April 8, 1921
Hyde Park, NY - Its Opening Day once again, and the town is in a festive mood for a change. Its been a little more than a month since President-elect Warren G. Harding replaced the sickly Woodrow Wilson. The Great War has been over for more than two years, but the Senate has refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, so a technical state of war with Germany still exists.
Business, which had boomed during and just after the war, has recently been lapsing into a state of serious recession. The cost of living had risen rapidly from 1918-1920, but now the high cost of goods and services is taking its toll on the local populace. The people of Hyde Park are not immune to the vast feeling of disillusionment that has swept the country since the end of The Great War.
The crowd has been gathering at Miller-Wells Park since early this morning. Gaggles of men and women, hip flasks prominently displayed despite the existence of the now two-year-old Prohibition laws, have kept up a lively and celebratory atmosphere the entire morning. And cigarettes are everywhere, even in the hands of young women! There is definitely a trend of freedom skimming through the town these days. Why, the skirts festooning the young ladies hips are scandalously short, nearly half way to the knee! With their short hair and make-up, they seem almost boyish in appearance, except for the rouge that brightens their cheeks.
As one approaches the Park, they will likely be accosted by a small group of loudly shouting protestors. The Big Red Scare is still alive in Hyde Park, though the super-patriot group is noticeably reduced in size from last year. Even so, there has still been a significant amount of blather about the Mexicali Mallards team being riddled with Bolsheviki (a charge that stems from their connection with the Mexican baseball leagues, and one which most rational people know to be patently false.) In Hyde Park, the VitaFaithful tolerate the super-patriots and are thankful that the rapidly expanding Ku Klux Klan (now with nearly a half million members) hasnt yet crossed the Hudson River.
Some of the conversation on the street is about something called radio, and a new broadcasting station in Pittsburgh, KDKA, which began sending signals to the country five months ago. No one really understands what it is all about, but there is a lot of talk about it just the same.
The most discussed topic among the younger men and women, though, is Sigmund Freud. His new psychological view of life has made sex the topic of choice among all the young people. And discuss it they do. Spiritually tired, weary from the excitements of The Great War and the nervous tension of the Big Red Scare, sick of Woodrow Wilson and his talk of a League of Nations and Americas duty to humanity, these educated young folks seem to want a chance to pursue their private affairs without governmental interference. They want to forget about public affairs. So they read Sinclair Lewis Main Street, root for boxer Jack Dempsey, enjoy the debauchery of petting parties, bathtub gin, rolled-down stockings, and the new twin freedoms that may change their lives forever, Freud and the automobile.
And they turn out at the ball park in ever increasing numbers, evidenced by the size of this days crowd.
The knot-hole gang, the young boys who peek through the fence or sit on the wall behind the bleachers to get a glimpse of the game, are out in force. Having earned their nickels scrubbing out their fathers beer bottles (to be re-used when the next batch in the tub is ready), the lads have scampered to the park to get a good seat. Some sit up high on the back wall, the base of which is used as a urinal by the male bleacher sitters. Sometimes the lads pee off the wall, much to the chagrin of the bleacher men relieving themselves down below. The women do not urinate at the park. They are expected to behave better than the men.
And so it goes, as the happy crowd settles into their cramped seats for the first game of the TCBA-21 season. Hopes are always high in the beginning. Itll be July before the reality of this season will be realized. By then, the VitaFaithful talk will be of next year. And who knows to what heights the skirt lengths will have risen by then!
World Series Talk
Game #4 .Facing elimination, the Spiders called upon Bill Doak with only two days of rest. The Isles' 24 game winner Jim Bagby, also working on just 2 days of rest took the hill for the visitors who were looking to clinch the first ever TCBA crown.
Both hurlers were superb, and the score remained scoreless through 5+. In fact, Bagby had retired the first 14 in a row before Cleveland thirdbaseman Tony Boeckel smacked a 2-out double to break up the perfecto. Swede Risberg followed with a single, and when Tim Hendryx elected to throw home, Risberg advanced to 2nd. Mack Wheat then also singled and the Spiders had a 2-0 lead.
The Isles put the tying runs on base in the 8th with just 1 out, but could do no more, and Doak picked up the CG shutout win 2-0 as he scattered just 4 hits. The Spiders had staved off elimination and now would call upon lefty Ferdie Schupp in hopes of sending the series back to Long Island.
Game #5 .Long Island countered with their other 24 game winner, Ed Cicotte as they looked for the clincher. The Islanders struck quickly scoring two in the 1st on RBI singles by George Sisler and Tim Hendryx. When Sisler led off the 3rd with the series' first HR, LI had a 3-0 lead and seemed headed for an easy clincher.
