the congratulations of their friends, it gradually 
dawned upon them that they had done a noble and 
courageous deed in defying the management; and 
they began to think they really had been inter- 
viewedi Leaning back in an armchair, soothed 
by a good cigar, Steve retold the story witH 
spirit. Bunts declaimed against the miserliness of 
the Pioneers and demanded justice for the 
public. 

"Take it from me, boys,'* he was saying, "this'll 
make 'em sit up. I was a kid myself once. They 



In Butch 163 



ii^ 



got plenty o' room up there f'r the bleacherites ; 
and what I say is *' 

Mr. Bunts suddenly dropped his cigar and his 
jaw. His arms fell limp and he tried to grin de- 
fiantly. Outside in the hall stood Manager Barney 
McNabb and it required no physiognomist 
to read his mind. Doyle got the "office" 
instantly and meekly followed the other two up- 
stairs. 

Well," stormed McNabb when they reached 
Dan's room, "are you rummies gone crazy ? — er — er 
— what ?" He brandished the Sunday Star. "Presi- 
dent Thayer had me up to his house at eight o'clock 
this morning — ^first I heard of it. He's insane, he 

is! What th'— What th' '' McNabb choked in 

his impotence of speech. 

"Mr. Thayer says he'll send yuh to the Gophers — 
the Gophers ! He c'n get ten thousand dollars apiece 
an' a bunch of youngsters. Wants me t' start the 
deal right now. Steve! Steve! You— What 
the blankety-blank-blank nation is the matter with 
jruh ? What you want f butt into a ball club's busi- 
ness for ? You got enough to mind y'r own affairs ! 



164 In Dutch 



The Gophers — Fm tellin' you — ^that's where y're 
slated f go — 



» 



"Say, McNabb!" interrupted Bunts, with a fine 
show of anger. "Give us a chanst. We never made 
any such cracks. We never saw any reporter. 
That's all bull con. Wasn't I just tellin' the bunch 
downstairs as you come in? This stiff down on 
the paper's put us in dutch. Don't y' suppose me 
and Steve has better sense " 

"Well, jump to that office and make 'em deny it," 
ordered Barney, somewhat modified. "I could 
hardly believe you'd be such fools. Told Mr. 
Thayer that. Sue 'em for libel — Thayer'll pay th' 
costs. And first time you see that rat, Simmons, 
wallop him! Not too hard," he added, as catcher 
Doyle curled his powerful arm for a full swing. 
"Just 'ith the open hand. He's been makin' trouble 
for this club right along. So th' whole yam's a 
fake, eh?" 

'No, not quite," Bunts explained docilely. The 
prospect of being shifted to the Gophers — ^the tail- 
end club in the hottest, cheapest city of the circuit — 
had squelched his humane sentiments of a moment 



«i 



In Dutch 165 



before. "That's right about us bein' t' see the kid. 
Miss Hunter sent a note up t' the clubhouse — Steve 
an' me got it just as we were leavin'. We didn't 
mean nothing — ^that's all there was to it." 

McNabb rested his arm on the mantelpiece and 
stared curiously at his two star players. 

"Caroline Hunter!" he repeated blankly; then 
emphatically and finally, with derisive suspicion: 
"Caroline Hunter, eh? And you mitted her?" 

"Oh, you understand!" tempered Doyle. "She 
was — ^you know — cryin' — and all like that *' 

"Caroline Hunter!" It was the irritating, nasty 
tone McNabb used on the coaching line when trying 
to rattle a green third-bdseman. "Well," he ended, 

•1 

studying the two men through narrowed eyes, 
"you'd better get her to help you out, then. I can't." 
And he slammed the door behind him. 

'D'you know," said Doyle, with forced conversa- 
tional repose, "sometimes I think McNabb is a little 
bit touched? You know — worrying. I've seen a 
couple of ballplayers go that way." 

Bunts, striding up and down the room, had no 
reply but : "Gophers ! Gophers !" 



«i 



166 In Dutch 



Ut 



«1 



Mr. Doyle then ventured that McNabb had the 
notion that he — ^Doyle — ^had got fresh with Miss 
Hunter, but Mr. Bunts only replied with : 

'Gophers r 

If I had a thousand dollars," declared Mr. 
Doyle, "I'd quit th' game right now, Dan. I'd take 
that cafe we was talkin* of. Gosh!" he suddenly 
exclaimed, "these magnates make me sick — ^and Mc- 
Nabb too! It's got so a ballnlaver can't open his 
mouth." 

"Th' Gophers! Th' Gophers!" 

"Yes, Gophers!" bawled Doyle. "All because 
o' that reporter. I'll Gopher him! I'll break all 
th' little bones in his face. Come on^ Dan; we'll 
look him up." 

They brushed their clothes, arranged their neck- 
ties and were about to start when the door jangled 
and in walked Simmons himself, timid and anxious 
enough, though he tried to put on a bold face. In- 
stantly he felt that Daniel in the lions' den was a 
diversion compared to this. He essayed to back 
out, but Bunts tossed him aside and locked the 
door. 



In Dutch 167 



"You fellows are not sore, are you?" The words 
were steady, but Simmons' stomach was quaking. 

"Sore?" repeated Mr. Doyle softly, with an aw- 
ful calm. "Oh, no ; we're not sore. No." 

"To th' Gophers !" screamed Bimts, shaking both 
fists under the newspaper man's nose. "That's 
where you've sent us 1" 

Mr. Doyle methodically removed his coat and 
rolled up a shirt-sleeve before combining his verbal 
attack with Dan's. As they impressed upon Sim- 
mons the enormity of his crime he shrank farther 
and farther into the comer. At least, they could 
not knock him very far. Every second he ex- 
pected to find himself imbedded in the wall; but 
Messrs. Doyle and Bunts intended to have a glut 
of revenge after the style of the American Indian, 
first torturing their victim. In one of the pauses 
Simmons recovered sufficiently to ridicule the pros- 
pect of two such renowned heroes being sent to 
the Gophers. 

"Why, the whole city would mutiny!" he de- 
clared. "They'd boycott the dub. Sell Doyle and 
Bunts 1" 



168 In Dutch 



"Quit y'r kidding!" commanded Doyle. "You've 
been in the game too long. Ballplayers have no 
rights. They c'n sell us if they want to." 

Doyle's wrath caromed to this new and vital 
topic, and in the slight relief of tension Simmons 
etdogized the i^ayers. 

"Everybody's talking about it," he hurried on 
"Miss Hunter — ^you're certainly in right with her." 

"Cut that out!" blared Steve. "Don't you go 
to mixin' her name in this ball stuff. That ain't 
her gait. We'll take our medicine." 

"Yes, an' it's about time you're gettin' yours," 
said Btmts between his clenched teeth. He hauled 
back his right fist. 

"Hold on! Hold on!" The doomed Simmons 
flung out his hands. "Wait ! Wait !" What could 
he possibly say to escape a terrible beating? "Wait, 
Bunts." The reporter's brain wriggled and hummed. 
"Miss Htmter, man ! Don't you know that — know 
that she owns half — half of the club?" 

"Huh?" 

Doyle and Bunts flashed a surprised look at each 
other. 



In Dutch 169 



"Sure; that's right!" Simmons' eyes wavered; 
sweat flowed down his forehead. He ran a hand 
inside his collar, being nearly gagged. "She owns 
the — ^the controlling interest." His laugh was 
sickly assuring. "Why, you fellows are in 
right." 

Simmons edged toward the door and turned the 
key. The ballplayers were talking together in a 
low voice. They permitted him to leave. 

Simmons fairly tottered to a cafe, where he 
flopped into a chair and ordered a Scotch high- 
ball. He was as overcome and limp as a surgeon 
after a long and dangerous operation, 

"Phew !" 

His first sensation was joy for his unexpected 
deliverance, but thought of the immediate future 
speedily depressed him. One lie seldom mends an- 
other. He had now complicated himself doubly. 
After unwarranted quoting of Bunts and Doyle, 
he had "stalled" them — "stalled" two big leaguers. 
When they discovered it Reporter Simmons could 
not imagine himself of sufficient hardihood to stay 
in the city. He would chuck up his job, therefore. 



170 In Dutch 



Yes, that was the only thing to do— pack up and 
get work elsewhere. He cursed the national game, 
ballplayers, the crippled boy — ^and did not overlook 
himself. 

And yet Simmons was no coward. To an extent, 
he was the victim of circumstances — a common role 
for the newspaper man — ^left to extricate himself 
as he might. After a while he roused under the sense 
of duty and pride. The incident was past ; let come 
what might. He had a new story, a scoop — Bunts 
and Doyle booked for the Gophers! Back at the 
office, he shivered when he thought of those four 
menacing fists, but he kept on clicking his type- 
writer. 

Simmons was discreet in quoting the Pioneers' 
catcher and pitcher ; though this mattered little, for 
all the papers had taken up the cudgels. There 
were symposituns of fandom praising Doyle and 
Bunts and denotincing the management. Supreme 
Court judges pleaded for democracy in baseball. 
Old chaps who had played with the Haymakers, the 
Excelsiors, the Atlantics, who grew up with the 
game, put themselves on record for bleacher ac- 



In Butch 171 



commodations. Larry Malone had become a, great 
cause — ^a; Dreyfus ; a Fort Sumter. 

The crusade had got beyond Doyle, Bunts or 
Simmons. Might as well try to plug the Assouan 
Dam with a toothpick. Willy-nilly, the two ball- 
players were advertised as leaders in a popular pro- 
test. Far and wide their exploit of charity and 
their views on fifty-cent baseball were bruited. 
Such headings as "Doyle and Bunts to Form a New 
League" and "Pioneer Players Sound ICnell of 
Trust Baseball," caught the eye of a nation's fans. 

President Thayer, Secretary Evans and the club's 
directors were amazed and enraged, but they kept 
silent. Having weathered many a storm of this 
kind, they reasoned that the fickle public would 
calm down. One thing they were determined upon 
— ^Doyle and Btmts, the agitators, must go. They 
expected Manager McNabb would staunchly oppose 
this edict; they could not understand his ready 
acquiescence. 

Steve and Dan, of course, had the cue. McNabb 
suspected them of soft-soaping Caroline Hunter, 
controlling owner of the Pioneers; accused them 



172 In Butch 



of trying to oust him from the managerial job. 
McNabb's every look — for he did not address them 
at all — said this much. Even now he was begin- 
ning to let them down, using Schwartz or the col- 
lege catcher behind the bat and only sending in 
Bunts as a pinch-hitter, though Monday was his 
turn to work. 

The adulation of a thousand men and boys, who 
cheered Steve and Dan as they left the park, was 
no compensation. Surlily, scowlingly, they accepted 
the homage, bolted their dinner — then locked them- 
selves in their room for the night to discuss their 
misfortunes. 

On Wednesday evening they finally reached the 
decision of calling upon Miss Hunter — an unpleas- 
ant and to them a revolting errand. Only the hate- 
ful destiny of Gopherdom urged them to ask a 
favor of a woman. Rather than join this despised 
tail-end club, Doyle had determined that he would 
quit the game; and Bunts purposed going in for 
prize-fighting. 

Miss Hunter welcomed them cordially and told 
them, all in a breath, how Larry's injuries were 



In Dutch 178 



limited to a broken hip; that he was in a plaster 
cast, resting comfortably, and hoped to see his 
friends Doyle and Bunts playing ball before long. 
The surgeons said he could be taken to the park in 
an automobile and she had promised him this treat. 
Big Steve, sitting on a slender mahogany chair 
— you may have noticed that big men usually pick 
out the most delicate furniture — shifted nervously. 
His powerful legs were braced on either side as 
though he expected an immediate catastrophe. He 
glanced meaningly at Mr. Bunts, who was more 
firmly established on a leather couch. Dan did not 
fail. 

I guess," he said, "Larry won't see us in span- 
gles again. Miss Hunter — ^neither me nor Steve." 

"Why, Mr. Btmts, you don't mean — I don't quite 
understand." 

Well," took up Steve, recovering his balance, 
you un'erstand — we can't see th' Gophers f'r a 
minute." 

Gophers?" from Miss Hunter. 
Gophers !" from Mr. Bunts loudly. 
Steve eyed Miss Hunter shrewdly. "You don't 



«i 



^i^ 



(( 



«i 



«i 



174 In Dutch 



mean to say/' he asked, "that you haven't read 
how me and Dan 'a' been canned to those bushers ?" 
Apparently she was mystified or else a trained act- 
ress. Steve, famed as a close jiidge of women, was 
puzzled for once. He permitted Dan to do the 
enlightening. Meanwhile he studied her, judging 
that she was something over thirty. Her hair was 
very black, exposing a few touches of gray. She 
had long eyelashes and profoimd brown eyes. 
Steve thought she was the sort to "stick to a guy" 
if she "fell" hard enough. He also concluded now 
that she was telling the truth. 

Miss Hunter leaned forward and in tragic regret 
asked of Dan: "Then I am the cause of you gen- 
tlemen losing your positions?" 

"You're jerry," proclaimed Mr. Doyle ; "but that 
reporter " 

"Oh, no," rebuked Miss Hunter sweetly. "Don't 
put it on poor little Larry." 

Steve blushed to the color of red paint. '"What 
I meant was, you're on — ^you're next." Steve 
halted in confusion. Bimts looked at him pity- 
ingly. 



In Dutch 175 



t<i 



ir 



Miss Hunter smiled amusedly. "I'm not very 
well up on slang." 

"You're all right," voiced Steve formally. 

"This is absolutely horrible !" deplored Miss Hun- 
ter. "I know what it must mean to you. Oh, I 
wish — ^I wish I could do something!" 

"You might put one over on those stockholders." 

"Do you know any of them?" inquired she 
eagerly. "Perhaps I might have some influence." 
Only you," grinned Dan. 
Me?" She smiled at the jest. "I only wish I 
were one, Mr. Bunts." 

Doyle's heart stopped beating. He gulped. 
"Then you don't own half th' club?" he asked in 
an unnatural voice. 

"Why, frankly, Mr. Doyle, I don't believe I ever 
heard of the Pioneers before Larry was injured. I 
have never been interested in sports. In goodness' 
name, whatever made you think that?" 

Doyle and Bunts sprang up like wild animals 
tmleashed. 

"That reporter on the Star — Simmons — ^told us 
you owned th' controllin' stock. That's why we 



176 In Dutch 



come here. Simmons! Simmons! on the Star!" 
Miss Hunter stared in blank astonishment. Then 

her face became stern. 

"Why, he must have been " 



"Kidding us!" broke in Doyle fiercely. 

"It was nice work, all right," added Bunts. "You 
got t' hand it to him!" Bunts watched the fingers 
on his right breadwinner congeal slowly into a 
bunch of fives. 

"Indeed, I don't blame you," said Miss Hunter, 
marking their ominous intentions. "He really ought 
to be chastised." 

"No fear of that," growled Steve. "They won't 
fire him. What he needs" — he smacked his fist into 
his open palm — "is a good walloping. Miss Htmter. 
Excuse me, but it's the only way t' handle his 
kind. They c'n pull anything and get away with it." 

"I think you would be making a mistake," ob- 
jected the settlement worker judicially. "And, 
Mr. Doyle, since my name has been brought into 
this, I wish you would let me deal with the reporter. 
The editor of the Star is a personal friend of mine, 
and" — she tossed her head resolutely — "I am going 



In Dutch 177 



to see that justice is done." She moved to the 
hallway. "You see, this would only implicate you, 
Mr. Bunts. Everything is in your favor now; 
you've done no wrong. So you'll promise, then — 
no 'walloping' ?" 

Steve and Dan reflected her whimsical smile as 
they backed into the night. 

