Alexander the Hope of Phils

Damon Runyon

Washington Herald/October 11, 1915


Quakers Are Depending on Big Nebraskan to Bring Home Bacon Today.

Expect Record Crowd


The hope of Philadelphia in this current world series, which is engaged at present in commuting on the New York, New Haven, and Hartford, grows. It grew at least four pounds tonight.

The hope of Philadelphia weighed in at about 185 pounds on the O’Sullivan at 6 p.m. and approximately 189 pounds an hour later when the inhalation of a sirloin steak and accessories had been completed. After which the hope of Philadelphia slipped the waiter the conventional dime, secured a toothpick and went out in front of the Copley Square Hotel to see what could be seen.

In mentioning the hope of Philadelphia in the world series we refer, of course, to Grover Cleveland Alexander, alias the Great. If Philadelphia has any other hope in this world series, it isn’t discernible to the naked eye. Not at present writing, anyway—not right this very minute.

A man goes a mighty long way to be a hope when he goes from St. Paul, Nebr., to Broad and Huntington streets, but that’s the present status of G. C. Alexander.

He’s a hope—no, not a hope, either: but THE hope. Tomorrow afternoon Mr. Alexander resumes active operations in the hoping business at the large, airy and commodious ball yard of the Boston Braves, with the Boston Red Sox as his opponents. The rest of the Philadelphia ball club is at the Copley Square Hotel with Grover, but no matter. The Philadelphia ball club is batting only .158 in this series, so Grover can scarcely expect any assistance from it.

Expect 45,000 Fans

 The yard of the Boston Braves holds something like 45,000 people, and there will be that many present at the game tomorrow. It is the first game of the (series) to be played in Boston, and with the clubs standing fifty-fifty at this time, the haunt of the wild baked bean and the mad-broiled scrod finds itself genteely agitated.

Not that a world series is any novelty to Boston—not at all. The old cradle of the National League has been rocked by so many baseball sensations of late years that it is almost blasé, but the idea of getting into some place where a lot of other people won’t be able to get into somehow appeals to the Boston imagination. And then here is the prospect of seeing Grover Cleveland Alexander, who is of more local interest at this moment than the Bunker Hill Monument, or Percy Haughton.

Among the 45,000 spectators tomorrow will be all the prominent people of Fitchburg, which gave Pat Moran, the Old Junkman, to the world’s series cause. Several reserved seats have been set aside for them, and they are going to root for Patrick—not that they hate Boston, but because they love Patrick more.

Bill Must Pick Hurler

The old Junkman has one advantage tonight over his loathed enemy, Bill Carrigan—Pat doesn’t have to worry about what pitcher he should work tomorrow, as he made his selection for this game the day he won the pennant in the National League. If he hadn’t made his selection then, the experts would have made it for him, so what’s the difference?

The experts have been mighty obliging in this series, picking the battery for the manager, and everything, but Pat crossed most of them yesterday when he nominated J. “Irksome” Mayer.

It is with no little pride that we call attention to the fact that we said Pat would work “Irksome” and hinted “Irk” might pitch surprisingly well; we are proud of that because it was the first time we have been right in connection with a world series since Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. However, we view with some alarm the possibility that Pat may cross us and not work “Aleck” tomorrow.

It seems unlikely, but anything is possible in this series. It is even possible for Bert Niehoff to get himself one and no one hundreds’ safe blow. George Chalmers, the Harlem Hurricane, is hanging around in the Philadelphia offing, and it requires no great stretch of the imagination to see Pat growing reckless and starting George.

Pat Will Play His Ace

But we think not. Not tomorrow at all events. When a man, sound in mind and perfectly sober, holds an ace, he generally leads that ace. If Alexander can best the Sox again tomorrow, the Phillies will have the boys two down and two to go, and Chalmers or Mayer can space out Tuesday, leaving G. Cleveland for Wednesday and maybe Thursday.

But if the Sox beat Alexander tomorrow—Oh, well, we’d just as soon go back to New York direct as by way of Philadelphia.

The experts are commencing to like this series. They like it because it is running true to form. At least it is running true to form up to the present. They all said Philadelphia had just one pitching chance for victory—and Philadelphia still has it. It is difficult to see how a .158 batting average can hope to overwhelm a pounding mark of .261, but Alexander may do it.

Among American League baseball men, the showing of George Foster in Philadelphia yesterday was by no means surprising, as they regard the blocky young right-hander as one of the best pitchers in the game. Only a few days before the series began, Wild Bill Donovan, manager of the Yankees, expressed the belief that Foster would give the Phillies a great deal of trouble.

Foster a Sensation

In fact, it was the opinion of the baseball world that Carrigan would start the series with Foster instead of Shore, because while Foster may not have the same amount of natural stuff as the Georgian, he is a smarter pitcher, and has more experience. He is a fellow somewhat on the order of Rudolph, of the Braves, but Rudolph no longer possesses anything like Foster’s speed and curves.

The New York Giants ran against Foster a couple of years ago at Houston, in the Texas League, and Foster blanked the McGraw regulars in an exhibition game. He was then about the best pitcher the Giants had encountered in a spring time exhibition in years, and his feat caused no little comment among the ball players.

Boston fans are firmly convinced that if Carrigan handles his pitchers right, the rest of the series is a walkaway. Many believe that a repeat with Shore tomorrow would be the logical course, in view of the way Shore was outlucked in the opener by Alexander, but it is more than likely that Carrigan will try one of his lefthanders—“Dutch” Leonard, or “Babe” Ruth—first, and hold Shore over for Tuesday. He can then use Foster again on the return to Philadelphia.

Jake Stahl made one serious mistake with his pitchers in 1912, when the Boston Red Sox had the Giants on the run, by putting in Bucky O’Brien, the spitballer, in the sixth game. Joe Wood was the logical starter, and Stahl’s course in using O’Brien is said to have caused a big row in the ranks. A balk by Bucky upset the Red Sox, and the Giants won easily.

True, Wood was given a terrific pasting in the next game, but conditions had changed, and, anyway, that did not alter the fact that Stahl should have tried Joe in his logical sequence.