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Thread: The Orange and Black(Sox)

  1. #46
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Philip let me know that my presence was requested in Mr. Durant's office this morning. As I like my job, and would rather not join the huge number of unemployed in our post-War recession, I went.

    "Charlie," Mr. Durant began, "did you look up the attendance numbers as I asked you?"

    Now it might seem to you that he hadn't actually asked me to do this as an assignment or anything. He'd just mentioned that it would be a good thing for me to know. Fortunately, another good thing for me to know is the way my boss works. I had been expecting this. In fact, for the past several days I'd been carrying the papers around with me.

    "Have it right here, sir. You were right - attendance is up across the whole league."

    And how. Naturally, our team had no point of comparison. But for example, last year the Yankees had set a major league attendance record that nobody expected to see broken. They'd pulled over one million people to the Polo Grounds. 1,289,422, exactly. The next closest were their room mates the Giants, who had 929,609. And even though Cleveland had finished ahead of the Yankees in the standings, they drew fewer - 912,832. And at the other end, the Boston Braves had drawn only 162,403.

    This year, we already had 893,518. We were projecting a final attendance figure of 1,235,716. That's right, in our first year, that would have almost equalled the huge figures for the Yankees.

    But it wasn't just us. The Yankees had already beaten that "unbeatable" record, and had so far attracted 1,862,000 people! And league rumors were that they had already sold out the entire rest of their schedule. This would give them a final figure of 2,470,000! The Giants also had nearly two million people so far. The Indians had not yet beaten last year's total, but were expected to do so by over four hundred thousand. And the real test? The Braves, in eighth place, nineteen games back, had already drawn over 945,000 to Braves Field! They appeared to be ready to end up with between 1,300,000 and 1,400,000. In other words, between six and seven times what they drew last year.

    I reported this to Mr. Durant. As I expected, he had a follow-up question. This, I knew, was what he did when he wanted to think he was mentoring me as an executive. I found it only mildly annoying, most of the time.

    "Why is this happening?" he asked.

    Of course I was ready. As I said, he does this regularly. "In the American league, a certain amount of the increase can be directly attributed to Babe Ruth, sir. The numbers bear it out - more people come to see him play than when he doesn't play"

    "Good. But is there any way we can get some of that for ourselves," he asked.

    "Of course, sir. I see two ways, depending on whether we think he's drawing the crowds because of the increase in offense, or because he's a star. If it's the offense, it might not just be Ruth. True, Ruth is the exemplar, and he's six home runs away from tying the major league career record at 127. But he's not even leading the major leagues in home runs. Cy Williams with the Phillies has 19, Ruth only has 18. He won't come near the 54 he hit last year. But the game is changing beyond him. We've eliminated some of the best pitches that pitchers had, which means the hitters will do better."

    "I see. Anything we can do?"

    "Yes. It's 450 feet to straight center field in Orioles Park. I'd suggest we move that in about thirty feet, and put seats behind it."

    Durant seems surprised. "You've given this some thought, I see."

    "Yes, I have. And to answer your next question, I do have the figures for what it would cost to fix up the ball park, but I don't know if we have the cash for it yet, sir." I didn't mention that I didn't know mostly because I wasn't 100% sure where some of our money was disappearing to, yet, and didn't want to bring it up until I was sure. Because I didn't know where it was going, I also didn't know when or how much was going to go.

    "And what if it's just Ruth and his ilk causing this change," he asked.

    "Then we need to get some of his ilk into Orioles uniforms, sir. Which we're doing. Gehrig has been playing for less than a month, and he's tied for fourth in the American League in home runs. If he had enough at bats, his average would be third in the league. I think Gehringer and Cuyler are going to be stars too, sir, and we've got them." And we'll probably have the first draft pick next year as well, I didn't quite add.

    "Do you need anything from me now, Charlie," he asked.

    Four new position players, I thought. Three pitchers with more than one season major league experience, so I can send good kids like Lyons and Steger down and let them develop the way they should. A new stadium. An office that's as nice as the one I had back when I was your personal assistant at the railroad.

    All I said was "Any time you're ready to authorize me to sign some more players, I'm ready to do it, sir."

    Knowing that that would be the end of the conversation, I wasn't surprised when it was.

    * * *

    August 25 - 27, 1921
    New York Yankees (65 - 32) at Baltimore Orioles (35 - 62)


    August 25: It seems to me I've said this before. Steger pitched well. ________ (the name of the opposing team's pitcher) pitched better. Yankees 4, Orioles 3

    August 26: O. J. Harty didn't make it out of the first. Jeff MacMaster is the only one who pitched particularly well for us, allowing 3, but none earned. Yankees 12, Orioles 1

    August 27: Argh. Tied 4 - 4 going into the ninth, and Lyons has done well. Jim Weeks is brought in to pitch the ninth...and misses first base when he fields a routine grounder. And this leads to four unearned runs scoring. Yankees 8, Orioles 4

    We activate Lewis Mack from the disabled list, but assign him to AA Charlotte. Why not, that's about where they all should be anyway. Possibly including me.

  2. #47
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    August 28, 1921. We begin a three game road trip to Philadelphia to face the Athletics. They'd love to keep us from winning, as we're still one win behind their 1916 mark of futility.

    Hughie says he's feeling pretty good about things, which surprises me. "Heck," he tells me, "I've seen worse. I've played on worse. But if you don't mind, I think I'll make a few changes to the lineup tonight." Why should I mind, he's the manager, I tell him.

    He wasn't kidding. He moves Kiki Cuyler from third in the order up to leadoff. Cuyler is getting on base better than just about anybody on the team, and is amazingly fast, so I think that's probably a good idea. He's only had Cuyler in the third spot because he didn't have anybody else to put there. Now he does, and moves Charlie Gehringer from leadoff to third.

    Gehringer has undoubtedly figured out that he belongs at this level (he doesn't, really, but I'm not going to tell him that), and has raised his average in the past three weeks from .195 to .282. I'm very comfortable with him in the third slot. Gehrig of course stays at cleanup.

    Hughie also moves Josh Kress back into left field, and sits Brian Sigalas. I like Sigalas, but he should be in rooky ball, not Baltimore. Of course, with an average team age of 19 (!), we're all pretty much rookies here. I was chatting with Hughie the other day about Ty Cobb doing a sneak attack on another player during a game, and referred to it as "pulling a Port Arthur". One of the kids, I think it was Tex Jeanes, just looked at me blankly. I was momentarily stunned that he didn't remember the Japanese sneak attack on the Russians at Port Arthur back in 1904. Then I think about it. Jeanes was 4 when that happened.

    I'm only 35, and I'm getting old.

    * * *

    August 28 - 30, 1921
    Baltimore Orioles (35 - 65) at Philadelphia Athletics (38 - 59)


    August 28: I don't want to talk about it. Athletics 14, Orioles 4

    August 29: Could be worse. Steger is fine, and Smothers is fine, holding the Athletics scoreless over three innings in relief. But still. Athletics 6, Orioles 3 Gehringer appears to be having to adjust to the third spot as he did in the leadoff.

    In Boston, Ty Cobb of the Tigers gets his 3000th hit. This puts him in truly stellar company, as he's only behind Honus Wagner and Nap Lajoie. He'll need another 242 to tie Lajoie, and 415 to tie Wagner. He's 34 - I figure this means he gets to the top of the list by 1923 or 1924. For comparison, the next closest active player is Tris Speaker - and he's nearly 700 hits behind Cobb.

    And yet, it's his teammate, first baseman Harry Heilman, who's making most of the headlines. He's batting .409 to lead the majors. Our best hitter with enough at bats to qualify is Tex Jeanes. He's batting .259. But hey, what's 150 points here or there?

    August 30: Yes! Gehrig hits home run number 10 and drives in five runs. Kelly Burton went 2 for 4 to raise his average to .241. Good thing too, because his error which led to the four unearned Philadelphia runs was all the scoring O. J. Harty gave up. Orioles 8, Athletics 4

    And best of all, this is win #36. This ties us with the 1916 Athletics. But because there were 24 more games played that year, we're guaranteed to finish with a higher winning percentage. Actually, our percentage is .350, which puts us well ahead of most bad teams. And considering what we had to start with, I'm not feeling too badly.

    * * *

    Statistics at the end of August, 1921.