When reporter Simmons arrived Caroline Hun- 
ter was so majestically austere that he wondered 
how the newspapers could ever have portrayed her 
as a comely ministering spirit. While she assailed 
him bitterly his eyes wandered to an oil painting 
of her father, Josh Hunter, the man who in his 
time could cause panic or prosperity with a nod 
of his head. In the sagacious brown eyes and the 
dominating chin he saw a resemblance between 
father and daughter. Simmons was not flustered. 
It took him back to the old da3rs of general work 
on the paper— days when, at fifteen dollars a 
week; he went through every hardship to get a 
stick story. Besides, he reckoned his job as good 
as lost. 

1 shall not try to apologize," he said. "There 



«i 



178 In Dutch 



is no excuse for me — ^that is to say, being a woman, 
you would not appreciate my predicament. It was 
simply a matter of being hammered to a pulp by 
two athletes in the prime of condition. I make 
no claims to physical prowess, so I got out the 
best way I could. Certainly it was neither hon- 
orable nor brave. I am truly sorry, Miss Hunter, 
if it has caused you any annoyance; but" — ^he 
shrugged his shoulders — "there you are!" 

Though she prided herself on being a business 
woman, Caroline Htmter found herself at a loss 
in dealing with this specimen of the male sex. He 
was indifferent, yet not unconcerned — ^apologetic, 
but not htunble. 

"What do you propose doing to — ^to help these 
men?" she asked testily. "Surely you owe them 
something?" 

"I have thought of that. Miss Hunter; but a 
newspaper man's influence is limited to the results 
of his writing. I took up this cause of twenty-five 
cent baseball in all sincerity, using the Larry Ma- 
lone incident as a peg. I fully expected to get 
myself disliked by the management, but I surely 



In Dutch 179 



had no intention of bringing trouble on Doyle and 
Bunts. Even now I can hardly think that President 
Thayer will dare send these stars to the Gophers. 
The fans are simply wild. I'll tell you something, 
Miss Hunter." The reporter's face colored with 
anticipation. Instinct prompted him to glance 
about for eavesdroppers. "I must pledge you to 
secrecy ?" 

It was a question. The settlement worker, mildly 
curious, promised. 

"Well, then, only to-night a delegation of root- 
ers came to our office. They want to make some 
kind of a demonstration on Saturday — ^that's the 
last game for Doyle and Bunts. The papers are 
to be signed on Monday when the Gophers come 
here for a five-game series. We talked over a lot 
of schemes and suddenly I thought of a cracker- 
jack. What d'you suppose?" 

Miss Himter caught something of the reporter's 
enthusiasm. 

"Well, my idea is for the fans to keep absolute 
silence — d'you see? Not a cheer; not a handclap. 
Isn't that a peach? It'll show th' management just 



180 In Dutch 



what the public thinks. And, Miss Hunter, I 
shouldn't be surprised but what old Thayer and the 
rest of them'U back water. You ought t'see this 
game ; it's going to be some demonstration — believe 
me — if they can go through with it" 

The rich settlement worker smiled 

''I've never seen a baseball game in my life, Mr. 
_er— Mr. " 

"Simmons." 

"If Larry is strong enough, I'll take him up- 
poor boy, he is miserable because Btmts and Doyle 
are leaving the Pioneers. He can talk of nothing 
else. However, Mr. Simmons, I have small faith 
in your demonstration. Now, see here." She 
tapped her pencil peremptorily on the table. "You 
must find out for me who the stockholders of the 
Pioneers are. I am convinced that the only way 
to accomplish anything is through them. I think 
you should take this — assignment, I believe you call 
it. Hicks, Murphy & Hicks are my attorneys. They 
may be able to help you. Here is a card to them." 

Simmons tucked away the card thoughtfully. 
"It will not be an easy job," he reflected. "For 



In Dutch 181 



some reason or other baseball dubs do not care 
to have the names of their stockholders made pub- 
lic. The Pioneers are not incorporated in this 
State* They're like the trusts, Miss Hunter; in 
fact, baseball is a big trust. I dare say right now 
that the Interstate Exhibition Company owns stock 
in half a dozen other clubs. They — 



99 



"Interstate Exhibition Company!" exclaimed the 
heiress in startled tones. 

"Why, yes," answered Simmons; "that's the 
name the Pioneers are incorporated under. It's 
often done." He was puzzled at her abrupt and 
keen interest. 

She was about to say more, but checked herself. 
Fervently she shook hands with him and smiled 
benignly. 

"Mr. Simmons," she averred, "you've done more 
good than you know of. And — maybe I'll have 
a scooi>— is that it? — for you very soon. Good 
night." 

In certain regions of ss^vage Africa the natives 
can communicate intelligence for hundreds of miles 
with miraculous speed and in a manner unexplained 



182 In Dutch 



by exploring scientists. They do not need wire- 
less. Neither did the thirty thousand friends of 
Steve Doyle and Dan Bunts — ^the thirty thousand 
who were seated or standing when "Batteries for 
To-day" were announced and McNabb's Pioneers 
prepared to take the field. 

The umpire blinked at the silent reception of his 
oratory, usually the tocsin for a mighty howl and 
hum. He came close and scanned the press box for 
some explanation, but the reporters evaded his 
inquiry. During practice there was more or less 
of the customary noise, shuffling of feet, crowding, 
exclamations, and the players had observed nothing 
imtoward. It was then that the committee of one 
hundred fans accomplished their final missionary 
work, distributing hand bills, black-bordered: "A 
Testimonial to Steve Doyle and Dan Bunts : Do not 
cheer or applaud in any way at this game." 

For two days the members of this committee — 
clergjrmen, barbers, saloon keepers, lawyers, butch- 
ers, men of every vocation — ^had forsaken all other 
duties to devote their time to canvassing the city's 
fandom.. Forming a gauntlet outside the various 



In Dutch 183 



gates, they had further tipped the conspiracy. The 
"bagging" of Julius Caesar transpired no more 
secretively or effectively. 

There were two points of particular interest for 
the spectators : the Hunter automobile, just outside 
the rightfield ropes, which contained the settlement 
worker, the crippled boy and the reporter ; and Box 
Fourteen, reserved for President Thayer — this was 
empty. 

"Cold feet; he's wise, the coward — ^lost his 
nerve!" was muttered from one to another on the 
grandstand. In the bleachers the language was 
more trenchant. 

McNabb, too, was irritated over the absence of 
president and secretary. He had quickly sized up 
the situation and he recoiled at being the lone 
"goat." Standing in front of the players' bench, 
his gorge rose and his cheeks flamed. His blue eyes 
were two violets in a bucket of blood. He took one 
menacing step toward Doyle and Bunts, but only 
one. Mr. Doyle's countenance was dismaying as he 
mumbled to Bimts out of the comer of his mouth. 
The other players crowded to the end of the bench. 



184 In Dutch 



The two victims looked as though they could — and 
wanted to— clean up the whole team. 

McNabb employed his energy in gripinng a bat 
and megaphoning to his battery — Plummer, a tall, 
well-favored, right-hand pitcher, and the Dutchman 
backstop, Schwartz. In subtle fashion he tried to 
belittle the bench-warming stars with such expres- 
sions as " YouVe got everything, boys ! Don't mind 
the blankety-blank bugs. Nobody c'n make any 
trouble for my club !" Doyle emitted a low, savage 
growl. McNabb heard it. 

"You're workin' f'r me — ^not the fans," he 
nagged. "They'll be puUin' fer yuh in a minute." 

And now began the most eccentric battle ever 
seen on a ballfield — the players striving to disrupt 
the conspiracy with daring feats, the fans trying to 
strangle their emotions. The very heavens stood 
still. Old Sol flickered as though he might go out. 
The venders of peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks 
gradually hushed their raucous calls. One defiant 
youth was chucked over the bleacher fence ; another 
was rolled down an aisle, his merchandise wrecked. 

For all the noise, beyond coaching, there might 



In DutcK 185 



as well have been empty seats. The silence was 
frightful, ominous and disconcerting to the play- 
ers. 

"If I were you," advised Manager Nichols, of 
the Prunes, to McNabb, 'I'd send for more cops. 
If this mob ever breaks loose they're likely to put 
both clubs out of business. This beats anything I 
ever saw!" 

"I attended to that," snapped McNabb. "There'll 
be a dozen mounted ones here directly. Ginger up 
your men — ^that's all you got to do. We'll break 
this up. They can't hold out much longer. That 
fat guy over in the box'U croak pretty soon." He 
pointed to an apoplectic rooter, purple of face, 
whose friends were undoing his collar. 

It was the third inning, with three on bases and 
two out for the Pioneers, Nichols' men being a run 
to the good. Leftfielder Trenchard, a .370 clouter, 
came to bat. As he toed the plate twelve mounted 
policemen, the sheen of their sleek charges glinting 
in the sun, trotted in and, soldier-fashion, took sta- 
tions. Instantly they lent confidence to the players. 
What of the mob now! Sympathy for Doyle and 



186 In Butch 



Bunts? Yes. But how about bread and butter? 
Let the fans choke to death ! 

"Oh, you Trench, boy; slam 'er out!" howled 
McNabb from the third-base line. 

"Don't skip any cushions 1' bawled Foghorn 
Schwartz, coaching off first. 

McNabb took a look at the fat man. He was 
bending forward, his fingernails denting the box 
gate. A peanut seller was holding ice on his head. 
This was only an incident. The whole arena was 
an inferno of repressed emotion. Strangers 
grappled each other's hands. Strong men clasped 
their temples as though tortured with neuralgia. 
Long-drawn "Ah — ^ah — ^ahs!'* of agony, moans, 
whimpers, whines and groans escaped from thirty 
thousand throats. 

"Bangr' 

The tarnished white ball shot out on a line well 
inside first base, going directly for Larry Malone. 
The urchin seized the settlement worker's arm. 

"Fall down, you slob ! Break /r leg, you mutt !" 
he cried, mastering his shrill voice. "It's a homer 
— a homer — ^a hom— " 



THS NEW TORK 
PUBLIC IIBHARY 



AirrOt. blNOX 4ND 
TILDW rOUNDATlUNfe 






In Dutch 187 



What! What! What! 

The umpire was waving back the runners. 

"Foul baU !" he said. 

Before McNabb could reach the arbiter to tramp 
on his toes, a crash and ^ cry echoed from the 
centerfield bleachers. An ice-wagon driver had, in 
his frenzy, smashed an undertaker on the jaw, 
knocking him senseless. While the unfortunate fan 
was being carried away, McNabb railed at the 
umpire; and for once the spectators could get the 
full purport. 

"You dip! — ^you yegg! — ^you second-story crook! 
No wonder your brother's in prison. They say you 
welshed on him ; now I know it's right. You been 
saying FU finish in the second division, eh ? Well, 
when I am you'll be in stripes !" 

"Get t' th' bench !" shouted the ump, "or I'll set 
you back ten days. Can't pull that bluff stuff on 
me! Why don't yuh pay f'r your wife's dresses! 
T th' bench!" 

Each suddenly realized that he was "showing up" 
the other in the hearing of thirty thousand people, 
giving away inside tricks of the trade. Fans were 



188 In Dutch 



attentive to catch every word. It was scmiething 
to remember and talk about — ^a novel treat. 

Casting his eyes upon the multitude, the umpire 
began to tremble. Rather had he heard the daily 
howl and threats than the gurgles and gulps of men 
whose contorted features proclaimed them assassins. 
Walking over to his confrere at the pitcher's box, 
he said: 

"Give McNabb all the close ones. Take no 
chances. If the mob starts anything run for the 
home bench and beat it under the stand." 

McNabb swung a hopeful glare about. Here and 
there he saw half-guilty grins, but the silence held. 
Baseball, the nation's safety valve, was plugged, and 
plugged tight. 

"I'll get 'em yet— blank 'em !" he gritted. 

Reporter Simmons, atone of that harrowed mul- 
titude, wore a calm cotmtenance. In the constant 
tap[nng of his foot and pulling out of his watch he 
betrayed anxiety of some sort, but he gave little 
heed to the game. Once he drew cautiously from 
an inside pocket a proof page of the Star's evening 
edition and gave Miss Hunter a peep. 



In Dutch 189 



"They're taking them off the press now," he 
whispered, "They can get here in half an hour. 
Sacred stars and stripes ! I hope nothing happens !" 

"So do I hope!" she replied briefly. The settle- 
ment worker breathed spasmodically, almost as ex- 
cited as Larry, who was doing his best to explain 
the game. 

In the sixth, McNabb had a chance to tie up the 
score, with a brace of runners on and none out. 
Pitcher Plummer, a notoriously weak hitter, fol- 
lowed ; and on every lip one could read the words : 

"Oh, why don't he send in Dan Bunts V 

The cripple in the automobile wrung his hands in 
grief and covered his eyes. "No use. Miss Car'line. 
It's all over. This boob couldn't hit de gashouse 
wit' a door-mat. Oh, my — gee! — ^look at him!— 
swings like a ferryboat!" 

And so he did. 

Shortstop Tanner, leader-off in the batting order, 
nervous from McNabb's shrilling, popped a foul, 
and the burden fell upon the g^een rightfielder, 
Hank M3rres. As he strode to the plate a murmur 
of comment trickled over the grandstand and all 



190 In Butch 



eyes gazed at the left corner, back of third base, 
where always were located a score of thirty-second- 
degree rooters, led by Ethan Edwin Ball, potentate 
of the order. Rooter Ball had discovered the raw 
outfielder in a minor league and his influence had 
put him on the team. It was the lad's great oppor- 
tunity of the game and his nervous, spectacled dis- 
coverer gave every indication of mortal collapse. 
Intimates had urged him not to witness this demon- 
stration, fearing he would succumb. His next-door 
neighbor. Doctor Flagg, sat in the adjoining seat 
and at intervals put the stethoscope to his chest. 

"Breathe natural, Ethan," he now pleaded. "Take 
it easy. Don't look ; I'll tell you what he does." 

Ball's chest sank in. Weak, hollow groans tickled 
his Adam's apple, but he was game ; and when Hank 
M3rres poled a three-bagger the delirious man bit 
his tongue until it bled. 

Unfortimately for the conspirators, the home 
team played such brilliant ball as to give them a 
two-run advantage — and the convulsions became 
more and more violent. Human endurance could 
stand little more; but these were stem and loyal 



In Dutch 191 



fans, loyal to Doyle and Bunts. When Fielder 
Trenchard, in the eighth, made an astonishing catch, 
robbing the enemy of three tallies, it seemed that 
the grandstand would surely give way. The out- 
break started with a wizened, clean-shaven clergy- 
man, who threw up both hands and croaked, some- 
what like a bullfrog. A dozen hands reached to 
strangle him. Spartan methods were necessary and 
a burly cabdriver grasped his scrawny neck. 

"Now you jist root once more!" He tightened 
his grip. 

"Leggo ! — ^leggo !" gasped the miserable dominie. 
"I wasn't ch-cheering. I swallowed m-my cigar!" 

"Did, eh?" threatened the cabdriver. "Well, 
take mighty good care yuh keep it down." 

From row to row passed the word, as hundreds 
scowled at the nauseated, yellowed face : 

"What's th' matter with that guy?" 

"Swallowed his cigar — ^th' rube!" 

Reporter Simmons was growing very fidgety, 
twining and untwining his fingers and muttering: 

"The guerrillas — the guerrillas; they've got to 
come soon. Come on, Joe; hustle 'em ^* 



102 In Butch 



He explained to the smiling Miss Hunter: 
"That's what we call them — ^the circulation huskies. 
Bannon's their boss ; no chance of his falling down. 
But they ought to be here now — five-fifteen. They 
must get here !" For the second time he drew forth 
the proof page, with its extravagant headlines, dis- 
cussing them with the settlement worker. 

The ferret eyes of Larry Malone, roving about 
the field, espied a white bundle flung over the cen- 
terfield fence, plump among the bleacherites. 

"Hey, Simmons!" he interrupted. "What's 
comin' off over dere ?" 

