“Mr. C. Brickley, 15; Bulldog Eleven, 5”

Damon Runyon

Star Tribune/November 23, 1913

Damon Runyon so Declares is Result of the Yale-Harvard Game

Methodical Charles Boots Five Neat Goals From the Field of Strife For Harvard’s Total

Brickley, 15; Yale, 5. 

Such was the score. 

The Brickley referred to is Mr. Charles Brickley of Everett, Massachusetts, who is sometimes referred to as “Big Foot Brickley” and who is necessarily the subject of this sketch. 

Working from behind a bulwark of Harvard football players, Mr. Brickley kicked five field goals over and above the Yale goal posts for a total of points stated. Five—count ’em, five. Otherwise Mr. Brickley had nothing much to do aside from crushing through Yale’s fortification from time to time and heeling off a few end runs. 

As these few lines are being written from the loft of the Cambridge stadium at the close of the tedious afternoon, with the dusk coming on from behind the far hills, the snake dancers of fair Harvard are reeling and writhing about on the field below, in the wake of a band. Some 40,000 persons stand watching them in varying shadows of gloom and joy. 

“Big Foot” is Real Stellar

In the midst of all this turmoil it is difficult to speak dispassionately of the deeds of “Big Foot” Brickley. One feels like getting up and uttering a Crimson shriek. 

Mr. Brickley himself has long since retired to the cloisters of the club house. At the door stands a herd of large and heavy-handed Boston policemen who will repel the enthusiastic attack that is sure to come later on when the snake dancers decide that they must see Mr. Brickley—the biggest man in American football this dusky hour. 

Once Mr. Brickley missed a real serious try at a field goal yesterday afternoon and that was perhaps the most striking feature of the afternoon. It is true he missed another, but that was early in the pastime and was more in the nature of a range finder than anything else. When he began to kick in dead earnest be did not miss again until late in the afternoon, when he fired from placement at the 42-yard line. The ball did not go over the Yale goal. That was indeed a strange thing. 

From all ranges and from all angles Mr. Brickley showered his boots upon the Yale wicket until the bewildered blight commenced to think a shower of football had blown up out of an apparently clear sky. Young Otis Gurnsey of Yale endeavored to return the Brickley fire and once he got a shot home, which accounts for three of Yale’s points. The other two came on a safety committed by O’Brien of Harvard that will long be remembered as something new and novel in the wav of a football “bone.” 

In the matter of kicking field goals Mr. Brickley is an artist to his toe tips. He is deliberate and methodical. We can take any one of his goals yesterday as a good sample of his work—we can even take the one he missed if necessary. 

How Chuck Does It

If it is to be a drop kick some Harvard person merely hands Mr. Brickley the ball anywhere within the 50-yard line and Mr. Brickley quietly steps backward a few paces and lifts the said ball over the opposition goal. There is no fuss about the business; he just naturally drops the kick and also kicks the drop. 

When it comes to a goal from placement Mr. Brickley brings in more stage business. He likes to personally direct the man who is going to stretch out on the ground and hold the ball for him. He pushes and pats the ball around until it is just so, and then he steps back and surveys it with a deliberate eye. He likes to remove his headgear when he boots from placement and this gives the audience a full view of his James J. Jeffries cast of countenance—when James J. was better looking than he was at last reports. Following these few preliminaries, Mr. Brickley steps upon the ball bodily and without fear, and “bam!” there she goes. Above is the way he acted in a general way all afternoon, with 40,000 persons looking at him, thousands of students of fair Harvard crooning their songs in his ear on one side while the noise of Yale came feebly and far away from the other. “Brickley, of the big toe,” they are going to remember him around here as long as they play football. 

By grace of Charley Brickley, Harvard claims the football championship of the eastern football world, but without Brickley Harvard would have had a tough time beating Yale yesterday.

Harvard Relied on Him

The Crimson always relied upon the big booter. There were times when something else seems the logical thing to do, but Harvard would hand the ball over to Brickley and let him go. 

It took him 17 minutes to fix his toe sights and get the Yale range from the time of the preliminary kickoff in the first period, counting the time that was taken out for one reason or another. 

There had been few thrills during those 17 minutes. The ball floated lazily back and forth over the field under the leggy lifts of Mahan and Knowies, the punters of the Crimson and the Blue, but there had been no marked advantage one way or the other. 

There is nothing quite so devoid of thrills as one of the punting passages that have come to be the football fashion with the big colleges of the East. 

Early in the period Brickley took that casual shot at the Yale posts that we have referred to before, but as stated, this was only by way of tuning up his toe, and nothing came of it. He fired from the 50-yard line but it was a weak effort, the ball rising only a short distance from the ground and then drifting weakly downward like a bird with a broken wing. 

After a play in midfield. Billy Langford, the referee, suddenly dove into the swirling mass of men and impaled Homer Ketcham, the fretful young captain of the Blue, with a reproving glare. The official raised an accusing index finger at Ketcham and the Yale leader shook his towsled head in protest. 

Strange Play Comes

There came a strange play after this that netted Yale two points and will long be discussed in college football. Knowles of Yale kicked off from midfield and the ball hit Harvard’s goal posts, bounding back into the field. O’Brien, the big end of the Crimson, picked up the ball and trotted back over the Harvard goal line and touched it to the ground. It was by way of being a “bone” as there was no reason whatever for the action. In any other play but a kickoff the ball hitting the posts would be a touchback and O’Brien probably doped this play out along that line. The officials paused and held consultation and then the figure 2 shot up on the score board, showing that O’Brien had scored a safety and brought his name into some disrepute for the moment among Yale rooters. 

Where Charlie Made One

At the opening of the second period Knowles had to kick out from behind the Yale goal line, as the first period had ended with the ball close up to the Blue posts, but in Yale’s possession. Mahan made a fair catch at the 39 yard line and Brickley wasted no further time. Logan held the ball and the booter lammed it high over the New Haven wicket. In the second period Alac Wilson met Mahan ‘s punt and ran it back 23 yards through the entire Harvard line. Three additional plays worked the ball over in front of Harvard’s goal and Otis Guernsey then kicked a field goal from the 38-yard line. At the close of the first half Gurnsey missed a 35-yard try with quite a bit to spare. 