    Code:
    1921 Batting        Team   G   AVG    AB    H  2B  3B  HR   BB    K   SB  CS    R  RBI   SLG   OBP
    Jeanes, Tex               BAL  100  .259   386  100  21   3   1   28   45    6   5   46   44  .337  .308
    Burton, Kelly             BAL  100  .241   357   86  14   5   0    8   15    9   9   30   33  .308  .257
    Sigalas, Brian            BAL   69  .267   262   70  13   2   2   18   17    2   7   32   26  .355  .313
    Cuyler, Kiki              BAL   63  .279   251   70  20   4   2   18   34   10   1   44   36  .414  .339
    Sweeney, Graham           BAL   68  .184   245   45   6   2   2    6   22    4   2   26    9  .249  .206
    Mack, Lewis               BAL   60  .224   228   51   5   5   0   12   23    4   3   16   27  .289  .258
    Kress, Josh               BAL   57  .278   223   62  10   3   2    9   10    6   6   31   22  .377  .308
    Gehringer, Charlie        BAL   46  .269   193   52   7   1   0   18    6    4   2   27   12  .316  .336
    Martell, Pete             BAL   48  .227   181   41   9   3   0    8   20    2   3   20   15  .309  .258
    Gehrig, Lou               BAL   46  .373   169   63  15   1  10   25   23    0   0   34   39  .651  .455
    Duffield, Garret          BAL   45  .230   165   38   4   2   0    5   18    4   4   11   12  .279  .262
    Brucker, Earle            BAL   42  .231   130   30   9   1   1   18   14    0   2   17   15  .338  .320
    Rieger, Noah              BAL   35  .228   127   29   2   0   2    0    7    0   3   10   11  .291  .227
    Tinsley, Nick             BAL   22  .136    81   11   2   0   0    0    3    4   1    3    4  .160  .134
    Williams, Malcolm         BAL   21  .197    66   13   3   0   0    3   10    0   1    0    7  .242  .229
    Lyons, Ted                BAL   28  .226    62   14   4   0   0    5    9    0   0    8    3  .290  .284
    Steger, Keith             BAL   24  .194    62   12   0   0   2    2   10    2   0    7    6  .290  .219
    Hallahan, Bill            BAL   21  .174    46    8   1   0   0    3   13    0   0    3    4  .196  .224
    Michaels, Ralph           BAL   25  .205    44    9   1   0   0    3    6    0   0    8    4  .227  .255
    Klinger, Joe              BAL   28  .313    32   10   3   0   0    2    3    0   0    3    6  .406  .371
    Ford, Andy                BAL    7  .227    22    5   3   0   0    0    3    0   0    1    2  .364  .261
    Harty, O.J.               BAL   14  .200    20    4   2   0   0    0    4    0   0    1    0  .300  .200
    Smothers, Paul            BAL   28  .059    17    1   0   0   0    1    0    0   0    1    1  .059  .111
    Marinkovich, Wayne        BAL    5  .214    14    3   1   0   0    0    3    0   0    1    1  .286  .214
    Cormican, Vinnie          BAL    5  .083    12    1   0   0   0    0    4    2   0    0    0  .083  .083
    Shaw, Shawn               BAL   14  .222     9    2   1   0   0    0    3    0   0    1    1  .333  .222
    Bradburn, Kent            BAL   16  .250     8    2   0   0   0    1    2    0   0    0    0  .250  .333
    MacMaster, Jeff           BAL   10  .250     8    2   0   0   0    0    1    0   0    0    0  .250  .250
    Wagner, Justin            BAL    9  .286     7    2   0   0   0    0    0    0   0    0    1  .286  .286
    Jones, Ken                BAL   12  .333     6    2   0   0   0    0    2    0   0    1    0  .333  .333
    Weeks, Jim                BAL   14  .200     5    1   0   0   0    1    3    0   0    0    0  .200  .333
    Walker, Bill              BAL   10  .400     5    2   0   0   0    0    2    0   0    1    0  .400  .400
    Vowles, Mike              BAL   10  .400     5    2   0   0   0    1    1    0   0    0    0  .400  .500
    Ferenchick, Jacob         BAL    7  .000     3    0   0   0   0    0    1    0   0    0    0  .000  .000
    Schemanske, Fred          BAL   11 1.000     1    1   0   0   0    0    0    0   0    0    0 1.000 1.000
    Code:
    1921 Pitching      Team     IP   ERA    G  GS   W   L  SV    K   BB   R/9
    Lyons, Ted                BAL  193.1  4.47   28  28   6  17   0   55   33 12.80
    Steger, Keith             BAL  169.0  4.15   24  24   8  10   0   47   67 13.31
    Hallahan, Bill            BAL  151.0  3.16   21  21   9   9   0   74   47 12.52
    Harty, O.J.               BAL   62.1  5.49   14  12   5   8   0   19   39 16.89
    Smothers, Paul            BAL   43.2  5.36   28   0   2   4   2   14   20 14.84
    Bradburn, Kent            BAL   29.0  5.59   16   0   1   1   1    6   12 14.90
    MacMaster, Jeff           BAL   27.1  2.63   10   0   0   0   0    9   12 13.50
    Shaw, Shawn               BAL   26.0  4.85   14   0   0   2   0    7   13 14.88
    Weeks, Jim                BAL   20.1  3.98   14   0   0   1   2    4   11 18.15
    Jones, Ken                BAL   20.0  5.85   12   0   0   1   0    3    8 18.00
    Wagner, Justin            BAL   19.2  5.03    9   0   0   0   0    4   11 18.31
    Vowles, Mike              BAL   19.0  5.21   10   0   0   0   0    4   15 22.74
    Ferenchick, Jacob         BAL   16.1  6.61    7   3   1   3   0    5    8 17.08
    Walker, Bill              BAL   15.2  7.47   10   0   0   1   0    5    8 17.23
    Schemanske, Fred          BAL   11.1  2.38   11   0   2   1   2    3    3 10.32




    And yes, that bit in the standings means that the Orioles and Athletics are officially eliminated from contention in the American league. As though we weren't eliminated before the season began...
    Last edited by birdsin89; 09-08-2014 at 01:00 PM.

  3. #48
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Writer's note: Actually a question. Does anyone have any suggestions on creating players who are realistic (that is, 65/85, not 65/66 or 90/90)? Would love to hear about it. Thanks!

    * * *

    We're home for another six games. But they're against the Browns. The last time we did manage to beat them two out of three. Maybe we can do it again.

    September 1 - 7, 1921
    St. Louis Browns (47 - 56) at Baltimore Orioles (36 - 67)


    September 1: This time we make Dixie Davis look good. And Ted Lyons, who isn't all that bad really, loses his 18th for the year. Ugh. Browns 8, Orioles 3

    September 2: Hallahan gives up one meaningless run in the ninth. Gehringer figures out the three spot much quicker than he did the leadoff position, and even hits his first major league home run. Orioles 8, Browns 1

    September 3: Gehringer goes 3 for 5, Gehrig hits his 11th home run. But Kent Bradburn gives up 2 in the tenth. Browns 6, Orioles 4

    In Boston, before the game, rooky Maurice Archdeacon sets a new world record by running the bases in 13.4 seconds. I think Cuyler might be able to beat that, or Graham Sweeney. If there is one thing I do have on this team, it's speedsters. They just don't get on base enough to prove it.

    We get a day off. I suppose the Browns get to sample the life in Baltimore.

    * * *

    When I arrive at the park, Philip hands me a short note from Mr. Durant. "Attendance over 1 million" is all it says. I thank Philip and head to my office. Once there, I call down to George O'Dowd in the ticket office and ask him for the numbers. In a few minutes, he's sent the youngster, Andy Snyder, up with them. I thank him, and take a look. It's true! 1,006,093! I want to celebrate. I know I don't drink. I know it's illegal to drink. I head to Mr. Durant's office, get his bottle of brandy, and pour myself a very small amount.

    I then take it to Hughie, who's happy to drink it for me. He thinks I'm a bit odd, but he's happy to have the drink!

    * * *

    September 5: O. J. Harty goes nine, gives up 3. Dixie Davis goes 8, gives up 3. But the Browns' Ollie Voight goes one, gives up 2. Cuyler and Gehringer each get one hit, and Gehrig goes 3 for 4. Orioles 5, Browns 3

    September 6: Okay, I know Lyons isn't a star, not yet anyway. But I can't help thinking that if he were on the Yankees this year, he'd be a 15 game winner. Instead, he loses his 19th, as once again he pitches decently and his defense and hitting fail him. Browns 8, Orioles 3

    September 7: A high scoring game that isn't really as close as the score looks. Hallahan carries a shutout into the ninth, and then allows 5 runs. However, by that time, we're comfortable in our lead. Not sure why Hughie doesn't bring in the bullpen to help out, though. I might need to talk to him about that. Orioles 10, Browns 5. And we split the six game series with the Browns. And with this win, we eliminate St. Louis from any chance of the pennant this year.

    * * *

    So now we take a week long road trip. After a travel day, we play three in St. Louis.

    On our travel day, Miss Margaret Gorman wins a beauty pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The pageant officials, hoping to make it an annual big thing, declare Miss Gorman the 1921 Miss America.


    Here she is...

    The 16 year old is 5' 1" tall, and the paper says her measurements are 30-25-32. My ten year old son is about 8 inches shorter than that, and has at least two of three similar measurements. I know fashions are headed in that direction, but I kind of miss the days when women looked like women, and not teenage boys with long hair and dresses.

    But then, as I've said before, I'm getting old.

    * * *

    September 9 - 11, 1921
    Baltimore Orioles (39 - 70) at St. Louis Browns (50 - 59)


    September 9: Six hits from the top of the lineup, including Gehrig's twelfth home run, but it's not enough. Browns 9, Orioles 4

    September 10: Tex Jeanes and Lou Gehrig go 3 for 5, Gehringer is 2 for 4. You wouldn't think we'd have to hang on for a win. We give up three in the ninth, and just barely escape. Orioles 11, Browns 10

    September 11: The kind of game I like to hear about. Ted Lyons allows three runs in a complete game. Everybody except Josh Kress gets at least one hit. We give Lyons a two run lead before he throws his first pitch, and add four more in the second to put it away.Orioles 7, Browns 3

    After the game, I get a telegram from Greenville, SC. Hal Wiltse, the first round draft pick we got from the Braves, has fractured his wrist, and is out for the season. He is the only draft pick I'd been allowing to learn in the minors, as they're supposed to. It was working, too - in 6 games he was 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA. We'll see how he does next year.

    Also, 47 year old Kaiser Wilhelm retires. He had returned to the major leagues this year, getting into 2 games with the Phillies and pitching to a 1.17 ERA. Before that, his last time in the "major" leagues was with the Baltimore Terrapins of the Federal League. In two years with the Terrapins, he'd started 27 games and appeared in 48, earning a 12 - 17 record.

    Next up for us, three in Philadelphia. As it's close to home, I take a short train trip and join the team. I want to talk to Connie Mack about some things.

    * * *

    September 12 - 14, 1921
    Baltimore Orioles (41 - 71) at Philadelphia Athletics (44 - 68)


    September 12: Maryland boy Lefty Grove pitches quite well, allowing us 3 runs on 9 hits. Hallahan pitches better, allowing the Athletics 1 run on 8. Orioles 3, Athletics 1, and we have our first three game win streak since July. Nice way to celebrate Defenders Day - I always forget that the rest of the country doesn't celebrate it, and it's just a Maryland tradition. Doesn't seem right, somehow - this is the battle from which we got the Star Spangled Banner, and some people think that should be our official national anthem.

    September 13: Our team average, for the first time all season, hits .250! This is not something that should make me as happy as it does, I know that. But still, it does. Now if we can just keep it there. Also, Gehrig hits his 13th home run, putting him two ahead of Cleveland's Elmer Smith and firmly in second place in the American League! Ruth has 22, and is well ahead, and is currently only two behind the all time record. But I can't wait to see what Gehrig can do with a little experience and a full season. Athletics 9, Orioles 7

    September 14: O. J. Harty does his job well, allows only 2 earned. Gehrig goes 4 for 5, raises his average to .395. I've heard that The Sporting News, which gives some awards for excellent play during a season, plans to institute a new award at the end of the season, for the best rooky. If Gehrig doesn't get that, I don't know who could. Orioles 7, Athletics 3

    We're heading back home now, with a road trip in which we went 4 - 2 behind us. For a team that's thirty-three games back in the standings, and in last place, it's a remarkably upbeat train ride home. Next week we get the Tigers and Senators for the final times this season.
    Last edited by birdsin89; 09-08-2014 at 01:05 PM.

  4. #49
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Funny, the women of 90 years later look about the same, in my opinion.

    Congrats on breaking the one million mark. How you're going to break the 65/65 mark, I don't know.

  5. #50
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    petrel: Welcome back! I can see your point, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. And as I don't plan to introduce any created characters for at least another two or three years of story time, I think I can play around with it a little. Thanks.

    * * *

    September 15, 1921:

    "Philip, where is Mr. Durant?" Not that I have anything particularly important to report. It's just somewhat unusual for him not to be in his office.

    "He was called to New York this morning, sir. He will be meeting with the Commissioner and the other owners tomorrow."

    "What about?" I'm surprised. Normally Durant would have at least mentioned it to me.

    "I'm sure I don't know, sir," Philip replies. I look at him for a moment, and his return look speaks volumes. Mostly, it speaks "You're not my boss, and I'm not going to tell you anything." Which, to be fair, I can respect. I would have done the same when I held his job.

    * * *

    "Lou, where's Hughie?" I'm not having a lot of luck today in finding people. I'm starting to get lonely.

    "Not sure, Mr. Aaron," Gehrig replied. "But you know Mr. Jennings - the Tigers are in town. He's probably out with Mr. Cobb."