"They're here! They're here!" screeched Sim- 
mons, leaping to his feet and waving his hat, until 
the surrounding automobilists thought he had gone 
daft. 

Bundles of the Evening Star were coming over 
at all points now. It was the beginning of the ninth 
inning, with one of the enemy down and victory in 
sight. McNabb watched the strange sight from in 
front of the bench; saw the papers scattered — ^a 
snowstorm of print; heard the gathering thunder, 
that sounded like the roar and crackle of a forest 



In Butch 198 



fire; and when the volcano broke forth in all its 
fury he started for the underground passage. 

Plump ! There fell at his feet a parcel of news- 
papers, face up. The manager dropped to his 
knees. So did Steve Doyle and Dan Bunts. 
Ravenously they grabbed copies from McNabb. As 
the tempest raged louder and louder they read these 
headlines : 

"Pioneer directors vote to restore quarter seats! 
Deal off with Gophers for Doyle and Bimts I Caro- 
line Hunter found to be real owner of dub!" 

Though a wall of fans pressed against them, 
Barney McNabb seized Big Steve by the shoulders 
and looked him square in the eyes. "Ferget it, 
Steve!'' he ordered. "I c'n see by y'r face you 
weren't wise. It's all right — ferget it!" And they 
disappeared through the underground door. 

Robbed of their prey, thousands of crazy rooters 
remained to march around the field singing pseans, 
dancing, turning somersaults and cheering the 
names of Bunts and Doyle. Others kept their seats, 
devouring line by line the wonderful news. 

"Listen, Larry." Miss Hunter's cheeks were 



194 In Dutch 



flushed with superlative joy. "I can explain it to 
you in a minute. You see, I knew that I owned 
fifty-one per cent of the Interstate Exhibition Com- 
pany — my father bought it many years ago; but I 
had no idea that this company meant the Pioneers 
until Mr. Simmons told me. My lawyers attended 
to the business and I — I just took the profits. Mr. 
Simmons deserves all the credit, Larry.'* 

The boy's narrow face wrinkled in perplexity. 
"An' you could 'a' seen de Pioneers all dis time fer 
nuttin'?" Miss Hunter nodded and laughed buoy- 
antly. Pale from exhaustion, the gamin leaned 
back on the soft cushions. 

"Gee!" he sighed. 



THE INDIAN SIGN 

IF you're lookin' for a quiet place t' board, 
Steve," suggested Third Baseman Dasher, of 
the Pioneers, "why don't you try my mother- 
in-law's, down in Grove's Court? She serves big- 
league meals — nice cool rooms — there's a couple 
vacant now. I lived there till Mrs. Dasher and I 
got hooked up. Take a look, you an' Dan— can't 
beat itr 

"Two rooms?" queried Big Steve Doyle as he 
sorted out his mail in the clubhouse. "I was countin' 
on taking Southpaw Jones along too. You know 
his folks an' mine are related, and me an' Dan are 
kind o' helpin' him along. He had something to- 
day. Dash, didn't he ?" 

"He has smoke, all right, Steve ; he ought t' make 
good. Say — ^not getting personal — ^but does that 
busted nose of his interfere with his breathing? He 
must 'a' got an awful kick some time. What hap- 
pened to him ?" 

195 



196 The Indian Sign 

Steve glanced about vainly for his partner, Dan 
Bunts, the notion of leaving the park without his 
company being unnatural. 

"No, it don't hurt him at all — ^that nose. He 
was slidin' down hill when he was a kid on th' farm 
and his sled run into a wagon — ^I think it was. 
Zowie! Caught him on the smeller. They never 
had it fixed — and a dam shame, too! Say, Dash, 
he's sort o' sensitive about it — ^wouldn't say any- 
thing. Un'erstan'?" 

"Aw, nix, Steve; sure not. I was sorry f'r him 
to-day when that guy back o' me kept callin' him 
*Dog-face.' For half a cent I'd 'a' pulled him off 
the grandstand — only McNabb's sore on that stuff. 
Well, s'long! Go down and see Mrs. O'Hara's 
place." 

Messrs. Doyle, Bunts and Southpaw Jones found 
the new lodgings much to their liking, for Mrs. 
O'Hara knew the ways of a ballplayer — ^his reti- 
cence in meeting outsiders, his desire for prompt 
dining-room service. When the three athletes re- 
turned from the game there was not a minute's 
delay in putting before them nourishing soups and 



The Indian Sign 197 

heaped platters of plain but brawn-making food. 
Isolated as much as possible at one end of the table, 
they performed a brave trencherman's duty with 
dispatch and without conversation. What though 
the rattle of their weapons did echo the defense of 
Thermopylae or a bout at quarter-staff! 'Twas a 
serious thing — ^this stoking of big leaguers. 

Fleming, who worked at the necktie counter at 
Cook & Ramsey's, where the fact of his living in 
the same house with Doyle and Bunts gave him 
marked standing, fairly laughed as he watched Big 
Steve demolish the cornbeef and cabbage. It meant 
strength to that mighty salary wing and half a 
dozen of the enemy pegged at second. It was the 
stuff heroes are made of. 

"Big Steve et well last night," he would deign to 
inform Haskins, of the perfume counter. "They 
won't steal on him this afternoon — ^take it from me !" 

Young Hopper, the country boy who earned 
seven dollars a week in a butter-and-eggs store, felt 
that if he could eat as heartily fame and fortune 
might also be his. At the risk of dyspepsia he 
cleared the commissariat decks at each meal. When, 



198 The Indian Sign 

on his bi-monthly holiday, he treated himself to the 
ball game he thought of vegetable soup, roast pork 
and apple pie every time Big Steve winged a 
sprinter at the middle cushion. 

There was but one vacant seat at Mrs. O'Hara's 
table, the one adjoining Southpaw Jones; and for 
this Catcher Doyle was grateful, as it marooned his 
charge to some extent — ^prevented him from fan- 
ning, a vice toward which he seemed inclined. 

One might have thought that this raw recruit 
from the minors, with his dented nose and goose- 
winged ears, would shun society. On field or off, 
his countenance was sinister and repelling, an effect 
that his poetic brown eyes and good-humored mouth 
did not offset. On his first swing of the circuit, 
veterans misjudged the tyro pitcher, picking him 
for a rough customer, battle-scarred and treacher- 
ous. This helped Jones to get away with his speed 
*— about all he showed in twirling goods. 

Big Steve probed for the truth. 

"I won't say he's yellow," he confided to Bunts. 
"It ain't that exactly. No one in our family ever 
turned color ** 



The Indian Sign 199 

"Too good-natured," put in Dan. 

"And an awful fall guy f'r women," added Steve 
sourly. "I see him squinting at that manicure gal 
across the table; can't keep his eyes off her " 

"Holy smoke, Steve!" interrupted Bunts. "I 
wasn't going t' say anything, but Saturday night I 
nailed him bumping highbrow fungoes on the 
stoop at that school-teacher; you know — woman 
with the pearl hair an' watery lamps — ^sits next t' 
th' eggery kid. Lot o' literatoor and science stuff 
she was shooting and him swallowin' it like a Great 
Dane chewing cream-puffs! He's a mark, Steve! 
Some skirt'U tag him off first base before the sea- 
son's half over.'' 

Big Steve turned a significant gaze upon Dan. 

"Well, that won't do, will it?" he said slowly, 
and his jaw fell with a guilty grin, which Mr. Bunts 
answered in kind. The truth was that the ventures 
of Doyle and Bunts in picking winners at various 
race-tracks had been unfortunate ; and when relative 
Enoch Jones came along, his pockets bulging with 
money — for the southpaw busher owned a valuable 
farm — Big Steve found him convenient financially. 



200 The Indian Sign 

I '*But, outside o' that" — Steve waved away the 
unpleasant topic — "I don't think Enoch has the 
stuflf t' stay in fast company. Furthermore, I say 
he ought t' be back there in Pennsylvania, lookin' 
after his crops. Think of it — four hundred acres 
in Lancaster County ! He c'n raise everything. His 
old man willed it to him. The Joneses are all well- 
to-do; th' Doyles never had anything. He's th' 
Welsh side o' the family; I'm the Irish. I told 
McNabb this port-wheel cousin o' mine was Irish 
too. Only f'r that, Mac wouldn't 'a' give him a 
chance. What's he want to play ball f'r, an)nvay? 
Just imagine! If you had a farm " 

"How much are you into him for now?" ques- 
tioned Dan Bunts, side-arm twirler, pinch-hitter 
and substitute fielder. 

Catcher Doyle drew forth a little book and cal- 
culated. 

"It's two hundred and fifty dollars, all told; and' 
don't forget, Daniel, there's seventy-five dollars o' 
that on you. You played Oleander at Latonia when 
we was in Cincy — remember ?" 

"Yeh," Mr. Bunts assented wryly. And then: 



The Indian Sign 201 

"S'pose he'd make trouble — sue you, or the like o' 
that?" 

Doyle ruminated as he puffed his cigar, then re- 
verted to the puzzle : 

"I'm telling you, Dan, it's got me why he ever left 
home at his age — ^he's twenty-five — ^to butt into 
baseball. No, I don't think he'd come back f'r th' 
measly two hundred and fifty dollars. By th' way, 
I see that Kindergarten's running to-morrow; that 
dog is about due now — ^" 

"Weisenheimer on th' ladies, you are," chaffed 
Bunts. "Why, I'd lay a bet there's a woman at th' 
bottom of it, as the saying goes. He's got a sweet- 
heart out there in the lunch-basket league, an' he 
wants to make a hit with her — something like that. 
Un'erstan' what I mean?" 

Catcher Doyle thought this over and at supper 
next evening admitted that his partner's philosophy 
was timely. 

It had been an eventful and happy day for South- 
paw Jones. The Pioneers were one run to the good 
and needed the game to keep in first position. When 
the Sharks got runners on second and third, with 



202 The Indian Sign 

two men down and Kid Curtis, left-hand demon 
clouter, up, Manager McNabb had a hunch that he 
would pickle one and put the game on ice. Oh, for 
an experienced southpaw — the only foeman who 
could baffle this hitting prodigy ! Three hits already 
Curtis had made off the Pioneer's right-handed 
flinger. 

"Send in Enoch!" called Catcher Doyle, who 
could hear his manager's thoughts ticking. "I'll 
handle him." 

Big Steve was a natural-born backstop— a man 
to set his field, rattle a batter and coach a pitcher. 
With his dented-nosed cousin in the box, he put 
forth extra effort. 

"I'll pull the signs wide open," he instructed 
Jones. "Coster, out there coaching, will get them 
and tip the hitter. But don't you pay any attention 
'less I tie me shoelace; give him a curve then, but 
waste it. Just you zing that low fast one over the 
inside corner. Yuh might shake y'r bean occasion- 
ally as though you thought I was wrong. Come on, 
now." 

A nice bit of strategy it was ; and Manager Mc- 



The Indian Sign 208 

Nabb, on the bench, rubbed his hands and talked 
out loud to himself, while Kid Curtis took a couple 
of strikes. With telepathic instinct, Doyle out- 
guessed the champion clouter. With three and two 
on him, the latter caught the catcher's sign — some- 
thing different — ^probably a fast one high inside, for 
they would not take a chance on a curve at this 
stage; but — zwish! — low and inside she came, and 
before Curtis could shift his swinging chop the ball 
was in Big Steve's mitt, the game over and thou- 
sands talking of Southpaw Jones' extreme clever- 
ness in fanning Kid Curtis. 

The meal that night was sugar-cured ham, corn- 
fritters, sweet potatoes, followed by lemon pie. 
Catcher Doyle, who got no credit whatever in the 
newspapers for his part of the victory, an injustice 
to which time had inured him, had just commented 
on the ham's sweetness when a hush fell upon the 
dining room. At the door Mrs. O'Hara was talking 
to a tall girl, perhaps twenty years old, chestnut- 
haired, violet-eyed, nose slightly aquiline, mouth 
small and complexion clean as a new league ball. 
The tucked linen waist above her blue serge skirt 



204 The Indian Sign 

was cut square, exposing her comely neck. In 
mere man's judgment, her form was exalting, entic- 
ing, symmetrical. She raised her dark eyelashes, 
which she manipulated with languorous caution, and 
shrugged her rather pointed shoulders. 

"I had not been informed of the dinner hour," 
she said to Mrs. O'Hara. The words were stud- 
ied, the accent forced New Yorky. "This seat, 
heah?" 

Big Steve Doyle held his freighted fork pendent, 
then whipped a glance of terror at his charge, who 
unknowingly — for he had been entrapped by Flem- 
ing into conversation — awaited his sugar-coated 
doom. Slowly, gracefully, but surely, the tall 
beauty moved to the one vacant chair and Mr. 
Doyle tramped on Mr. Bunts' foot, a call for help. 
Bunts telegraphed, "Courage!" his expression in- 
dicating that the disfigured southpaw would not 
dare raise his eyes to this dazzling peri. At that 
moment, however, as she glided into her chair 
Enoch met her full face and blinked like one com- 
ing from pitchy darkness into sunlight. 

"Meelyr he gasped. 'Touherer 



The Indian Sign 205 

"Why, how do you do?" she answered easily, 
with a trace of loftiness. 

Jones stared about the table open-mouthed. His 
admiration was so plain that Miss Carew, the 
school-mistress author, who wrote love stories for 
the Human Interest Monthly, observed to Miss 
Dechamp, the manicurist: 

"I declare! It's a romance— childhood sweet- 
hearts, I dare say." 

"They're not wearing those Dutch necks this 
year," returned Miss Dechamp icily. "She can't 
have been long in the city." 

"My friend. Miss Wells," introduced Jones to 
Steve and Dan. "We both come from the same 
town. Don't this beat all !" 

Tabletalk spluttered torpidly for a while, like 
damp firecrackers; even the butter-and-eggs boy 
slyly stealing a look at the fair newcomer and the 
bewitched southpaw. They formed a monstrous 
contrast — she so regular of feature; Enoch with 
goose-winged ears and a chasm so sharp and deep, 
right in the middle of his nose, that the lower por- 
tion of that organ suggested an island lying some- 



206 The Indian Sign 

what atilt. The manicure girl became loquacious 
all of a sudden, disaissing with Miss Carew the 
latest styles of neck adornment for women. It was 
evident to Mr. Doyle, shrewd interpreter of the fair 
sex, that her darts were poison-tipped and aimed at 
the late arrival, who, however, had perfect control, 
which is usually more than enough to match the 
swiftest speed. 

"Why, I left Lancaster nearly a year ago," nar- 
rated Enoch's friend in an even voice. "You re- 
member when I graduated from business ccfflege? 
Well, I took a position with Mr. Wildman, the trac- 
tion king in Philadelphia. Now Fm over here with 
Caldwell, Pierce & Caldwell, the corporation law- 
yers. Hardly seems as if I ever lived out there in 
the woods. I'm crazy about the city. I was to sup 
last night at the Carlton with Jack Pierce — ^you've 
heard of him — ^he's in the international polo tourna- 
ment — ^junior member of our firm." 

Enoch's countenance spoke of ingenuous pride, 
but Miss Dechamp tittered loudly; and Big Steve, 
loyal to his cousin, thought it well to inquire : 

"You take in any of th' ball games, madam ?*' 



The Indian Sign 207 

"rm terribly interested in baseball," returned 
Miss Wells, with more spirit as she delicately im- 
paled a fried sweet potato. "By the way," she 
beamed on Jones, "have you come across Arthur 
Scull yet? You know he's playing too. Isn't he 
perfectly wonderful? I saw him pitch in Philadel- 
phia. He's quite a hero out home." Her glance 
flitted from the stern-looking Doyle to his more 
pleasing partner. "Do you know him, Mr. Bunts ?" 

"Doc Scull, on th' Prunes? Should say so," 
rejoined Dan, his eyes very bright, for in his 
secret judgment he had classed the fair guest as a 
big-show girl. "He's all right. Doc is — ^an' making 
good." 