At the opening of the second half Gurnsev missed another boot from the 40-yard line and then, as if to show the Yale young man how such things are done, Brickley kicked a goal from a range of 30 yards. This was a superb effort, although it was not particularly difficult. 

 As “Big Foot” took the ball he held it pensively and fondled it for a moment as if to reflect where to send it. He had plenty of time. No Yale men came his way as the Crimson bulwarked him against attack. Finally, when it seemed that he might decide to send the ball by mail, he booted with intense calm and the score was increased three points in fair Harvard’s favor. Immediately afterward Brickley dashed off 20 yards right through the Yale front to Yale’s 25-yard line, and after a little backing and filling in that vicinity he peeled off his fourth field goal from a distance of 33 yards. In the fourth period he closed his day’s labors with a goal from the 20-yard line.


Alias Fingers, Alias Baldy

Damon Runyon

San Francisco Examiner/October 3, 1913

He’ll Be King When Honus Passes

‘Tis a World’s Series Story

The rivals for the world’s championship, which begins next Tuesday, will be discussed in “The Examiner” daily by baseball experts, and the games themselves will be described by men whose names are big in the world of baseball. In addition to the regular news service, there will be stories by Damon Runyon, Rube Marquard and Chief Meyers, who will write exclusively for the Hearst papers.

There was a painful period of the present baseball season when Arthur Fletcher, alias “Fingers,” alias “Baldy,” was in that rather embarrassing predicament described as “at liberty,” which means the same thing as out of work. Today he is called the Heir Apparent to the Throne of His Teutonic Majesty, John Honus Wagner, king of the National League Shortstoppers. 

Any time King Hans dies, or is captured, and put in that Carnegie museum over in Pittsburgh along with his historic trousers, “Baldy” Fletcher will be the king—for he is a king at heart. Some people do say, in private, that the long-chinned, long-shinned shortstopper of the Giants is the best in the dear old National League right now, but out of respect for King Hans’ age, and for fear of being accused of lese majeste and things, they are keeping their opinions quiet, awaiting the passing of the Lion of Germantown.  

In any event, Fletcher is probably the most improved ballplayer over his form of two years ago of any of the men who will take part in the impending writing and baseball playing contest. He was a mere recruit in the first struggle between the Giants and the Athletics, but he is now not only seasoned in point of experience, but he is in the very flower of his usefulness. 

Fletcher Stays in Series

A year ago, in the first game or two between the Giants and the Red Sox, Fletcher was apparently nervous and unstrung and his playing was so poor that a wild clamor went up for McGraw to take him out of the game—to which McGraw paid that assidious attention he usually pays to such clamors. Fletcher remained in the series, and he gamely came back in spite of the adverse criticism, although his final mark was nothing sensational. He hit for only .179, getting the same number of blows as his opponent, Heine Wagner, whose fielding was the sensation of the series. 

In the 1911 series Fletcher hit .130 and made six fielding errors, while Jack Barry distinctly outclassed him in every way. This year the admirers of the Illinois grocer are confident that it will be a different story. Fletcher himself will probably enter this series with more confidence than he ever had before. He has had a good year, and that ought to inspire him with confidence. 

Never was a ball player slower in coming to band than Fletcher. In 1911 he tore through the National League with a batting average of .313, only to fall off to .282 the following season. He stole twenty bases in 1911 and only sixteen in 1912, and it seemed that he had fallen away all along the line. At the beginning of the present season he was sitting on the bench, while Artie Shafer tried to take his short fielding job away from him.

Artie Shafer Slows Up

There was a time when any man watching Shafer play the territory between second and third would have taken oath the young Californian would develop into the greatest shortstop the National League had seen in many years, but before the season was very far along “Tillie” had merely developed into something of a bloomer so far as that particular district was concerned. He seemed to slow up unaccountably while playing short, and finally McGraw put Fletcher back in his old position, while he used Shafer alternately at third and in the outfield. 

Immediately upon his return to the game Fletcher suddenly displayed a wild burst of energy and ability. He began not only a mad career of fielding and hitting, but he also perked up in his speed on the base lines, and from an ordinary base-stealer he developed into one of the best on the team. Up to a week ago he had stolen twenty-seven bases, which is not many for a member of the Giants, but which is a mighty satisfactory improvement for Fletch. He is hitting .287, but has been back and forth around .300 at different times during the season. 

Fletcher has been a matter of slow development with McGraw from the time he first came into the big league, but the fact that the Giant chief has always clung to him proves that McGraw never lost confidence in the young man’s ability. After he had reported to the Giants, Fletcher sat on the bench a couple of years, undergoing the usual course of the Giant recruit, and finally he got his chance when Arthur Devlin began to slow up. He was put in to play third, but McGraw quickly made up his mind there were better third basemen in the world than Fletcher, so he accomplished the deal that brought Herzog to the Giants. 

McGraw Makes Lucky Change

As a matter of fact, it was generally supposed that Herzog had been secured to play short, but McGraw had evidently decided that Fletcher was a short fielder, if anything, and switched Herzog over to third. It was a change that made the Giants champions in 1911. 

Fletcher has long been credited with the best pair of baseball hands in the game. His fielding during the last season has been of an unusually excellent order and he seems to have overcome any little weaknesses that handicapped him before. 

Fletcher is a great “kldder” on the ball field, and an aggressive fellow in that he is always fighting for the game. In the world’s series he stacks up against a formidable opponent in Barry. While Fletcher seems to overtop Barry on the season’s figures so far as they pertain to hitting and base running, the Athletics’ short fielder is a marvel in these brief encounters and one of the most dangerous men of the Mack clan in a pinch. 