    "You're probably right. Has he forgotten who he works for?" I grumbled. As I said, I was starting to get lonely. Or maybe that was just cranky.

    "Did you need to see him for anything in particular?" Lou asked.

    I thought for a moment. Actually, I had wanted to ask Hughie about Gehrig. Of all the young kids on this team (in other words, of the entire team), Gehrig in some ways was going to feel the most pressure. He was the first draft choice, in the first draft, in major league baseball history. He would almost certainly never spend a day in the minor leagues. He was second in the league in home runs, and if he'd had enough at bats to qualify would have been second in batting, too. It wasn't a surprise to anyone to know that in many ways the hopes of the whole baseball-in-Baltimore experiment rested on him. Two months ago he was in high school.

    I wanted to see how Hughie thought he was doing with that. But now, talking to Gehrig, I could see for myself. He was a very serious young man. I'd already seen in passing that his team mates liked him. He was quiet, but not shy. It was more...professional. He came to work, he did his job (superlatively well), he expected that everyone around him would do his.

    "Lou," I said, "do you like it here? In Baltimore?"

    A momentary look of...something...crossed his features. He then smiled. "Why, am I going to Norfolk?"

    We both laughed. "Well, you know, Pete Martell is starting to feel better, so I was thinking he shouldn't lose his job to you because of an injury. You might never want to give it up again." But I made sure I said it in a light enough tone that he knew there was no chance I was serious. Which, to be honest, was overkill - even if I'd said it in my best deadpan, he'd have had to know I didn't mean it.

    "Yes, Mr. Aaron, I'm very happy here. I admit I didn't know much about Baltimore two months ago, but the town has been very good to me. Mr. Jennings helped Charlie and me to get a decent place to rent, over on Brice Street, near Tex and Kiki."

    I was a bit surprised. "Brice Street? That's immigrant country, isn't it?" I thought we paid Lou better than that.

    "Yes sir. Most of the people on the street work at the harbor. My next door neighbor is a rigger. I think he only came to this country about fifteen years ago. Very nice people."

    He must have caught something in my look. "Oh sure, we'll probably move out to a fancier neighborhood some day. But for now, it's just a street car ride to the ball park, and we both like it."


    Gehrig's neighbors on Brice Street

    We exchanged some more pleasantries, and I left him to his batting practice. I was confirmed in two things. One, he was a nice kid with a good head on his shoulders. Two, I wanted him to retire in twenty years or so as an Oriole.

    * * *

    September 15 - 17, 1921
    Detroit Tigers (68 - 47) at Baltimore Orioles (43 - 72)


    At this point in the season, while the Indians and Senators were technically still in the race for the flag, Detroit was the only team with any realistic chance at keeping the Yankees from capturing the pennant. And even that was fading fast, as they were 8 1/2 games out when our series started. Still, this was better than the National League, where everyone but the Pirates was already eliminated, and even they were 14 games behind the Giants. It looked more and more as though the whole World's Series would be played in the Polo Grounds.

    September 15: Ted Lyons goes ten innings. Maybe he should have only gone nine. Tigers 5, Orioles 4

    September 16: Bill Hallahan allows only 1 run. Charlie Gehringer doubles twice and drives in 2. Orioles 4, Tigers 3

    September 17: Keith Steger just doesn't have it, allowing 6 runs over 6 2/3 innings. Gehrig goes 2 for 3, and Cuyler 4 for 5, in a losing cause. Tigers 8, Orioles 3

    The Giants win their twelfth straight game, and the Pirate lose.

    The New York Giants are 1921 NL Champions

    We have a day off, then host the Senators for the final time.

    * * *

    September 19 - 21, 1921
    Washington Senators (62 - 53) at Baltimore Orioles (44 - 74)


    September 19: Tex Jeanes goes 3 for 5, and left fielder Josh Kress hits his third home run, but it's not enough. Player-manager Clyde Milan gets two hits, drives in two, and scores twice for the Senators. Senators 9, Orioles 8

    I finally catch up with Mr. Durant on his return. He tells me that the league owners were called to vote on an American League proposal to return the Worlds' Series to a best-of-seven format, from the best-of-nine that we've been using for the past few years. He says that the AL owners voted almost unanimously (7 - 1, with Ruppert in New York the only vote against) for the 7 game Series, while the NL vote was 5 - 3 against. Commissioner Kimball had to break the tie, and he did so in the AL favor. Our World Series this year will be best-of-seven.

    I ask Mr. Durant about other topics, and he says there wasn't anything else worth mentioning. I find it hard to believe that busy, important men rode in from St. Louis, Detroit, and Cincinnati to vote on that alone. I make a note to see if I can develop any sources in the Commissioner's office or around the league. A year ago I'd have just trusted Mr. Durant. Odd that I don't even think much about that now. Guess I'm growing into the executive role. And then I'm not sure I like that, either.

    September 20: Down 6 - 3 in the bottom of the eighth, we score 4 to take a lead. And promptly give it back in the ninth. But with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Gehrig hits home run number 14! Orioles 8, Senators 7 And with that, we've managed now to eliminate both the Browns and now the Senators from pennant contention.

    September 21: The runs were spread out more, but just like yesterday, we went into the bottom of the ninth tied at 7. Unlike yesterday, we had the weak-hitting bottom of the order coming up. But Earle Brucker doubled, Josh Kress singled and took second on defensive indifference. So we had runners on second and third with no outs. But...Kelly Burton flied out, not deep enough for Brucker to score. Garret Duffield grounded to the pitcher. And...Brucker was OUT at home!. Now with two outs and runners on first and third, the pitcher was due up. Hughie had Andy Ford pinch hit for Weeks. And Ford singled to center! Orioles 8, Senators 7

    Babe Ruth has hit career home run number 126. He's now one away from tying for the all time home run lead. The Yankees have five more games against the Browns before we close out the season with six against them. I really hope Ruth gets two more against the Browns. I'd hate for one of our kids to give up the record-breaker. Although a part of me does recognize that it might be nice for him to get it in front of his family. I have to remember to check with Philip about getting tickets for Ruth's family if he could get the record when the Yankees are in Baltimore.
    Last edited by birdsin89; 09-08-2014 at 01:09 PM.

  6. #51
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    September 22, 1921: While we enjoyed a day of travel to Philadelphia, Cleveland lost 6 - 5 to the Red Sox, and the Yankees won 10 - 4 against the Browns. Cleveland is now eliminated from the pennant race.

    But that wasn't what was really important. In the Browns/Yankees game, Babe Ruth came up with Chick Fewster on first and the Yankees trailing 1 - 0 in the bottom of the first. On a 2-2 pitch, he hit it just barely fair down the right field line. Just fair enough, and just deep enough to bounce over the wall for a home run. And with that, Ruth tied Sam Thompson with 127 in his career.


    The former home run king, Sam Thompson

    But that wasn't all. By the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees were comfortably ahead, 7 - 4. With two outs and Wally Schang and Chick Fewster on the bases, the Browns brought in Ollie Voight to pitch to Ruth. Ruth didn't even wait, pouncing on the first pitch he saw for a three run home run! That was it, Babe Ruth is now the all-time home run king.

    And the thing of it is, Thompson took fifteen seasons to get 127 home runs, and the record has lasted since he retired 34 years ago. Ruth is in his eighth season, and is only 26 years old. It's going to be a long time before the game goes back to the way it was before he came...if it ever does.

    September 23 - 25, 1921
    Baltimore Orioles (46 - 75) at Philadelphia Athletics (48 - 73)


    September 23: Before the game, I realize we're only two games behind the Athletics with three to play against them. We could pass them and not finish in last place, which would be a nice moral victory in a season that has been short on any other kind. Also, another couple of wins and Bill Hallahan could finish with 15 victories. He's already got a good chance to lead the league in ERA. And while he's well behind Walter Johnson with 175 strikeouts, he does have 97, and should easily get to 100. I think he has to be mentioned when talking about the best rooky player.

    But in today's game? Lyons pitches seven innings and only surrenders 2 runs. However, he leaves trailing 2 - 0. We finally break through and tie it at 2 in the top of the eighth...and Ken Jones gives up another run. So we go to the top of the ninth trailing by one. And in a total team effort, we get five hits, two sacrifices, one error by the Athletics, and score four runs. And then very nearly give it away, allowing two more. A wild finish, indeed. Orioles 6, Athletics 5

    The Yankees win their third straight against the Browns. Meanwhile, the Tigers lose their second in a row against the Senators.

    The New York Yankees are the 1921 AL Champions

    September 24: Hallahan strikes out 4 (bringing his total to 101), we get doubles from Kress, Cuyler and Duffield, and a nice four-run third inning. Orioles 6, Athletics 3 We're tied for seventh place. Let's see how tomorrow goes, we could pull ahead of the Athletics.

    September 25: We don't. Oh, boy, we don't. Apparently Hughie was saving his bullpen for days like today. Offensively, we get 9 hits and 3 runs. The Athletics team batting average goes up almost 2 full points, as they bang out 28 hits and score...

    They score...

    I can't say it. Okay, I can. Athletics 22, Orioles 3. Guess we still have a long way to go.

    One day off to think about what we've done here, and then we host the Yankees for three. After that we travel to New York for three more warm-up games for the AL champions. Who will be without their starting third baseman, Aaron Ward, for at least three weeks. This probably makes the Giants happy.

    * * *

    September 27 - 29, 1921
    New York Yankees (83 - 41) at Baltimore Orioles(48 - 76)


    September 27: Ouch. I had kind of hoped that after the 22 run debacle the other day, Hughie would have worked with the pitchers more. Apparently not. 22 more hits. Ruth hit 3 home runs. 3. Painful. Yankees 14, Orioles 6

    September 28: Hallahan doesn't do well. Gehrig is walked four times - I have to see about getting somebody for the lineup to bat after him to give him a little protection. Yankees 7, Orioles 4

    September 29: In our final home game of the season, we take a 4 - 1 lead into the third. And then...we throw it away. Three errors, and just bad pitching. Yankees 16, Orioles 8

    But the most amazing thing happens. After the final out is recorded, the cranks rise to their feet and begin to cheer. None of them have left, the place is still full, just as it was in the first inning, no matter how long ago the game was effectively lost. They cheer. And cheer some more. It's as though they won't let the team leave the field. After almost ten minutes, Hughie steps out on the field. The volume, if anything, increases. He waves into the dugout for the other players. Cuyler comes out. Jeanes. Steger had pitched but got knocked out early, so he's in street clothes. Doesn't matter, they cheer him anyway. Some of the irregulars come out. Graham Sweeney, who batted only .184 and was grossly over-matched at the major league level. They cheer him, more than he's heard all year. Kelly Burton, who has to know he's only holding down third base until I can get somebody, anybody, out there. They cheer. Bill Hallahan comes out with Ted Lyons, and I think the place is going to shatter. They're waving to the fans, the fans are waving back.

    I run down through the stands, to the dugout. I've an idea that I hope Mr. Durant will approve - when he finds out about it. I grab a bag of baseballs from the corner of the dugout and run out onto the field. I wave Hughie, Cuyler, and Jeanes over. Gehringer comes with them.