But as history might one day show, 3-0 series leads are no guarantee of success, so home less so are 3-0 game leads? Cleveland loaded the bases in the 3rd on three singles before Jack Tobin's sac fly broke the shutout. Pete Kilduff then tied it with a double before the hot hitting Tony Boeckel gave the Spiders a 4-3 lead with a single.
LI struck back in the 5th when George Sisler collected his 3rd hit of the game, a single, and then scored when Cleveland's Hy Myers' misplayed Tillie Walker's basehit.
With the score tied at 4, Cleveland skipper Shifflett played a hunch and pinch hit for Myers with Bobby Veach who promptly doubled, and advanced to 3rd on Tobin's ground out. With Pete Kilduff at the plate, Veach broke for the plate as Kilduff squared to bunt. Cicotte's pitch rode in on the frozen Kilduff who slumped to the ground and lay motionless for minutes after the beaning. When play finally resumed, Tony Boeckel delivered his 3rd hit of the game and CS had reclaimed the lead, 5-4, and Cicotte was crestfallen, or at least downgraded.
Cleveland extended its lead to 6-4 in the 6th as Schupp continued his gritty performance, holding the Islander bats in check. In the Islander 7th, however, the Islander offense seemed to come alive. Edd Roush doubled, and when George Sisler followed with his 4th hit of the game, the Isles had drawn to within one at 6-5. With 1 out Sisler stole second, and when Walker singled to left, Sisler streaked toward home.
Tobin's throw to the plate ..it was going to be close ..Sisler slid, and he was .
OUT!! A great throw, and Cleveland still led 6-5.
The Isles threatened again in the 8th as a tiring Schupp struggled with his control. Walks to Peckinpaugh, Foster, and Pratt brought Edd Roush to the plate with two out and the bases loaded, and George (4 for 4) Sisler looming large on deck. Roush swung and sent a drive to deep center. Myers raced back ..
AND MADE THE CATCH! Islanders gone!
Fritz Coumbe, who had allowed no runs during the regular season (albeit in very limited use) relieved Cicotte and retired the first two Spiders in the 8th, but Jack Fournier laced a double off the wall and brought Veach to the plate. The Isles turned to seldom used Johnny Meador who retired Veach to end the threat.
Long Island was down to its last three outs, but George Sisler, who already had 4 hits, including a HR was due to lead off. Sisler checked his swing and hit a slow roller toward Swede Risberg at SS. Risberg charged, scooped the dribbler and just beat Sisler at first. One out!
Tillie Walker, who had 13 HR's during the regular season stepped to the plate. With two strikes, Schupp froze Walker on a breaking ball as the Islander cleanup batter took a called third strike. The Isles were down to their final out, and a trip back to Long Island looked imminent.
But Tim Hendryx collected his 3rd hit of the game and the Isles were still alive as a fatigued Ferdie Schupp departed in favor of Jim Shaw. The Isles also called on their reserves sending the speedy Walton Cruise in to run for Hendryx at first. On the first pitch from Shaw, Cruise broke for second. Oscar Stange came up firing ..
And threw the ball into center field! Cruise bolted for third and slid in safely! The tying run was now just 90 feet away. Roger Peckingpaugh stepped to the plate and slammed a double to the gap! Game tied at 6! Catcher Walt Schmidt, making his first start of the series, and 0 for 4 on the game strode to the plate to face Shaw. He dribbled a single through the hole and Peckinpaugh raced home with the go ahead run.
Harry Harper came on to try to close things out for LI and retired the first two Spiders on fly balls to Roush in center, but Tony Boeckel laced a single to RF, his 4th hit of the game and 10th of the series. Swede Risberg was due to bat, but was called back in favor of Gene Paulette. Paulette laced a shot down the thirdbase line, but Eddie Foster backhanded the ball and his throw nipped Paulette at first.
The Isles had the 7-6 come from behind win and the first ever TCBA Gold crown.
In a disturbing aftermath to the game, Long Island announced that star starting pitcher Ed Cicotte had been suspended and would not be allowed to join the team for the train ride home.
Allegations that his 5th inning beaning of Pete Kilduff had been some sort of signal about "the fix being on" circulated immediately following the game. That fact, as well as this being perhaps Cicotte's worst outing of the season, have led to whispers that Cicotte had somehow conspired to attempt to throw the game and series. Suggestions that Swede Risberg's surprise removal from the game in the 9th was somehow connected to the alleged plot have further clouded the issue.
Commissioner Mountain McCorkindale is expected to take quick action should any of this tawdry side to an exciting series be confirmed. Early rumors have already circulated that other Gold performers, allegedly some of them stars, knew of Cicotte's ill intentions.
Meanwhile, Ed Cicotte was last seen trying to hitch a ride east.