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Thread: The Orange and Black(Sox)

  1. #646
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    you are welcome and man another 9th inning comeback, congrats

  2. #647
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    jshaw: Thanks! And good luck to your team.

    * * *

    October, 1930

    And now that that is done, I can sit back and relax, secure and confident in the knowledge that my work here is done, and done well.

    Just kidding.

    No, now I get to watch several portions of the team I've built wander away to take their chances with the rest of the teams in the league.

    For example, Ralph Michaels. Nice man, one of the Original Orioles of ten years ago, stayed with us enough to be a major contributor to a World Champion team (two, actually, I keep forgetting he was on the '26 team as well, and he played on the one that came close last year). Lifetime average of .346, even better considering how terrible he was in his first four years, before he really should have been up in the majors (.184, .200, .125, and .231). Slumped last year to only .342, past two years were in the three-sixties. A man who should by all rights now begin to make huge money. And who wants $30,000 to start the negotiations.

    And who is not going to get that from me, and would be insulted if I told him how much he could really get. I won't even insult him - I owe him that much. He's released.

    Mal Williams is up for arbitration. he wants $4900 to stay with us. I could afford that one. I offer $4400, and he'll stay with us. And if he loses the job to Dusty Cooke in the spring, he's trade bait.

    Paul Waner, to nobody's surprise, chooses not to exercise the option we gave him to stay here at $7300. He wants $24,100. He won't get it, from me or anyone else in today's market. Released.

    Noah Reiger is another story. Not a star, never will be a star, but one of the best-fielding utility players in the game. I need men like him. He wants $3800. I offer $3300, and we don't need to go to arbitration. For this year, anyway.

    John Pomorski. 24, been one of our best relievers for four years now. ERA this year 2.16, with a record of 15 - 5, He's good, and he's only going to get better. And he wants almost $30,000 to stay here and prove it. I can't do that, and since it's arbitration, I can't take the chance on losing. With great regret on both our sides, he's released. I even try telling him that nobody else is going to be able to sign him for the money he wants, and he understands. "I have to, Mr. Aaron. It's not me, it's my father. He...well, he grew up poor, and he saw all the money Ted and Red and Lou are getting, and he won't let me sign for anything less. I know what you mean, and I think it's going to end badly too, but I have to do what he wants."

    I understand. I wish it were otherwise. And I release him.

    Phil Page, on the other hand, wants $5800. He'll get less, but he'll stay here. Frank Ragland wants more than I think he's worth, and he'll try his luck. He might have a chance, since he won't ask for too much, I'd think.

    In a morbid way, I almost can't wait to get the official league Free Agent list tomorrow. I suspect that a lot of teams are going to use the excuse of the end of contracts to do some serious cost-cutting.

    You see, there's a small problem with our free agency rules, that we might want to fix some time soon. The rules are that, if you have a negative cash balance (all of which must be reported to the leagues, and which could be audited at any time), you cannot sign any free agents. You can sign contract extensions with your own players, as I just did with some. But unless there is money in the bank, there are no new free agents signed.

    And right now, there are only three teams in all major league baseball with money in the bank. The National League champs, the American League champs, and, oddly, the St. Louis Browns. How can Phil Ball have money in the bank when he's had such a terrible team for so long? Simple - he trades away anybody who even looks as though he might cost money some day. That, and the fact that the Cardinals are a terrible team too, leaves people in St. Louis who want to see a baseball game no reason not to go to Sportsman's Park on days when the Brownies are in town, as opposed to Cardinal days. Plus, Ball actually owns the park, and the Cards rent it, so he's got that money coming in as well.

    Now we have plenty of money, and could probably buy a pennant-winner "off the rack", as it were. But we're not going to have the money for long. Another two days, I'd guess, until the check clears.

    Yes, I visited his office and watched Mr. Howard write a big check today. A very big check. $150,000. All to pay on The Loan.

    I can't complain about it too much. That's fifty thousand more than we expected to pay, and greatly increases our chances of paying the whole thing off on time. And it's mostly attributable to the pennant we're going to raise over the Stadium next year. We could have paid a lot more, even with our standard off-season operating expenses, but we did have to keep some money to throw into a hole in the ground every month (I know, technically it's to keep our stadium from sinking into a hole in the ground, but I appreciate the metaphor better the other way).

    Still, Mr. Howard is pleased. "H--l, man, we're paying it off early, not late! This is fantastic, simply fantastic! You're a genius, Charlie, doing those genius things you do. You're doing great. Daniel, he's doing great. The team's doing great. You know, d--n me if even I'm not doing great too. Got more money than I thought I did, God only knows from where. One of my pet accountants must have found a way to keep darlin' Melba from it. Hey, that could be true - Lena! Lena, get your sweet patootie on the phone and find out where my accountants are hiding my money from my wife. I tell you Charlie, it's tough, all the juggling I'm doing. Three or four businesses, property, Melba and Lena, always juggling. As long as that d--ned Hoover keeps his balls in the air too I might come out all right. Wait, did I just say what I think I said? Good!"

    He must be doing better. The blustery energy is back. As he says, as long as things don't get too much worse, he might make it after all. I surely hope so.

    * * *

    I was right. Someone with enough money could build a really good team from the free agents on the market. Your infield could be Ralph Michaels or Freddy Lindstrom (85/91) at third, Bucky Harris (90/90) or Tony Lazzeri (91/91) at second, and Ed Morgan (94/94) at first. Mickey Cochrane (85/85) can catch for you, and the pitchers he can catch include George Uhle (93/93), our old friend/nemesis Tommy Thomas (92/92), Charlie Root (91/91), Joe Schaute (87/87), with a bullpen of John Pomorski, Burleigh Grimes, Slim Harriss, Guy Bush, Flint Rhem, and Bill Hallahan.

    I'm not signing anyone. I wonder if the others are going to be able to.

    * * *

    Apparently Steve McKeever thinks so. He signs Tommy Thomas. Good, it gets him out of our league. He signs for almost $29,000 for 5 years. That's...a bold and interesting choice.

    Otherwise? The Browns sign several who they will probably trade. It's an interesting way around the restrictions on signing free agents when you don't have money. Wait for Phil Ball to sign them, then trade with him. I wonder if the rest of the league sees it.

    * * *

    Apparently not, as we go through the rest of the month with only two transactions worth mentioning. And one of those is a stretch. It would have definitely been a big deal for the Robins to sign Carl Mays ten years ago, but now, the 38 year old, 8 - 2 in 14 games with the Yankees last year, is pretty clearly on his way out, with an ERA over one full point higher this past year than his career average (4.39 over 3.38). Still, respect must be paid to a man who's won 232 career big league games during the regular season, and two more in three trips to the World Series.

    The other transaction is mine. After looking at our situation in Norfolk and on our bench, I can't justify keeping Chick Hafey and his $9,000 salary any longer. Chick got into more games this year than he ever has before, and hit 21 home runs for us, which is just fine, of course. And he's 27. But I think he's past it, and Kelly, while not thinking that quite as strongly as I do, yields to Jeff Gardner and me. We try shopping him, but can't find any takers. And so, after being in the Oriole organization since July 1925 (I didn't have to look that one up, because he came over in the Lou Gehrig to the Cubs trade), he's available for anyone. He's not happy about it, and cordially offers to place a nearby baseball bat in an uncomfortable location for me. Before we can reason further, he excuses himself from my office.

    I may need to re-think my preferred "deal with bad news in person" strategy. Though it did seem to amuse Sharon. And I'm in a bad mood because of it, so I snarl something about how she's going to have to re-type the paperwork I had her do to release him, since he ripped it up in front of me. "No problem, boss," she says cheerfully. Fifteen minutes later, she's back in my office with the same paper, now held together by...something. "Scotch tape," she tells me, as though that means anything. "The latest thing in office materials." She leaves it on my desk and returns to hers.

    If it was a strategy to get me out of my mood, it works beautifully. I love new inventions and such, and am soon fascinated by the half-sticky material.