    "Yes Mr. Aaron?" the very polite Gehringer asks.

    I put baseballs in each of their hands. "Go over to the stands and start giving these to the kids. Go into the dugout and give away any of the bats the fellows are willing to part with. Hats too. I don't care, give the shirts off your backs. This is too good to pass up."

    Hughie is beaming from ear to ear. "It's just like back in the Nineties," he says. "This place really loves this team."

    "They surely do." I start to say more, but by then Gehrig has finished his shower and come back onto the field. The fans recognize him.

    Now I know what the Revelation will sound like. I had no idea 20,000 people could make that kind of noise. (Of course, I say 20,000, but there were probably another thousand watching from local roofs. And in the future, I'd imagine I'll have about 150,000 people tell me they were here today.)

    Ruth comes out to see what the ruckus is. He gets some good-natured booing, but he's a local boy at heart. He wanders my way. "I don't think I ever seen anything like this," he says. "Imagine if you'd won the game." I reply, "Imagine if we'd won the pennant." Ruth just laughs. "I hope I get to see that. After I retire, of course." We part company in the throng.

    I see Gehrig, mobbed by adoring kids. He's smart enough to have brought a pen with him, and is signing anything they can thrust in front of him. He looks over at me and says "I'm a very lucky man, aren't I?"

    I can only agree. Yes we are.
    Last edited by birdsin89; 06-21-2013 at 09:31 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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  7. #52
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    After that, both teams still have to travel to New York to finish out the season. Not that it matters, really.

    September 30, October 1 - 2, 1921
    Baltimore Orioles (48 - 78) at New York Yankees (86 - 41)


    September 30: New York scores in each of the first four innings, Gehrig hits number 15, but it's not enough, as the Yankees with their tenth in a row. Yankees 6, Orioles 4

    October 1: We knock Waite Hoyt out early, but it's not enough. The three errors don't help. Yankees 12, Orioles 6

    October 2: Bill Hallahan only goes five innings, and gives up four runs. But it's enough to earn him his fifteenth win on the season, a very respectable figure that's good enough to tie him with Lefty Grove for 8th in the American League. Gehrig just misses home run number 16, ending with 15, which puts him in second place behind Ruth's 32. Orioles 6, Yankees 5

    * * *

    So we go home. And the Yankees get ready for the Worlds' Series.

    But first, the end of season statistics.

    Code:
    1921 Batting             Team    G   AVG    AB    H  2B  3B  HR   BB    K   SB  CS    R  RBI   SLG   OBP
    Jeanes, Tex               BAL  125  .270   493  133  27   4   2   35   52   11   6   70   55  .353  .317
    Burton, Kelly             BAL  127  .229   468  107  16   6   0    9   18   10   9   39   44  .288  .245
    Cuyler, Kiki              BAL   90  .284   373  106  26   4   3   25   47   21   3   74   47  .399  .338
    Kress, Josh               BAL   84  .284   338   96  18   5   3   11   16    9   7   46   39  .393  .307
    Gehringer, Charlie        BAL   73  .282   298   84  11   3   3   38   14    5   3   52   36  .369  .370
    Gehrig, Lou               BAL   73  .369   271  100  20   3  15   44   33    1   0   55   72  .631  .455
    Duffield, Garret          BAL   72  .231   268   62   6   3   0    8   34    4   6   18   21  .276  .262
    Sigalas, Brian            BAL   70  .266   263   70  13   2   2   18   17    2   7   32   26  .354  .312
    Sweeney, Graham           BAL   69  .184   245   45   6   2   2    6   22    4   2   26    9  .249  .206
    Mack, Lewis               BAL   60  .224   228   51   5   5   0   12   23    4   3   16   27  .289  .258
    Brucker, Earle            BAL   65  .251   211   53  14   1   1   24   20    0   2   25   29  .341  .320
    Martell, Pete             BAL   48  .227   181   41   9   3   0    8   20    2   3   20   15  .309  .258
    Rieger, Noah              BAL   35  .228   127   29   2   0   2    0    7    0   3   10   11  .291  .227
    Tinsley, Nick             BAL   22  .136    81   11   2   0   0    0    3    4   1    3    4  .160  .134
    Lyons, Ted                BAL   36  .263    80   21   6   0   0    5   12    0   0   13    6  .338  .306
    Klinger, Joe              BAL   38  .301    73   22   4   1   0    2    8    0   0    8   12  .384  .329
    Hallahan, Bill            BAL   29  .236    72   17   2   0   0    4   21    0   0    6    4  .264  .276
    Steger, Keith             BAL   30  .200    70   14   1   0   2    4   10    2   0    8    7  .300  .243
    Williams, Malcolm         BAL   21  .197    66   13   3   0   0    3   10    0   1    0    7  .242  .229
    Michaels, Ralph           BAL   33  .184    49    9   1   0   0    3    6    0   0    8    4  .204  .231
    Ford, Andy                BAL   12  .212    33    7   3   0   0    2    3    0   0    2    6  .303  .278
    Harty, O.J.               BAL   19  .182    33    6   2   0   0    0    6    0   0    2    1  .242  .182
    Smothers, Paul            BAL   40  .038    26    1   0   0   0    2    0    0   0    1    1  .038  .107
    Marinkovich, Wayne        BAL    5  .214    14    3   1   0   0    0    3    0   0    1    1  .286  .214
    Cormican, Vinnie          BAL    5  .083    12    1   0   0   0    0    4    2   0    0    0  .083  .083
    Bradburn, Kent            BAL   24  .250    12    3   0   0   0    1    2    0   0    0    0  .250  .308
    Jones, Ken                BAL   19  .300    10    3   0   0   0    0    3    0   0    1    0  .300  .300
    MacMaster, Jeff           BAL   11  .333     9    3   1   0   0    0    1    0   0    0    0  .444  .333
    Shaw, Shawn               BAL   14  .222     9    2   1   0   0    0    3    0   0    1    1  .333  .222
    Wagner, Justin            BAL   11  .250     8    2   0   0   0    0    0    0   0    0    1  .250  .250
    Vowles, Mike              BAL   13  .429     7    3   0   0   0    1    1    0   0    0    0  .429  .500
    Weeks, Jim                BAL   21  .143     7    1   0   0   0    1    3    0   0    0    0  .143  .250
    Walker, Bill              BAL   10  .400     5    2   0   0   0    0    2    0   0    1    0  .400  .400
    Schemanske, Fred          BAL   16  .500     4    2   0   0   0    0    0    0   0    1    0  .500  .500
    Ferenchick, Jacob         BAL    7  .000     3    0   0   0   0    0    1    0   0    0    0  .000  .000
    Code:
    1921 Pitching            Team     IP   ERA    G  GS   W   L  SV    K   BB   R/9
    Lyons, Ted                BAL  242.1  4.75   36  36   7  21   0   70   40 13.07
    Hallahan, Bill            BAL  212.1  3.14   29  29  15  10   0  110   70 12.67
    Steger, Keith             BAL  194.2  4.90   30  30   8  14   0   57   88 14.29
    Harty, O.J.               BAL   93.2  5.67   19  17   8  10   0   29   50 16.91
    Smothers, Paul            BAL   62.2  5.74   40   0   2   5   2   18   28 15.37
    Bradburn, Kent            BAL   46.2  4.44   24   0   1   2   1   13   21 14.46
    Jones, Ken                BAL   32.0  5.34   19   0   1   1   1    6   10 16.88
    MacMaster, Jeff           BAL   30.0  3.60   11   0   0   0   0   12   12 14.70
    Weeks, Jim                BAL   29.1  5.22   21   0   2   2   3    7   18 18.41
    Shaw, Shawn               BAL   26.0  4.85   14   0   0   2   0    7   13 14.88
    Vowles, Mike              BAL   22.2  5.56   13   0   0   0   0    5   17 24.22
    Wagner, Justin            BAL   21.2  6.65   11   0   0   0   0    5   12 19.52
    Schemanske, Fred          BAL   18.0  7.00   16   0   2   1   2    4    4 15.50
    Ferenchick, Jacob         BAL   16.1  6.61    7   3   1   3   0    5    8 17.08
    Walker, Bill              BAL   15.2  7.47   10   0   0   1   0    5    8 17.23

    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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  8. #53
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    The World's Series.

    Even if my team didn't get close to it, finishing 39 games out, it's still something special.

    Of course, if it weren't for the World's Series two years ago, there wouldn't be a Baltimore Orioles for me to talk about.

    All right, so this was the Yankees and the Giants. For the Yankees, their first ever pennant. For the Giants, their seventh, making them the most successful franchise since the World's Series began.



    All games played at the Polo Grounds. The Yankees have purchased land just across the Harlem River, less than a mile away from the Polo Grounds, and will soon break ground on Yankee Stadium. But for now, they share a home. Removes the need for travel days during the Series, too.

    And another sign of progress for our world. For the first time, the World's Series will be broadcast over radio! Station WJZ, in Newark, New Jersey, will be announcing the events of the game. The odd thing is, the announcer will actually be located in New Jersey at the station. He'll recreate the sounds of the baseball game using reports that come to him by telephone. I'd think it would be easier to do the reports from the Polo Grounds, but I will happily admit that I don't know the first thing about what it takes to get a radio broadcast going. However, I do know that Baltimore now has its own radio station, WKC, with rumors that the Baltimore American will be adding a radio transmitter to their building and adding a station some time next year. I suppose I'll have to go buy a radio now.

    * * *

    1921 World's Series, October 11 - 19, 1921
    New York Giants (84 - 46) at New York Yankees (88 - 42)


    October 11: Giants' manager John McGraw has been here before, and knows what he's doing. There really isn't much of a challenge for him in making out his lineup. He can't include Ross Youngs, his young right fielder who batted .310 in only 82 games this year, but that's because Youngs tore a knee ligament back on September 16. He'll go instead with 31 year old George Burns, who actually played in more games than Youngs, and batted "only" .305. But Burns does not have a great history in the World's Series, having been there twice before, and only batting .227 in 1917, and .158 in 1913.

    The Yankees, meanwhile, are without both starting third baseman Aaron Ward (ankle fracture) and shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh (broken ankle). Neither will play in this Series. The Yankees' big loss is Carl Mays, who will not be able to pitch the first game, and may not be ready until the third game. Mays went 21 - 8 this season, led the AL and tied for the major league lead in victories. He would have been the logical choice to start Game 1 opposite Art Nehf, who also won 21.

    Instead, manager Miller Huggins has to go with Bob Shawkey. If you're forced to use a fallback, one who went 19 - 9 is not a bad option.

