Chapter 18: Out at Home

The jail cell they put me in was clammy and cold, which isn’t too easy to do at the end of a Chicago August.

What a dummy. By being so top heavy in love I forgot to be careful. I trusted Cool Papa Bell and his Calloway ways, and tried to ignore the fact that getting legal with a dark-skinned lady was still very against the law. In the meantime I’ve disgraced Blossom, her family and the state of Alabama, disgraced the whole Dorseys team and probably killed any little chance we had of winning both the right to vote or a pennant.

Good old Cullenbine comes to visit after our first game with the Armstrongs, which we managed to pull out 2-1 thanks to a pair of Cecil Travis triples. It’s good to hear that news and eat a piece of Momma Cullenbine’s mince pie, but I can’t say it cheers me up, not with Blossom being sent back to Birmingham and having to miss a series we were expecting to be one of our secret honeymoon spots.

HEATH COLLARED FOR “RACY” ROMANCE blares the front page of the Chicago Trumpeter, and from what Cully tells me, the local radio programs think I should be dropped into Hudson Bay in a floating steamer trunk. It sure puts me on edge when I hear a small crowd of respectable reefered-up citizens stroll past my jail cell window, pitching rocks at the outside wall and calling me a “de-Blossomer” and “sour milkman.”

Bullet Joe Rogan, who’s had a lukewarm year both on the mound and at the plate, shuts off our offense in Game 2 but chips in with his own homer, double, and single, and the Dorseys lose 6-3 in a contest they lead for a total of two minutes. After the game it’s Appling’s turn to visit me, and despite showing up after a loss, he seems a little more hopeful about my situation.

“Can’t imagine they’ll string you up or anything,” he says, “No one’s done that since the Maine Crab-poaching Wars.” He says Tommy Dorsey is actually more upset than Commissioner Greenlee, what with him losing a half dozen scheduled club gigs because of the incident. It also might be dangerous for the Dorseys to take the field in any park other than Comiskey the rest of the way.

Which is real unfortunate, because the next game is our last one at home for the season.

The white lowlifes on both sides of my cell have been razzing me for two days, and it hasn’t let up. “Hey Canook,” yells one genius, “What does a blossom taste like, anyway?” I have to promise to plant my 38-ounce bat in his skull someday to shut him up, but it doesn’t help me sleep. I spend a night filled with awful dreams, most involving a combination of me being drawn, quartered, or put before a firing squad, and some time the next afternoon I hear a bunch of cars drive up outside the jail.

Footsteps—lots of them—echo in the hall. A guard tells me to step away from the bars. They slide open and none other than Commissioner Greenlee and Tommy Dorsey are standing there. Dorsey has a weak smirk on his face.

“Professor Hughes has seen fit to pardon you, Mr. Heath.”

I tell him I don’t understand. “Yes well, these are the mysteriously diplomatic times we live in. It seems that the President has also wagered a small amount of money on the four-way battle for third place with his advisors, and from all indicators has invested in your club. I may have my issues with him in other areas, but the President does believe in fair fights.”

Sure, I think, as long as he’s benefiting. No wonder he allowed us to beef up our rosters.

“What about Blossom?” I ask.

“Yes, well, the governor’s daughter should best be kept off limits for the time being. President Hughes has been working on a bill to make some changes in our segregated society, and thinks a strong late showing by the Dorseys will help such a bill pass.”

“Leave that stuff to the bosses, Geoff,” pipes in Tommy. “About time you got back to the ballpark.”

Like milk through an udder I’m out of there, Dorsey fighting back reporters and photographers, and our cab weaves through midday traffic all the way back to the south side. On the cab’s radio, we learn that my substitute Charlie Keller has homered off Leon Day, Ted Williams has hit his league-leading 17th off William Bell, and we have a 5-2 lead going to the 8th. I hop out at the park, rush in, get my uniform on in record time, and hurry up the dugout tunnel.

Everyone’s thrilled to see me, even though I get a fair amount of expected Blossom-ribbing. Bullet Joe Rogan, who won the game for Birmingham yesterday, has been a complete bust in this one, whiffing twice and hitting into two big double plays, the last one the second I hit the dugout to get Riddle out of the 8th. Dickey singles with two gone in the bottom half, and Appling strolls over to me with my bat in his hand.

“Go out there and hit for Frey, Heath. Let’s get this crowd cooking.” I nervously take it from him and walk toward home plate.

The crowd goes bananas. We’ve been getting close to 70% white people, but today it seems like 99. I can even hear a few sweet screams from girl fans. Biz Mackey is squatting behind the plate, and he isn’t exactly screaming with delight. Or even looking at me. Rube Currie is on the hill for them at this point, and the first three pitches sail in about a meter or two from my scalp. The crowd boos, but I keep my cool, because that’s what we’ve been told to do at all times.

Currie tries to fake me with an outside curve and I wait it out and crack it the other way. Willard Brown, with two dingers on the day, is probably still admiring them in his head, because he gets a late start and catches the ball a few strides from the fence. I jog back to the dugout, Doerr takes second for Frey, and I still get maybe the biggest hand ever for a pinch-hit fly out.