Barry is batting .266, but that gives you no idea of the wicked way he hits when it is worth something. There are few better fielders in the land than Jack, and if Connie Mack had to lose one of his inflelders for the coming series, he probably would hate to lose Barry more than any other man. 

However, Fletcher this year should not be the unsteady, nervous Fletcher of other series. He has been twice through the ordeal and his admirers believe that he has now found his footing and that he will prove one of the Giant heroes, if such there be.


McGraw to Take Pitching Army to Texas Camp

Damon Runyon

Chicago Examiner/January 26, 1913

Giants’ Leader Recruits Whole Team of Twirlers for Spring Weeding Process.

Seeks Another Tesreau

Little Napoleon Believes at Least One Regular Will Result From Plan

When Manager McGraw of the Giants reaches Marlin with his first squad next month he will have what will probably be the most unique delegation of “squabs” ever taken into a training camp by a big league manager. All but two men will be pitchers. He will be able to line up a team with twirlers in every position. 

He is taking a total of nine kids to the springtime wedding, and with the nine there goes one lonely outfielding prospect and lonelier fielding possibility. 

McGraw has been bending every energy toward the task of building up his pitching staff in the past couple years—although that is always a task for any manager any year. In two years he has developed Marquard and Tesreau as first aids to Mathewson, and by consummate jugglery of the Rube and Matty one year, and the consistent use of all three another year, he has won two pennants. 

Outside of recruit pitchers, McGraw is taking just two other youngsters south with him this season who have not been seen in New York. They are Milton Stock, a little infielder, and Bill Jacobsen, a huge outfielder. 

Robinson Will Drill Recruits

Outfielder George Burns, Heine Groh and Artie Shafer are no longer to be classed as mere recruits. They are utility men of considerable ability, and it is believed that Burns will have a chance to become a regular in 1913. This is also true of Shafer. 

Wilbert Robinson, the coach of the Giant pitchers, will go south with the first detachment as usual, and will assist McGraw in culling the prospects. Last season Robinson produced Jeff Tesreau as a regular, and the season before he presented Marquard. 

As a general thing McGraw is not inclined to trust a youngster with the responsibility of a championship game. He gave Jeff Tesreau a thorough seasoning before he introduced him to the New York fans as a regular, but he put a number of his new youngsters through such a course of sprouts last season that he may be willing to take a chance with them this year if they display big league caliber. 

No one can ever say that this or that recruit is sure of a job with the Giants, because no one but McGraw ever knows with any degree of certainty who will be retained and who will be sent away. But it is believed that this season the manager is taking a man south who will return a regular. This man is A1 Demaree, the shut-out wonder of the South, who worked in a couple of games for McGraw last fall and displayed good form.

Demaree is Southern Sensation

Demaree was the sensation of the Southern League last season when he was with Mobile, his pitching being largely responsible for Mike Finn’s club finishing second. Demaree was in 34 games and won 24 and lost 10, with a weak hitting club behind him. 

His record sparkles with sensational performances, including numerous shutouts and low-score games. He pitched 37 innings from the opening of the season before a run was scored on him, and before the season began he figured in an exhibition game against the Giants in which he helped hold the city boys runless for thirteen innings. Demaree has been up to the leagues before and is about twenty-six years old. 

Theodore Goulait comes from the Indianapolis team of the American Association, although his best work was done last season with Springfield, of the Central league. 

The other youngsters who will be tried out at Marlin are La Rue Kirby, Lou Bader, Dave Robertson, Fred Schupp, Fred Smith, Hanley and Perryman. Kirby, Bader, Goulait, Demaree and Robertson were all with the Giants last season and all but Robertson received trials in the box, so the only new faces on the club next spring will be the presumably beaming countenances of Messrs. Schupp Smith, Hanley and Perryman. 

All of these fellows are right-handers with the exception of Schupp and Smith. The later comes from Traverse City of the Michigan State League, the same team which gave us La Rue Kirby. Schupp is from the Wisconsin-Illinois League and is said to be a discovery of the one and only “Crazy” Schmidt. He comes heralded as the proprietor of a “rising” curve, the like of which has never been seen before in the big leagues, if we are to believe reports. 

Kirby in twenty-six games with the same club as Smith won 18 and lost but 3, leading the Michigan State League pitchers. Hanley is from the Newark club of the Ohio State League, which divides its season into two parts, and it appears that during these two parts Hanley worked a total of thirty-two games, winning fourteen and getting credit for the loss of the rest. He went through the whole year without a fielding error. 

Bader Is Considered a Find

Lou Bader is considered quite a prospect. He comes from Dallas of the Texas League, the club which has sent McGraw many men, including Arthur Fletcher. 

Perryman, the recruit from the Richmond club of the Virginia League, is said to be a gigantic fellow, and the scout who looked him over must have been impressed by his height, as his record shows that out of twenty-five appearances he won but five games and lost fifteen. However, McGraw rarely buys a man on his record alone, and there is a comparatively recent instance of him having bought a man whose record was about as poor as could be imagined. 

This was George Pierce, who was purchased from the International League at a cost of $300 and who was later claimed by Chicago via the waiver route. Pierce was the sensation of the New York State league last season and is to have another chance with the Cubs.  


Rising Star of Teamsters’ Leader

Westbrook Pegler

Press and Sun-Bulletin/December 10, 1946

Dan Tobin, the president of the Teamsters’ Union, is 76 years old and will be pushed out of his job in a revolution of young turks. The only aspirant for his place is Dave Beck, of Seattle, a dictator in his own jurisdiction which includes the entire Pacific coast.

Mr. Beck entered the situation as Mr. Tobin’s protege and for 10 years has ruled not only the Teamsters but much of the interstate and intrastate commerce of California, Washington and Oregon. He began by personal appointment as Mr. Tobin’s representative. Mr. Beck is an alert, highly intelligent, aggressive professional unioneer who hates Communists and takes, and deserves, credit for a successful fight in that area to confine Harry Bridges to the waterfront, resisting Mr. Bridges’ efforts to shove his influence inshore. 