    I really am a...what's the word for somebody who gets overly interested in minor details of modern science and technology? Whatever it is, I'm one of those.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

  3. #648
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Quote Originally Posted by birdsin89 View Post
    I really am a...what's the word for somebody who gets overly interested in minor details of modern science and technology? Whatever it is, I'm one of those.
    Nerd? *grin*
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  4. #649
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    Aug 2010
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    CatKnight: Yes! That's it. Though I don't know what they would have called it in 1930. Nice to see you.

    * * *

    (Orange and) Black Times

    (Note: if you're familiar with TV of the 70s and 80s, this style of episode will seem familiar. If not, skip a bunch, my apologies, thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time.)

    October, 1930

    I've never even worn a tuxedo jacket before. Now I have to get one.

    You see, Saturday, October 29 is a special day for us. In two ways, for me. First and foremost, it's Susanna's birthday. But that's not the one for which I need a tux. October 29 1930 is ten years to the day since the Baltimore Orioles came into existence, in this incarnation.

    We're having a banquet, with the movers and shakers of the city in attendance. Governor Ritchie will be there, as will Mayor Broening and former (and possibly future) Mayor Jackson. Business leaders from around the city and state are coming, including W B & A President George Bishop, financier George Mackubin, the chairman of Esskay Meats, Millard Purcell and Mark Broz and Alton Brown and A. S. Abell of the Baltimore Sun. Plenty of other rich and powerful men will be there too, men whom it's good to be on the side of rather than against.

    We're having our minor league teams represented as well. Roy Lewis, who's been owner/manager at Norfolk since before we were able to send them any players, will be there, as will Charlotte's owner Mike Howell and his manager, Vinnie Cormican. Macon's Howard Rome and Charlie Bass are expected, and Henry Jackson is coming up on the ferry from Deltaville.

    And I have to make a speech. I can't tell you how much I dread making that speech. I'm not really afraid of talking in front of people, as long as I want to be there. But I'd rather be with my wife alone, I'd rather be working on the party I'm planning for next week instead.

    And I'd rather George Durant and Thomas Kimball weren't going to be there. Especially Durant.

    Ten years ago, I was a quiet little personal assistant and secretary to George Durant at the B & O Railroad.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Money was not a problem for Mr. Durant. And even when those rumors came up about how some of the other, smaller companies in which he was invested had made major profits during the Great War, well, nothing ever seemed to come of those rumors. Ever.

    I had some guesses about all his mysterious recent doings. He surprised me.

    “Charlie, are you happy here in Baltimore?”

    “I’ve lived here all my life. Of course, sir.”

    “More specifically, are you happy with this company? Have you ever thought of a change?”

    I didn’t like where this was going. By this time I had a wife, Susanna, and four children. William was 10, Jacob was 8, Gregory was 7, and Michael was 5. We’d had girls too, but none of the three had made it past their first week, except for Sophie, who'd made it almost to her second birthday. In all this, we were not uncommon for Baltimore in the 1920s. If anything, we were doing better than average. But I really didn’t want to think about either moving, or, worse, not having a job. “Not really, sir,” I hedged.

    “Maybe you should.” At the look on my face, he smiled. “Relax, Charlie, I’m not firing you or moving you. I actually have an opportunity that’s just about to come up that I think you might find challenging.”

    With those two threats no longer hanging over me, I could relax a bit. “Actually, George, I’m pretty happy right here. Unless you’re going to offer me a dream come true, I’d probably –“

    “How would you like to run a professional baseball team?” he interrupted.

    I didn’t miss a beat. “I think that would be grand, sir. Unfortunately, President Wilson sent a telegram yesterday and asked me to finish out his term, just until the inauguration, so I’m busy until next March at least.”

    “I’m not joking, Charlie.” And indeed, just from the dark clouds that passed over his face when he said it, I could see that he wasn’t. This was the George Durant other people saw most. The man of business. You can bet I got serious right quick!

    “I…I really do think it would be grand, Mr. Durant,” I stammered. “Why?”

    “So if I were to come into possession of a baseball team at some level, you’d be interested in the job?”

    Because he seemed so serious about it, I decided to play along. I gave it a moment’s thought. That’s about all it took, except for one thing.

    “I’d love it. I think I could do it.”

    I had the job. The city had a team.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Of course, the team wasn't much to write home about in those days.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    1921 Baltimore Orioles, May 1

    Starting Lineup

    Graham Sweeney, SS, (72/88)
    Nick Tinsley, 2B, (66/72)
    Pete Martell, 1B, (71/88)
    Josh Kress, LF, (75/94)
    Lewis Mack, C, (80/89)
    Kelly Burton, 3B, (69/75)
    Vinnie Cormican, RF, (62/67)
    Malcolm Williams, CF, (67/73)

    On the Bench

    Wayne Marinkovich, C, (74/84)
    Noah Reiger, 1B, (65/75)
    Brian Sigalas, OF, (67/76)
    Andy Ford, OF, (52/58)
    Garret Duffield, IF, (68/88)
    Mark Wandesford, 1B, (62/73)

    Starting Pitchers

    Keith Steger (82/93)
    O. J. Harty (83/98)
    Jacob Farenchick (82/96)
    Jim Weeks (75/91)
    Mike Vowles (91/97)

    Relief Pitchers

    Paul Smothers (66/81)
    Jeff MacMaster (78/93)
    Shawn Shaw (79/97)
    Kent Bradburn (68/78)
    Justin Wagner (85/98)
    Luke Symuleski (79/93)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Not to mention another pressing need.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And while I was at it, I needed to get a manager.

    I wanted someone who had some major league experience (to counter that annoying fact that none of my players did). I wanted someone who they could respect, both as a manager and a player, who'd been there before. I wanted someone who'd been on some really bad teams, as I was beginning to suspect this one was going to be historically bad. And if I could find all that, and he had some ties to the community, that would be even better.

    Fortunately, there was someone who met all of those. He'd been a big league manager for the past twelve years, but had been let go by the Tigers after the 1920 season, and hadn't found another job. He'd played on some World Champion teams in the 1890s, and managed in three World Series with the Tigers. Some of his Championship teams had included the Old Orioles of the 1890s. And, I admit it, he'd been one of my heroes growing up.

    And best of all, when I called him, he was interested. Done.

    The Baltimore Orioles sign Hughie Jennings as their manager.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Plus, we needed a few more players in those days.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Ted Lyons signed with the Orioles for $5700 for seven years.

    In addition, the outfield was not a position of strength for me. All right, to be fair, I had no positions of strength. I called Kiki Cuyler, who looked to have great potential. He thought so too, and thought he'd have better luck reaching that potential on a team that wasn't as bad as ours. Homer Summa had very politely declined. Frank Welch hadn't been so polite about it. One year of experience on the Athletics, and he thought he was going to be something. Well, I thought so too, or I wouldn't have called.

    Tex Jeanes was different, though. He'd played a year of pro ball and had been scouted extensively by the Indians, but hadn't gotten anywhere near the majors. I was able to sign him for $3600 for 7 years.

    Lewis Mack is batting .355 for us, leading the team by far. But our scouts (we're up to two, now) tell us that he'll be, at best, a serviceable time-filler. It occurs to me that that phrase sums up most of the players on the team. Serviceable time-fillers, waiting until I can get some players who are actually good and belong on a major league roster in here. (It occurs to me further that the same might be said about me. I try to ignore this.) Even with Mack batting well, we need another catcher.

    My scouts have found an 18 year old playing in one of the minor leagues that remained independent. It takes longer to get the long distance connection to talk to him than it takes to convince him to sign. Joe Klinger will be an Oriole for seven years (or until I trade him - if anyone wants him). He is immediately assigned to the major league roster. We move Vinnie Cormican, who's batting .083 so far, down to Greenville to make room.