"He's very clever," she went on as the southpaw 
winced. "We were at normal school before he took 
up dentistry. He gets his diploma next year." 

"Smooth pitcher," asserted Bunts. "And wise at 
that f'r getting out of the game." 

Catcher Doyle gave and repeated the usual signal 
for quitting the table and Bunts, of course, obeyed, 
excusing himself elaborately; but Southpaw Jones, 
though his flushed happiness had changed to ashy 



208 The Indian Sign 

gloom, remained. The room was silent as Catcher 
Doyle*s flat-footed and ponderous tread preceded the 
light, buoyant step of the fast baserunner. 

As becomes a philosopher, Big Steve did not 
speak until ten minutes afterward, when he had 
lighted his strong cigar and cocked his heels on the 
window of his apartment, that overlooked the 
street. 

"Ain't he the glutton for punishment?" he de- 
manded of Dan, with emphatic censure and irony. 

"Well, big fellow, didn't I call the turn?" was 
the answer of Bunts, whimsically triumphant. 
"Didn't I say a woman was at th.' bottom of it? 
Here's the dame." 

Mr. Doyle grudgingly admitted this. "She's got 
the Indian sign on him, all right," he growled. "It's 
all off now. He couldn't pitch to a blind asylum! 
And me just after puUin' him through there to-day f 
.What c'd he do 'gainst th' Prunes to-morrow — 
especially if they work Doc Scull ? You see him at 
th' table when she brought up his name? — ^yellow 
as a dead fish! I'm telling you, son" — ^Big Steve 
swung his feet about and dropped them on the floor 



The Indian Sign 20^ 

— ''there's a mystery back o' this. How is it this 
gal comes on here and picks out th' same place 
where Enoch is boarding ? There's a broken bat in 
the bag somewhere — ^you watch!" 

"Maybe Doc Scull put her up to it — ^just t' rub 
it in — ^un'erstan' me? He seems t' be pretty 
strong." 

This opened such a wide path of speculation that 
Messrs. Doyle and Bunts neglected their accuse 
tomed game of billiards and sat until a late hour 
discussing the strange situation. On the point of 
turning in, they spied the southpaw and Miss Wells 
coming up the street ; and in a few moments Enoch 
shambled into the room, a picture of shame and 
sorrow. 

Doyle and Stmts lighted fresh cigars and then 
the former demanded in compelling tones : 

"Let's have it straight, kid. She's got the Indian 
sign on you, hasn't she? Come on, now — over th* 
plate." 

"Indian sign!" confessed Jones, with a shudder. 
"Steve, I been stuck on Amelia ever since we were 
kids— can't help it. We had the best times to- 



210 The Indian Sign 

gether ; her people lived right 'cross the street from 
us. I used t' take her to picnics an' all like that. 
Everybody thought it was good as settled we'd get 
married. And me, why I never thought of any- 
body else, Steve. I s'posed she felt the same way 
as me — ^you know, Dan ?" the tall, angular farmer's 
son invoked of Bunts as he gestured, with his big 
hands, hands that had been hardened and broad- 
ened in years of harvest-field labor. Bunts was 
unfeignedly sympathetic. 

"And she won't have you ?" he asked. 

"Why — ^why, I never asked her, Dan. Don't y* 
see? — the way she looked at me and me at her — 

it was We used to sit on a white-covered sofa 

at her house. I never even kissed her — I thought 
too much of her — I " 

Enoch halted suddenly. His eyes were moist 
Big Steve undertook to relieve the tension by turn- 
ing the gas low, remarking that it might make the 
room cooler. Then he suggested: 

"Maybe a little rough work would 'a' got you 
further, Enoch. I've known fellows to win out that 
way." 



The Indian Sign 211 

"No, Steve; she ain't that kind. Meely's as pure 
as gold. It wasn't that. She would 'a' had me only 
for this Doc Scull. I know. I know. He played 
semipro ball out there one season. Before that, she 
never went out with anybody but me. He's got 
looks, Steve — ^an' you see me !" Unconsciously the 
southpaw's hand covered his disfigured face. 

Mr. Bunts made considerable noise helping him- 
self to a fresh cigar from Steve's box. 

"Then she's signed up with Doc Scull?" he 
asked. 

"I couldn't tell." Enoch shook his head. "She's 
wearin' a locket he gave her and she talks about 
him all th' time. You see he has th' looks, and 
she — you can't blame her, Steve, can you? Ain't 
she pretty, Dan — ^ain't she — ^an' sweet?" 

Doyle and Steve made noises of assent. 

"Nobody c'n gainsay that. And out home I was 
all right. The fellers and girls knew how I got 
hurt — ^my nose didn't make any difference with 
them, or with Meely. It was never mentioned. 
^Hornets' was my nickname, Steve, because o' me 
getting stung up with a nestful once." His at- 



212 The Indian Sign 

tempted hearty laugh sounded hollow and dismal 
to the others, who had nothing to say. 

Enoch was silent a moment and then his very 
heart seemed to break as it gave forth its sorrow : 

"But to-night, boys" — the jerky sentences came 
between sobs — "to-night, after th' roof-garden 
show, I took Meely over t' VoU's — she only drinks 
lemonade, Steve — an' every one knew me — ^kept 
laughing at me. C'd hear 'em say 'Dog-face/ 
Meely heard them an' she colored all up — ^said we'd 
better go home. She Oh, Steve !" The dis- 
figured youth broke down as he buried his face in 
a pillow and his body shook with sobs. "If I only 
liad th' looks !" 

Big Steve, embarrassed at the recital of another 
man's sacred* inmost feelings, puffed furiously at 
his cigar and cleared his throat several times. 

"Enoch," he finally said, "I^m not after criticis- 
ing; but if she can't see you just because of your 
crooked map then my idea is she ain't worth tyin' 
to." He looked at Bunts for confirmation. 

"It's not as though you was a Wild Man of 
Borneo or a Human Skeleton," comforted Bunts; 



The Indian Sign 218 

"and we saw one o' them freaks with a wife just 
about as pretty as y'r friend. Remember, Steve, 
in Los Angeles — ^that year we trained on the coast?' 

The southpaw continued to gloomily contemplate 
his unhappiness. 

"Forget her," counseled Steve. "It*s a heap 
better not to be married, for a fellow like you. A 
ballplayer is away half th' year an' when he does 
sign a contract he wants to know his wife is on 
the level. He has no chance t' watch her. He's 
out playing his head off to put some money ahead 
f'r a rainy day and maybe make a home; and, at 
that" — Steve switched to philosophic generalization! 
— "you never know how it'll break. Nine times out 
of ten there won't be any teamwork. You get your 
signs all set, give her the hit-and-run — ^an' what 
does she do? Steals! You tell her t' wait it out 
— an' what happens ? She swings at th' first pitched- 
ball. She rhinestones the game — that's what ! And 
while I'm saying it I might as well tell you, Enoch,. 
I think this friend of yours is a rhinestone, an' I 
c'n generally pick out real ice.'^ 

"No, sir ; no P' The southpaw leaped oflf the bed 



214 The Indian Sign 

and waved his long arms. "She's just a little set 
up with coming to the dty. Meely's th' best girl 
you ever saw! She kept house when the mother 
died, raised th* children, cooked an' washed — ^and 
with all that work got an education f herseU. No; 
she's no rhinestone, Steve." 

Cross-countered in this fashion. Catcher Doyle 
could only retort with : 

"Well, you got just one face, haven't you? And 
y' can't change that; so " 

"Steve" — ^the lovelorn flinger's eyes were intense 
— "you said something that's been in my head a 
long time." He jerked from his inside pocket a 
newspaper advertisement announcing that Dr. Emil 
Hahn could remodel the human countenance, no 
matter how deformed. "What I was thinking, 
Steve, maybe if I went t' this doctor he could fix 
my nose so Meely wouldn't be ashamed o* me. 
Don't you think that might make a change in 
her?" 

Bunts turned up the gas and Big Steve, with 
some torment, slowly began to read what marvels 
a beauty doctor could achieve : 



The Indian Sign 215 

"Facial defects remedied; blemishes removed; 
contours of beauty supplied; marvelous metamor- 
phosis of countenance and character; an Apollo 
from a Caliban ; an Adonis from a donkey " 

"That's the stuff!" interrupted Bunts sharply. 
"If he c'n put that over he's all to the big tent. For 
what I say is, Steve, how d'ye know it's his beak 
she's balking on ? It may be his ears." He walked 
over and thumbed the appendages. "Not gettin' 
personal, Enoch; but look at y'rself now when I 
bend 'em in — ^what a difference it makes !" 

Wearily southpaw Jones obeyed, stepping before 
the mirror. 

"What I mean is," explained the pinch-hitter, "if 
he's going in f'r this it might be just as well to have 
his ears tightened up a little. I don't see how they 
c'n do it, but according to this advertisement noth- 
ing feazes 'em. What d' yuh think, Steve ?" 

Catcher Doyle gave the question due considera- 
tion and agreed with his partner that, if the plan 
were tested at all, Enoch might as well go in for a 
complete beautifying. 

"Just th* same," he pointed out, "it's the toughest 



216 The Indian Sign 

thing in th' world to switch an Indian sign. I mind 
a pitcher when I was in the minors that had it on 
tne two whole seasons. You know him, Dan — 
'Chesty* John Haggerty they called him — ^worked in 
Milwaukee f r a while. An awful stiff he was, but 
I couldn't hit him, couldn't bunt, couldn't wait him 
out. Soon as he walked in the box, it was the red- 
skin for me." 

"Yes ; an' there was Jocko Hall, with th' Wolves 
three years ago," added Bunts. "We didn't win a 
game off him until September. Some say it was 
the fans that got him rattled that day, but I think 
it was Red Carter makin' a homer. Pitcher and 
Tie had a batting average of .034," he explained to 
TInoch ; "and he got two home runs off Jocko. Just 
held his bat in th' right groove. After that, we 
knocked Hall out of th' box — ^an' he hasn't been 
much good since." 

"Well," pleaded Southpaw Jones, "don't that 
«how you c'n switch the sign if y' keep at it?" 

"All right," concluded Big Steve, who, with a 
liard day's work before him, could not afford to lose 
any sleep; "we'll think it over. But my advice is 



The Indian Sign 217 



to ferget her. You haven't got a hit off her yet. 
G' night." 

Southpaw Jones was beginning to discover that 
advice is the cheapest thing in the world — ^will- 
power the rarest. Rolling and tossing in his hall 
bedroom, what from emotion and the heat, he 
scarcely slept — ^bad training, indeed, for a big 
leaguer. He was sluggish at morning practice and 
in the afternoon when his rival. Doc Scull, of the 
Prunes, greeted him with the usual "Hello! How 
yuh hitting?" Enoch looked the part of a woe- 
begone suitor. 

Scull grinned, with a tantalizing sneer, the sneer 
that seldom left his face even though the game 
went against him. He was known as a chilly cus- 
tomer, his very indifference being an asset to his 
trade. It was hard to get his goat; and when a 
player did it was his custom to shoot a bean ball- 
that is, direct a fast one at the batter's head. He 
was a pitcher to beware of, good-looking, success- 
ful, keeping mostly to himself and sufficiently wise 
to study a profession, that he might not some day 
be relegated to the bushes. 



218 The Indian Sign 

Miss Wells appeared at dinner that evening, more 
charming than ever, in a trim suit of white duck 
that Miss Dechamp estimated as costing seven dol- 
lars and twenty-five cents at a special sale. For 
some time there was an unexplainable restraint, 
severed finally by Fleming, who directed his re- 
marks on the glorious victory— or, rather, slaughter 
— ^in which the Pioneers had pounded Doc Scull out 
of the box and won by a lopsided score. Fleming 
tocJc the bit in his teeth and addressed catcher 
Doyle : 

"Thirteen hits you got oflf Scull, wasn't it ?" 

Big Steve nodded and through a mass of semi- 
masticated pot roast further assented: 

"B-h-r-r-p!" 

"We'd 'a' made twice that if they hadn't took 
him out," added Dan Bunts, with a sly grin and a 
glance at Miss Wells. 

Fleming, exhilarated at having for the first time 
drawn conversational blood, as it were, from the 
big leaguers, went into an exhaustive description of 
the game as told in the sporting extras. 

In one of his pauses Miss Wells asked Jones : 



The Indian Sign 219 

"Did you pitch against him, Enoch ?'' 

The southpaw flushed at hearing his first name 

.1 

from her lips and stammered : 

"N-no; I didn't work to-day." 

"That's too bad," she said. "It would have been 
quite a triumph." 

Thare was such a sweet condolence, both in tone 
and look, that Big Steve dropped his table weapons 
and stared at her. 

"Kidding him to a finish!" was his conclusion, 
which he conveyed to his partner in their free- 
masonry language. 

Doyle was positive of this when, after dinner, 
they saw Doc Scull balanced easily on the stoop 
railing, his cheerful sarcasm none erased. 

"Had your batting rags on to-day, boys?" he 
laughed. 

Catcher Doyle only gnmted, but Dan re- 
torted : 

"All rd ask, kiddo, is they stick you in every 
game. I'd win that automobile, sure!" 

"Oh, I'll get you next time, old boy. Th' season's 
young yet." 



220 The Indian Sign 

There was an awkward moment at the narrow 
stairway landing as Miss Wells, descending, met 
the ballplayers going up. The same expression of 
pity that Steve noticed at the table touched her 
countenance and she was about to speak; then 
changed her mind. 

The long silence which followed after the ball- 
players had watched her depart in company witK 
Doc Scull was broken by Mr. Bunts. 

"Looking at it one way and another, Enoch,*' 
he advised, "I can't see how it would do you any 
good t' smash him. Steve says it'd probably have 
the opposite effect on her — ^and Steve's generally 
got their number. On the other hand, if / go in 
for this beauty-doctor stuff you're like t' be out of 
th' game a long time *' 

"I don't care if I never pitch again," wailed the 
southpaw, "so long as I get Meely." 

"You're on, then," pronounced Big Steve some- 
what testily. "To-morrow morning's the time. 
Come along, Dan; let's go out and jostle the 
ivories a while. Feels though I could put it over 
you with three cushions." 



The Indian Sign 221 

Dr. Emil Hahn they found to be a heavy-faced, 
heavy-handed, heavy-bodied German, whose eyes 
were malignantly domineering. Upon making an 
inventory of Enoch's blemishes, he cheered the 
southpaw by promising to utterly transform his 
countenance. 

"Dis ear," he said, "she mus' be incision made. 
De nose, him easy! Two — maybe tree — ^weeks. 
You stay in my sanatorium, upstairs. Always, yes, 
advance bayment. Sometime dey get, what you 
call, cold foot — hein? I am also hypnotist,'* he 
added unctuously, with an eye on the ballplayers' 
diamonds. "I make de mind to concentrate and 
imagine she is somebody else." 

He began to wave his heavy hands in front of 
Southpaw Jones, who drew back in alarm. 

"Hey ! None o' that !" commanded Doyle sternly, 
"He's hypnotized enough already." 

Big Steve mistrusted the doctor, with his air of 
diablerie; and when they were paying the cashier 
he asked a few pertinent questions, telling who 
they were. 

"From the Pioneers !" she exclaimed, her red lips 



222 The Indian Sign 

opening widely, her black eyes sparkling. "Do you 
know who ray father is? Joe Russell!'* 

"What— old Joe Russell, the ketcher?"' from 
Doyle. "Why, I used to peek through th' fence at 
him when I was a kid. You Joe Russell's 
daughter ? Well, I swear ! Say, miss, he was some 
backstop in his day." 

"That's what he says about you. Oh, he keeps 
track, I tell you." 