TO CALL HIM a professional unioneer is simply to acknowledge that here is a relatively young man, in his 50’s, who, like Tom Dewey in government, has made a profession of his occupation, studying the history of the labor movement and developing his strength progressively, year after year. 

His power is such that, with a word from Seattle, he was able to call off the general strike in Oakland last week at an alarming moment when, otherwise, a local, or wider, civil war might have occurred. However, he could start a civil war just as easily under our laws. Although he is much more intelligent and efficient than Mr. Tobin and has none of the old man’s vanity, he is not, necessarily, a more desirable man from the standpoint of the whole public. He undoubtedly would clean out, however, many of the stupid old local and regional bosses of Mr. Tobin’s political organization within the Teamsters and organize an entirely new administration. 

MR. BECK is now the most likely candidate for the presidency of the entire American Federation of Labor but not necessarily as the immediate successor to William Green, who is 73 years old and weary of the painful personal strife which moved John L. Lewis to write last year that there actually was no labor movement in the United States but a confusion of bitter rivalries. 

Until Mr. Lewis jeopardized his own power with the current coal strike and drew down upon his union and himself the fines and the spectacular denunciation pronounced by Judge T. Alan Goldsborough, a scheme had existed whereby Mr. Lewis was to persuade Mr. Green to resign as president of the A. F. L. and contrive the appointment of William L. Hutcheson, the president of the Carpenters Union, another of the big A. F. L. unions, to serve the unexpired portion of Mr. Green’s term. Mr. Hutcheson has wanted the A. F. L. presidency as an honor to end his career.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to foresee whether Mr. Lewis will emerge from his present troubles bigger than ever, a busted dictator or only scuffed up. Anyway, the scheme certainly goes on ice for a time, but even if old Hutch should presently get a term or a portion of a term as president of the A. F. L. that would mean no impediment to Mr. Beck’s ambitions, if he wants the job. Mr. Hutcheson is just too old to carry on. Mr. Beck might be delayed a year or two but that little time would serve him comfortably in the development of his political plans and power. In any case, Mr. Beck is coming on whereas the old men are tired and fading and realize now that the only question facing them is not whether they will go but how gracefully. 

Like Mr. Hutcheson. Mr. Lewis, and F. D. Roosevelt. Old Dan has been a good practicing nepotist, for there have always been soft, well-paid jobs for his boys on the Teamsters’ pay roll. The Tobins have really been a royal family. 

MR. TOBIN had ambitions to be secretary of labor under Mr. Roosevelt but was told Mrs. Roosevelt had promised the job to her friend. Frances Perkins, who held it until Mr. Big died. So the closest that Dan ever came to his goal was one of those selfless secretariats in the White House, in 1940. He lasted only from August to October, however, and no explanation ever was made of what he did or why he got out. 

When Mr. Roosevelt was trying to pack the Supreme Court his press agents insisted that a man’s usefulness diminished after 70. Here are Tobin 76, Hutcheson 77, Green, 78 and Lewis 67, all sot on old ideas, cramped by old rivalries and defensive positions and unable to consider any progressive plans. Changes are in the making now. A year or a little more will see the clearance of old monuments, personalities as well as antiquated prejudices and reactionary ideas.


Union Bosses are Old, Old, Old

Westbrook Pegler

Press and Sun-Bulletin/December 11, 1946

For a real, popular understanding of the fight to rescue the American Government from the boss unioneers, the fact must be sounded again and again, as the Hyde Park hant used to say, and sounded above the clamor of their mechanized propaganda, that the men who claim this power over the nation are old, old, old.

They are old and reactionary. They haven’t had a new idea in 15 years and the last idea they did have and the one they cling to today is that they are not mere princes of privilege, to employ another of the spook’s corn-tassel posies, but kings, emperors, of divine right and wisdom.

Often, they are rogues and liars to one another in their own, arcanal repartee, however, as when old Philip Murray, the president of the C. I. O., after comparing his own paltry megrims to the Passion of Jesus Christ, howled to the 1942 convention of the C. I. O. that John L. Lewis “was a national prevaricator, universally recognized by the workers and the citizens of our country.”

MR. LEWIS had a “diabolical mind,” Mr. Murray whined in self-pity, after charging that an agent of Mr. Lewis had ordered his followers “to keep after this fellow Murray until you kill him.”

“Those are the things that are going on,” he wailed. “Organized despotisms, the devices used by Hitler are being resorted to in the 20 puppet districts of the United Mine Workers over which John L. Lewis has complete domination.”

Yet, when Mr. Lewis called the miners out and popular government made a desperate stand against the Hitlerian despot, Mr. Murray and his C. I. O. were found on the side of Mr. Lewis and against the Republic. And this, I think, would be an occasion to notice that Judge Goldsborough, in passing sentence on the “little man” with the “diabolical mind,” did not prattle of democracy but properly called this nation a republic and said it must prevail. 

They are old. 

MR. LEWIS is 66. Alex Whitney of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, who laid a similar, bony old crutch on the nation’s throat last spring, is 74 and has been riding the cushions on the gravy train as a union politician for the last 46 years, almost half a century. 

He served only 13 years as a working stiff, but a portion of even that short qualifying career as a horny-handed son of toil was spent in the romantic, Algeresque business of swaying through the aisles of an Iowa local under a uniform cap with a patent-leather bill selling salted peanuts, nickel novels and the Omaha Bee. 

For me he tells us that he began as a “news agent” at 15 and became chairman of the union’s grievance committee at 28. In the years since he has acquired not mere wealth but riches of his own, regal and opulent status, and the effrontery common to his caste who treat the working stiffs as subjects and presidents of the United States as their employees. 