    When he calls us back (collect) to tell us that he's on his way, he mentions another 18 year old on his team, who's started two and pitched to an 0.82 ERA. At this point, that's enough for me. Joe puts him on the phone, and I sign Bill Hallahan, again to a seven year deal. He'll come up in place of Steger for a bit. O. J. Harty will move up to the number 3 spot in the rotation.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Last edited by birdsin89; 12-22-2012 at 04:41 PM.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

  5. #650
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Part Two

    And while it was tough in those early days, we did make it through both our on-field problems and the ones surrounding baseball.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    May 13: WE DID IT! It finally happened! Mark May 13, 1921 down as the day the Orioles won their first game! Lyons was masterful, scattering 7 hits by the Clevelands, only one for extra bases, allowing 2 runs to score. Meanwhile, he and his teammates (he got one hit and scored) were putting together only five hits. But, Orioles 3, Indians 2. I'm not entirely certain I was this happy when my first son was born.

    In other news, a jury deliberated less than and hour before declaring Benny Kauff not guilty of the charges against him. Kauff had been a star in the Federal League, and when it ended, he had gone to the New York Giants. Commissioner Kimball had banned him from baseball while the auto theft charges were going through the courts, back when he took over and banned several people. Now that he's been found not guilty, I wonder what Kimball is going to do.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And then the single biggest day of 1921 for us, as far as the future of the team is concerned.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "With the first selection in the first ever player draft, the Baltimore Orioles select Lou Gehrig, first baseman, from New York."

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    After those first few years, we've had plenty of successes to go with the challenges.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    September 22: The final game of the season. Maybe. What if we tie? I go to call the league office, but find that Ban Johnson has had one of his functionaries, Roger Bolton, call me instead. He wants to know if I want heads or tails. The league is going to flip a coin, with both us and Frank Navin on the teleprinter. I get to call it, to determine who will be the home team if there needs to be a playoff. I call heads. We wait for the word to come over the printer. It's heads. We'll host the Tigers tomorrow, if we finish tied today.

    But first we have to win the game. It's Slim Harriss against Freddy Fitzsimmons. Each is mediocre. They both last into the seventh, but no more. They both give up more runs than they should. Gehrig hits home run number 27, but we make five errors. We go to the bottom of the ninth, and we're losing. And we get the word that, down the road in Washington, the Senators have lost to the Tigers, 10 - 7. Tex Jeanes leads off the inning with a long fly ball to left that gets caught. One out. Charlie Gehringer hits a soft ground ball to second, and reaches safely when Max Bishop throws it in the dirt! Gehrig comes up, with the crowd screaming for a hit. 24,000 people scream, and get their wish - Gehrig singles to left, and Gehringer ends up on third. On the next pitch, the relatively slow-footed Gehrig breaks for second, and arrives without a throw! I think he surprised the whole park, as an out now would have killed our season. But he took the chance (neither Hughie nor Kelly Burton, after the game, will say that they gave Lou the signal to steal), and we have runners in scoring position with one out. Bill Barrett follows with a grounder to the mound. With Gehrig on first, it's a season-ending double play. With Gehrig not there, it's an RBI ground out. We're tied! Next up is our George Burns. Naturally, because my heart needs more drama, he works the count to full. And hits a sharp ground ball at shortstop Jimmie Dykes. Who...is handcuffed by it! He can't get the throw to first! Burns is safe, Gehrig scores, and we win! Orioles 7, Athletics 6

    There will be 155 games in the American League in 1924. The Orioles and Tigers are having a winner-take-all playoff. Tomorrow. At Oriole Park.

    * * *

    Scores for 09/11/25 Winning Pitcher Losing Pitcher Save Home Runs
    Code:
                         1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 +  R  H  E
           Red Sox (BOS) 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 0    4  8  0
           Orioles (BAL) 0 2 0 0 4 0 0 0 x    6 11  0
    Starters: Dutch Leonard vs. Ted Lyons
    WP: Ted Lyons (21-10) - 9.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
    LP: Dutch Leonard (12-13) - 4.0 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
    HR: None

    Code:
                         1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 +  R  H  E
            Browns (SLB) 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0    3  5  1
         Athletics (PHA) 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 x    5  8  0
    Starters: Joe DeBerry vs. Slim Harriss
    WP: Slim Harriss (14-8) - 8.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 1 K
    LP: Joe DeBerry (8-10) - 8.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
    SV: Herb Brett (6) - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
    HR: None

    With the loss by the Browns, and the Orioles victory
    The Baltimore Orioles are 1925 American League Champions!

    * * *

    August 27: Our mid-season acquisition, Walter Johnson, beats their mid-season acquisition, Bill Sherdel. Orioles 5, Yankees 4 Meanwhile, in Boston, the Red Sox lose to fall 22 games back...with 21 left to play.

    The Baltimore Orioles are 1926 American League Champions!

    And this time I get to see it up close!

    * * *

    So we come to our part of the ninth. McGraw puts in Willie Underhill, who worked 88 innings this year in relief, earning a record of 8 - 7 with an ERA of 3.58. Generally reliable, Underhill is the one McGraw likes to bring in with a a small lead in late innings, if it looks as though his starter is tiring. In other words, this is the man for the situation.

    Ralph Michaels comes in to pinch hit for Leon Williams. After working to a 2 - 2 count, he hits a soft grounder to Dave Bancroft at short. Bancroft has to charge in on it, and when he does, he focuses on the throw he's going to have to make - to the point that he doesn't field the ball cleanly, and Michaels is safe! Underhill isn't used to his defense failing him, and it obviously rattles him a bit, as the four pitch walk to Willie Kamm shows. However, he settles down enough to get Tex Jeanes to pop up to second, advancing nobody. Jeanes is proving that he's good to great in the regular season, and terrible in the Series - his .222 is at least better than last year's .200, but not by much.

    And now, it's the man who it has to be. Lou is up. Underhill looks in, and looks as though he'd like to be somewhere else. He works carefully, missing the outside on two pitches, catching it on one. The thing is, he can't pitch around Lou - Charlie Gehringer is on deck. He needs the out. So he rears back and fires.

    He doesn't get it. Lou hits a clean single to left, and while it's not a foregone conclusion, Michaels is not seriously challenged by Frederick's throw.

    Final Score: Orioles 5, Giants 4

    * * *

    September 1: Maybe I spoke too soon about Red in the rotation. He gives up five runs in less than four innings, and is gone. But Harry Child and Ed Barnhart team up to finish the game without allowing any more, and our incredible bats do the rest of the job, including Lou's 31st home run. Orioles 8, Browns 5

    Meanwhile, in Washington, the Senators beat the Red Sox 10 - 5. This leaves them 19 games behind us, but with only 18 left to play. Which in turn means

    The Baltimore Orioles are 1927 American League Champions

    For the third straight year, the Orioles will hoist the AL flag over Oriole Park.

    * * *

    September 11: Noah Reiger and George Watkins hit home runs as Ted Lyons goes the distance for win number 24. Orioles 7, Browns 3 Before it ends we get word that the Senators lose 3 - 2 to the Indians in Washington. Which means...

    The Baltimore Orioles are 1929 American League Champions

    All 35,000 fans celebrate as though it hasn't happened before. Mr. Howard showed up for today's game in the event it went this way. Susanna and the boys are with me. It's a party all around.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Last edited by birdsin89; 06-30-2014 at 07:02 AM.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

  6. #651
    Join Date
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Part Three


    And I've gotten to know plenty of people over the years. Some good times.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    June 18: Keith Steger gives up two runs, but as we get into the bottom of the fifth, we haven't done anything. By the bottom of the eighth, we're still down 2 - 1. I'm looking from the owner's seat at the players in the dugout, and I see Steger when he comes off the mound. He's not happy at all. He's pitched very well, but when your team is batting .231, you can't win with "very well", you have to shoot for "perfect". So the pitchers put that pressure on themselves, which makes them miss.

    Steger appears to have a different approach. I can't hear exactly what he's saying, but I can hear that he's yelling all the way from the dugout. He's screaming at his teammates, waving his arms, getting nose to nose with them. Some just look away, some look as though they want to fight him. I'm happier with the second reaction than the first. Graham Sweeney stands up and gives it right back to him. Steger then turns on his heel and heads to the on deck circle. He's second up this inning.