    Nehf does not start well. After getting Wally Schang to fly out, Chick Fewster, playing for Peckinpaugh as he has been doing for some time, singles. Bob Meusel follows with another single. Babe Ruth does so as well, driving in the first run of the Series. Wally Pipp then doubles, driving in another. And Frank Baker hits a fly ball deep enough that Babe Ruth can tag up and score from third. A groundout by Ping Bodie ends the inning, but some damage is done. Yankees 3, Giants 0

    So Shawkey has a three run lead before his first pitch. Which is a good thing, as that first pitch is hit by Dave Bancroft to the deepest part of the Polo Grounds, where it rattles around long enough for Bancroft to circle the bases on an inside the park home run! Yankees 3, Giants 1

    Not much happens until the bottom of the third, wherein George Burns leads off with a double. After a Frankie Frisch fly out and a George Kelly strikeout, Earl Smith doubles to drive in Burns. The next batter, Freddy Leach, singles to plate Smith. Yankees 3, Giants 3

    Again, a few innings of eventlessness. In the bottom of the sixth, number eight batter Hank Schreiber singles. Art Nehf bunts him to second. Two batters later, George Burns singles, scoring Schreiber. Giants 4, Yankees 3, and the Giants have their first lead of the Series. That three run first is looking quite far away now.

    Even further away by the top of the ninth. But Frank Baker leads off with a single on a 1-2 pitch, and is bunted to second. The next batter is Mike McNally, who singles to drive in the tying run. Yankees 4, Giants 4

    And then the struggle begins. Jim Marquis comes on in relief of Shawkey, and shuts the Giants down in the bottom of the ninth. Nehf continues and puts the Yankees down 1-2-3 in the tenth. But Marquis does the same to the Giants. Joe Poetz comes in for the Giants, and despite getting Wally Pipp as far as third base, they can't bring him in. Hank Schreiber leads off the bottom of the eleventh with a double, steals third...and is cut down at the plate. The twelfth is scoreless...as is the thirteenth.

    In the top of the fourteenth, as the shadows fall over the ball park, Claude Jonnard walks Mandy Brooks and is bunted to second. Chick Fewster then finally breaks through witn an RBI single to right. Yankees 5, Giants 4 Fewster makes the mistake of taunting Jonnard after his hit...and is immediately picked off first to end the inning.

    Charlie Caldwell comes in to pitch for the Yankees. George Kelly greets him with a 1-0 double to left. Babe Ruth bobbles the ball, allowing Kelly to reach third with no outs. The next batter is Earl Smith, who's practically bouncing to the plate with energy. Sure enough, he's swinging freely, and fouls off two, reaching far outside for both. And then he singles up the middle. We're tied again! Giants 5, Yankees 5 Freddy Leach bunts Smith to second, and Johnny Frederick follows with a single to right. It's a close play at the plate, but

    Final Score: Giants 6, Yankees 5 (14)

    The game took over four hours to complete. McGraw comments after the game that he's "never lost faith" in his boys, no matter how far they were down, or at what part of the game. Babe Ruth, for whom this is not his first World's Series, only his first as a Yankee, is seen...shall we say...exhorting his team mates to do better the next day?
    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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  9. #54
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    After a game like that, it's almost a shame they don't have a travel day.

    Carl Mays reports to Huggins that he's ready to go today. Mays has also been in two World's Series with the Red Sox, and does not plan to let his new team down. "The boys supported me when I came over here, even after the Chapman thing," Mays says. "Now I'll support them in the only way I know how." (Of course, "the Chapman thing" refers to Mays being the pitcher whose pitch hit and killed the Indians' shortstop in 1920. In my opinion, Mays would be better off never mentioning that again.)

    Mays will face 17 game winner Fred Toney. Toney, 32, is in his tenth season, but has never been on a pennant winner before this.

    The first inning is largely uneventful, to be honest. I think the players are just tired after yesterday's extra-inning contest. A one out single in the top of the second by Frank Baker, followed by a stolen base and a single by Mike McNally, drives in the game's first run. Yankees 1, Giants 0 Followed immediately by another pickoff.

    So needing to score, the Giants come up in the bottom of the inning. Earl Smith and Freddy Leach both single, and on Lee King's fly ball to left, Smith scores the tying run. Yankees 1, Giants 1

    In the bottom of the third, the Giants tack on another as Frankie Frisch, finally making his name known in this Series, doubles home Dave Bancroft. Giants 2, Yankees 1

    But the Yankees respond. In the top of the fourth, Babe Ruth singles. And then...steals second! The Bambino only stole three bases all season, and was caught five times. I think it surprised everyone so much that he was even attempting that the Giants didn't know how to react. This was proven when on the next pitch, Wally Pipp tripled to score Ruth. Yankees 2, Giants 2 However, they weren't done, as Frank Baker then singled (and took second because the Giants appeared to forget he was there) to drive in Pipp, and then Ping Brodie singled to score Baker. Yankees 4, Giants 2

    That was the way it was until the bottom of the sixth. Earl Smith again got things going with a leadoff double. Leach, apparently wanting to stay with Smith every step of the way, followed with his own double. After Lee King struck out, Hank Schreiber reached on an error by shortstop Chick Fewster. With runners on the corners, Fred Toney...struck out. Two down. Dave Bancroft fell behind 0 - 2, but then hit the inning's third double, to drive in both runners! This brought up George Burns, who hit the Series' second inside-the-park home run! Giants 7, Yankees 4

    And another couple of innings of nothing. The Yankees came up in the ninth three outs away from going down 2 games to none in the Series. But they had been losing in the ninth the previous day, and come back, only to lose. Today? Wally Schang led off with a single. Chick Fewster then made up for his earlier error by doubling. However, Schang held up at third. But Bob Meusel's line drive to the right fielder was deep enough for Schang to tag and score. With one out, Ruth walked, and Wally Pipp doubled to score Fewster. Giants 7, Yankees 6 Frank Baker continued his impressive day, singling in the tying run. After Ping Bodie flew out for the second out, Wally Pipp broke for the plate and was SAFE! Down by three runs in the ninth, the Yankees had scored four to take a one run lead. Yankees 8, Giants 7

    So now, the team whose back was against the wall had changed. And when George Burns grounded to third, and the almost-absent Frankie Frisch flied to center, it seemed over. Down to the Giants' last strike, George Kelly singled to left, to keep the team alive. After a ball that almost got away from Yankee catcher Wally Schang, Kelly stole second. Thus enabling him to prove why they call it "scoring position" when Earl Smith doubled him home! Giants 8, Yankees 8 However, a weak grounder to third by Lee King sent it into extras for the second straight day.

    In the top of the tenth, the Yankees got Sam Langford as far as second, but no closer. The Yanks then brought Charlie Caldwell into the game to pitch. Caldwell had been in A ball as recently as August, though he'd picked up a save against the Orioles on September 30, and the win the next day in relief. He'd pitched 42 2/3 innings in the majors, going 2 - 0 with an ERA of 3.59 and 2 saves. But still, he was only 20, and being called on in extra innings in the World's Series for the second time!

    Unsurprisingly, he was nervous, and his very first pitch was sent into left field by Hank Schreiber for a single. But due up was Giant's pitcher Claude Jonnard. However, McGraw instead sent up Mike Gonzalez, a nine-year veteran of four different teams. Gonzalez worked the count to 2 - 2 before singling back up the middle. Schreiber, not the fasted runner on any block, had to stop at third.

    Gonzalez took second without drawing a throw. Why not, his run didn't matter to anyone. So with nobody out, the Giants had runners on second and third. Shortstop Dave Bancroft was up next. He'd already banged out two hits in the game. With one ball and one strike on him...

    ...Caldwell uncorked a wild one that rolled all the way to the backstop! Even slow Hank Schreiber managed to make it almost home before Schang retrieved the ball. Caldwell had raced to the plate, but pulled up as he saw that Schang didn't have a chance. Schreiber scored! Giants 9, Yankees 8 (10)

    And NOW it was a good thing both teams had a day off!
    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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  10. #55
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    October 13 - 15, 1921

    Amazingly little to say. It's not as though we need to discuss the other team's ball park - until the Yankees get their new Yankee Stadium in a couple of years, they're sharing the Polo Grounds.

    One correction I want to make - I mentioned something to Mr. Durant about the league awards. He told me that that had just been something Commissioner Kimball was considering, but he'd decided against it. I guessed that it was probably because he didn't want to offend some of the owners if their players didn't get the awards. He told me that I was getting entirely too cynical.

    He had no idea.

    However, he told me that the reality was that the owners didn't want the awards to carry any form of official recognition because they could then be used in salary negotiations.

    And this is somehow less cynical than my theory?

    * * *

    Game Three:

    Taking full advantage of the day off to recuperate, both managers elect to go with their Game 1 starters, so it will once again be 21 game winner Art Nehf for the Giants, vs. 19 game winner Bob Shawkey for the Yankees. Shawkey was under some pressure as his Yankees were in a 2 - 0 hole in games, but as they'd both been so close, there was no reason to count them out quite yet. So both teams had good chances.

    Which is why it's no real surprise that the game remained scoreless in the first. The top of the second brought nothing either. In the bottom of the second, Wally Pipp hit a one-out single. The next batter, Frank "Home Run" Baker, continued his hot hitting in this Series, singling Pipp to third. When Ping Bodie flied out to Center, it was enough for Pipp to score. Yankees 1, Giants 0

    The Giants went fairly quietly in the third, with Art Nehf's single the only hit. In the bottom of the third, a two-out triple by Chick Fewster followed by Bob Meusel's single brought in the game's second run. Yankees 2, Giants 0

    Earl Smith hit a two out double in the top of the fourth, but Freddy Leach struck out to leave him stranded. In the bottom of the frame, Home Run Baker continued to be Get On Base Baker, reaching on an error by Frankie Frisch. Bodie then singled him to third, where he scored on a groundout by Mike McNally. Yankees 3, Giants 0 Bob Shawkey now had a three run lead to work with...and wanted more. So he doubled to right, driving in Bodie. Yankees 4, Giants 0 However, any threat of more ended when Wally Schang hit a screaming line drive to George Kelly at first, who snagged it and fired to Dave Bancroft to complete the double play.

    After this, the teams exchanged scoreless frames until the top of the ninth. Would the Giants be able to rally to send a third game to extra innings? Not if Shawkey had anything to say about it!

    On the first pitch from Shawkey, Earl Smith grounded to short. On the second pitch, Freddy Leach grounded to second. And on the third pitch, Lee King grounded to first. Three pitches, three ground ball outs. Probably the most efficient inning in baseball history. Technically, it would have to be, I suppose.

    Final Score: Yankees 4, Giants 0

    "Efficient" was a good word for the whole game, actually. After the four hour marathon in game 1, and the next day's 3 hour contest, this one breezed along in only 2:14.

    As much as I wanted my team to be there, I had to admit as a baseball fan, I was having fun. (And I wanted efficiency simply because it meant a shorter time until I could get back to work on building the Orioles for next year!)

    * * *

    For game 4, the Giants were once again going with their game 2 starter, Fred Toney. His 17 - 4 record hadn't compared well to Carl Mays' 21 wins (though neither pitcher had been around when the game ended). However, the Yankees didn't play along, saving Mays for the next game. Instead they'd go with Harry Harper. The 26 year old was already in his ninth season, having spent seven years with the Senators and one with the Red Sox, before coming over to on the Boston - New York shuttle. He'd had his best year ever this year, going 12 - 6 with an ERA of 3.49 in 21 starts. Not bad, considering just two years ago he lead the majors in losses, with 21 (even though his ERA that year was not terrible - 3.72, for a very bad Senators team).