"How is he?" inquired Dan. "I seen him, too, 
the last year he was in the league.'* 

"Father's paralyzed from the waist down." She 
said it in a matter of :act way, as one accustomed 
to the daily care of an invalid. 

Big Steve was shocked. 

"I didn't know that," he offered. 'T>'ye think 
he'd care fr a baseball? It's th' one Dan hit to 
the galleries yesterday when he cleaned up. I was 
going t' give it to a fellow at the billiard parlor." 
Steve took from his pocket a horsehide pill that 
showed but one welt of the ash. Bunts also fished 
about vainly for some memento. 

**Dad'n be crazy about this," Miss Russell cried. 



The Indian Sign 228 

"He has an old one up there that we play catch 
with sometimes. He pretends he*s behind the bat 
once more and I'm the pitcher." She tossed the ball 
up and caught it in her small hands. "Listen !'* she 
cautioned^ beckoning them. Beside the ballplayers 
she was a dwarf — z small-waisted, plump-diested 
little lady, whose eyes were mischievous, S3rmpa- 
thetic and serious all in one expression. "This 
'doctor is a fake !" She reached up and laid a tiny 
forefinger in the dent of Enoch's nose. "You know 
what he puts in there? Paraffin. He injects it — 
phwt ! It'll fill up all right ; but sometimes it don't 
last long — ^it melts." 

"It what?" they cried. 

"Melts. Two people sued him since I've been 
here." 

"Huh !" snorted Steve. "I knew there was some- 
thing fishy about that guy. Enoch, get y'r money 
back." 

"Hoi' on," objected Bunts. "How about his 
ears ? Can he fix them ?" 

"He's pretty good on ears," answered Miss Rus- 



266 A Fold Tip 



showed their various bruises, talked of horse rac- 
ing, theatres and domestic troubles. An outsider 
could not have guessed that this band of profes- 
sional athletes, moment by moment, neared its battle 
for life or death ; that hearts were bumping heavily, 
fiercely; that though tongues wagged lightly, every 
brain drummed a devil's tatoo. Could the stranger 
pitch ? Could he win for thiem the pennant ? Would 
their names resound victorious from Pole to Pole? 
And more especially would they be a thousand dol- 
lars richer by nightfall? — for such was their meed 
in event of vanquishing the foe. 

Leisurely, McTish strolled over to the slab where 
his catcher sprawled and gurgled under the hearty 
thwacks of the assistant trainer. With each step, 
Larry could hear the room subside, until it was 
quite hushed. And then : 

"How's he look to you, old boy?" 

The veteran warrior shifted a brownish bulk 
from one cheek to the other, and sat up. 

"If he don't balloon," he said, "I make a bet 
the Buccaneers are shet out." 

With this display of emotion, he again resumed 



A Fotd Tip 257 



his recumbent position, but Larry knew that that 
one speech had regained for him all his lost prestige, 
and stepping forward confidently, he announced : 

"I want every man to be on hand at a quarter to 
one. If anybody asks you who's going to work, 
you don't know. This lad's folks is dead hostile 
to his playin' professional ball, an' it's got t' be kept 
quiet. You know what I mean !" 

The taciturn conduct of McTish and the assur- 
ance of Joyce inspired the Rough Necks to a superb 
resoluteness when they emerged before the howling 
multitude. Rabble fashion, those countless thou- 
sands on stands, bleachers and field, who were ready 
an instant before to thumbs down on the toppling 
chieftain, immediately took heart at the home 
team's dazzling practice. Why despair when the 
players themselves appeared surcharged with con- 
fidence? And yet what signified this preliminary 
perfection? McTish had no pitcher to cope with 
the Buccaneers' cunning-handed Ross — "Broncho'* 
Ross — ^whose pet twist suggested the lightning evo- 
lutions of an untamed mustang ! 

A sombre blue-clad umpire doffing his cap at the 



258 A Foul Tip 



home plate, stilled the tumult momentarily, and then 
as he proclaimed: "Batteries for today — Ross 
and Brander; Flynn and Joyce!" a sound like the 
swish of a comet rent the stimmer haze. 

"Flynn! Flynn! Flynn! Who's Flynn?" 

Banks, pyramids and oceans of humanity pal- 
pitated with the question. Reporters, imprisoned 
by screening in front and a barb-wire of elbows 
and fists behind, shrieked the demand vainly. The 
oldest knew of no pitcher named Flynn. Nor did 
the club president, secretary, treasurer, stockhold- 
ers — ^not any one of that vast throng, excepting a 
spectacled physician on the front row of the grand 
stand, who breathed at intervals. 

Posed near the home bench at the entrance of a 
subterranean passage under the grand stand, which 
led to a private pitching enclosure, and thence 
through a small gate to the outside world, McTish 
took a savage delight in this tremendous sensation. 

"ril show *em," he kept repeating. "I'll give 'em 
a jolt they'll never forget! Send me back to the 
minors, would they !" He glowered at the surging, 
rocking humanity. 



A Foul Tip 259 



Not until the very last second, when his men had 
won the toss and taken their positions; when the 
umpire was shouting urgently, "Batter up!" did 
Larry fling open the door, dramatically introducing 
the unknown, who walked briskly, eyes straight 
ahead, to the pitcher's box. 

What the spectators saw was a tall, well-knit 
athlete who showed no signs of nervousness or 
braggadocio. Long-armed, straight-limbed and 
graceful, he had all the outward requisites of an 
expert in his craft. A strong jaw, dose-lying ears 
and firm mouth indicated grit. His sharp re- 
semblance to Larry McTish was commented on by 
the opposing big leaguers, but, like Ivanhoe at the 
tournament of Ashby-de-la-2ouche, Gibbons in- 
spired the great mob with curiosity alone, until 
his sheer dexterity moved them to sky-splitting 
applause. 

Grimacing, clutching, digging his steel-cleated 
toes in the earth, McTish hurled back the taunts of 
his old enemy and rival, Turk McCue, who strove 
to rattle the Plum Islander, imploring his men 
to: "Make him pitch;" "Lay th' wood to it;** 



260 A Foul Tip 



"Take your time;" "Swing on him;" "BCill it, 
kill it." 

Loydl fans who came prepared for defeat, hugged 
one another and cried with joy. Who or what he 
was none cared now, so long as he could win the 
pennant. In a box near the visiting bench, Mrs. 
McTish laughed hysterically, telling herself: 
"You'll win, Larry; you'll win!" Mrs. Bunner 
automatically waved a black-bordered handkerchief. 

When the Buccaneers went to field in the third, 
neither side having scored, it was evident to Larry 
that the game would be a "pitcher's battle." He 
had small fear of Gibbons, who bore himself 
gravely, studiously, lest he miss the slightest signal 
from the crafty Joyce, who so utilized the Plum 
Islander's dismaying speed, control and deceptive 
curves that the enemy knew not what to expect. 

But the home team was in like manner helpless 
before the artful Ross, and so Larry, under cover 
of the home bench, abruptly changed his persuasive, 
counselling tactics. Seizing his diminutive short 
stop by the scuff of the neck, be ordered : 

"You Rabbit, go up there an' get hit, d'ye hear? 



A Foul Tip 261 



Get yer base, if he knocks y'r head off! This 
game'II be won with a single run, an' we're goin' 
to make it now!" 

With Spartan submission, the Rabbit obeyed, 
crowding the plate, jumping from side to side, for- 
ward and back while McTish and Joyce competed 
in deriding the too-confident Ross : 

"You got it in the neck;" "He c'n pitch rings 
round you;" "We'll beat you with a high school 
boy ;" "Back to Sandusky for yours ;" "He's forgot 
more'n you know!" 

Awake to this ruse, the Buccaneers urged their 
man to: "Put 'em over,-" "Let him hit it;" "Keep 
steady, old boy !" But Ross, stung by a particularly 
malicious taunt, turned to answer McTish, and as 
he recovered sent in a wide one that the Rabbit 
stopped with his ribs. Using every artifice of skill 
and coaching that he had gained in his long service, 
the Rough Neck leader caused his men to advance 
the martyr, base by base, until, finally, while the 
earth shook and the grand stand swayed, he had 
the supreme joy of scoring a run. As an under- 
current to the spectators' outburst, Larry seemed to 



262 A Foul Tip 



l»> 



hear the still, small voice: "McTish has made 
good!' 

So cheered was he that, abandoning the coaching 
box, he waved his cap to Mrs. McTish and took 
opportunity of answering in person a note from the 
club's president. On his return, Larry marked with 
alarm the absence of Pitcher Flynn. 

"W-what*s become o' Gib — , Flynn? Where's 
that p-pitcher ? Anybody se " 

Canvassing the bench in a trice, plucking his men 
this way and that, Larry emulated the maneuvers 
of a whirling Dervish. 

"Thought I see him go in there a bit ago," in- 
formed one, pointing to the private passageway. "I 
ain't sure, but- 



» 



As the umpire beckoned imperiously for "batter 
up," McTish, with fancies of the pyromaniac set- 
ting fire to the grandstand, rushed through the 
alley so distractedly that he overlooked the Plum 
Islander, who, lured by the unusual temptation of 
pink lemonade, was at that very moment gulp- 
ing the seductive fluid but a few bat lengths 
distant. 



A Foul Tip 263 



Impelled by the sound of a gong and shrill cries 
just outside the fence, Captain McTish scooted over 
the pitching court, wrenched open the little door 
and shoved through, stumbling into the arms of a 
policeman, who was stationed there. 

"That's him. It's him," were the strange ex- 
clamations Larry heard from two powerful, low- 
browed men in uniform, who jumped from a cov- 
ered wagon that was backed close to the gate, and 
surroimded by a crowd of gamins. 

With a precision that indicated thorough train- 
ing, one of the men grabbed the captain-manager's 
right arm, the other his left, while the policemen 
deftly kicked his legs from under him, and before 
McTish could remonstrate, he was rattling over the 
cobble-stones, horse galloping. 

"Plum Island Patrol" was printed on the wagon, 
so that pedestrians were interested, but not puzzled, 
at the uncommon yells issuing from inside, nor at 
the perilous rocking of the vehicle which betokened 
a desperate conflict. Dashing down toward the 
municipal ferry the driver shouted when half a 
block away for help. 



264 A Foul Tip 



''He's violent — ^fightin' like a wildcat — ^lend a 
hand, men." 

The extra weight of the two deck hands who 
joined the asylum huskies in sitting upon Larry as 
he lay prone on the wagon floor was superfluous. 
By this time the Rough Neck captain had suc- 
cumbed to a certain process termed ''hanging.'' 
His neck had been bent backwards over a piece of 
blocking, a handkerchief tightened around his 
throat, and it was not until he had crossed the ferry 
and reached the asylum steps that he revived. 

" 'Twas a near call, take it from me," said one of 
his captors, holding a wet handkerchief to his dis- 
colored eye. 

"Once I was of a mind to head for th' police 
station," put in the driver, who was not to be elim- 
inated from the deed of heroism. "Gosh! I 
thought he had you that time, Joe. Soaked him 
in the eye," he told the group. 

"Who'd ever suspect Gibbons o' gettin' violent !" 
exclaimed the laundry superintendent, and others 
echoed his sentiment. 

As Larry stirred and partly raised himself the 



A Foul Tip 265 



it{ 



tn 



injured attendant drew back his heavy foot *Turn 
on yer best friend, would ye, ye skunk! Ill !" 

"Hor on, Bill," he was advised. "If Doc Gay 
hears about it, he'll bounce you, sure !" 

The other swore, but sullenly retreated, for two 
staff physicians were hurrying to the spot. 

The younger, a shrewd, red-haired chap, roughly 
turned Larry's face to one side, and looked up sus- 
piciously. 

^Sure this is Gibbons, my man?" 
'Sure?" the captors snorted in unison, backed 
up by a general sneer of assent. "Don't you see th^ 
little bunch o' white hair?" 

The physician still looked doubtful. 

"Ain't that his broke finger?" 

While they were pointing out more characteris- 
tics, the renowned manager, who with fractured 
teeth, swollen cheeks and puffy lips, resembled no 
one in particular, slowly sat up and in husky but 
determined voice appealed to the medical man: 

"My name's Larry McTish !" 

A burst of laughter went the rounds. 
Wow I guess you'll believe us," jeered BilK 



*i^ 



266 A Foul Tip 



"Wot was he sayin' only last week his name was, 
when we played that 7 — i game ?" 

"Larry McTish, that's right," came the reply 
from several. 

"Of course! It was one of his deloosions," 
snorted Bill. 

"Why," explained Joe in an injured tone, "that's 
what give us the idea of goin' to th' ball grounds. 
I says t' Bill, I says: If Gibbons is went to one 
place more'n another it'll be to that championship 
game between th' Rough Necks an' the Buccaneers. 
Jest what happened is. Gibbons butted in there — 
they saw he c'd pitch, an' they made him a substi- 
toot. Made him a substitoot — ^they did." 

"We was waitin' outside the private gate— • 
couldn't get in front fer the crowd, an' first thing 
we know, he comes right to us " 

"Instink is what I calls it," said Bill. "Same 
asahomin'pigeon!" 

"Don't go, friend, don't go!" cried Larry, hold- 
ing out an imploring hand to the physicians. He 
began to rise slowly and painfully, for every bone 
in his body creaked with pain. "May I never touch 



A Foul Tip 267 



finger to ball, if I ain't Larry McTish — ^you've got 
the wrong man! It's a mistake — 3. fierce mistake. 
I can prove it ! O, say, f er th' love o' God, friend, 
don't leave " 

Larry clutched the young physician, but he dis- 
engaged himself testily, and a strained, eager look 
warmed his countenance as a Bedlam of cries echoed 
from a far comer of the island. 

"Too bad," he consoled Bill and Joe, with a sly 
smile. "You might as well dig down in your jeans. 
We've got it on you 8 — 4, an' only the fifth in- 
ning." 

Two more attendants, similar to the others in 
countenance and physique, approached panting and 
when the physicians had disappeared rounded upon 
Larry with surpassing oaths and threats. There 
was something, too, of grief. 

"Jest t' think of it — a hundred good, honest 
plunks throwed on them swab doctors," exclaimed 
one when he could get his breath. "O, Bill, what 
d' we ever bet f er — me whole month's wages !" 

"Month's wages!" he screamed at Larry. "We 
made up a purse o' twenty-five apiece — ^give 'em 



268 A Foul Tip 



every good man on th' Island, countin' on th' sec- 
ond team t' win with you pitchin' !'* 

"An' what did I promise you ?" shouted Joe. "A 
meerschaum pipe, didn't I say?" 

He suddenly hurled himself upon Larry, throt- 
tling him with both hands. 

"Hor on," ordered Bill, and then in solemn, 
menacing tones, told the thoroughly frightened 
McTish : 

"There's only one way t' square yourself. Gib- 
bons — ^jump in there now an' win this game. They 
only got four runs lead, and you kin hold 'em 
down — 



>> 



For the first time Larry distinguished familiar 
yells; through a long vista of elms he recognized 
scenes familiar. Plum Island was also having a 
chainpionship game, and by all tokens it was a red- 
hot one. Involuntarily the big leaguer's eye 
sparkled, his fingers twitched. 

"A chance! We got a chance," whooped the at- 
tendants, rushing him under a hydrant. Their 
voices were now wheedling, caressing, fawning. In 
a twinkling they had soused him from head to foot 



A Foul Tip 269 



and he found himself skipping through the avenue, 
leaving a damp trail, and hardly touching the 
gravel. 

"We'll fix it all right with the super, Gib, old 
boy/' "No jacket for yours, lad !'* "Jest win back 
that hundred, an' leave th' rest to us !" 

He was in the diamond now surrounded by four- 
teen hundred lunatics whose frantic demonstrations 
culminated in the pitcher — ?l one-time circus rider — 
leaping lightly upon Larry's back. "Here's the 
ball," he said sanely enough. "One out, a man on 
second, and this guy, the Ant Eater's got two and 
three!" 