    After Reiger grounds out to start the inning. Steger steps in...and sends the first pitch flying out of the park! There was no question at all - as soon as he hit it, 20,000 spectators knew it was a home run. We're tied at two. Steger is still jawing at Sweeney, who's coming up next.

    Sweeney hits the next pitch to center, fairly shallow. Tim Hendryx, the Boston center fielder, loses it in the sun, and it drops right in front of him. However, Sweeney has been running for his life from the moment he made contact, and before Hendryx can pick it up, Sweeney's half way to second base. Hendryx gets the ball and throws...and Sweeney is SAFE at second!

    The next batter is Pete Martell, our first baseman. On a 1 - 1 count, he singles up the middle. Sweeney was off and running on contact, and Hendryx picks up the routine hit. But Sweeney, perhaps goaded on by his conflict with Steger, isn't stopping at third, and runs straight through Hughie's signs. Hendryx is surprised, and his throw to the plate is late! Sweeney scores! And I notice that Steger is the first one to the dugout steps to congratulate him.

    After that, the ninth is anticlimax. Steger isn't going to let this one slip no matter what. While Muddy Ruel does single, that's all they can do. Orioles 3, Red Sox 2, and the eleven game losing streak is finally over.

    * * *

    "Washington?"

    Griffith turned to look at Johnson. They had been allies for many years as the league began. I don't know that there had ever been an actual break between them.

    He turned to look at Durant. Durant was the competition from up the road, the new shop opening across the street. In the same league. Durant also had no baseball experience, unlike Griffith, Mack, and Johnson, who'd all played professionally.


    Clark Griffith

    He turned to Johnson. "Nay."

    Ruppert was on his feet immediately, shouting "You traitorous bas-"

    That was as far as he got. "Sit down, Jacob," Johnson said. He stared at Ruppert until he finally, reluctantly, sat. With a voice that you might have if you realized you'd stepped in something foul, he said, "The vote being 9-7 against, the Nays have it. The motion fails."

    I was very, very happy. I would ask for confirmation later, but I'm not stupid, and knew what had happened. Mr. Durant had been working on the other men in the room. He had built a coalition. I had no idea what he'd promised, but he'd done it. And everyone knew it. And soon, Thomas Kimball would know it too. Kimball had always seen Durant as an ally, I'm sure. Now he could see him as a powerful one.

    But Durant wasn't done. "Mr. President, I have a motion to make."

    Johnson had looked as though he was ready to get out of there as soon as he could. But he couldn't just over-ride a legitimate motion. "Yes," he bit out.

    Durant began a bit of knife-twisting that would have made Jack the Ripper envious. Affecting exactly the tone Johnson had used earlier in the meeting, mocking him even more, he began, "While I have had to vote against the proposal most recently advanced, I fully concur with your reasoning behind it. Your statements of support to Commissioner Kimball are well known, Mr. Johnson, and I'm sure greatly appreciated by him."

    Now I did see smiles, even from some of those who'd voted against us.

    "And I must agree, the work Commissioner Kimball has done does indeed merit our fullest support. Therefore, I would like to suggest we vote on an alteration to Commissioner Kimball's contract. I propose that the term of his service be extended until such time as he should see fit to leave the position."

    Ruppert was positively red. "A lifetime contract?" he sputtered. "We can't--"

    "I second the motion," interrupted Grant.

    Johnson was stuck. And much, much quieter than I'd seen him so far. While I said I wasn't stupid, I never claimed to be the smartest man in the room. Johnson and Ruppert knew what had happened and was happening, too. "A motion has been proposed and seconded. Let's not poll the vote this time, all right. A simple show of hands should do. All in favor?"

    9-7. Same voters with the same votes. As we had all known would be the case.

    "The vote being 9-7 in favor, the motion passes. Kimball gets his lifetime job." Johnson's words had gotten much less flowery now than they'd been earlier in the meeting. "Do I have a motion to adjourn?"

    "Mr. President, I have another motion to propose." Durant. Driving forward. That's Durant's style. Like many others, he can't personally deal well when kept spinning, off balance. So he assumes that nobody else can either. I knew that if Johnson could have turned this around and gone on the attack, he could have gotten Durant just as bamboozled. But it didn't seem likely. Not today.

    "What?" Johnson snapped.

    All sweetness and light from Durant now. "As we've all agreed, Commissioner Kimball's position is a very difficult one. We have seen how difficult it is, in the lawsuits that have been levied against him by Mr. Comiskey, and by various players who he has had to ban from the game for the good of baseball. I would like to propose that we adopt a regulation under our anti-trust exemption that would indemnify the office of the Commissioner against any lawsuits."

    "How would that work," Frazee asked.

    "Exactly the way he explained it last night to his eight pet votes," Ruppert muttered.

    The explanation that followed had more legalisms in it than I could ever hope to understand. When Durant was done, a beaten Johnson merely called for a show of hands vote again.

    9-7.

    Durant wasn't done, though. Again, Johnson called for adjournment. Again, Durant had a proposal. This time, for an outright vote of confidence in the Commissioner's work "in the best interest of baseball."

    12-4. Navin, Ebbets and Lasker came over too.

    And then, a triumphant Mr. Durant permitted Johnson to close the meeting.

    * * *
    Last edited by birdsin89; 06-30-2014 at 07:04 AM.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

  7. #652
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Part Four

    Plenty of good people, and good times.

    On September 10, we're going to begin a series against the Senators. David Howard makes a rare appearance at the offices.

    "What's going on here? Why all the long faces? I don't understand. Aren't we the Baltimore Orioles? Aren't we the best major league team around? You've all done a fantastic job. Fantastic, I tell you! Couldn't be better. Where were you this time last year? Last place, right? Or close to it? And where were you this time two years ago? Dead last, right? And where were you this time three years ago? Unemployed, right? There was no team here. None at all! So it couldn't be worse than that.

    "But look at what you've done in those two years. Third place. Not that far out of first. In first place into August. A game out as late as September! You're doing great! The team's doing great. You made it possible. All of you. Well, maybe not you, Daniel, but everybody else!

    "So let's not have any more of this moping around I'm seeing. You've done a d--ned fine job, and I expect you all to look like it! Now, every one of you, I want a smile on your face. A song, too. Not in your heart, I want to hear it. Let's all sing now. I'll start."

    And he did. "Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today..." And we couldn't help it. The whole room was smiling. And laughing. And the fact that he came over to me, and threw an arm around me, left me no choice but to join in. "We've string beans, and onions, Cabashes, and scallions,"

    And Bob Wilson poked his head out of the office, took a look, shook his head, and came in with the best voice of the three of us. Philip just stared at us. "And all sorts of fruit and say"

    Louise, Jeff, and Helen have wandered in by this time. Tony Concepcion, one of Jeff and Bob's scouts, must have been visiting them, because he's in on it. Soon they're all gathered around us, singing a silly song. Philip continues to stare. "We have an old fashioned tomato, a Long Island potato, but yes, we have no bananas"

    Andy Snyder and his boss, George O'Dowd from the ticket booth, have just stopped by. They didn't see the beginning, but they join us. And I hate to admit it, but we're having a good spot of fun.

    "Business got so good for him that he wrote home today, "Send me Pete and Nick and Jim; I need help right away", When he got them in the store, there was fun, you bet, Someone asked for "sparrow grass" and then the whole quartet, All answered"

    And a scowling Philip slowly got up, and walked over to right in front of us. We're kind of huddled together like Christmas carolers, utterly beyond caring that we're professionals dealing with a baseball team that isn't quite going to make it. And Philip waves us to stop. In the brief break that follows, he opens his mouth to scold us all.

    And instead, in probably the most pure tenor I've heard this side of Caruso, takes over.

    "Yes, we have no bananas
    We have no bananas today
    Just try those coconuts
    Those wall-nuts and doughnuts
    There ain't many nuts like they
    We'll sell you two kinds of red herring,
    Dark brown, and ball-bearing
    But yes, we have no bananas
    We have no bananas today"

    When he's done, the whole office starts clapping. He takes a modest bow, and returns to his desk. Other than singing, he hasn't said a word.

