Chapter 16: Chatting at the Heath Bar

Had the supreme fortune to share some post-series blabbery at Chicago’s infamous Skunk Den with auxilary flycatcher J. Geoffrey Heath. Our Jordans had just nibbled two of three from his brave but decidedly doomed Dorseys, and he was not even in the partly sunniest of moods…

Dobbs: Rumors are sailing that you fancy yourself a worthy candidate to be the first white man to play in the Major Leagues come next April. Since when?

Heath: Well, I’m a very hard worker, mister. White players seem to get labeled as lazy and uninterested pretty often, and I think I could be a good role model for reversing that. See, my father—

Dobbs: Doesn’t just take hard work, though. Pure talent figures in too. And when you mass murdered that single by Buck Leonard in the first game into a two-base error, I had a few doubts up my sleeve concerning your gumption.

Heath: That’s a little unfair, don’t you think? Dixon and Stearnes were on the bases, and I knew they had a chance to windmill around them even before Riddle delivered the pitch. That’s why when the hit dropped in I mistimed the bounce and ended up kicking it ten yards. Had nothing to do with gumption or laziness, so don’t start—

Dobbs: How does being excluded from the league’s classier hotels bother the team? I see you’re buried in last place with just 15 games left.

Heath: You mean just one game behind the Calloways? I’ll take that. And I’ve been sleeping just fine wherever we hole up. Same goes for everyone on the team. If you bothered to look at our split-up records you’d see we’re a much better outfit when we’re out of town.

Dobbs: And why’s that, do you think? Aren’t there more—how shall I blab it?— lady-distractions, and a bit more time spent in reefer bars like this?

Heath: Speak for yourself, mister. All I know is we’ve been bonding better on the long bus rides and in the unfriendly ballparks, and I think it’s helped our play.

Dobbs: Guess you’ll be happy to go back to Detroit next week, then. You boys just had a great chance to win Game 2 and flat-out stunk the farm, then were lucky to take Game 3 when Max Manning went gopher-pitch silly.

Heath: Y’know…If that’s what you really believe happened then I think we’ve talked enough, buddy—

Dobbs: That’s Mr. Dobbs to you. Just remember…I got more weekly readers than you got lifetime hits with those cracker teams.

Heath: What’s that supposed to mean?

Dobbs: Means that if you want a bunch of happy press as the season winds down and got those eyeballs set on proving you belong on Newark or Birmingham or even the Memphis Hamptons when they’re back in the fold, a little humbility might take you a long way.

Heath: Maybe. But last time I checked, Langston Hughes was the President, and Gus Greenlee the Commissioner of Baseball. Not you.

Dobbs: All great men get inspired from somewhere, boy. And every one of them reads the newspaper. Best of luck with those Calloways now!

Heath: Oh, you bet. And we’re looking forward to passing your rumps in the standings. Mr. DOBBS.

PITT 003 020 000 – 5 9 0
CHC 000 001 010 – 2 9 1

W-Cockrell L-Riddle HR: DiMaggio GWRBI-Stearnes

PITT 000 010 311 – 6 13 0
CHC 001 020 002 – 5 11 0

W-Salton L-Benton SV-Donaldson HRS: Harris, Keller, Williams GWRBI-Dixon

PITT 030 002 000 – 5 10 2
CHC 002 130 00x – 6 10 0

W-Humphries L-Manning SV-Lanier HRS: Keller, Mize GWRBI-Keller

BASIES 14-18-2, at ELLINGTONS 7-12-0
BASIES 12-14-0, at ELLINGTONS 6-11-0
BASIES 16-19-0, at ELLINGTONS 0-9-0
The sun rose in the west, dead leaves flew back on their trees, my Aunt Poppy missed church, and the Kansas City Basies waltzed into Ruppert Stadium and delivered a pounding to the Ellington keyboard that has never been seen, heard or felt in recent league history. 42-13 they outscored the first-placers, people, with Charles Blackwell becoming a force unleashed. The quiet left fielder went 12-for-17, with three doubles, a triple, two home runs and nine runs batted in. Jud Wilson kicked in two doubles and two homers. Willie Wells had seven hits. And Satch Paige. What else can I blab? Went out there for the finale, told his fielders to sit down and walked one Ellington and whiffed 12 for the shutout, his seventh win in a row. By the time the Newark bodies were dragged off the field, the Basies were suddenly one game over .500 and four games out of first! I had early plans to attend this series, but am glad I junked them, for Newark is not a hospitable metropolis at the moment.

CALLOWAYS 8-17-0, at ARMSTRONGS 7-13-3
Birmingham missed closing to one game out again by a cricket’s breath. After two easy wins for Day and Brewer, Big Bill Foster got shellacked, the top of the Detroit lineup going 11-for-21 with six extra base hits. Still, the Armies soldiered on, scoring three in the 7th and 8th before Slim Jones came to his senses and snuffed six of the last seven for the squeaky win. Looks like that last Newark-Birmingham series next month could mean something after all!

1.257 Mize, CHC
1.135 Williams, CHC
1.074 Foxx, CHC
1.071 Charleston, BRM
1.016 Beckwith, DET
1.015 Blackwell, KC

Per usual, here are Team Hitting, Team Pitching, and Assorted Miscellany

Newark Ellingtons 27 18 .600
Birmingham Armstrongs 25 20 .556 2
Kansas City Basies 23 22 .511 4
Pittsburgh Jordans 21 24 .467 6
Detroit Calloways 20 25 .444 7
Chicago Dorseys 19 26 .422 8
Published in: on June 26, 2011 at 6:11 am  Comments (3)  

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello Jeff, J. Geoffrey and Mr. Jupe,

    Looks indeed like the ‘Strongs vs. the ‘Tons series next month will be heavy with import. Good to see those B-Hams close the gap a tad.

    Is there a “Mahatma” giving you guidance on doing interviews with the black press, Mr. Heath? Sounds like you may need one. That’s quite a hot seat in the third-degree room with interviewer Dobbs, eh? Gotta be able to take that stuff if you’re going to play ball with the best. Keep your head clear, dear. You can get away with burning that leaf in the Bragging Rights League, but watch it when you turn it up a notch, Smokie.

    Rumor has it that the white fans might not cotton to your ambitions to break the color line any more than the tanner. You ever think about that? I don’t have any problem with it, mind you. But the talk around B-Ham in some circles is that you could expect to see a white cat on the field if you dare grace the nine of one of the clubs. And I’m not talking about four-legged, purry and furry.

    Maybe better set your sights somewhere else for the right to rookie than the deep south, where your black bretheren in the BRL could be the least of your worries. In fact, a pop fly to your section of the garden may be less of a worry, and we all know what a challenge that can be for the nearsighted and stonefingered J. Geoffrey. I understand from the rollers of a certain tabletop ball sim that you’re a 5. Maybe I heard wrong. A four may be your score. Unfair enough?

    Gotta toughen up that hide for the days ahead, and I’m happy to serve up some batting practice fer ya.

    I gotta admit, if you try to integrate Birmingham, it would be quite a story. Who knows what’s going through the minds of those musicians at the top of the teams? Maybe there’s a troublemaker among them. I don’t doubt it.

    Back on the diamond, though, what’s the schedule look like for next week?

    Baseball bees and flowers back at you, gentlemens.

    • Your inspired and endless words enrich my creation. As for next weeks’ schedule…

      Birmingham at K.C, Newark at Pittsburgh, and Chicago at Detroit are in the cards.


  2. Trying to get some white guys to play in the Colored Leagues smacks of political correctness. Why else would you risk displacing perfectly good negro players with some mediocre white talent?
    It just ain’t fair.

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