Naturally the Armstrongs try to ruin the day anyway. Charleston leads with a single, Tubby Scales pops a 2-run homer with two gone, and Riddle has to get Radcliff on a liner to Boudreau to end the game. And here’s the real good news, until I figure out how to contact Blossom and send poison flowers to Cool Papa Bell: Our winning series puts us a game in front of Detroit and Pittsburgh and in fourth place by our lonesome selves. —J. G. Heath

BIRM 000 100 000 – 1 7 0
CHIC 010 000 10x – 2 5 1

W-Wyatt L-Foster GWRBI-Travis

BIRM 010 301 010 – 6 9 0
CHIC 003 000 000 – 3 6 0

W-Rogan L-Lee SV-Bell HRS: BRown, Rogan, Mackey GWRBI-Radcliff

BIRM 010 000 102 – 4 8 1
CHIC 100 110 20x – 5 10 0

W-Riddle L-Day HRS: Brown-2, Scales, Keller, Williams GWRBI-Keller

*   *   *

with Jupiter Dobbs
Pittsburgh Courier Baseball Blabber

CALLOWAYS 16-22-4, at ELLINGTONS 10-8-1
at ELLINGTONS 7-11-0, CALLOWAYS 6-10-0
The Detroiters did a number on the Ellies to open things that reminded us all of K.C.’s recent annihilation of Ruppert Stadium , as Young and Dihigo combined for three doubles, two homers and nine RBIs at the bottom of the Calloway lineup. And mostly off Smokey Joe Williams to boot. The fairy dust washed off their heads at that juncture in the story, though. Cannonball Redding was given two runs, then gave Newark six straight hits and five runs in the 1st. Then he pitched like a champ, his mates gave him the lead back, until an Oms triple and tinker toy of a home run by Oscar Heavy Johnson won it for the Ellies anyway. Finale was just a barrel of agony. Detroit outhit the first-placers 13-9, but they were all slappy singles while Newark clubbed three doubles, a triple, and three homers in their crop. That’ll do it every time.

BASIES 3-6-0, at JORDANS 1-4-0
BASIES 5-13-1, at JORDANS 2-9-0
BASIES 7-11-0, at JORDANS 3-8-2
All I can say is that if Satchel was pitching like this when the season began, the Basies might be sizing their fingers for Bragging rings by now. He was actually wild for a change in the opener, walking six of us, but when he leaves everyone stranded like crumbs on a muffin wrapper you really don’t have a chance. The other two tilts were just your basic Jordan garbage cake of bad pitching and hitting failures at key times by Buck Leonard and Rap Dixon, not to mention incapability of winning a home game with their Greenlee mark now a horrifying 7-20 as we’re tied for the gutter slot with a tragic number down to one while looking up at that insult of a ball team in Chicago.

Until next week when my misery with the Jordans should be put to rest, baseball bees and flowers!

STATISTICS LEADERS (with 9 games to play!)

1.223 Ted Williams, CHC
1.109 Jimmie Foxx, CHC
1.035 Oscar Charleston, BRM
0.991 Cool Papa Bell, DET
0.990 Mule Suttles, NWK

.389 R. Dandridge, NWK
.366 T. Williams, CHC
.352 C. P. Bell, DET
.349 W. Wells, KC
.345 H.R. Johnson, DET
.342 C. Blackwell, KC
.338 O. Charleston, BRM

17 Williams, CHC
13 Gibson, NWK
13 Beckwith, DET
12 Palm, KC
12 Stearnes, PIT

55 Beckwith, DET
51 Suttles, NWK
45 Smith, DET
45 Williams, CHC
43 Wilson, KC
41 Gibson, NWK
41 Charleston, BRM
41 Stearnes, PIT

7 Charleston, BRM
7 Stearnes, PIT
6 Gibson, NWK
6 Johnson, NWK
6 Radcliff, BRM
5 Beckwith, DET

53 Bell, DET
44 Wright, NWK
41 Williams, CHC
40 Wilson, KC

37 Pennington, PIT
36 Williams, CHC
33 Gibson. NWK

2.64 Paige, KC
3.03 Riddle, CHC
3.13 Winters, NWK

1.11 Riddle, CHC
1.18 Paige, KC
1.24 Winters, NWK

12-0 Winters, NWK
9-3 Paige, KC
6-3 Riddle, CHC

100 Paige, KC
94 Jones, DET
86 WIlliams, NWK

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

Newark Ellingtons 31 20 .608
Birmingham Armstrongs 28 23 .549 3
Kansas City Basies 27 24 .529 4
Chicago Dorseys 23 28 .438 8
Pittsburgh Jordans 22 29 .431 9
Detroit Calloways 22 29 .431 9
Published in: on July 10, 2011 at 5:47 am  Comments (5)  

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ah, but Americans are so much more enlightened today when it comes to the issue of interracial marriage / relationships. Just take a look at the following link, and you’ll see what I mean.
    Some things will never change,

  2. Nine games left to go and three games out of first, with a series remaining against the league leaders. Jupe and Jeff: Have I got the B-Ham future schedule correct?

    • You woulf be correct in your assumption, sir. Said Hams first host the plummeting Jordans, then travel up to Castle Ellington for the Series of the Year (hopefully) with Big Bill facing Smokey Joe in the finale, then finish with Detroit while the Armies tangle with K.C.

      • What about the Ellies? Wrapped around the Series of the Year, who does Newark play? Gotta get some help from a couple of other teams to make this more of a race, in addition to B-Ham winning head to head with the Ellingtons.

  3. Newark is playing the Dorsey Boys before the B-Hams, but it’s not a lost cause. Newark got crushed at home by the Basies recently, and Chicago is a much better road team than they are at Comiskey. If only freaking DiMaggio would wake up…

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