    Mr. Howard turns to me. "My work here is done. It's up to you now, Charlie. Fix..." he gives an indistinct wave of his hand, "...things." And off he goes. And I realize they're all looking at me.

    "You heard the man," I say. "Fix...things." And I head off to my office, closing the door behind me.

    And if, later in the day, before batting practice, I hear almost the exact same speech, along with the same song, from Mr. Howard down in the dugout, leading Hughie and the team, well, what of it?

    * * *

    We're at my uncle Jake's farm, in Anne Arundel County. Duffield has a board set up in front of a small hill just past the back corn field, with paper targets nailed to it. We're standing about 75 yards away, with a small table and a small arsenal.

    You see, I was with the boys yesterday during pregame activities, and heard them talking the way ballplayers do. The way men do, I suppose - not really about much, just...things. Swapping stories, trying to come up with ones they haven't already told on a million train rides before this. Tex is talking in that Texas drawl of his about how he used to hunt squirrels and rabbits and armadillo when he was growing up. Of course, to hear him tell it, the squirrels were the size of wolves, the rabbits had razor-sharp fangs, and the armadillos were the model for the tanks the Brits used in the Great War, "only them fellers had to scale it down, 'cause they found their own men were running scared when the officers told them to climb in."

    Yes, it's that kind of conversation.

    Anyway, Tex mentions that he had to give up most of his guns when he moved to the big city. Not get rid of them, that would be pointless, just not go out and shoot so much. A couple of the other country boys complain about the same thing.

    And for some reason, I mention my uncle's farm. At least I don't mention the one my mother lives on.

    As you'd expect, this turns attention to me fully. And I'm not stupid enough to miss the intent. So I said I'd talk to my uncle about it.

    And this morning, before heading to the park, Duffield, Jeanes, Lyons and I are at Uncle Jake's home-made shooting range. Duffield is holding his Winchester 1895 .405 rifle, the kind Teddy Roosevelt carried on all those hunting trips. I watch him close the eye, slow his breathing, and squeeze the trigger as gently as possible. The boom is...well, it's a boom and it's a loud one. I bring up my binoculars and tell him he's about two inches low and slightly to the left.

    Tex and Ted have both shot their rifles, Tex his .30-06 and Ted his much rarer .30-03 Springfield. Not surprisingly, money has already changed hands between these two on their shooting prowess, with Tex taking fifty of Ted's hard-earned dollars (and me taking ten of Garret's, who had bet on Ted).

    Through all this, I haven't even taken my own rifle out of the case. It's just fun to be out with the boys - and they are very much that. Boys, having fun shooting, testing themselves to see who is better. Tex and Ted shot local game as boys to help put food on the table, and still have some of the skills. Garret grew up just outside Pittsburgh, and didn't shoot as a young man, but just wanted to try.

    And me? I shot game as a boy too, around the farm. Got to be pretty good at it. I still have the .22 rifle at the house in Baltimore - it helps keep the local rats in line. I'm not going to lie to you, I am very good with the .22.

    * * *

    So of course, Tex Jeanes chooses today to retaliate against Daniel Howard for...well, for whatever it is that Daniel did to annoy Jeanes. I'm at my desk, going through the attendance figures (which are quite nice, thank you), and I hear Daniel come in. He grunts his usual morning greeting to Louise and Philip, and proceeds to his office. He opens it...and bellows incoherently. It's loud, and it's not actual words. I'd think he's drunk, but not this early in the morning. I get up and go to his office, but he's already storming out the door to get to the field. I take a quick look in the office.

    It's...I don't know how to say it. I don't know how he did it. I'm actually quite impressed. It's upside down.

    Everything. Every item in the office. The desk is nailed to the ceiling. The Chairs are nailed to the ceiling. The filing cabinet, nailed to the ceiling. Lamps, apparently glued to the desk. The one permanent bookcase isn't moved, of course, but every book in it is now upside down. The picture on the wall is upside down. The photograph on the desk is glued to the desk, right next to the also-glued blotter, fountain pen, and bottle of ink. The rug is attached to the ceiling. And (and to be honest, this impresses me most of all) the hanging lamp that is supposed to be in the ceiling, is sticking up in the middle of the floor.

    I don't know what to say. Fortunately, Louise does. She's laughing as loudly as I've ever heard from anyone. Even Philip appears to be supressing a grin, and not particularly well. And why should he? Let's face it, this is...this is art.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

  8. #653
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Part Five

    But with these fun parts, I also have to remember the parts that weren't so much fun.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "George, if there was someone pushing me on this, there would be no way to keep it out of court. But since it's just me, I can. And I will, unless you want to force my hand."

    "How?"

    My most sympathetic voice, now. "George, I know what you were doing. The money didn't go to you. It never went to any of your accounts. It went around baseball, and it went to Washington. It went to some of Kimball's friends in the Senate, and to some of those owners who supported you last year against Johnson. You did it for the team, and for the city. You've given us all a lot, George. And it would be a terrible shame to sully that."

    "So what is your option, Charlie?"

    His tone said that he was thinking again. I'd have to watch that. Keep pressing. I took out one more stack of papers, and placed them on his desk. "Sell the team, George. Sign your name eight times on these pages, and walk away from the team. Walk back to Radio, and the B & O, and C-T-R, and your fortune, and your life."

    "Or?"

    "I thought that was clear, George. 'Or' we go public with this. You lose the team anyway. And do you think those boards of those firms could keep you around if this got out? If you were convicted of embezzlement?

    "Don't sign the papers, and lose everything you've got."

    At that moment I knew I had him. Because I saw him get a look that said that he thought he had a slim chance. He knew it was slim. I knew it was imaginary. He pleaded, "Charlie, give me some time, you've got to give me some time."

    No. "It's a five page document, George, and most of it is legal boilerplate. You have seven minutes, and then I call the police."

    I guessed right. He didn't want time to read. He wanted time to think of a way out. So I denied that, and he moved to another approach.

    "Charlie," more in sorrow than in anger, "I've been good to you. We've been friends. I only took on the team because of that love of baseball that we both share. I put you in charge of a major league team when you had almost nothing to recommend you for it. I've been good to you!"

    "I know." Cold. "That's why I haven't called the police yet. That's why I'm offering you this deal first."

    Now, it was my turn to change tactics. I softened up a bit. "Please, George. Do this. You've done good here, despite the methods you used to do it. You brought us the team. You kept it going. These are good things. It would be a shame for someone who's done all this to be remembered for one unwise decision." A step closer to him. "Please, George. If this goes to the police, it will hang over you, and the organization, and the entire city. If you go, you keep your reputation, and the Orioles keep theirs. Sign it, George."

    And the moment has arrived. He just stares at me. I think I've shut down his escape routes. As far as I can tell, I've channeled him at each point to the decision I want him to make. But he could just toss it aside here. I wait.

    And the Durant scowl, that I've seen bore holes in business rivals over the years, is turned on me. But he reaches to his desk, and takes a fountain pen. "You've become quite a son of a *****, Charlie." But he's signing as he says it.

    * * *

    And the sad thing is, that's not even particularly atypical of Lockman's writing about me. I'm not sure how you can look at a successful team, one that even national publications are saying will be successful, and see that as the result of the man who owns the team. I could see that if Mr. Howard had come in and fired everyone and signed all of the top free agents out there. But he left things in place. He's not even here. Daniel Howard is here. Helen Howard is here. David Howard shows up once every other week or so.

    Louise knocks on my office door and brings my morning Coke. She glances at the paper on the desk. "Oh, I see you've seen it. I can't believe he's trying that now."

    I'm confused. "Trying what?"

    Louise has given me some looks of pity ever since I didn't see that she was getting implicated in the rumors of my adultery. She gives me that look again. Without comment, she takes the paper, grabs a pencil, and underlines some lines of Lockman's article.

    "...he is as far from a dry, sober..."

    "...that may have something to do with the problem at hand..."

    "...with some modicum of control, over his team or himself..."

    Wait...he can't be saying...

    "Mr. Aaron, you're not an adulterer. And you're not a drunk. And without saying it, Dale Lockman has now accused you of being both."