And now it was that the years of careful life, 
stem training and early work ( for Larry, like most 
professional ball players, had begun his career with 
pitching) stood the captive in good stead. Brush- 
ing aside a lock of wet hair, tightening his belt he 
leisurely surveyed the fielders' positions and then 
flashed an eye at the catcher's signals — ^three fingers 
in the "big mit." Interpreting at random McTish 
thought that under the circumstances a "high fast 
one inside" must be called for and so effectively re- 



270 A Foul Tip 



plied. When the next man died on a grounder to 
short, Larry, in spite of mental anguish, became 
interested. Stoically he endured the maniacal ex- 
ultations of the crowd, and gruffly acknowledged 
the hungry gratitude of his four backers who 
patted him on the shoulder. Long a stranger with 
hero worship, even from idiots, it refreshed his 
soul. 

Not until his team went to the field in the ninth, 
having tied the score, when a copper sun had dipped 
into the horizon and night winds stole from the 
river did McTish feel recurring shivers of physical 
dread. 

"Hold 'em down now!" promised one attendant 
as Larry started for the box, "or we'll straight- 
jacket you till you're paralyzed !" 

"I'll drop ye out the fourth story window !" 
threatened another. 

"And I," said BiU with an ogre grin, "will cru- 
cify you an' break every little bone in yer body !" 

The certainty of this three-fold mart3a'dom, the 
horrible vision of being buried in a pauper's grave, 
mangled out of recognition conspired to demoralize 



A Foul Tip 271 



Larry's self-control. Nell would never even hear 
what became of him ! 

McTish had lost that indefinable something 
called "nerve/' and as one after another the bases 
filled he kept chattering with unwitting appropriate- 
ness: "Got th' Indian sign on me — ^th' Indian 
sign !'' 

Indeed, the worthy McTish was so blinded now 
with tears, his swollen eye and the oncoming dark- 
ness that he could see distinctly only the white 
jackets of the staff physicians to the right of the 
plate, and next to them — ^ah, yes— quite plainly, the 
uniformed bulk of Attendant Bill. 

There came upon McTish at that minute the 
miserable injustice of the whole thing — ^Doctor 
Gay's imposition, Gibbon's treason, his home 
wrecked, his wife prostrated, and he on the 
threshold of some ghastly doom! The game, he 
knew, was hopelessly lost. What the future boded 
he no longer cared. It was revenge now — ^wild, un- 
tameable desire for revenge, and even as a great 
sob clotted his throat Larry concentrated all his 
might in one furious, accurate drive, aiming at the 



272 A Fofd Tip 

lower button on Bill's blouse. A moment's pause 
to see him double up like a jack-knife and Larry 
was leaping, dodging through the crowd and scut- 
tling over the lawn toward the river pursued by the 
entire population of Plum Island. He had no notion 
of a goal until, approaching the stone wall, he spied 
the little ferryboat nearing shore, on the fore-deck 
Doctor Gay, and shifting his course he thundered 
down to the slip, made a flying leap and landed 
safely with just enough breath to gasp : 
"Save me. Doc; save me!" 

4(   4c  

Arc lights were dazzling, and the streets were 
whirring with a city's noise when a strange figure, 
disguised in yellow pea-jacket and black sou'wester, 
toiled up the long hill that led from the water front. 
Accompanying was a smaller, waspish man who 
capered and bounced, doing imaginary things with 
an imaginary baseball. On his head was a hat rim 
only, about his neck the half of a collar. 

"But the ninth, Larry, you ought to have seen 
the ninth f O, my heart and soul ! A man on sec- 
ond and third; two out, score same as when you 



A Foul Tip 278 



left— one to nothing, and *Buir Slattery at bat. 
Women fainting — fan died of heart disease — ^thirty- 
five thousand people going mad. You never saw 
anything like it — 



» 



"O, yes, I did," dissented McTish, with a groan. 

"Third strike, 'Bull' hit a line drive that caught 
Gibbons right on the jaw — dropped like a dead 
man. For one second you could 'a' heard a pin fall, 
and then when the Rabbit fielded the ball ofif Gib- 
bons' jaw and shot it home just in time to catcK 
Hogan by eighteen inches you ought to hear 
them! 

"And you ought to seen them ! Look at me ! I'm 
nothing ! Called six ambulances ! Boys helped me 
put Gibbons on an automobile and I hustled him 
'down to your house. Chances are he's telling Mrs. 
McTish his right name now. Shock, you know, 
just what he needed." 

"My house?" snarled Larry. 

"Certainly. D'you want the police to get him. 
Soon as he was comfortable I phoned the score over 
to the Island. Knew there was something wrong 
and hurried across." 



274 A Foul Tip 



"You saved me from bein* killed, all right, I'll 
give that to you/' yielded Larry grudgingly. 

"Bosh ! They were only having a little fun with 
you. And, any way, what do you care ! We won 
the pennant, didn't we? Think of it, Mac — Cham- 
pions of the World! 

"Another thing," Doctor Gay pulled himself up 
on tip-toe. "If this shock has made Gibbons normal 
all you have to do is put a mustache on him, dye 
that spot on his head, sign him, and you'll have a: 
pitcher who'll win half a dozen more pennants — 
half a dozen, Mac, or I'll buy you as many suits of 
clothes !" 

Larry listened to the other in pondering silence 
wrestling gingerly with a loosened tooth. Down 
the avenue, at right angles, swept a chaotic proces- 
sion shouting the slogan: "One to nothing," and 
carrying that legend on hastily improvised banners. 
Falling in behind the rear guard Larry lifted his 
head, straightened his shoulders and quickened 
his pace. A tense, hard gleam shone from his 
eyes. 

"There might be something in that," he agreed 



A Foul Tip 275 



as they came in sight of the McTish home. "And 
say, Doc," he added grimly as his right hand grad- 
ually tightened into the cohesion of a Zulu War 
club, "if this shock didn't bring him to, I bet a 
year's salary I c'n furnish one that will !'* 



THE POST POST-SEASON GAME 

UNKNOWN to the multitude of American 
fans there was played, shortly after the 
post-season in 1909, the most notable game 
of ball that ever was, or doubtless ever will be, seen. 
iNo less remarkable than the game itself was the 
manner of its planning and the miraculous result. 
That the newspapers remained entirely ignorant is 
also some cause for wonderment, although strictest 
secrecy was imposed upon the participants. Now 
that the progenitor of this mighty sporting event is 
'en route to Egypt, I can see no violation of faith in 
patching together the narrative whispered to me by 
several of the big leaguers who figured in it and 
profited so richly by this post post-season game. 

It will be recalled that, following the Detroit- 
Pittsburg series, a number of famous ball-players 
were seen in New York for a day or two. Wag- 
ner's presence did not surprise the sporting scribes 

as he was supposed to be looking over the auto- 

276 



The Post Post-Season Game 277 



ALL-STAR NATIONAL LEAGUE CLUB 

G AB R H SH SB PCX. 

Evers, 2b., Chi 127 465 89 127 13 32 .273 

Leach, cf., Pitts 151 586 122 152 28 28 .259 

Clarke, If., Pitts 152 550 96 159 23 32 .289 

Wagner, ss., Pitts 138 491 91 169 25 35 .344 

Mitchell, rf., Cin 143 519 81 163 17 34 .314 

Grant, 3b., Phila 152 622 76 175 27 28 .281 

Chance, lb., Chi 92 323 52 87 14 31 .269 

Gibson, c, Pitts 150 510 41 135 18 9 .265 

Mathewson, p., N. Y 37 94 9 25 2 1 266 

Totals 1142 4160 657 1192 167 230 .284 

ALL-STAR AMERICAN LEAGUE CLUB 

G AB R H SH SB PCT. 

Lord, 3b., Bost 136 521 87 158 35 42 .305 

Chase, lb., N. Y 118 469 60 132 15 26 .281 

Cobb, rf., Det 156 573 116 218 22 81 .380 

Crawford, cf., Det 156 587 82 183 23 34 .312 

Speaker, If., Bost 143 544 65 165 15 39 .303 

Collins, 2b., Phila 153 567 104 200 21 64 .353 

Bush, ss., Det 157 533 113 144 56 52 .270 

Carrigan, c, Bost 95 281 26 85 13 4 .302 

Mullin, p., Det 54 126 13 27 1 2 .214 

Totals 1168 4196 666 1312 201344 .302 

RECORDS OF THE PITCHERS 

G WON LOST PCT. R RUNS BB HB SO 

PER G 

Mathewson 33 24 6 .800 57 1.73 34 144 

Mullin 37 29 8 .784 95 2.57 79 9 131 

UMPIRES 
Bob Emslie Billy Evans 



278 The Post Post-Season Game 

mobile market "Ty" Cobb explained that it was 
just as cheap for him to reach Augusta, Ga., via 
New York and down the coast by boat, as going 
direct from Detroit, which was plausible. But when 
Sam Crawford, who lives way out in Wahoo, Neb. ; 
Fred Clarke, who invariably returns as quickly as 
possible to his farm in Kansas, and Johnny Evers 
were seen together at the Imperial Hotel, baseball 
news-mongers pricked up their ears. Were they 
forming another brotherhood? Was there a "big 
dear* on? Were these stars of the diamond all 
going into vaudeville ? Sporting columns abounded 
with speculations, but only for a day, as football 
and election news were of primary public interest. 

Holy bats! Had the real significance of this 
gathering been known, even the London Times 
could not have kept the story off its front page. 

For various reasons I shall not give the right 
name of the multimillionaire who hired these two 
picked clubs from the National and American 
Leagues to play an exhibition game. My particular 
reason is that his selfishness in permitting only him- 
self and one other person to witness the colossal 



The Post Post-Season Game 279 

Struggle would arouse such hatred in the bosom of 
American "fandom" as probably to expatriate him. 
iThink of it — ^Mathewson, with hitters and fielders 
like Wagner, Mike Mitchell, Evers and Chance, 
opposing George MuUin, backed up by "Ty" Cobb, 
*Tris'* Speaker, Crawford and Eddie Collins ! And 
only two "fans" to watch the battle ! 

Using the terms accurately, you could not call 
either of these spectators a "fan" ; the correct word 
is "bug," for the baseball "bug" is a statistician, 
primarily. He follows the "dope" on paper and 
may never even visit a ball park. As a matter of 
fact I understand that neither Mr. Howard Merrill 
(and, by the way, that is near enough to suggest 
his identity to Yale graduates of twenty years ago), 
nor his stableman, Patrick McGuire, had seen a 
game in many seasons. But each kept a minute 
record of every important ball-player's work and 
both were prepared to annihilate any novice who 
could support a statement cmly by such worthless 
chatter as: "I tell you so-and-so is the greatest 
third baseman in the country. Tve seen *em all 
play and I ought to know!" When a poor soul 



280 The Pott Pott-Season Game 

mouthed these phrases to either Merrill or McGuire 
he would be routed by a hail of figures in jig time. 

Despite his vast wealth, the millionaire had small 
opportunity to exhibit his astonishing baseball lore 
because illness had made him more or less of a re- 
cluse. The precise nature of this ailment could not 
be established, although he had spent fortunes in 
consulting medical authorities in this country and 
in Europe. It would seem to have been a species 
of paralysis, for he had not walked in years. 
Neurasthenia, with a prefix of polysyllabic adjec- 
tives, was the general opinion of these experts, each 
of whom suggested different treatment. 

Of hypersensitive nature, Merrill was a puzzle 
even to his mates in college. He had few friends 
and joined no club, but his extreme devotion to 
baseball caused him to be elected manager of the 
team in his senior year, a job that he handled with 
surprising judgment. Until his malady prevented, 
Merrill had never missed a National League game 
at the Polo Grounds. He believed as firmly in its 
superiority over the American League as France 
did in the all-conquering genius of Napoleon. 



The Post Post-Season Game 281 

Behold, then, this eccentric millionaire baseball 
"bug immured through the long, sweet summer 
months in his study, bending over closely-written 
charts upon which he labored with the persistence 
of an astronomer reckoning the course of a new 
comet. Photographs of baseball heroes, past and 
present, covered the walls. Long shelves sagged 
with the weight of batting and fielding averages, 
compiled for the most part by his own weak but 
untiring hand. Sometimes his secretary, Hackett, 
likewise a bachelor, who attended to all details of 
the immense estate, would gently remonstrate, but 
without result. Barnes, the establishment's major 
domo, kept his English restraint, but often honest 
tears would gather in his eyes at the daily scene, 
which to him and the other devoted servants was 
genuinely pathetic. Rather than have disturbed his 
kindly master or cause him anxiety, Barnes would 
have sacrificed his right arm, and yet, such is the 
warp of circumstance, it was the loyal Barnes who 
precipitated unheard of events in the household of 
Merrill. 

With a sigh of relish the millionaire eccentric 



282 The Po9t Postseason Game 

leaned back in his invalid chair one afternoon and 
exclaimed, half soliloquizing : "Well, just as I said. 
Pittsburg in a gallop, and, by Jove, what a beating 
she'll give the American League champions ! Cham- 
pions!"' He chuckled derisively, and noticing 
Barnes, who knew as much about the American 
pastime as a Chinese idol, remarked in his exuber- 
ance: 

"Wipe 'em off the earth, Barnes — ^annihilate 'em, 
Pittsburg will. Sorry for Jennings — ^always liked 
him — ^he was a great shortstop, but he had no busi- 
ness to get mixed up with this American League. 
It'll kill him in baseball. Pittsburg'll simply eat 
up Detroit !" 

Barnes, standing at respectful attention, agreed 
readily, and to make it stronger, added : "What I 
told McGuire, sir, told him only " 

"McGuire? Who's McGuire?" snapped Mr. 
Merrill, his eye already glinting with light of battle. 

"Stableman, sir; 'as charge of the work-'orses. 
We 'ired 'im a year ago, sir, in old Gordon's place. 
Lives with 'is wife and six children in Gordon's 
cottage. Very steady man, sir, but dogged, quite 



THE NEW TOUK 

PURLIC llfiRARY 



AffTOI. LIffOI AND 
nLMM fmmDATlVNt 



The Post Post-Season Game 288 

dogged, Mr. Merrill. 'E 'as the 'amess room 
covered with figures just like yours, sir. 'E's very 
dogged, is McGuire. *E says the — I think 'e calls 
them the Lions will win, sir." 

"Lions ?" shrilled Mr. Merrill. "Tigers, you mean, 
Barnes. Tigers — ^Detroit! The poor fool ^ 

"Yes, sir," put in Barnes, hastily, "we told 'im 
that. But 'e's so dogged, 'e 'as the figures " 

"Figures for what?" demanded the millionaire. 

"F-f-for clouting, I think was his word," 
stammered Barnes, alarmed and annoyed at his 

master's sudden fury.. "^Yes, sir, clouting was the 

* 

word." 

Mr. Merrill's laugh was triumphant but threaten- 
ing. "Batting! What do a few extra hits mean? 
Pittsburg's got it on 'em in fielding, pitching, and 
everything else. Tell him so, Barnes. Tell Mc- 
Guinness, McMahon or whatever his name is. No, 
send him up. I'll tell him myself. Use the 'phone. 
Get him here, quick. Confound the ignorance of 
these silly fans." 

From the depths of the stable a groomf sum- 
moned Patrick McGuire, whose wide Irish face 



284 The Post Post-Season Game 

silently bespoke his astonishment. Cloddishly he 
approached the great mansion, his big, red hands 
industriously flicking bits of hay and manure from 
jumper and overalls. High stepped McGuire over 
shining floors and costly rugs ; with a grip of death 
he squeezed his old slouch hat as the millionaire 
turned upon him vindictively : 

"Here, you, McGuinness, McFadden (*McGuire, 
sir,' prompted the ever-thoughtful Barnes) — ^You, 
McGuire, what d'you mean by telling these people 
that Detroit'U beat Pittsburg? Eh, what?" 