    The New York press was not happy with Huggins' decision to start Harper over Mays. Huggins as much as said that if the Yankees had lost the previous day, forcing them down 3 - 0, Mays would have started. He obviously couldn't come out and say it without undermining Harper, but I think everybody knew it anyway. McGraw certainly did, and made no bones about it, or about his team's intention to rattle the young man and put the Series away. And Huggins was getting mercilessly ridden by the fans in New York (the Yankees fans, anyway).

    For good reason, as it happened.

    Harper took the mound and seemed in total control For the first two pitches. It was the third pitch, on an 0-2 count, which Dave Bancroft sent back up the middle for a single. However, apparently acting on that plan to rattle Harper, Bancroft kept going on the simple ground ball up the middle, trying for second. And reaching it safely, as Ping Bodie bobbled the throw. The unsettling of Harry Harper appeared to have worked, as he lost the strike zone against George Burns. And then, on the 3 - 0 pitch, wished he had lost it some more. Burns singled to right, and the scoring was on. Giants 1, Yankees 0 Next up, Frankie Frisch finally did something to raise his batting average (so far in the Series he'd been hitting an anemic .188), singling back through the middle.

    Okay, I've been implying that it was all on Harper. It wasn't. Bodie had already committed one error. Harper then got George Kelly to hit a perfect double play ball to shortstop Fewster - who promptly threw it past the second baseman into right field. Burns scored, and Frisch and Kelly ended up at third and second, respectively. Giants 2, yankees 0

    A visibly shaken Harry Harper now took the ball back to the mound. He'd allowed a couple of legitimate hits, but his defense had also failed him. According to the papers the next day, you could tell that he was no longer confident (though after the game, Bodie said that it wasn't himself that Harper wasn't confident in, but his team mates). Regardless, either he felt he had to pitch perfectly, or felt that he just didn't have it today. Either of which might explain the first pitch to Earl Smith, which went back through the box to center and drove in two more. Giants 4, Yannkees 0. At least he finally got some good news, though he had to earn it himself. Bodie's throw to the plate to attempt to cut down Kelly was cut off by Harper, who saw that (a) it was going to be too late, and (b) Smith was trying for second. Harper threw his best pitch of the inning, a perfect strike to second base, to cut down Smith.

    And then allowed a double by Lee King.

    And Huggins walked to the mound. That was it for Harper in his Worlds' Series debut. His line?

    Code:
                    NEW YORK   ip  h bb hr  r er  k pit
                Harry Harper  0.1  5  0  0  4  2  0  14
    Well, I suppose only the 2 runs were earned.

    Walter Beall came in to relieve Harper. He promptly struck out Hank Schreiber and coaxed Cozy Dolan into a weak ground ball to short.
    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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  11. #56
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Game 4, continued

    All right, so it looked bad. But the Yankees hadn't won the American League by laying down and dying.

    In the bottom of the first, Chick Fewster hit a one-out double. He moved to third on Bob Meusel's single, and scored on Babe Ruth's ground ball out. Giants 4, Yankees 1 But Pipp then grounded to third, ending the threat.

    The score remained 4 - 1 until the bottom of the third. Two quick strikeouts, followed by a walk of Chick Fewster. Then Bob Meusel doubled and went to third on an error by George Burns. Giants 4, Yankees 2 But then, Babe Ruth struck out. The side was struck out, but not without some damage.

    In order to feel truly comfortable with their lead, the Giants needed another run right away. They began their assault with a Hank Schreiber double to left. Cozy Dolan lined out to center, but it was deep enough - just barely! - for Schreiber to advance to third. So on Fred Toney's grounder deep to short, Schreiber broke for the plate - and scored! The throw went instead to first to get the out. Giants 5, Yankees 2 Bancroft singled, but Burns fiddled around in the box for a while, fouling off pitch after pitch, until finally popping up foul to first, to end the inning. The Yankees then went quitely on three groundouts in the bottom of the inning.

    Jake Freeze came on to pitch. We were just through four innings, and the Yankees were already on their third pitcher. And it started for him about as well as it had with the others. Frankie Frisch, showing signs of life, doubled to right. But Freeze coaxed fly balls to short center from George Kelly and Earl Smith, who both failed to advance the runner. Freeze's luck ran out with Lee King, whose single plated Frisch. Giants 6, Yankees 2 A Schreiber walk followed, and the Huggins began to get another pitcher ready. However, Cozy Dolan grounded out, and the top of the inning was over.

    Toney once again had his four run lead. However, a curious thing about Toney. His worst pitching this year has been when he's had the most comfortable lead. Obviously it wasn't too bad, as he had gone 17-4. But there were plenty of times throughout the season in which he'd given up almost enough to lose in late innings, if his teammates had spotted him a decent lead. Oddly, if he only had a one run lead, he was nearly unbeatable. Some players handle pressure very well...and can't make it without it.

    So of course, Toney led off the inning by walking Mike McNally, the number 8 batter, on 4 pitches. This brought up the pitcher, but either Huggins figured he still had a shot, or just that Freeze hadn't been all that good and so replacing him was not a big deal. Either way, Sam Langford came in to bat - and promptly doubled to left. However, it had looked up to the last minute as though Leach, the rooky left fielder, would come up with the ball, so McNally (no speedster anyway) had had to hold, and was unable to score. Until Wally Schang grounded to short, and McNally was able to score. Giants 6, Yankees 3 With Chick Fewster now up, and Langford on third, the Giants were in position to give back both of their extra runs. Which, on a 1 - 2 count, they did, as Fewster doubled to right. Giants 6, Yankees 4 And the nasty part of the Yankees order, Bob Meusel and Babe Ruth, were due up. Which, of course, Toney being Toney, meant he bore down some, got Meusel on a weak fly to center, and struck Ruth out on three pitches. I really don't understand the way some people work.

    The game settled down at that point, with little more than scattered singles, until the top of the ninth. By this point, with Charlie Caldwell pitching for the Yankees, and pitching quite well. But he walked both Bancroft and George Burns to start. Frisch followed with another hit, an RBI single to center. Giants 7, Yankees 4 So Huggins brought in Jim Marquis to pitch - the firth pitcher of the day for the Yanks. And indeed, he induced George Kelly to pop up to short, and Earl Smith to fly out to left (though that was deep enough for Burns to tag and score from third). Giants 8, Yankees 4 A Lee King popup, and we headed to the bottom of the ninth.

    So the Giants again had their four run lead. It was left only to see how Toney would mess that up. Mr. Worlds' Series (so far), Frank "Home Run" Baker, led off. Now 35, and a part time player only in the Series because of the injury to Aaron Ward, Baker reminded all of his glory days with the Philadelphia Athletics by leading off with a triple to left that just missed living up to his nickname. Now, with some pressure back on, Toney was able to strike out Ping Bodie on three pitches. Mike McNally grounded to short, and the Giants wisely took the sure out at first, allowing Baker to score. Huggins brought in Earle Combs to pinch hit for Jim Marquis, and Combs drew a walk, and stole second on the first pitch, a ball, to the next batter. Again, nobody in the park was paying much attention to him - his run really didn't matter. But putting himself in scoring position must have annoyed Toney, who found the strike zone again and, on a 2-2 pitch, got a beautiful curve just at the letters for strike three.

    Final Score: Giants 8, Yankees 5 And the Giants were up in the Series three games to one.
    Last edited by birdsin89; 12-07-2011 at 12:44 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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  12. #57
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    October 16, 1921

    The Yankees had held Carl Mays out in favor of Harper. It hadn't ended well for them. So there was no question that Mays would take the mound for Game 5. Particularly since the Giants were able to go with their number 3 starter...who'd tied Art Nehf for the National League lead in victories. This game would see two 21 game winners, in Mays and 31 year old Urban Shocker, making his post season debut.

    Shocker is not a power pitcher, making his living with finesse. But what finesse! He'd won 20 games in 1920 for the Browns. And 16 more for the Browns this year until the Giants got him back in July, and 5 more with the Giants over his eight games there.

    So, 21-11 vs. 21-8. Not expecting this one to be a high scoring affair. Both pitchers, sober, serious men who've done this before, refuse to rise to the bait tossed out by the New York press. "It'll be a corker, you can bet on that," is all Shocker will say. Which, it turns out, is nine more words than Mays will give at all.

    * * *

    Mays looks very sharp in warmups. If possible, even less of a power pitcher than Shocker, the submarine-style pitcher (whose nickname, rather uncreatively, was "Sub") was even getting some pop in the catcher's mitt before the game. At start time, the Giants' Dave Bancroft looked a bit surprised for the first couple of pitches. Finally, on an 0 - 2 pitch, he's able to catch up enough to hit a weak grounder toward third. And then, because he could run, he beat the throw to first. And stole second. And took third on George Burns' groundout to short. So with one out, the Giants had a runner on third. Frankie Frisch took one ball, and then hit a sharp grounder down the third base line, headed for the left field corner. Frank Baker, not the best of fielders normally (lifetime .941 fielding average) laid out in a beautiful dive to his right, and somehow managed to stop the ball. He rose to his knees and made a tremendous throw to first. But one thing Frisch could do was run, and he beat the throw. Meanwhile, Bancroft had been running on contact and scored easily. Giants 1, Yankees 0 After the game, Frisch said "That was pure instinct on Baker's part out there. I was already on third in my head, and then he comes up with the ball and I just barely get a single out of it."

    Anxious to run now, Frisch took off on the next pitch - which George Kelly sent up the middle. When the ball returned to Mays, Frisch was on third, with Kelly on first, and only one out. The next batter, Earl Smith, hit a ground ball back to Mays. His delivery had him just a bit off balance, but he still fielded cleanly, and opted to go to second to start the 1 - 6 - 4 double play, while the speedy Frisch raced for the plate. The throw to second was in plenty of time to get Kelly for the second out. The return throw to second baseman McNally covering first was...not in time! The umpire called him safe, and the run therefore counted! Giants 2, Yankees 0 Huggins was on the field jawing with the umpire almost before Frisch was back to the dugout. His arguments got louder and more animated, and I honestly think some of his frustration with the way the Series was going was getting to him, as I've heard that several of the ladies in the first few rows could clearly hear him call the official some very ungentlemanly names. Finally he hit the combination that counted, and was ejected from the game! This of course led to another round, and it was a good ten minutes between pitches for Mays.

    Which, to be honest, didn't seem to make all that much difference. As I said, he's been here before. Two pitches later, Freedy Leach grounded to Baker, who was able to throw him out with ease.

    Once again, though, the Yankees come up in the bottom of the first already trailing. Shocker took only four pitches to strike out Schang. Fewster then singled to right. That brought Bob Meusel up. 1921 is only Meusel's second season, but the 25 year old right fielder certainly appears to have a bright future ahead. In two full seasons, he's batted .321, with 23 home runs. Over those two years, he's driven in 83 in 1920 and 112 in 1921. He's also a doubles machine, hitting 40 last year and another 36 this year. In other words, a dangerous hitter.