    And I know she's still miffed at me because she just leaves that as her exit line and returns to her desk.

    * * *

    She doesn't back away, my Susanna. "And again, why not? This man has accused you in print of being an adulterer and now a drunk. And you've let him do both! Aren't you going to-"

    "Do what, exactly?" I respond, somewhat bitterly. "Respond in print? Why bother? AS the saying goes, 'Never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel.' Well, the full force of the Baltimore American is behind him. That's no small thing."

    She's still seething. "You can find him where he works, and-"

    Again I interrupt. "And what? Pop him in the nose? Sure I could. I'd probably even win," I lied, "but then I get arrested for assault and get in the same fight with the newspaper." I move closer to her, put my arm around her. "Sus, I know you don't like this. You have to know that I don't like it either. But really, unless I can convince Mr. Howard to buy the American and fire Lockman, there's not much I can do." My most calming voice. Mr. Reasonable.

    I forgot how much she hates Mr. Reasonable. "Stop that! Do you think I don't hear our neighbors talking? I heard Mrs. Carlton at the butcher's today, talking to Mrs. Fairbanks. 'Did you see what they said about Aaron's husband? They couldn't print it if it wasn't true.' D--n them!"

    My eyes got a bit wider. Susanna never curses. She doesn't even stop. "And to make it worse, I don't even know if they're right. Are you drinking, Charlie? Can you honestly tell me you haven't had a drink since you promised me you wouldn't?"

    And, of course, I can't. "No I can't!", and we're both yelling now. Dimly, distantly, I see that Michael has run out of the room. Good. "I can't tell you that. I have had drinks since then. And it hasn't meant a damned thing, all right? It hasn't meant anything. I'm not suddenly going to work drunk. I'm not stopping on my way home to have a drink at the speakeasy in the back of The Terrapin. I'm doing my job, and I'm providing for this family, and I wish to hell you'd just let me do it!"

    I don't usually yell either. She looks, in turn, surprised, then hurt, and then back to angry. Very tightly, very coldly, she says, "You know what's worst of all, Charlie? He said you're drinking. You are. If this story from him is true, how do I know the other one isn't too?" And she turned on her heel and bolted from the room, crying. I heard our bedroom door slam.

    To hell with this. As well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. I get my hat, and head back outside. To the Terrapin. To the speakeasy in the back.

    * * *
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

  9. #654
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Part Six

    More of the less pleasant parts...

    Of course, I come back later that night, in a much more conciliatory mood. I've got it all worked out. I'll come home and find her asleep in our bed. I'll wake her, gently (after brushing my teeth - why start trouble again by having alcohol on my breath?). I'll tell her I'm sorry, that things were said that weren't meant, that tones were taken that shouldn't have been. And through the magic powers of "I'm sorry", all will be well again.

    I open the door to our room. She's not in our bed. I look around, and find that she's sleeping in Michael's bed with him.

    She's not even willing to listen to me! How can she do that? What gives her the - never mind. I'm going to bed.

    Maybe, out of the corner of my eye, I notice her tears as I leave. Even if I do, I'm not going to stop. Let her come to me.

    * * *

    After that last series, I celebrate in my office. Which, to be honest, isn't exactly a new thing for me. But this time I celebrate a lot. A whole lot. When I wake up on my couch, I find that I've a paint brush and bucket next to me. I wonder what I did with that?

    * * *

    I woke in my office, after another night spent there. And looked at the copy of the papers on my desk. All properly signed, with teleprinter "receipts" indicataing when they were sent and received at the league offices.

    Apparently, during the night, I made a trade. And I don't remember doing it.

    And what a trade I made, too.

    Orioles get: SS Rabbit Maranville, $12,000
    Pirates get: RF Kiki Cuyler, SP Bill Hallahan

    What was I thinking? And how am I going to explain this to David Howard? How am I going to explain this to Hughie?

    How am I going to explain this to Cuyler? And Hallahan?

    My head hurts now, much more than it did when I woke up. I can feel the blood pounding in me, and not in a good way, either. There's going to be hell to pay over this one.

    And, of course, the obvious solution? The one where I try to take it back? Would result in my admitting to the world that I was drunk when I made the decision (as though they won't think that anyway).

    I can get Daniel Howard to tell Hughie, Kiki, and Bill. Maybe I can get him to tell his father too. That might work.

    This is not good.

    * * *

    I leave the park, and head over to Howard's, where Mr. Howard has his office. Lena tells me he's in. She also looks daggers at me, and I don't really blame her. I would too. She announces me, and he calls me right in.

    I start by telling him that I know what I've done recently, and how wrong it is. He just nods - I'm sure he's still angry at me from the other day. So:

    "Mr. Howard, I want to apologize to you. To you personally, for the way I talked to you the other day. And to you as my boss, because I have utterly failed you over the past year or so."

    "I wouldn't say 'utterly', Charlie," this normally ebullient man says very, very quietly.

    "I would. I can't think of anything I've done right in that time, and I'm not asking you for a compliment with that. The first good decision I've made in some time is this one, sir. I want to salvage my life."

    "How?"

    "To be honest, sir, the first thing I have to do is fix my marriage, if it isn't already broken beyond repair. I don't have any idea how I'm going to do that, after the things I've put my wife through. But it needs to be done. My wife needs a husband. My sons need a father. And I need them. So that has to be my top priority."

    I pause, as much to let that sink in with him, as with me. Then, onward.

    "Which means I will have to leave the team. I cannot possibly focus enough attention on my family and on my job at the same time. Maybe some day I'll be able to again, with whatever job I find. But that time isn't now.

    "I'm sorry to leave you in the lurch like this, Mr. Howard, but I have to do this.

    * * *

    I don't know what to say.

    As anyone can see, our team is doing very well. We're getting ready to face the Phillies, or possibly the Giants in a rematch of last year's World's Series. We're solid. We can and have rested our starters (except for Lou, who refuses the offer outright). Tex is over .400 with three games to play. Baseball is good.

    And it's so, so unimportant.

    That telephone call yesterday, the one with Bob Wilson in Miami? The one where he mentioned that a thunderstorm was coming? It wasn't just a thunderstorm.

    The Baltimore Sun calls it "The Great Miami Hurricane". Early reports are that the winds got to 125 miles per hour, and something called a "storm surge" of fifteen feet hit. The papers are explaining that hurricanes have something called an "eye" which is an area in the middle of the storm in which it looks like the storm is over. They're telling us this because apparently a lot of people (myself included) didn't know it, have no experience with hurricanes, and so, after the first part of the storm ended, these people came out of their shelters, tried to leave barrier islands, and basically thought it was over. And were caught unprepared when it wasn't. "The lull lasted 35 minutes, and during that time the streets of the city became crowded with people," wrote Richard Gray, the local weather chief. "As a result, many lives were lost during the second phase of the storm."

    At least 150 people are confirmed dead, with thousands listed as "missing". No word on Bob, or the Taylors. The fact that Bob hasn't called in doesn't mean anything, I keep telling myself. It's too soon, telephone lines are down, there's no way he could report in.

    And there is almost nothing any of us can do.

    * * *

    You see, word came from the Red Cross today. They've been on the scene, almost immediately after the storm in Miami. They've been doing God's work, taking care of what news reports are saying may be up to 50,000 people suddenly without homes. It's such a wonderful thing that charities such as this are available when we need them.

    And yes, I'm talking about that, because I don't want to face what they said. What they confirmed.

    Bob Wilson is among the dead.

    I have to go to see Jean. I don't even know if she knows yet. I've known Bob for over twenty years.

    * * *

    Very sad news to begin the month - on the first, Hughie has passed on.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And there it is. Because I'm going to be expected to go through a litany of things that have happened in the past, and no matter how hard you try to stay positive and happy, those sorts of things always turn out to be more than a little bit maudlin and self indulgent. So that's why I don't want to make this speech.