WILLIAM HUTCHESON, of the Carpenters Union, is 73. Dan Tobin, of the Teamsters’ Union, 72. Mr. Lewis is 66 and William Green is 74. J. A. Franklin, the president of the Boilermakers’ Union, held on until the scandal of the insurance shakedown of hundreds of thousands of wartime shipbuilders in favor of his sedentary son, Harold, aroused the fury of penniless old men with tattered union cards and he was kicked upstairs on a pension. 

His age I do not know in years but he is up among the rest of those so long aloof from toil and the sweaty smell of men who do, that they can’t even remember when “labor” was a verb and not a political commodity. 

They are old, old, old. Break their power and they mope. They totter, forlorn, bitter and toothless to their graves, barked at by dogs and mocked by the liberated inmates of their slave compounds. Even mayors and congressmen would circle out of range of the quavering strokes of their canes, yapping at their harmless old rage. Cops would call them “Gramp” and gravely humor them. 

THE SECRET of it all has been vanity and selfishness. When these men speak of the toilers they are thinking of their own privileges, their brief but swollen importance and their own inevitable collapse the moment the government, by law, affirms its duty to govern them as well as all other elements of the United States. 

On their way to power they bumbled the phrase-book bromide that a “static” civilization was “sterile.” A system that didn’t go forward must go backward and “change” was mankind’s only hope of progress. 

Having achieved their power, they have resisted all change, since 1934, bellowing at all who proposed the slightest impairment of their privileges, the most reactionary and despotic group in the entire history of the nation. Fearful, suspicious, backward, selfish and old, old, old.


Durocher Again Guest of Raft

Westbrook Pegler

Press and Sun-Bulletin/December 12, 1946

With considerable surprise I saw by Miss Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood column one recent day that Leo Durocher, the manager of the Brooklyn ball club, again was a houseguest in California of his friend, George Raft, the moving picture actor-gangster and member in good standing of the underworld of  Hollywood and Broadway. 

I was surprised, because only a few days before I learned on excellent authority that when Mr. Durocher conferred with Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn baseball firm, in Columbus, Ohio, preliminary to Mr. Durocher’s retention as the team manager for 1947, he promised Mr. Rickey that he would divorce himself from his old associations including Mr. Raft and Mr. Raft’s dear friend Bugsy Siegal. 

Bugsy is a blue-book boy, meaning that he is listed in the social register of the Bureau of Narcotics of the Treasury. Mr. Rickey has an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Raft, and only Monday he told me that in 1947 Mr. Raft will be excluded not only from Mr. Durocher’s dressing room and the dressing rooms of the Brooklyn players but from the Brooklyn ballpark as well.

Enlarging on Mr. Durocher’s social problems, it will be recalled that Mr. Durocher loaned his New York apartment to Raft for a dicing party in which a chump named Martin Shurin lost $18,500 to Mr. Raft, according to the early returns. Reduced to $13,500 in Mr. Shurin’s closing statement to the New York district attorney, on 13 straight passes by Mr. Raft, all fours and tens and most of them “the hard way,” a truly miraculous streak of luck, if that was what it was. 

Mr. Shurin later was told by the wife of one of his fellow-guests at the dicing that her husband had conspired with others to set a trap for him and that the dice used in the operation contained unconventional markings which would have made it merely easy for the dicer to sling fours and tens in sets of twos and fives all night long, but very difficult for him to throw anything else. 

TWO DAYS AFTER Miss Hopper reported that Mr. Durocher again was a guest of Mr. Raft in a household much frequented by gangsters, Mr. Rickey and Mr. Durocher met the baseball writers in one of those formal press conferences in Brooklyn to announce that Mr. Durocher had signed his 1947 contract. The impression was given that Mr. Rickey had exacted no promises or assurances. 

That version is incorrect, for the fact is that Mr. Rickey discussed little else in the Columbus meeting, and that Mr. Durocher, as a condition prior to the actual negotiations as to his salary and other terms, promised to keep out of questionable company. 

Mr. Rickey said Mr. Durocher was entirely honest in baseball matters and would not knowingly give information to gangsters on which they might arrange betting coups, but “dumb as hell when it comes to figuring the consequences of an association.”

“HE HAS LINED up with us 100 per cent,” Mr. Rickey said, meaning that Mr. Durocher had promised to avoid the appearances of evil. As an old baseball man, Mr. Rickey knows many angles, known also to the criminal underworld, by which a manager who is “dumb as hell” that way could give underworld companions a strong betting advantage through advance information without any guilty intent.

Although Mr. Rickey says Mr. Raft has been barred from the Dodgers’ or Bums’ dressing-rooms and from Ebbets Field, that does not mean, of course, that Mr. Raft is socially undesirable everywhere else in baseball. At one of the Boston games of the late World Series he accompanied Larry MacPhail, the business executive of the New York Yankees, and Joe Di Maggio. 

If Miss Hopper was correctly informed in her report of the renewed association of Mr. Durocher with Mr. Raft, then Mr. Durocher is fellowshipping in the off-season with a man whom his employer, patron, spiritual guardian and boss has decided to exclude in season for the good of the game. 

HOWEVER, that need not imply serious consequences just yet. There is plenty of time. There is, of course, apprehension of interesting consequences from a direct and flagrant line of association between professional baseball, once the cleanest of professional sports, and the underworld and its gambling syndicates, for the first time since the fake World Series of 1919.

There has been a change of atmosphere in baseball since Judge Landis died. Your nose knows.  


Golden Chance for Sports World

Westbrook Pegler

Press and Sun-Bulletin/December 13, 1946

Tom Clark, the United States attorney general, has invited sports writers from all sections of the country to meet in Washington and form a national organization to encourage “millions of American youngsters” to take more interest in clean sports and other recreational activities.

My colleague, Bill Corum, announces his intention to be there and his personal conviction that “the world of sports has a golden opportunity here, not to say a challenge.”

Mr. Clark’s invitation relates that his idea emerged from a recent national conference on the prevention and control of juvenile delinquency, and Bill Corum writes that “any impetus that sports is able to give the movement would be the most important crown that it could mold for itself.” 