    Which he proved by lacing the 2-2 pitch into left center, where it got past center fielder Lee King. This left King and left fielder Leach to chase it down. By the time they did so in the spacious Polo Grounds center field (450 feet to the wall in left center, 433 to the wall in center), not only had Fewster scored, but so had Meusel with an inside the park home run! Giants 2, Yankees 2 Shocker was...well, shocked, I suppose, and looked it, missing badly on his first two pitches to Babe Ruth. But McGraw called time and visited the veteran. After the game, we found out what the conversation was like:

    "Huh. Meusel really hit that one, didn't he?"

    "----"

    "Ruth's a pretty good ballplayer, isn't he?"

    "----"

    "Well, you want to keep pitching, or don't ya?"

    "----!"

    "You do remember you've done this before, right?"

    "Give me the d--- ball, I'll show you what I remember."

    This was enough for McGraw, who went back to the third base box. Shocker's next pitch was probably ball three, but Ruth took a mighty swing...and missed. After that, a curve that froze Ruth, and a changeup that might or might not have caught the outside corner in the view of everyone in the park except home plate umpire Cy Rigler, who called it strike three. A single by Pipp was then followed by a fly ball by Baker, and the Giants were out of trouble.

    The game remained tied until the bottom of the third, when Meusel again hit the ball to center. Just enough for a single, this time. Meusel then took off for second, which kept him out of the double play when Ruth, challenging Frisch for the least valuable player award, grounded to second. However, Pipp followed this with his second single, and it was enough to score Meusel from second! Yankees 3, Giants 2 Baker's magic, potent so far in the Series, then deserted him, and he quietly grounded to third.

    Shocker tried to help his cause in the fifth with a double, but got stranded there by Frankie Frisch. But in the top of the sixth, Earl Smith singled, and took third on Freddy Leach's single. A Lee King grounder made another out, but scored Smith. Giants 3, Yankees 3 And that's where we stayed until the top of the ninth.

    The two starters were still in, still locked at 3. Hank Screiber began the ninth with a 1-0 single. McGraw knew Shocker was tiring finally, so he sent up Hack Wilson to bat for him. Wilson took the first pitch for a called strike, but Schreiber had a huge jump on the pitch, and was more than half way to second before the catcher even touched the ball. "Scoring position" meant something, as two pitches later Wilson singled to left, and Schreiber beat the throw to the plate! Giants 4, Yankees 3 Dave Bancroft successfully bunted Wilson to second, and George Burns followed that with a single to right, scoring the second run of the inning. Giants 5, Yankees 3

    And that was it for Carl Mays. He'd gone 8 1/3 innings, and had done well, but not well enough. Jim Marquis came in to try to put out the fire. Facing Frankie Frisch, he did so, getting a ground ball to third. Baker held the ball and glared at Wilson to force him back to second. One writer the next day wrote, "Baker stared down the runner so fiercely that the umpires didn't need to call him out, they needed to declare him dead." Baker then got the out at first, but his point had been made and Wilson stayed at second. Where he was when the next batter, Kelly, popped weakly to the infield.

    So, the bottom of the ninth. The Yankees' last chance. Frank Baker, Ping Bodie, and Mike McNally due up. And Shocker...was done. McGraw didn't even let him come out to the mound, instead sending 21 year old rooky Joe Poetz. Poetz had only appeared in 13 games this year, but this was his third appearance in the Series. So far he'd gone three innings in the Series and given up 4 runs. I think a lot of people were ready to accuse McGraw of overconfidence putting him in.

    Frank Baker wasn't one of them. Two pitches, one ground ball to second, one out. Baker finished the Series with a .381 average, but in this game he was 0 for 4.

    The next batter, Ping Bodie, didn't even take a pitch. He immediately hit a ball to straightaway center field. Very high, very deep. So much so that Lee King was easily able to get to it in time to make the catch. Three pitches, two outs.

    The number eight batter, Mike McNally, was up. He finished the Series with a .158 average, and I suspect he'll be on the bench somewhere next year after the Yankees see if they can get another second baseman. Though he did bat .274 in 111 games during the season. And here, he worked the count to 2-2. He then smashed a hot grounder to short...

    ...where it was gobbled up by Dave Bancroft. An unhurried throw across the infield, the smack of a ball in George Kelly's glove, and

    The New York Giants are 1921 World Champions!

    The Giants' Bancroft leapt high into the air before the ball had arrived at Kelly, but it didn't matter. He was soon joined in a mob near the pitcher's mound, as the team celebrated their first World's Championship since 1905. The consensus of the sportswriters was that Bancroft was the best of the lot during this series, having batted .364 with a home run and three driven in. Asked for comparisons with his previous World's Series experience, as a rooky on the 1915 NL champion Phillies, he said "Ain't nothing like it. For one thing, we won this one. I hated watching those old Red Sox celebrating back then. It sure was nicer to let them watch us this time. Now let's get 'em next year too!"

    A sentiment with which I most heartily agree.
    Last edited by birdsin89; 12-07-2011 at 12:44 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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  13. #58
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    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Fall, 1921

    An exciting Series, no doubt. As a baseball fan, I had been as thrilled as anyone. Two extra inning contests, several games that went into the ninth or later before being decided. I knew that in the future people who hadn't been there would just see "New York (NL) 4, New York (AL) 1" and think it hadn't been all that close. But those of us arond at the time would remember how close it had really been.

    And nobody really knew what was to come next, anyway.

    * * *

    Part of Commissioner Kimball's "Ten Commandments" from last October had said that the Reserve Clause was no more. Player were free to contract with the team of their choice, and if an agreement could not be reached with the team on which a player was currently serving, he could go to another. There were other details to it, plus points about arbitration, and who was eligible for both, but that was the upshot of the thing. This was unheard of for most of baseball's history. Most players loved it, of course, while most owners hated it, but were too afraid of Kimball's wrath (which, admittedly, we hadn't really seen yet) to do anything about it. Some teams had jumped in with both feet - including the Orioles. We'd been a little bit cautious, true, but compared to some teams, we were profligate spenders. The one thing we all knew was that, because so many players had one year contracts, and so many teams were more cautious than we were and signed even their free agents to one year contracts, there were going to be a lot of players on the market after this season.

    We had no idea.

    Twenty four hours after the ball hit George Kelly's glove for the final out, teams could begin negotiations with their players with expiring contracts. (Of course, they'd already been doing so, but again, this was a new thing for us). Twenty four hours after that, all teams had to report their re-signings and drops to the Commissioner. Twenty four hours after that, players were allowed to sign with any club that made them an offer they liked.

    So, knowing that this was going to be the next fun part of the season for me, I went to work with the proverbial smile on my face and song in my heart. It didn't hurt that my beautiful wife and I had had a nice evening at at the Aladdin the night before. We used to go there all the time, but it had probably been five or six years since we'd gotten out. The last thing I think we'd seen there was Pennington's Choice, with Francis X. Bushman. Bushman is also from Baltimore - his wife Josephine had a kid brother who used to hang around the Orioles when I was on the team. They had five children, but that wasn't enough to keep Bushman from stepping out on her with his costar, Beveryly Bayne. Didn't seem to have hurt the cad's career, though. Too bad.


    The last time we got out to the theater

    On my arrival at work, I found Mr. Durant waiting for me. This was a bit unusual - he wasn't often late, but I was usually there first. He looked a bit tired, though, and I found myself wondering if he'd been there all night. There's really no polite way to ask a man if he's stayed out of his own house for the night, without prying, so I didn't.

    Without the usual exchange of pleasantries, he got to business, before I got to my morning Coca-Cola (I've always hated coffee).

    "What do you want to do about free agents?" he asked.

    "Sign some." As I said, it was before my morning Coke.

    He wasn't amused. "I assumed that. Do you know who? How many? What kind of salary you're considering?"

    "Yes. Is there a limit? And let's see what it takes." Way before my Coke.

    "Charles," which was my cue that he was getting annoyed, "I would like to talk to you about free agents. I have been here for quite a while this morning, and have received the league telegram about who is available. It is quite an impressive list. And I see that there are no former Orioles on it. How did you manage that?"

    Was he really paying that little attention? "Mr. Durant, in one way, of all the team executives in the league, I had it easiest. I didn't sign anyone to one year contracts. Our draftees are still bound to the team by rules of arbitration. And the players who were "donated" by the other teams when the organization started, are in the same arbitration pool as the draftees."

    "So..."

    "So in other words, I didn't have to re-sign anyone, because our players are all signed for a longer term."

    "So it was part of your plan?" he asked, with a fairly healthy does of skepticism in his voice.

    "Yes, actually, it was. Mr. Durant, I could have probably built you a better team this year if I'd wanted to sign some experienced players to short term contracts, the way most of the league did it. I didn't. To be honest, I've decided that I like it this way, and I plan to make it a part of my policy when the day comes that I do have to negotiate."

    "What do you mean?" he asked. I sensed that I had broken through whatever was bothering him - he seemed genuinely interested. This was good - I had enjoyed our baseball talks some time ago, and I didn't much like being adversarial with him. Even though I did suspect he was involved in things I didn't want to know about.

    "I promised myself that I would always, always, always try to sign a player almost as soon as he becomes eligible, and not risk seeing what he would bring on the market. I plan to stick to that. You see, as I understand it, as soon as the arbitration cases get a certain amount of time in the majors, they'll become eligible at the end of the season for arbitration. As soon as they reach that time, though, they are free to renegotiate with the club. So I will. And I'll re-sign him.

    "Or," I said, "I'll trade his a-- for a bucket of baseballs before I'll let him get away and leave me with nothing to show for it."

    Durant had been looking contented as I talked. At this last, his eyebrows rose a bit in surprise. "You're learning."

    "Mr. Durant, I don't have much money to spend. I am attempting to build a major league baseball team using poker chips, prayer, and the power of my personality. I have no choice but to learn."

    * * *

    Eventually I got my Coke. And while I sipped it, I looked over the major league free agent list.

    And goggled. I couldn't believe some of the names on this list! For starters, both Worlds' Series star Dave Bancroft, and the man to whom he threw for the final out, George Kelly, were now on the market. Actually, as far as I could tell, the Giants had released almost all of their position players, though they'd re-signed most of their pitchers. The Yankees had released Mike McNally, who'd then retired rather than go on the free agent list. Frank Baker was out, and had also hung it up.

    Maybe I can just give you the top ten list of position players and pitchers (according to what our scouts think is their potential, not where they actually are right now), so you can see what I saw.

    Position players:

    Bob O'Farrell, Catcher. (84/91). 24 years old. Would look great in orange and black, but wants over $10,000. My highest paid player is making just over half that (Lyons, at $5700). Not sure I can do it. Will just have to hope his price comes down.

    Willie Kamm, third base (69/91). I'd actually looked into signing him earlier in the year, but had missed out. Wants $3450 for 2 years. Reasonable.