    On the other hand, we did just win the World Series. I have four healthy, happy, successful sons, and a marriage that has weathered more than the typical storms. So if I have to make a speech for one night, I think I can probably handle it.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

  10. #655
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    great summary, really like it and the idea

  11. #656
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    jshaw: Thanks. I was originally going to break up the story here, and start a new one (as you saw at the top of the flashback entry), and the flashback/clip show would have been the first post in the new one. But then I remembered that I'm not writing for TV, and it can all be there in one big thread.

    All: Thanks for sticking with this for ten years of story time. Somewhat ambitious, perhaps, but I may only be 1/3 of the way through with Charlie. Or, as we saw a couple of months ago, I may not.

    * * *

    November, 1930

    It's the first election since the Crash. Lots of men are out of work, which makes it particularly ripe for the Friends of Lonnie Adair.

    You see, Baltimore is not immune to machine politics. We've never had them as big and well known as Tammany Hall, or the Pendergast Machine in Kansas City, and certainly nowhere near the level of corruption in Chicago. In Chicago, they don't refer to "the machine" - it's just business as usual. Well, Baltimore has one as well, called the Friends of Lonnie Adair. That gentleman was an Irish immigrant to the city in either the late 40s or early 50s. The story has come down of how this sainted man struck to defend the honor of an equally-sainted fair colleen and flower of Irish womanhood from being defiled by a dastardly colored man. Oddly, the Baltimore Afro-American, in telling their version of the story, speak instead of a usually-drunken paddy who was attempting to get out of paying for the services of a chippie, and got violent with her. A passing Freedman intervened, and was killed for his troubles. Either way, Adair then had the misfortune to have done this deed in such a blatantly obvious way that even the juries of mid-century Baltimore couldn't help but find him guilty. The Irish community was incensed, leading to one of the riots which gave Baltimore its local color and nickname of Mobtown. Once the matter was resolved by the expedient of hanging the criminal, the Friends of Lonnie Adair, shortened to FOLA, stayed together and gradually collected power about itself. Over time, that power went from being physical to being mostly political.

    The odd thing about our version of the machine is that FOLA isn't completely affiliated with a party. Sure, they're mostly Democrat, but it's commonly assumed that everybody in any sort of power in the city, Republican or Democrat, either belonged to them, or was associated in some way. Nobody quite knew how that worked, but it's a mystery we didn't really care to solve, for the simple reason that as long as there was a FOLA machine, there wasn't any other one moving in. And with the FOLA rule resting so lightly on the city, we knew we could do worse. It's absolutely the quietest criminal conspiracy in history.

    We'll take it. And plenty of men in the city today are getting money to vote for Friends of Lonnie Adair. Usually getting that money for voting in several precincts, under several names.

    * * *

    With all the stress of preparing for and attending the anniversary party, I never did get Susanna to the movies last month. So to celebrate her birthday, late, we see The Life of the Party, with Winnie Lightner and Irene Delroy.



    A mere three years after The Jazz Singer, this one was made as a musical, and all the musical numbers were taken out because the public is getting tired of them. I know Susanna and I are. The problem is, even with a new process called Technicolor making it look beautiful, a musical without the music just doesn't usually hold together all that well. And this one is no exception, unfortunately.

    * * *

    Time for a party that I actually want to attend. I'd better, I'm the one throwing it. It's for my mother, on her sixtieth birthday.

    I won't pretend that matters between Momma and me haven't been strained over the years. It's almost Jazz Singer level cliche, but Momma never quite understood why I wanted to go into baseball in the first place, as a player. I think Dad did, but not Momma. "Foolishness," was her word of choice - but then, that was her word of choice for just about everything.

    Let me put it another way. Some people complain about how anything they personally did wasn't good enough for one parent or another. With Momma, it was more predictable - nothing that anyone did was good enough. Not my father, certainly not after he sold the farm to his brother and moved us to Baltimore. Possibly before that - my memories from before I was eleven seem to indicate that she was happy being a farmer's wife, but that could be the onset of what the doctors are now calling nostalgia. Not any of us, especially after the youngest was born and made it so she couldn't have any more, even though she was still young.

    You know, I've made her sound like a monster here. The thing is, when I think back to my happiest memories as a child, she's not a part of them. Which doesn't mean I don't love her, just that spending time with her can be challenging. Even now that she's remarried, and is much happier than she was in the ten years before and eight or so after Dad died.

    And of course, those childhood memories always include me being a perfect son and never causing her any problems whatsoever.

    So I've decided to throw her a party. A big one. David Howard loaned me his mansion - he and Melba are off touring Europe or something. All stops pulled out - he left his staff with orders to make the party work.

    I've paid to get Greg, Jake, and Will to come in on the train to be there, and of course homebody Mike is there, though he was almost late due to another varsity soccer practice. Susanna has done yeoman's duty getting the decorations together and put up - especially nice, as she's gotten along with my mother even less well than I have. Daisy and Walter will be there with their young ones - Willie has said several times how much he's looking forward to telling his cousin Will how well he's doing on his baseball. Teddy on the other hand is just bubbling over with enthusiasm to be a doctor some day. We've got several of Momma's friends coming up from the farm, and I found some who knew her back when we lived in Baltimore.

    I have to admit, the party is going well. All those people showing up to sing her a Happy Birthday manages to melt her a little. She gets to show off her husband to some friends she hasn't seen in years. She gets to show off one of her new friends too, as Theresa Gehringer comes. She sees her grandchildren, and while she's never been what you would call an overindulgent grandma, she always did love them all. Momma even took me aside for a bit and said a very un-Momma-like "Thank you, Charles."

    Then there's a bit of a commotion at the door. I slip out of a conversation with Jake (school goes well, loves WMAL, has a room-mate who gets on his nerves) to see what's the matter.

    "About damn time you showed up, Charlie!," says the man being held back by Mr. Howard's butler. He throws off the arm, takes a drag on his cigarette, and continues. "Now get your stuffed monkey to back away and let me in."

    Steven. My youngest brother, Steven. Steven, who we haven't seen nor heard from in almost ten years, and had no idea whether he was dead or alive (much like brother John, for that matter).

    Steven the baby, who if he's suddenly done a day's work in the time since we've seen him, it's the first in his life.

    Well, this party just went down hill.
    Last edited by birdsin89; 10-06-2014 at 12:05 PM.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

  12. #657
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Just want to check in saying I still read this every day, even when I'm not posting. GOAT dynasty right here. Enjoyed the flashblack posts alot. Keep it up!!!

  13. #658
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    ewing6: Not sure just how old and out of touch this makes me, but what's a GOAT in this case? Glad to hear from you, and hope you continue to enjoy.

    * * *

    November, 1930

    And yet, surprisingly, it didn't ruin the party for most of the people there. Momma was thrilled that her baby came in from...where ever he was. Which, it turns out, is Los Angeles. She was thrilled to hear that he's married now, though he couldn't bring his wife Maggie back with him because she's about to have their third baby. Momma's little boy having another baby of his own? Oh how precious and wonderful. And he came back all the way from California to Baltimore to be with his mother on her birthday? What a nice boy! And best of all, he's now a doctor, and takes care of all sorts of wealthy and powerful people, and he even brought some photographs of him with these people. One or two were Hollywood actors. Steven on the golf course with one, Stephen at some black tie affair with another. A nice photo of Stephen, his wife, and their two boys. Steven is so glad to be back here tonight. Steven is, somewhat pointedly, very glad that I remembered to give Momma a party at this birthday, since I so completely forgot her fiftieth.

    Susanna finds me somewhat later. "Charlie, let it go," she says quietly.

    "Let what go?" I ask.

    "This is bothering you, and you know it, and I know it. So far I don't think anybody besides the two of us and your brother know it, but if you don't let it go, they will. And no matter how much he annoys you, she's having a great time."

    I snap out of my thoughts, look at her. "It's that obvious?"

    She smiles, and incidentally I'm in love again. "It is to me. Not to everyone else, not yet. I have been your wife for over twenty years, Charlie." And then she gets the stern look - the stick, to the earlier carrot. "Besides, at least your brother is here. Have you forgotten that I haven't seen my brother in twenty years too?"