I am a little skeptical as to the possibilities, believing that the strange, hard little chippies that I see hanging around the Waldorf when certain crooners and moaners are performing in the Wedgwood Room, and certain notorious Hollywood characters are in residence in the Tower, would be indifferent to any appeal from the most eloquent sports writer that ever lived, and that the fault lies not with these ominous young guttersnipes but with the parents who let them run wild. 

They are a cult, and a national cult at that. Some of the demonstrations of mass hysteria which they have presented here on high-pressure Hollywood occasions deliberately engineered by moving picture promoters have had about them a psychological reminder of the children’s crusade. 

I HAVE BEEN watching children’s fads for 50 years, including the affectation of silly hats, droopy socks and idiotic mottoes painted on flivvers, but this country, in my time, never saw anything quite like this bobby-sox and swing-music mania. 

They seem to go absolutely crazy over a voice or the squeals that some outwardly ingratiating secretly motivated musician evokes from a clarinet or a horn. They run in packs like those strange, mad rats in Norway 20 years ago which were described as racing wildly across country and plunging off a cliff into the sea. They are insensate. God only knows what they are after, and a bellman at the Waldorf, looking at a bunch of them loitering in the dark the other evening, said “Look at them! Every time some Hollywood bum moves in they seem to smell it and they hang around all night—for what? Autographs, yes. but still they hang around. Well, mine isn’t here. She is home.”

NOW I DON’T know what the sport writers could do about that, but one thing they could do is to draw a line again between sportsmen and the trash called sports, and between the world of sports and the underworld. That line has been obliterated by writers who should have maintained it. 

On two occasions recently I have observed a strange reaction on the sports pages. Once, after reading several rather hurt references to the presence of Hollywood “jerks” around Leo Durocher’s dressing room and the cavalier treatment of baseball reporters at the Brooklyn ball-yard, I made a careful investigation of the crap game at Durocher’s New York apartment in which a sucker was clipped for a fortune by George Raft, the synthetic tough guy of the moving pictures, who not only plays gangster roles in the films but, by choice and the commitment of long social habit, has made himself an underworld character. 

MORE RECENTLY, Judge William G. Bramham, the retiring commissioner of the minor leagues of professional baseball, announced that he had discovered “moral laxity among certain officials, players and fans,” instances of intimidation of players by thugs with an interest in gambling, and collusion between players and bookmakers. 

These were matters that baseball reporters themselves should have found out and exposed, and, in view of familiar symptoms and associations in New York, there is no excuse for a complacent assumption that such things can’t happen in the major leagues as well. 

Judge Bramham’s reward, however, was a political response in which he was ridiculed and rebuked for waiting until he was about to retire to disclose conditions which were not denied or even investigated by the sport side, but were minimized and, in a word, dismissed. 

IT HAPPENS that the same juveniles who read sports, if juveniles still do read sports, read at least as eagerly the radio and movie features and are getting a diet of “glamour” and scandal presented in a way that makes licentiousness seem attractive. 

Not since the Fatty Arbuckle case has any Hollywood reporter broken an initiative news story, although, in the meantime Hollywood, and this includes radio as well as movie entertainment, has developed an underworld of its own as evil as any other that we have ever had. 

People who are paid to be reporters and are rated as “experts” become or aspire to become “celebrities” themselves and succeed, at best, in their journalistic line, in becoming press agents.


John Baker’s Homer Cleared the Fence

Damon Runyon

Democrat and Chronicle/October 17, 1911

Baker hit the ball over the right field fence for a home run in the sixth inning. The story ends there. Those fifteen words contain the short and simple story of the second game of the world’s series between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Athletics.

Bristol Lord had lifted a long hard fly to Snodgrass, who made a great running catch. Rube Oldring had driven little Josh Devore right up against the left field bleacher barrier for another fly and Eddie Collins had swatted a two-base hit into left field. The fact that Collins was stationed at the middle sack in the runway at the time Baker came to bat is interesting, but not important.

Big Chief Meyers had gone out and talked to Marquard after Collins’ two-base smash. Eddie’s blow landed within few inches of the foul line as Josh Devore came in fast, but two were out and Marquard was going strong, so Gotham sat at ease.

The lean left hander shot a strike across the plate on Baker, then a ball. His next offering was a fast one, low and inside, down where Baker could reach it with a swing like a cricketer. And he swung.

Twenty-six thousand, two hundred and eighty six people—Quakers and Manhattan islanders—arose to their feet as J. Franklin Baker swung upward from his cleats and his bat popped against the ball. There was only one question: how far it would travel.

Rail Birds Made Room

It looked at first like it would drop among the bleacherites, but it seemed to gather momentum as it traveled and the delegation roosting on the fence rail gave way in the middle, shifting their heads and bodies to let the ball pass through. It fell in the street which flanks the park.

Collins had crossed the plate on the jump and Baker trotted leisurely in his wake while Philadelphia awoke with a scream of joy in its throat. They have noise-making devices here, besides voices, which are beyond the ken of mere Gotham mortals. They broke out with tin pans, whittles, bells and bedlam generally as the Marylander plugged peacefully around the ring.

The two tiers of humanity in the grand stand, and the crowd which ringed the greenfield was a panorama of waving hats and pennants, which seemed to flutter on the mighty wave of sound that rolled the arena. At the brief interval throughout the picture were spots of inaction which marked the seats of the glum New Yorkers. Down in the center of the field Rube Marquard stood gazing about him, apparently dazed. The somber clad Giant infielders buzzed about him like busy wasps. The inning was over when Murphy struck out. So was the game.


Manager Muggsy McGraw is Not a Strict Disciplinarian

Damon Runyon

Edmonton Journal/September 29, 1911

Scrappy Leader of the New York National League Team Lets the Players Do as They Please, But Bars Drinking and Gambling—Develops Many Youngsters.