    Dan Jessee, first base (62/85). I think I've got first base locked up for a while, though.

    Homer Peel, left field (58/85). Only 18, raw. Also cheap. I very much want him to work his way through our minor league system.

    Jim Keesey, first base (64/84). Another 18 year old. But also another first baseman. Pass.
    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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  14. #59
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    MD
    Posts
    1,479

    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Fall, 1921, continued

    The available pitchers were more surprising to me.

    Pete Alexander (94/94). Pitched 275 innings last season, with a 3.43 ERA. 34 years old. Wants a four year contract - bit of a stretch for a guy who's only a year younger than I am. Plus the little matter that (a) he wants over $25,000, and (b) it looks like the Boston Braves are going to give it to him. Sure, he'd be great to have, but I don't think it's going to happen.

    Burleigh Grimes (93/93). 255 innings, a 3.10 ERA. Only 28, which is better. Wants almost $30,000 for four years, which is much, much worse. Also close to signing with the Braves.

    Carl Mays (93/93)! 29 years old, won 21 games, and everything else I said about him in the Worlds' Series reports. How did the Yankees let him get away? And even though he wants over $28,000, he's apparently also close to signing for 4 years with the Braves.

    And that's not all.

    Art Nehf (92/92)! One of the other two 21 game winners (at least the Giants did re-sign Urban Shocker). I'm sure it will be a surprise to you to note that he's negotiating with the Boston Braves. I make a note to check the Braves' financials as soon as I can.

    Stan Coveleski (92/92). Pitched 204 innings, went 14 - 8 with an ERA of 4.27. Must be why he "only" wants $17,600 for four years. You'll never guess who appears ready to give it to him. Right. The Braves.

    I rise from my desk and go to the small safe in the bottom of the book case. It's not much, but it's there for me to use when needed. So far the only thing I've needed to use it for was some papers with information that, well, I'm not supposed to have. Financial reports, mostly. Most of them about my own team - I think I mentioned some irregularities I've found in the past. Some, though, are about the other teams in the leagues.

    How did I get them? I freely admit, I am relatively young, certainly young to be in my position. I am naive in many ways. I am, however, in no way stupid. I have cultivated, over the past year, friendships or at least acquaintances of people in various locations around baseball. I do not have spies. I do have sources.

    Unfortunately, because they're not really spies, the information I get from them is often inaccurate, or incomplete. On the Braves, for example, all I have is that they are way under budget, and probably could afford to sign an entire new starting rotation. They lost a little bit of money last year, but if my spies - I mean sources - are right, most teams did. The Braves are still in the black, which is better than their cross town rivals can say, but other than the Tigers and Phillies, so is everyone else. (The Tigers lost an unbelievable amount of money this year, though. I think Mr. Navin is going to have his work cut out for him.)

    I put the papers back in the safe. If the Braves are really willing to spend that much money on four pitchers, I can't stop them. I'm certainly not going to do it. And to be honest, it doesn't really matter to me. Even if they buy a National League pennant, it's not as though I'm going to face them in the World's Series next year.

    I do glance at one more paper before I close the safe. One of the profit and loss sheets is for my own team. We actually made over $90,000 last year, despite our woeful record. Baltimore is good to us (this area is great for baseball in general - as far as I can tell, the only other team in the AL who made a profit was down the road about forty miles, in Washington. But then, I'd expect a Senator to be able to make a buck).

    I stepped out and stopped at Philip's desk. "Is Mr. Durant in?"

    "He is not." The man didn't even look up from his typing. I am always impressed by Philip's ability to convey the thought that I'm beneath his notice. But I hear tell he's some collateral relative of Mr. Durant, so there's next to nothing I can do about it. Yet.

    "Do you have the end of season financial report I asked for?"

    "I have nothing you asked me for. I work for Mr. Durant."

    Keeping my voice low, I leaned in a bit. "Philip, we both know that Mr. Durant still likes me. He doesn't like me enough to listen to me if I want you fired, but he does like me enough to make you compile a report and give it to me if I ask him for it. I also know that Mr. Durant has already asked you to compile just such a report," (I knew no such thing, but it seemed like the kind of thing Durant would ask), "so why don't we just save ourselves some time and effort and you can give it to me now?"

    It was a good sign. He stopped typing and looked at me. Somehow, though he was sitting and I was standing, he managed to look down on me. Still...

    He reached into his desk and removed a folder. From it he took two pieces of paper. They were covered in single-spaced typing. Philip may be annoying, but he's an excellent typist. I took the pages.

    "Philip. I thought we'd gone past your problems with me when you approached me about that little...matter...earlier in the season. What happened?"

    "You know what happened."

    Actually, I didn't. I suspected. But I didn't know.

    "Now please, Mr. Aaron," he said as he held his hand out, "I have work to do, May I return to it?" It wasn't really a question, so I looked at the pages he'd given me, memorized as much as I could, and handed them back to him.

    "I'll want a copy of these," I said. It wasn't much, but it was the best I could do.

    "I'm certain you will," he replied, returning to his typing. It really wasn't much.

    But it was enough to concern me. Because I'd noticed the two numbers I'd wanted to check. Where I figured we'd made about $92,000, Mr. Durant's numbers showed us with a profit of $61,800. Spectacular compared to the rest of the league, but not what I thought we'd made. And more importantly, where I showed us with a cash reserve of over $70,000, Mr. Durant's numbers showed just under $49,000.

    I'm not a "numbers" person. But even I can do that much math. And come up with a bad answer.
    Last edited by birdsin89; 09-08-2014 at 01:35 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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  15. #60
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    1,479

    Re: The Orange and Black(Sox)

    Late October, 1921

    So, I'd managed to get a promise from Mr. Durant that I could sign several new free agents. It being the first day, I wanted to jump in with both feet and see what happened.

    But I also knew I couldn't just randomly low-ball people, or they'd quickly move on. And while I really wanted to sign one of the big name pitchers, I wasn't sure the Braves (or our finances...or the mysterious drain on our finances) would let me.

    The first person I tried to contact was Rube Benton. As with most of the men on the league list, he had a listed telephone number that was to a local business, not his home. Even in the big cities, home telephones were becoming more common, but they weren't ubiquitous yet.

    Benton was living back home in North Carolina. He'd been a big league pitcher for thirteen years, and had been with the Giants since 1915. The 31 year old would bring some maturity to our young staff. He'd only started six games for the Giants, but had gone 4 - 3 with a 3.31 ERA. So I gave him a try.

    He was agreeable to Baltimore, but wanted just over $13,000 to sign. And he wanted a no trade clause. I made an offer that was way below that, and we agreed not to pursue it any further.

    Next on my list was Freddie Fitzsimmons. He had not pitched above the AA level for the Athletics this year, but in his 26 starts he'd acquired a quite impressive record of 14-1 with an ERA of 2.28. Best of all, he only wanted $5700.

    Until I called him. "Mr. Aaron, I have to be honest with you. I don't think you're really committed to fielding a winning team. And I'd like to associate with a winning team."

    I made an initial offer of $5400, but made it for 7 years instead of the 2 he wanted. "I don't deny that we lost more games than any other team, Mr. Fitzsimmons." He was 20, I could have called him Freddy, but I thought a show of respect might help. "And if you only sign for two years, you'll probably never see a winning team. But how about this? Sign with us for 7 years. You'll almost certainly be done with the minor league grind. You'll play in the majors. You'll learn your craft against the best competition in the world. And you'll stay here long enough that, when we are a winning team, you'll be a huge part of it."

    I could almost hear his laugh over the crackle of the telephone line. "Mr. Aaron, that was beautiful. Almost makes it worth ignoring that "learning against the best" also means "getting my behind beaten a lot". Still, I thought I had a good chance with him - after all, he'd been making around $900 last year, so even the $5400 I was offering looked good.

    I wasn't surprised when he replied, "Make it $5800 for seven years, and give me an option on another year after that."

    "At what price?"

    "Same."

    "What about this?" I said. "$5500 for seven, option for $6100."

    He said it was close, but wanted $5600 for those seven.

    "Freddy," I said. It was time to lose the respect a bit. "I've made you a very fair offer. What do you say?" I repeated the offer.

    He repeated his.

    I repeated mine.

    He said it was very likely a deal, but he'd get back to me. We ended there.

    * * *

    And that was effectively that, for the day. I tried, don't get me wrong. I talked to Bob O'Farrell until we were both blue in the face. I even made a token run at Burleigh Grimes. He wasn't even polite about his disinterest in coming to Baltimore. I wasn't surprised when the telegram that night came from the league office, saying that he'd signed with the Braves.

    If anything, what surprised me more was that the Braves hadn't signed anyone else. Maybe they weren't looking for any more pitching.

    * * *

    So the next day, I got a call from Freddy Fitzsimmons. "Mr. Aaron." I just wanted to tell you that the Braves have made me a better offer. But if you come to $6100, for 7 years, I'll sign with you."

    I hated this kid. I hated the Braves. And I probably didn't really need him. But I wanted to show Mr. Durant, and the people of Baltimore, and the people around the league, that we were at least going to try to develop this year.

    "Deal." I said.

    I was partly right, though. After signing Grimes, the Braves' interest in the other pitchers (save the one I wanted, of course) had waned considerably. It looked at though Pete Alexander, Carl Mays, and Art Nehf might be on the market for a while longer.

    * * *

    With Grimes gone from the Brooklyn Robins, they had some money to spend. So they did, signing left fielder Charlie Jamieson (81/81), first baseman Joe Judge (81/81), left fielder Carson Bigbee (75/75), and pitchers Sam Jones (89/89) and Hod Eller (84/85). That was actually a fairly sizable commitment. All relatively young, but experienced. And none of them particularly cheap. Judge was signed for over $25,000 per year.

    * * *

    I decided to bolster my position players next. After some minor discussion with Hughie ("I have a law practice in the off season, Mr. Aaron. That's where I'll be. You sign the players, I'll make 'em play next year"), and more considerable discussion with Bob Wilson and Jeffrey Gardner in my scouting department, I made more calls.

    What I needed most were catcher, third base, shortstop, and right field. Willie Kamm was still sitting out there, available, at third base. He was young, and would fit with the young team I was building. And besides, he had been heavily scouted by the White Sox, and almost signed by them, before they ceased to exist. I had briefly thought I was going to have a shot at him, when Mr. Durant had first mentioned the job to me. I had liked the thought.


    Willie Kamm

    It took a while. It actually took a couple of days. And it took a phone call from the Cubs, and more negotiations. But finally, we got him. For just under $4000.

    And while in an ideal world he would start at Charlotte in AA for me, he was almost certainly going to be Baltimore's starting third baseman next year.

    * * *

    And that was all I managed to do in that first week. But in looking around, I saw that the big names were still out there, though their asking prices had dropped a bit.

    Unfortunately, I also saw that several of the names I'd wanted to sign in order to build for the future, were gone. Apparently I wasn't the only personnel director who was stocking the minor leagues. I hate it when other people have the same brilliant (if obvious) idea I do.
    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 Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

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

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

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