McGuire, who had been prepared for anything, 
even sentence of death, gulped a huge inhale. His 
back straightened, up went his head, and his blue 
Irish eyes widened boldly. In inimitable brogue he 
replied, firmly: "Mister Merrill, Fm picking th' 
Tigers fer their club hittin', .268 against .259 fer 
Pittsburg. If you had the figures, sir " 

"Figures!" whooped the rich man, gesturing 
about the room. "Haven't I got 'em ? Just finished 
them to-day ! What do I care for your measly nine 
points difference in batting! Fielding is what 
counts. Look at that !" And he flung at the stable- 



The Post Post-Season Game 285 

man, neatly written in pen and ink, the National 
League Club fielding: 

Club po a e pct 

Chicago 4207 1951 217 .966 

Pittsburg 4001 1862 211 .965 

Philadelphia 4107 2067 231 .964 

Brooklyn 4114 1937 280 .956 

New York 4154 2090 300 .954 

Cincinnati 4232 1981 313 .952 

Boston 4158 2082 327 .950 

St. Louis 3991 1930 310 .950 

Triple play — Philadelphia, 1. Double plays — Cincinnati, 
118; Boston, 106; Pittsburg, 102; St. Louis, 101; Brooklyn, 
97; Philadelphia, 95; New York, 91; Chicago, 91. 

"And now that," snaried the millionaire through 
his teeth, flashing the other league's averages. 
"Where's Detroit?" 

Club po a e pct 

Athletics 4122 1855 239 .962 

Chicago 4199 2354 259 .962 

Detroit 4254 2235 277 .959 

Qeveland 3995 2028 264 .958 

Washington 4094 2073 280 .957 

St Louis 4071 1979 274 .957 

Boston 4033 2037 288 .955 

New York 4037 2009 328 .949 

Triple plays—Athletics, 1; Chicago, 1; Qeveland, 1. 
Double plays— Boston, 108; Qeveland, 108; Chicago, 106; St. 
Louis, 102; Athletics, 98; Washington, 98; New York, 93; De- 
troit, 89. 



286 The Past Post-Season Game 

Doggedly^ for he was^ as Barnes said, a dogged 
man, McGuire read them through. His jeer was 
blasphemy to Barnes. "Six measly points! Oho! 
An' what's fielding count anyway! Get your men 
on bases an' hit 'em around. That's the club fer 
me. An' besides," the plebeian "bug" leered wisely, 
"if you add up them figures, I'm thinkin' th' Amer- 
ican League has the best of it. Have you " 

"I knew it; I knew it," shouted Mr. Merrill, 
pounding the table with surpassing energy, "you're 
an out-and-out American Leaguer. YouVc shown 
your true colors." 

"An' what if I am," retorted McGuire, just as 
vociferously. "Every man is entitled to his own 
opinion. Mister Merrill. What I say is, figure it 
up! It's only fair!" He gestured with clenched 
fist, appealing to Hackett and Barnes. The one, 
standing behind the millionaire's chair, waved 
madly toward the door, but McGuire ignored the 
hint. Barnes* hands were clasped in suppliance. 
Outside, one might have heard the heavy breathing 
of household servants. 

Nettled by the only opposition he had ever en- 



The Post Po8t-Sea»on Game 287 

countered, for his friends invariably humored him, 
the rich man testily began to add up his averages. 
With a stub pencil and a piece of brown wrapping 
paper that he fished from his pocket, McGuire did 
likewise. He was only half through when Mr. 
Merrill announced: "General fielding average. 
National League, .957; they accepted 957 diances 
out of every 1,000 offered." 

Presently the Irishman's big red hand covered 
his mouth, his eyes shone roguishly. "Be jabers," 
he chuckled, triumphantly, "e-c^, if I ain't got y* 
beat may I never lift a curry comb a'gain — the 
American's is .964 !" With that he leaned back and 
laughed until the Adam's apple on his unshaven 
neck seemed likely to escape its moorings. 

The millionaire accepted this in a silent frenzy. 
So pale were his cheeks, so wabbly his hands that 
Hackett and Barnes chorused a remonstrance 
against the impertinent stableman. But Mr. Mer- 
rill rebuked them. He was game. He knew a 
"bug'' when he saw one and went the limit, so far 
as his health permitted. 

Midnight had struck when McGuire was, almost 



288 The PoH Post-Season Game 

forcibly, removed from the room. But he walked 
heavily on the velvet carpet now, slapping his legs 
and crowing. In championing the American 
League he had won nearly every point, base-run- 
ning, extra bases, fielding and hitting. 

But if McGuire thought the victory won he was 
sadly mistaken. Hardly had he reached the stable 
next morning when an order came : 

"Tell McGuire to bring up his pitching rec- 
ords." 

Back and forward went the stableman, always 
"dogged." It was common news that Mr. Merrill 
bordered on a complete breakdown. Hackett, the 
secretary, sent for a nerve specialist from Boston. 
*'If our patient keeps this up one week I won't give 
a cent for his life," was his prophecy. "He will 
die of exhaustion." 

Hackett, Barnes, Mrs. McGuire, and her brother, 
Mike Hennessy, who came all the way from River- 
head, cajoled and threatened McGuire. "You are 
killing Mr. Merrill!" exclaimed Hackett. "He 
hasn't slept one night. I'll have you discharged!" 

"Discharge ahead," roared the stableman, throw- 



The Post Post-Season Game 289 

ing down a pitchfork full of hay. "Who started 
it ! I'll let no wan tell me Camnitz is a better pitdier 
than George MuUin ! Look at the figures !" 

On the evening of the day that Pittsburg finally 
beat Detroit for the world's championship, Patrick 
McGuire was carried from his cottage door amidst 
cheers, howls and cat-calls. 

"Face it out," cried Mr. Merrill. "Take your 
medicine like a man, McGuire." The chart room 
had been converted into a buffet. "Drink this 
Burgundy of '66 to the National League. I told 
you what would happen, old fellow, but don't feel 
bad. You've got something to learn ^" 

"Feel bad!" rapped out McGuire. "Because a 
kid pitcher had luck in a couple games? What's 
that? Didn't I give you th' figures t' show the 
American League was faster, and stronger, 
and—" 

"Now, McGuire," with difficulty Mr. Merrill, 
strengthened by unusual libation and joy of victory, 
held his temper, "don't be an ass. I have 
credited you for considerable knowledge of the 
game. Evidently you have not figured up that 



290 The Pott Port-Setuon Game 

*kid pitcher/ 'Babe' Adams. He was the best ia 
the National League. Only 1.53 runs were scored 
on him per game " 

"And he only pitched fifteen games !*' jeered Mc- 
Guire. 'Tou must think he's better than Mathew-^ 
sonr 

"No," pronounced Mr. Merrill with the same 
ominous restraint. "Mathewson is better; he ** 

"And so is MuUin," interpolated McGuire rudely. 

"Mullin!" squealed the invalid. "He's a dead 
one!" 

In a trice the evening's festivities were halted. 
If looks could have killed, McGuire would now be 
in the Potter's Field. But doggedly he argued — - 
pitchers, shortstops, catchers, and second basemen. 
When he refused to see the significance in Pitts- 
burg and Chicago beating their American League 

rivals, Mr. Merrill's nervous tension reached a ter- 

« 
rible climax. 

"Get out I Throw him out ! Evict him ! Hackett, 

Barnes, Blodgett — ^put this man off my property! 

I won't stand such ignorance! Evict him, wife, 

children and all! Confound the fool!" 



The Post PoH'Season Game 291 

Ejected more suddenly than he arrived, McGuire 
still had breath to shout back : "The Red Sox beat 
the Giants." 

But at his cottage, real tragedy greeted him. 
Mrs. McGuire, holding her youngest to her bosom, 
wailed piercingly : "It's me and six children with- 
out a home ! In hiven's name why did I ever meet 
such a fool. O wurra, wurra! Sure an' you've 
gone crazy entirely." 

Lamenting and weeping she began to get together 
their humble household effects. 

"He's crazy himself," protested McGuire, in 
sullen subjection, "tellin' me Devlin's got it over 
Harry Lord." 

"Curses on Lord and Divlin. Curses on them 
aU ^" 

Her wailings were cut short by the appearance 
of Secretary Hackett, who shoved his way through 
the crowd of sympathizing tenants. "McGuire, Mr. 
Merrill wants to see you again. I believe he has 
gone mad, and I'm telling you, my man, that if 
anything happens through your infernal obstinacji; 
I'll have you tried for homicide." 



292 The Post Post-Season Game 

"I have my figures," McGuire kept repeating, 
once more travelling the familiar route. '^He 
started it*' 

A strange quiet pervaded the millionaire's 
sanctum, where Barnes remained in lone attend- 
ance. A desperate calm was on the millionaire's 
face. 

"McGuire," he said, "pick any nine men from the 
American League and I'll bet you $500,000 that 
Mathewson, with eight others from the National 
League, will beat them !" 

For a moment McGuire glanced at Barnes and 
Hackett. Perhaps the millionaire had gone mad. 
The others were evidently sure of it. But even then 
the stableman remained "dogged." 

"That's easy enough," he fleered, "when you 
know I haven't got half a million t' bet !" 

Mr. Merrill's hands trembled pitifully, his lips 
twitched, and you knew he was making supreme 
effort to speak in even tones. "Quite right, McGuire. 
Understand that I am betting my money against 
your situation. Immediately after losing you must 
move not only off my place but off Long Island. 



The Post Post-Season Game 293 

I have tried to treat you fairly, given you every; 
chance — ^well, do you take the bet?'* 

"I do, sirl" 

"Hackett!" Mr. Merrill summoned with spas- 
modic gesture. "Take his team, here's mine, and 
start to-night. Get them, no matter what it costs. 
Telegraph me when arrangements are completed. 
And you, McGuire, lay off our polo field for a 
diamond, if you know enough '* 

"That I do, sir." 

"Don't let me see your face again until the game. 
And now," overcome by uncommon exertion the in- 
valid crumpled in his chair, "leave me, leave me!" 

During the next couple days Mr. Merrill's stable- 
man was the busiest person on the estate. Mrs. 
McGuire and the six little McGuires watched him 
with a sort of fascinated horror as he marked out 
the baselines with whitewash. Chuckling to him- 
self the American League championer soliloquized : 
"Ty Cobb, may the Saints bless him, will steal home 
from here," reverently tying down third base. 
"Speaker, me boy, don't let an)rthing get by you !*' 
The stableman was Heroically grubbing in left field. 



294 The Po9t Post-Season Game 

When, some days later, the teams arrived in 
motor-cars, umpires Bob Emslie and Billy Evans 
bringing up the rear, McGuire had contrived a 
splendid baseball field. The big leaguers, togged 
out in their various uniforms, went over it carefully, 
and had small complaint. 

"Both these guys are 'bug-house,'" said Fred 
Clarke to "Husk" Chance. 

"No doubt about that/' grinned the Cubs' man- 
ager, "but we want to get the big end of the purse 
just the same. I've seen the color of his money 
already, and it won't fade. What's the split ?' 

"Sixty thousand to the winner, and forty thoU"- 
sand to the loser," put in Mike Mitchell 

"Mathewson ought to beat 'em/' observed Wag- 
ner, joining the group. "I want to get a racing- 
car, and that'll just about give me enough." 

As he spoke the gate opened and Barnes wheeled 
in his master who took position not far from the 
Nationals' bench. Through the opening door one 
caught a glimpse of the Merrill tenantry, massed 
outside, Mrs. McGuire and her brood of six in the 
center. McGuire came in with great dignity, wear- 



The Post Post-Season Game 295 

ing his Sunday clothes, an old-fashioned swallow- 
tail coat, high-water trousers and a Castle Garden 
"dicer." He walked impressively to the far end of 
the stand, just behind the American bench. Barnes 
retired reluctantly and closed the gate. 

Whatever amusement the ball players may Have 
found in this strange exhibition quickly fled when 
they noticed their spectators' terrible earnestness. 
Besides was there not an extra twenty thousand 
dollars to be divided among the nine winners, and 
nonprofessional ball-tosser will pass up a couple of 
thousand "iron men** except under bitter compul- 
sion. So it was that Mathewson, when the Na- 
tionals won the toss, put ever)rthing he had on his 
delivery and the Americans in three innings did not 
get a man past second base. 

MuUin worked just as hard, but the pitching per- 
centage began to show in the fourth, Leach leading 
off with a single and taking second on Qarke's 
sacrifice. When Wagner came up, Patrick McGuire 
pleaded with Mullin to "walk him." He was an- 
swered by taunts from the millionaire. So snappy 
and brilliant had been the game that there was no 



296 The Post Post-Season Game 

cessation in the shrill cries of the invalid and the 
raucous yells of the stableman. "Walk him l" jeered 
Mr. Merrill, "and Mitchell'll put it over the fence." 

"Walk 'em both, George," ordered McGuire, his 
eyes darting fire at his employer. "Take a chance 
on Grant He's easy." 

"Listen to the poor fool," screamed Merrill to 
the players. "He don't know that Eddie Grant 
made 175 hits this year, more than anyone in the 
National League." 

Grant's retreating chin almost disappeared as he 
grinned at this recognition. 

While they were arguing, MuUin sent in a high, 
straight one, figuring that the Dutchman could do 
no more than knock this down in the diamond. 
Wagner did so, but it went a mile a minute and 
got away from Bush for a single. Leach taking 
third. 

One out, a man on first and third, with Mike 
Mitchell up ! It was a critical moment. From right 
field Cobb coached Mullin, bidding him to walk this 
slugger. Carrigan also thought this wise. But 
MulHn noticed Leach and Mitchell exchanging 



The Post Post-Season Game 297 

signals and it suddenly came to him that they were 
going to try the "squeeze/* Chase, with his sixth 
sense, got the same notion. He tipped Mullin to 
keep the ball on the outside corner. Mitchell, being 
a right-hand hitter, would be pretty sure to rap be- 
tween second and first, whether he swung or bunted. 
Artfully, Chase crept up the line toward the plate. 

Sure enough! As Mullin began to wind up. 
Leach got a start and came from third like a jack- 
rabbit. Mitchell made a perfect bunt, but Chase 
swooped it up ten feet from home base, touched 
Mitchell, and not trusting a toss to Carrigan, dived 
forward just in time to get Leach, who, not ex- 
pecting any such phenomenal play, came in stand- 
ing straight up. 

For a moment the arena was completely silent and 
then a crash of benches in the American League 
bleachers signified Patrick McGuire's delight. Ex- 
tricating himself he bayed at the millionaire : "Not 
a man in y'r league could 'a' done it f *Twas never 
done on earth before.'* 

"Oh, yes, it was,*' laughed Chase. "I pulled it 
oflf on the coast once." 



298 The Post Post-Setuon Game 

"A freak play/' cried the millionaire, recovering 
his voice. With that he engaged McGuire in hot- 
shot dispute and the game continued. 

In the sixth the Americans had a fine chance to 
score but were killed off by the headwork of Wag- 
ner. Carrigdn singled and took second on Mullin's 
sacrifice. Little Bush poked a low drive in short 
center which Leach played safe instead of trying 
to get it on the line. Patrick McGuire was in 
ecstasies. 

"Circus Solly Hofman would V had it!" he 
railed at the millionaire. "SoUy'd got it. Why 
didn't you have him on your club?" 

Above the voice of coachers could be heard the 
invalid's shrill retort. "You bonehead. Leach scored 
122 runs, led the National League. Hofman only 
scored sixty-one. Mind your own business !" 

"If Hofman had had Wagner to follow him he'd 
made just as many," shouted the dogged McGuire. 