Over in one corner of the hotel cafe Josh Devore, we will say, is calmly eating lobster salad, with a cup of strong black coffee on the side. 

The hour is 11:15 p.m. The eye of the diminutive outfielder casually notes the clocks as he consumes his weird repast. Perhaps he has George Wiltse, the sombre-visaged, left-handed pitcher of the big town club as his companion, also partaking of a strange nocturnal diet. 

At 11:20 they light their cigarettes; in five minutes more they push back their chairs, and nod at one another. 

“It’s that time,” says Wiltse, and they are on their way to bed. 

Let not the dyspeptic shudder at the thought of sleeping upon such a night-time supper. The two ball players—boy and veteran—will slumber as soundly as children until 9 o’clock the next morning, and at 10 they will be back in the cafe for their ham and eggs and wheat cakes, just as surely as the dining room doors open. 

And perhaps “Hooks” will pitch the next day and shut out the opposing club with two or three hits, while Devore will assist in the victory by a sensational batting and fielding streak. 

Thus are the theories of diet for athletes all shot to pieces.  

Perhaps, while they are dining a la midnight, John J. McGraw, manager of the Giants, passes. His quick eye may note the culinary display laid before his men; certainly he cannot fail to observe the cigarettes, but food and smoke will bring no comment from the chief. 

Is Interested in Bed Time

The fact that the pair will be headed for what Josh calls “the hay” at 11:30 is of more interest to McGraw. 

Over in a nearby drug store, Otis Crandall, the solidly built Indiana farmer boy whom the players call “Old Doc” because he is the pitching physician of the emergency case, is permitting ice cream sodas to seep into his system; Big Chief Meyers, the good-natured Indian catcher, is drinking some strange concoction of syrup and carbonated water; down in the poolroom Al Wilson, young Gene Paulette, Fred Merkle, Leon Ames, Christy Mathewson and Bert Maxwell, the new pitcher, are clicking the balls about, while Arthur Devlin, Louis Drucke and Grover Hanley are idling in front of the hotel. 

Beals Becker and Fred Snodgrass have gone to a theatre; the others are scattered over the town. But by 11 o’clock they come trooping into the hotel. They stand around talking and joshing a few moments, then hands slip to the watch pockets, and soon they are filing into the elevator. By midnight they are in bed and asleep. 

“I suppose,” says the layman, “that the rules of conduct for member of a club like the Giants, especially when it is making its final fight for the pennant, are very strict.”

He supposes wrong. 

There are rules of discipline, of course, and they are rigidly enforced, but they are rules which would be observed by the average citizen of average habits in his ordinary life, and they are little different now, when the club has settled down on the drive to the wire, than they were last spring when the season opened, with perhaps the single exception of the 11:30 retiring hour. 

Two Rules for Giants

McGraw makes a point of two rules in particular so far as the conduct of the players off the field is concerned. 

They must not drink intoxicating liquor. 

They must not gamble. 

It so happens that at this time McGraw has not a single man on his club “addicted to the use of liquor,” as the temperance orators say, but liquor has made his pennant race harder for the Giants to win than any other one thing, just the same. 

Had “Bugs” Raymond, the eccentric right-hander, continued in the narrow path, as he started last spring, the Giants believe they would have been ten games ahead of their nearest competitor, and the fight would be over. “Bugs” is now around Chicago, pitching semi-professional ball, and yet he might have had his fellows and himself in a position to play the world’s series with all its attendant glory and money, long before this. He might have been drawing as much salary as any other pitcher in the world—not excepting Mathewson. 

The days of detectives and keepers for Raymond are over; he has undoubtedly pitched his last game for the Giants, and probably for any big league club. As a general thing “Bugs” was persona non grata with most of the players anyway. The liquor rule is now almost unnecessary, but it goes, just the same, probably by way of reminder, and a player found taking a drink would draw a stiff fine. 

Gambling is ranked next to liquor in the McGraw category of sins. 

During the spring training season in the early part of the playing year, the men had their poker games and other forms of card playing. First McGraw put the ban on poker, and then he abolished all games of chance, no matter what form they might take. 

Gambling Has To Go

Now it is not to be assumed that any great moral purpose was behind the McGraw orders. They were issued to preserve the morale and not the morals of the club. McGraw delivers no lecture on the subject. His ground is that gambling is just naturally bad for the players, the same as liquor is bad for them. It is liable to create dissensions and bring on quarrels; it is conducive to late hours, and the men cannot afford to lose the money they so hardly earn. So gambling had to go.

 It is understood that McGraw even frowns on betting. He doesn’t want his men thinking about matters of that kind when they can just as well think about the pennant. 

A baseball club is like a big family, and naturally there are apt to be little internecine squabbles. Next to gambling and drinking, the quickest way to incur the McGraw displeasure would be by fighting. That is to say, by the men fighting among themselves. If players Smith and Jones have a quarrel, they had better keep it secret. McGraw will not stand for dissensions. An open fight between the two men would doubtless bring on this sort of misconduct. It goes without saying that the manager expects his men to conduct themselves as gentlemen off the field, and they would be expected  to do that whether they were ball players or not. Men of the stamp of Mathewson, Merkle, Snodgrass, Ames, Doyle and the rest are not likely to need rules 

If a crowd of players are together talking, in a Pullman, for instance, and a woman enters, the man nearest the door who sees her first warns against conversational accident by a cry or “heads up!” 

Don’t Need Diet

There are no rules which obtrude themselves into the dining room, as stated. McGraw takes it for granted that the men know what to eat and when to eat it, and the fact that there has not been a case of illness this season, and that the players are all in great health right now, indicates that a prescribed diet is wholly unnecessary. 

They eat what they please, and when they please, and incidentally they go right through the bill of fare when they sit down to the table. Most of the men eat but twice a day—a light breakfast around 10 o’clock, and a heavy dinner after the game. And the testimony of the hotel chef who has had experience with them is that they are “right smart feeders.” Some of them eat again during the course of the evening and most of them can go right to sleep after coffee. 

