Giant Fans Hope for Last Laugh

Damon Runyon

San Francisco Examiner/October 16, 1911

New Year Followers are Smiling Now While Quakers Hope to Turn the Tables

“Wait,” says Philadelphia anxiously, “wait until Monday.”

And having nothing else to do, we wait.

Marking time in this town of a Sunday night would be no pastime to speak of if it were not for the groups of babbling Quakers who block traffic through the corridors of the hotels, speaking of things in general.

If one is from Gotham there is satisfaction to be had in banging upon the outskirts of these inquests and smiling a quiet smile of superiority.

The smiling is especially good right now. They say that he who laughs last laughs best, but the advance guard of the Giant fans now on the premises do not doubt but what their final guffaw will still be a shade better than the Quaker giggle.

They speak of speculators here. Somehow the word sounds familiar. They allege that some of the tickets for the game tomorrow have gone into these channels, which cause the excessive cost of living. No matter. Philadelphia will be at that game of baseball tomorrow afternoon, ready to applaud in a conservative manner, those young men who were yesterday Mathewsonized at the Polo Grounds.

Philadelphians Say Wait

They grant us that it was a famous victory.

“Just wait,” they say acidly, “wait until to-morrow when ‘Stuff’ McInnis will be back at first. Then we shall see what we shall see.” So we shall, indeed.

The absence of the Gloucester fisher boy on the initial sack undoubtedly made much difference in the Athletic infield. The world’s champions are not particularly “peppery” on ordinary occasions at best, and with McInnis out they die away to a whisper. “Stuffy” is the incarnation of that mysterious element which makes a ball club seem aggressive and active, no matter what kind of ball it is playing.

The other members of the Athletic infield seemed a little lost without him taking the throws at first, although they certainly should be thoroughly familiar with the veteran Davis. They say that Davis has taught McInnis to play first, and if that be true the pupil has surpassed the master.

Giants Revel on First Win

One victory is not a series by a long ways, but the Giant supporters believe that the first punch presages a clean up. No Athletic twirler is likely to pitch the kind of ball that Bender did in that first game. On the other hand Marquard is liable to come in with one of his finest games tomorrow and Mathewson can repeat Tuesday. 

If the Giants win again Monday, it is not a bad bet that McGraw uses “Red” Ames for the third game, or possibly Wiltse. Ames is going along in grand shape just now and so is the old reliable “Hooks,” but the main thing is to win that second game before the third game possibilities are mentioned.

Marquard ought to be in grand shape. If he gets out there with all his speed and control tomorrow there should be little to the game, but the Reuben is no Mathewson when it comes to forecasting his form.

Marquard Not Reliable

That is, the big left hander has not yet established himself upon the same plane of reliability as Matty, although it is believed that the time will come when Marquard’s form will be taken for granted, just as Mathewson’s is now. It must be remembered that Rube’s bad breaks toward the close of the season came after a long, tough campaign in which he pitched oftener than any man in the league. Marquard is not physically a strong fellow. He is thin and rather frail compared to some other players and many a time he had to work more on his nerve than anything else.

He likes to pitch and sometimes he overestimates his strength. When he was cracking badly at the close of the season, Wilbert Robinson, the old Oriole, who coaches the Giant pitchers in the spring and who handled Marquard this year, joined the club at Chicago. He took one look at Rube when the left hander first tried to work against the Cubs.

“Rube” Needed a Rest

“Why, he needs rest,” declared Robbie. “There’s nothing to it—he’s stale.”

So Marquard got a good lay off and came back like a lion. Now he has had the longest rest he has enjoyed this season.

The work of Fred Merkle in that opening game will be talked of a long time by New York fans. It was nothing short of marvelous. Twice he saved the day on fielding plays, although he disappointed all his admirers who thought he would eat Bender’s speed up. At bat the long first baseman did not look good, but his fielding made up for everything else. Great is Fred Merkle. For weeks past the close followers of the Giants have been telling about the German’s work, but many fans thought it was exaggerated. After Saturday many are claiming that Merkle stands first among the men playing his position in the big league.

Herzog Was Revelation

Herzog, too, was a revelation. It was not so much his playing as it was his wonderful aggressiveness, which attracted attention. No matter what the situation—at moments when it looked like the Giants’ cause was lost—the little Marylander was the soul of hope and optimism.

Meyers fooled them all. True the chief may fall down before the series is over, but just make a little bet that he doesn’t and your money will be on a good card. The big Indian never received Mathewson’s delivery better and while that short-passed ball hurt some it can be forgiven in the light of subsequent events. Little Josh Devote is, being praised, on all sides, of course, but Josh has a way of rising to emergencies.


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