The ball-players were giving no heed to the two 
"bugs" now. They were too much absorbed in the 
game and the sixty-thousand dollar share. When 
Lord had two strikes and two balls, it was pretty 



J^he Post Post-Season 'Game 299 

certain that Bush, with a record of fifty-two stolen 
bases, would try to pilfer second, and Wagner halted 
Mathewson while he conferred a moment with 
Evers. "I'll sign Gibson," said the Dutchman, "for 
a pitch out. He'll peg straight for the bag. If I 
see that there's a chance to get Carrigan off third 
I'll take the throw. If not you take it and nail 
Bush." 

Mathewson and Grant were tipped off to the 
strategy by signal, and "Big Six" made great pre- 
tense at putting a third strike over on Lord. His 
wind-up was longer than usual in order to give 
Bush a start from first. But when he let it go it 
was with all his speed, high and a foot wide, so that 
Gibson would lose no time in firing to second. True 
as a machine the ball came, Wagner and Evers both 
darting toward the bag. But out of his eye-comer 
the crafty Dutchman was watching Carrigan on 
third, and when he saw him carelessly cavorting, he 
reached out his huge mit, speared Gibson's throw, 
and quick as might be whipped to Grant. Carrigan 
was taken completely unawares, for he was not 
thinking of a steal home, and was tagged, flounder- 



800 The Post Post-Season Game 

ing to recover third base. With no one to bother 
him on third, Matty took his time, and finally out- 
guessed Lord on strikes. 

In the Nationals' sixth, Clarke grounded out. 
Lord to Chase. Wagner and Mitchell walked. 
Grant was safe on Collins' low throw. Chance lined 
to Lord and Gibson died, Collins to Chase. 

There was something appealing in the poor 
millionaire's attempt to stand up when the National 
League fellows came to bat in the seventh. After 
the ancient custom, he thought he should advertise 
his loyalty by getting on to his feet. He wasn't 
able. McGuire had rooted himself hoarse while 
his men were at bat in the same inning, for the 
American Leaguers had an excellent chance to 
score. Chase beat a bunt and Cobb committed 
suicide. "Wahoo" Crawford was the boy on the 
burning deck (waited for a pass). Speaker, having 
tasted Matty's "fade-away" in the Red-Sox-Giants 
series, was wise and smote a Texas Leaguer over 
Wagner's dial. With Collins, a savage hitter, on 
deck, Gibson began to think. "Chase is the best 
hit-and-run man in fast company," said he to him- 



The Post Post-Season Game 801 

self. "He's fast at any stage of the game. Is there 
any dodge that will flag him ?" 

Bases were filled, Chase on third, Crawford on 
second. Speaker on first. And Eddie Collins, who 
batted .353, was up. You can make a little wager 
that Gibson was thinking. 

Well, what do you suppose he did ? 

He tipped off Fred Clarke, who said a word to 
Eddie Grant. I will give you the inside dope. Said 
Gibson to the club with his sign lingo : "I'll throw 
to Grant and he'll throw to Evers." Are you 
wise ? No ? 

Here's what actually happened. Chase is always 
a long-shot playing off base. But when Gibson 
whipped to Grant, Grant paid no attention to Chase 
— did not try to tag him. Instantly he shot the ball 
to Evers, and what do you think ? Sam Crawford 
was killed 1 Watching Chase he forgot to look out 
for himself. 

"The old %6r' whooped McGuire. "Mike 
Kelly used to work it !" 

Collins raised to Mitchell. The side was retired. 

Mr. Merrill, as has been stated, tried to sit up in 



802 The Post Post-Season Game 

his chair when the Nationals came to bat in the 
seventh. Mathewson appeared to be affected by 
the invalid's enthusiasm and touched by his in- 
firmity. 

"Put it over/' he yelled at MuUin. "You're 
afraid.'' 

The Tiger twister answered in kind and shot one 
of his fast curves. Matty slammed it for three 
bases. As he turned third bag, "Tris" Speaker was 
just relaying to Crawford, and Matty determined 
to make it a homer. His judgment was wrong by 
a second, for Crawford hurled direct to home plate, 
a low throw on the bounce, to Carrigan, who took 
great chances in blocking Matty's feet-first slide. 

Evers did the same thing — 2l triple, and was cut 
off at the plate, stretching. Leach singled to right. 
Qarke beat a bunt. So did Wagner. Five hits, 
bases full, no runs, two out ! 

MuUin was apparently gone to pieces. Mitchell 
slapped him for a single, but the ball bounced 
against Clarke's leg, as the Pirate captain raced to 
third, and being hit by a batted ball he was out, 
retiring the side. Six hits and no score! 



The Post Postseason Game 808 



Eighth inning: Carrigan perished, Bush to 
Chase. Collins swiped a short drive from Mullin^ 
Bush cloud-scraped to Mitchell. 

No runs — ^no hits — ^none left. 

MuUin tightened up now and the Nationals 
hardly threatened in their half of the eighth. 
Grant* s hot bounce was handled by Collins. Chance 
floated to Crawford. Gibson singled, but Matt^ 
quickly forced him at second^ Collins to Bush. 

The stress of excitement was telling on every- 
body. Wagner gazed hard at the invalid. 

"Looks like he'd croak before this is over," he 
confided to Clarke. The stableman had almost lost 
his voice. The veins stood out on his forehead. He 
had nothing left of his hat but the rim. "For the 
love of heaven," he implored Cobb, **beat 'em this 
inning." The American Leaguers were howling at 
Harry Lord to "get on" and the nervy youngster 
clamped his jaws determinedly, as he faced the king 
of twirlers. Lord took the limit and chopped a 
clean single in short left. MuUin wanted Chase to 
sacrifice but Hal declined the suggestion. Seeing 
that Grant was playing in close Chase rapped hard 



804 The Post Post-Season Game 

at an inside fast one and pulled it at Grant so 
sharply that Eddie juggled long enough for Hal to 
reach first. Lord taking second. 

As one, the players of both sides recognized the 
situation as exactly similar to the one in which 
Mordecai Brown outguessed Ty Cobb in that 
famous world's series game of 1908 with the excep- 
tion that here there had been no scoring. In the 
Chicago-Detroit contest Brown made Cobb bunt 
toward third and telling Steinfeldt to stick on his 
base Brown fielded the bunt, cutting off the runner 
going from second to third. The National infielders 
stared at Matty and knew by his expression that 
he remembered the strategy. Would he also em- 
ploy it? Chance was almost as nervous as Mr. 
Merrill, but he felt it useless to advise so clever a 
general as Mathewson. If he could not outguess 
Cobb, no one could. By the first ball, pitched high 
and fast close to Cobb, it was evident that "Big 
Six" believed the Tiger slugger did not intend to 
be caught again. He was, therefore, surprised 
when Cobb stepped bade and attempted to bunt, 
fouling it off. Grant and Chance queried Matty 



The Poat Post-Secaon Game 805 

silently. But he had shook his head as though to 
say: ''Hold your positions. I think Cobb is only 
bluffing at the bunt.*' When Ty again tried to 
dtrnip a fast one inside^ his team mates 
shouted wildly and strove to get his at- 
tention. 

"Look out, Matty/' cried Chance, "look out for 
Lordr 

Bush was doing his best to hold the speedy Bos-' 
ton runner at second. Grant was uncertain whether 
to stick to his bag or play in for a bunt. When 
Matty had Cobb with three balls and two strikes 
"in the hole," as the saying goes. Chance ran over 
to the pitcher's box : "It's a cinch he's going to bunt 
and if we^re to get Lord, you'd better keep it low 
over the outside comer and field it yourself. It's 
the only chance. He's got to dump it toward third 
an' you c'n make the play easy." 

Mathewson was still reluctant. He did not trust 
the wily Cobb. But Chance was so insistent, and the 
fact that Cobb had twice essayed the bunt — maybe 
Cobb was figuring tfiat he, Mathewson, did not 
expect him to do the same as in Chicago, and thus 



806 The Post Post-Season Game 

hoped to outguess him. Matty concluded that this 
was so, and he signed Grant to stick on third. But 
this would be no ordinary curve. He would give 
Cobb one of his best "faders/* breaking down and 
away from the batter. Maybe he could strike him 
out. 

Cobb watched the brief wind-up and his shrewd 
eyes, never leaving the ball, glinted triumphantly as 
he saw it approach waist-high and fading. Quicker 
than thought he stepped forward and with a short, 
hard swing pushed a clean 'drive ten feet from 
Grant's reach out into Tfef t field. Qarke started the 
moment it left the bat, but a nasty bounce confused 
him, and Lord, rounding third, tore across the 
plate. Mathewson acknowledged the strategy with 
a sarcastic grin directed at Chance, which did not 
escape Cobb's notice. Crawford fouled out to Gib- 
son and on Speaker's drive to Mitchell, Cfiase was 
3ouble'd at third, a wonderful throw. 

The Nationals' chagrin lasted only a moment.' 
Grant and Mathewson went to the coaching lines. 
Encouraged by their oratory, Evers singled tfirougK 
the pitcher's box. BusK made a mess of Eeach's 



The Post Post-Season Game 807 

grounder and Qarke outsprinted a bunt to Lord, 
filling the bases. The mighty Wagner pawed the 
earth, spat on his hands, and roared defiance at 
Mullin. Like Qesar drawing his robe lest he see 
his assassins stab him, Patrick McGuire's big hands 
covered his face as he rocked back and forward. 
Mr. Merrill was crying and laughing: "It's all 
over ! Wagner'U kill it !'* Infielders and outfielders 
were begging Mullin to "steady up !'* 

Wagner, never a good waiter, refused to "take" 
the first one though high and wide. Again he 
swung and missed a curve. Mixing them up, Mul- 
lin sent in another high fast one away from the 
plate, but Wagner, aroused to fury, swung with all 
his power. Crash! A Gargantuan wallop, going 
with such speed that Mullin just managed to get 
part of his gloved hand to his forehead when the 
drive hit him squarely. Chase, expecting a play to 
be made at the plate on Evers, was way in so that 
he could back up Carrigan. As the ball bounced 
from Mullin's head he dashed toward the box, 
grabbed the ball before it struck ground, whipped 
to Lord at third and Lord whipped to Collins, thus 



808 T^ Post Post-Season Game 

completing a triple play on Wagner, Evers and 
Leach in less time than tt can be told. 

The grotesque head of McGuire, wearing a 
frayed hat rim, was the first thing that Mullin 
saw on r^faining consciousness. 

" W-what*s the matter ?" muttered the bewildered 
pitcher. 

"Ye win, Garge, ye win !" blared McGuire. "The 
ball bounced to your farhead and Chase made a 
triple play! *Twas niver done but wance before. 
Buffalo and Boston in 1884, Rowe ketchin' and 
Calvin pitchirf. I seen it — ^what!'* 

Breaking away suddenly, McCuire reached the 
home plate where Umpires Emslie and Evans held 
their ground against the jostling Nationals. 

The stableman's arguments were drowned in a 
roar of personal abuse which was suppressed by 
Fred Qarke and Frank Chance. "That play's 
legitimate,** said Qarke. "And I remember about 
it being made in Boston. Come on, let him 
alone!'* 

"If you wasn't crazy, Td knock your block off!" 
Wagner^ bare-headed, red-faced, raised both gorilla 



The Pottt Post-Seaton Game 809 

arms over a slight but animated figure that danced 
around him shouting, "Why didn't you wait! You 
struck at two wide ones! He'd 'a' walked you! 
We'd V tied th' score!'' 

At sound of this voice McGuire tore the big 
Dutchman aside. "He's walking — walking — ^first 
time in ten years — ^Mr. Merrill's walking !" 

The millionaire, in his passion of excitement, had 
indeed leaped from his chair. Only now did he 
seem to realize it. Quizzically he glanced from one 
to another as he looked himself up and down. 

"You had no kick coming, Mr. Merrill," said 
Mathewson, "we out-hit, out-pitched, and out- 
fielded them.'* 

"Why, yes," the rich "bug" spoke meekly. He 
was more interested in punching himself and spring- 
ing his joints. "My score shows that. But I don't 
— er, quite — ^the figures seem to— How do you 
account for it?" 

"Luck !" chorused a dozen voices. "The break, 
man; figures ain't everything! Luck counts in base- 
ball." 

With a bewildered smile the millionaire looked 



810 TKe Post Po9t'Sea8on Game 



about for his stableman. He was doing a jig with 
three little McGuires clinging to his shoulders. 

"McGuire/* he called out, "you're rich forever- 
good luck to you." 

Then turning, and shaking hands with the play- 
ers, he said : "Boys, that finishes me as a baseball 
bug. Hackett, bum up all that stuff in my rooms." 
With red blood jumping through his veins, his heart 
pumping and his spleen active, he turned and ran 
for the gate like a school boy at recess. 



THE SCORE 



NATIONALS 

ab h po a e 

Evers,2b. 5 2 3 10 

Leach, cf. 5 2 10 

Oarke, If. ....4 2 1 

Wagner, ss. ...4 2 1 5 

Mitchell, rf. ..3 1 4 1 

Grant, 3b. 4 12 1 

Chance, lb. ...4 1 8 

Gibson, c. 3 1 6 5 

Mathewson, p. .4 1 1 3 



AMERICANS 



ab h po 

Lord, 3b 4 2 2 

Chase, lb 4 1 11 

Cobb, rf. 3 1 1 

Crawford, cf.. .3 1 3 

Speaker, 11 ...4 1 1 

Collins, 3b. ...3 1 1 

Carrigan, c ...3 1 5 

Mullin, p. ....2 

Bush, ss 3 1 2 



a 
2 
3 

2 
2 
3 


3 



c 






1 



1 
1 



Totals 36 13 27 15 1 Totals 29 9 26 15 3 

"^ Garke out for interfering with batted ball in the ninth. 

Nationals 0—0 

Americans 1—1 

Runs — For Americans, Lord. Three-base hits — ^Mathewson, 
Evers. Sacrifice hits — Clarke, Cobb, Mullin. Left on bases 



The Post Post-Season Game 811 

— Nationals, 13; Americans, 4. Triple plays — Chase, Lord, 
Collins, Double plays — Chase (unassisted) ; Mathewson, 
Chance; Mitchell, Grant. First base on balls — Off Mathew- 
son, 1; off Mullin, 3. Struck out — By Mathewson, 5; by 
Mullin, 3. Time of game, Ih. 46m. Umpires — Emslie and 
Evans. Attendance— 2. 



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By HOMER DAVENPORT. (The story of his own early life.) 
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TBS SPENDTBRirr 

Novelized from the Popular Play by EDWARD MARSHALL. 
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A volume of 8 stories. By MYRA KELLY. i2mo, Cloth. 
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By EDWARD MARSHALL and CHARLES T.DAZEY. The 
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A Romance of Mystery and Adventure in Mexico of To-Dfty. 
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BELLES, BEAUX AND BRAINS Or TBE 60'8 

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JOHN HOUIENi UNIONIST 

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CBAG-NEST 

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THE WRITING ON THE WALL 

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By WM. MacLeod RA! 

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By WM. MacLeod RAINE, author of "Wyoming.'* X2mo. 
lo ' ' - -^- - - 



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THE THOBOUGHBBED 

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8TB0NGHEABT 

Novelized from WM. C. DeMILLE'S popular play, by F. R» ! 
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KATHEBINE'S SHEAVES 

By MRS. GEORGE SHELDON DOWNS. Blttsttated.! 
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STEP BY STEP 

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cm? 07 THI FLYING V 

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WOOL FRAIRDB XRIOHT ] 

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mAHGX DWELLERS 

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BY RIGHT or CONQUEST 

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THE CRT or SPLENDID NIGHT 

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TRUE DETECTIVE STORIES 

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ARTEMUS WARD 

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JMHBIXUNaS 

Ceaplefee Gonie Wxitaofik laflH^Oblh. Dhiitatod. |t.ML 

MRA 

AWGfVaTARVAMSllIUim. Iffciaiwteii (UMImis 
$14^ 




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