    I admit it. I had forgotten all about her family history. I put an arm around her, pull her close. "And I'm so incredibly lucky that you've been my wife," I say, kissing her lightly on her hair.

    "That's true," she agrees, and we laugh. And I put on my best face, and go through the night, and even manage to have a good time with my brother.

    But in my head, I'm still thinking about the same things I was when Susanna interrupted me. Not that I'm upset with my brother, or jealous. I mean, I am, both. But not just that.

    * * *

    "Good morning Sharon. Anything come over the wire?"

    "Good morning Mr. Aaron. Not a thing."

    "All right then. I'll be in my office."

    This is the morning routine. It has been the morning routine for the majority of the month. Oh, sure, the Browns signed AAA pitcher Johnny Stuart on the tenth, for just over $1,100. He's a 29 year old rookie. He's not going to win them a pennant this year, or ever.

    Otherwise, nothing. And more than anything else, I'm disappointed. I'm partly disappointed because there are some good men on that free agent list, and they're now among the ever-swelling ranks of the unemployed. But until the teams get some money they can't sign anyone, and until the players drop their asking prices, they won't be signed even then.

    But mostly I'm disappointed at the missed opportunity. As I said before, Ball could be building a barn-burner of a team in St. Louis if he'd just make some deals. The rules, after all, say that a team has to have money in the bank to sign a free agent. They don't say that the money has to be enough to cover the player's salary. He could have called Jacob Ruppert in New York, or Charles Stoneham, and said, "How would you like to sign Tony Lazzeri to play second for you? Tell you what - tell me what you're willing to pay for him, and I'll sign him for you, and trade him to you, and all it'll cost you is some player or two in your minor league system." Ruppert would build his team, the player would get signed, and Ball could turn his team around in a couple of years with a stocked minor league system.

    But then, if Ball thought that way, his team wouldn't be the laughingstock they are now, would they?

    And yes, I realize I could do it too. But why exactly would I want to help Ruppert improve his team, again?
    Last edited by birdsin89; 10-06-2014 at 12:09 PM.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

  14. #659
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    G.O.A.T.= Greatest of all time

  15. #660
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    jshaw: Oh. Um, well, <kicks rock, looks down at ground, hoping people will believe him that he wasn't fishing for compliments>. Thanks!

    * * *

    November, 1930

    I'm taking Steven back to his train. He's been staying at the Belvedere Hotel, at Chase and Charles Streets, since arriving last week.


    The Belvedere

    "Doing some business while here" is what he calls it. "Plenty of good hospitals and medical schools in Baltimore, I'm consulting a bit, meeting some people".

    I'm polite and relatively cordial, but Steven has never been my favorite sibling. The age difference between us was just too much. Still, we say goodbye without too much sniping. "I'm glad you remembered Momma's birthday this time," he says.

    "I remembered it ten years ago, Steven. I was one week into a new job and didn't have time to do anything about it. And besides, I'm glad you remembered where she lives. You do know that we haven't seen you in almost ten years, and haven't even had a letter from you in almost that long."

    "I sent Christmas cards to Daisy," he says, defensively. And he's probably telling the truth. Momma probably never mentioned to her that she was worried about Steven, I certainly never did, and Daisy being Daisy, she probably just assumed that, if he was writing to her, he was writing to us too, and never mentioned it. I have such a close and loving family.

    But as he heads into the station, I look at his immaculately tailored suit, and his somewhat shabby suitcase, and my hackles rise again. Something still doesn't add up. I thought I had it a few moments ago, but it's gone again. And I should probably just let it go.

    And I'm kidding myself. Of course I'm going to worry over it incessantly.

    * * *

    For this month's movie, after last month's odd combination of a musical without music, we go for a known commodity. Harold Lloyd. He hasn't been quite the same since the silents went out, but he's still very, very funny, and he's made the transition better than many of the dramatic actors. Like poor John Gilbert. I guess what you had to do in order to be considered a drama star was look good and wave your arms a lot, while in a comedy you have to do more. So Lloyd, and Buster Keaton, and others like that are doing all right. And the movie, Feet First isn't his best, but its enough for a lot of laughs.



    * * *

    Horrible news out of Japan as another earthquake has hit that poor little country. They say over two hundred people are dead, and over six hundred buildings destroyed. You'd think if they lived in an area with that many earthquakes, they'd learn not to build their buildings out of paper. Then again, we keep building in the midwest where all the tornados hit, and if you get down to it, Jericho keeps getting rebuilt in the same spot every time, doesn't it? Or rather, didn't it? Maybe we've finally gotten wiser as a people.

    We've certainly gotten smarter, particularly in ways of medicine. First, on the same day as the earthquake, a pathologist at the Sheffield Royal Infirmary in England named Cecil George Paine has cured an eye infection using a new drug called penicillin. If we are truly in a time in which infections can be controlled, then we've found a promised land indeed. What with infections killing more people in most of our wars than the bullets, and killing millions of people every year. This is an amazing time.

    And sometimes we even use our God-given minds to cure problems we've created ourselves. For example, those paralysis outbreaks I wrote about during the summer and fall. Well, we've found the cause. It was us. More specifically, it was our government.

    Turns out it's Jake - and yes, I had to get one of the young men around the office to explain it to me. It turns out that Jake is the nickname for Jamaican ginger extract, which is a fancy way of saying alcohol. It's not dangerous in itself, but our boys in Washington in charge of Prohibition enforcement saw that it could be used to get around the laws, so they made the makers change the formula. One of the effects was to make it bitter and hard to drink - mission accomplished, government! Well, human ingenuity being what it is, a couple of bootleggers played around with the formula to find one that would be more drinkable, and they did. The popularity of the product soared.

    And then it turned out that their formula was a poison. So, did the government actually do the poisoning? No. Did they -

    Never mind. I'm getting more crotchety in my old age. At least they found the solution - but it's not a cure, and there is no cure, and some of those people are going to have problems for the rest of their lives.

    Prohibition can't end soon enough for me. Even if I never have another drink again as long as I live.

    * * *

    I'm telling you all this for one reason and one reason only. Once again, there is almost no baseball to discuss. I can't wait for the winter meetings to start!


    * * *

    So we approach the end of the month. The family is around, but it now consists of Susanna, Mike, and me. And Mike, being a young man, is out more often than not. He's also either at glee club rehearsals, or varsity soccer practice. The annual City-Poly game ends in the fourth loss for Mike's school since winning in 1925. Mike is playing it very coy on the subject of where he wants to go and what he wants to do when he gets out of high school in '32. This, I suspect, is because he doesn't want to get out of high school. He's the best looking of my boys, he's six feet tall (about my height, but he's only fifteen), broad of shoulder and keen of muscle and eye. He's probably also the smartest of my boys, and my boys, unlike their old man, are smart. Of all of them, he could probably be anything he wants to be, and maybe that's the problem - when the sky's the limit, it's hard to pick one trade and stick to it.

    Well, that, and Mike's always been his mama's baby, and he's come to expect it more than a little. Which seems to work in keeping the ladies interested - Mike's the first one I've had to tell that he's not old enough to have a girlfriend when he wanted to, and other than Will with his female room-mate, he's the one I'm most worried about coming to me with a crying girl, her daddy, and a shotgun some day.

    The baby of the family.

    It clicks. What I was thinking about the baby of my family, Steven, when I took him to the train station. That part where I almost, but not quite, had the answer. Thinking about Mike, and how different and similar he is to his brothers, reminded me of what I've said about how the difference in years between Steven and myself was too great to bridge.

    And that's when it finally hit me. The difference is twelve years between Steven and me. I turned 44 this year. So Steven is 36.

    How did he get to be a respected doctor with an elite clientele, when ten years ago he left home with no money and disappeared for a decade? How did he become an established professional in a field that takes four years of college, eight years of medical school, internships, residencies, and so forth, when he barely graduated high school when he left us?

    Oh, Steven. What have you gotten yourself into this time?
    Last edited by birdsin89; 10-06-2014 at 12:14 PM.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Never-to-be-Completed Sequel: Brooklyn Blues

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