Nearly all of them smoke cigarettes, and some cigars. Mathewson occasionally affects a pipe. 

Of course, if a man was overdoing his eating or smoking, and was affecting his health, or his work, McGraw might take a hand in the matter, but he assumes they are old enough to know how to take care of themselves. 

Anyone who thinks that the older men like Mathewson or Wiltse or Devlin would be given more leeway than the youngsters on the rules is very much mistaken. McGraw looks to them, in fact, to set the example for the younger fellows. If Matty, for instance, should violate a rule of discipline, the manager would very likely give him a “call” quicker than he would a newcomer, for the reason that he figures that the “old heads” should, of all others, know better. 

However, it is rarely that a reprimand is necessary for violation of rules of conduct off the field. 

Dislike a Tale-Bearer

While McGraw does not mingle to any great extent with the players off the field, he has a way of knowing just what is going on. He particularly dislikes a tale bearer, and no player would think o! carrying stories to him of infractions of the rules. The manager would express his opinion of the storyteller first before taking cognizance of the reported offense. 

That he is almost as patient with human frailties off the field as with shortcomings on the diamond is indicated by efforts to reform Raymond. He believed that “Bugs” was a great pitcher when he was right, and he gave him every chance. There was a selfish interest, of course, but the advantage would have been all Raymond’s in the end, rather than McGraw’s. 

A ball player does not have to keep himself in the same course of training that other athletes do. A prize fighter, for instance, or a foot racer, is working up to a certain event, while the ball player has to keep himself in the same condition for months. The prospect of big money and much glory at the end of the season is sufficient incentive to make them careful of their living. 

The day of the hard-drinking roistering player has departed. A big league manager nowadays does not care to be bothered with them. Occasionally a character of that sort bobs up who has such phenomenal ability in his particular line that the manager must overlook his private life for the time being, but the way the great players of the past have come and gone along the primrose path seems to have served as a warning to the boys now breaking into the game.


McGraw Looks for New Men

Damon Runyon

The Independent Record/August 1, 1911

Manager Of Giants Is Even Now Keeping Sharp Eye Out For Youngsters.

Scouts Under Cover

Men Who Prospect for “Muggsy” Have No Brass Bands Along to Proclaim the Fact That They Are On the Lookout for Embryo Phenoms—Infielders Are in Great Demand

It is pretty early to be even thinking about next year, with the National League balled up in a hair-lifting struggle, and the present season only half over, but John J. McGraw, chief of the Giants, has been making a few small moves here and there which indicate that his mind is not entirely centered upon today and that he has a thought for the morrow as well. 

How McGraw gets his players is one of the mysteries of the game, in a way. He has scouts, of course, but it is his theory that a scout is of no particular value if everyone knows he is a scout, and so the men who prospect the sticks for future Giants move softly, but carry a large club wherewith to bowl over any embyro great men they may encounter. 

Mickey Finn, the old Little Rock manager, is generally understood to be a Giant scout, and it is reported that Jimmy Maloney, until recently the manager of Dallas, and a personal friend of McGraw’s, may do some work in the same role. Maloney knows a ball player at all events. He got McGraw Pitcher Drucke and First Baseman-Catcher Hank Gowdy, as well as Shontz and Tesreau, who are no longer with the team. 

Looking For Infielders

McGraw is evidently getting ready even this early for next year, and every move he makes is destined apparently for infield strength. The purchase of Bues, third base marvel of the Northwest, and the acquisition of Henry Groh, shortstop, of the Decatur team of the Three “I” League, indicates that the Little Napoleon intends to have plenty of surplus material. Groh is another recommendation from Dick Kensella, from whom came Larry Doyle, and the price $3,500 is the largest paid for a Three “I” player this season. Groh’s home is in Rochester, and he is a college man. Kinsella claims he is the best youngster he ever developed.

Besides these two, McGraw now has with him Eugene Paulette, a youngster picked up by Scott Micky Finn, and who is said to promise much as a first baseman, although he can play other infield positions.

O’Toole is Red-Headed

O’Toole is a red-headed, right-handed, spit-ball twirler. Last season in the Western League he established himself as strike-out wonder, fanning eighteen men in a single game. He was even then the property of St. Paul, in the American Association, and was recalled this year. Kelley is the catcher who is also wanted in the deal.

If John I. Taylor, of Boston, calls in all the young pitchers upon whom he has strings next season, he ought to have a wonderful staff, assuming that they live up to their minor promise. Bedient, of Providence, who established some sort of a world’s record as a schoolboy pitcher, and who was taken to the coast by the Sox last spring, is said to be a coming marvel; Byram, former Princeton southpaw, now with Sacramento, of the Pacific Coast League, is the sensation of that section, apparently, and is touted as being in the same class with Van Gregg. Taylor is supposed to have first call on all Sacramento players, so presumably will get Byram.

Big Price For Strand

As showing the uncertainties of the minor star, however, Taylor paid $5,000 for Paul Strand, a very youthful left-hander, now with Spokane, Wash, and since then Paul has been getting his bumps with great regularity. O’Brien, of Denver, believed to be still another Taylor possession, is said by those who have seen the two work in their Western League form to be as good as O’Toole.

Clarke Griffith is not the only manager who has made what looks to the home fans like mistakes in disposing of players, although he is extensively advertised as owning the copyright on that particular line. Lately Frank Chance is attaining some distinction for his disposal of Luderus, of the Phillies, not to mention Ingerton, of Boston, while some people are not satisfied now that the Peerless Leader got any too much the best of the Boston trade in the light of the gait at which some of the cast-offs are traveling. 

The Red Sox rooters think that Nunamacher, of the Taylor club, is something of a catcher, but Chance did not think so, and let the long fellow go. At least a few other fairly competent judges of a ball player agreed with the Chance judgment in this respect at the time, although there is no doubt but that Nunamacher has vastly improved.