Mayer May Also Be Important in Coming Battles

Damon Runyon

South Bend News-Times/October 6, 1915


Erskine Mayer won 21 games and lost 19 for a sixth place club over in Philadelphia. This season up to the last accounting, he had won 19 and lost 15 pastimes for the championship outfit led by Pat Moran. Toss out J. Erskine Mayer’s underhanded work and where would Philadelphia’s pennant be?

It is difficult to see how the experts can overlook J. Erskine in the ante mortem statements. True, the loud cries over the exploits of G. Cleveland Alexander have drowned out nearly all other sounds connected with the Philadelphia club, but even after they get through talking about Grover you rarely hear the name of “Irksome” Mayer. They mentioned George Chalmers, the Harlem hurricane, ahead of Mayer and even Epha Jeptha Rixey, the well known college cry, has been noticed before Erskine.

Not to Be Despised

Mayer has not been going well of late, according to the men who follow the Phillies, but the last time the club was in Brooklyn he seemed to be all right again; and a pitcher with his record is not to be despised in a bear fight. Wild Bill Donovan, manager of the Yanks, made the statement some days ago that he would not be surprised if Mayer’s underhand delivery did not cause the Red Sox a lot of trouble, basing his assertion on the showing that Jack Warhop used to make against the Boston club.

Mayer and Warhop have similar pitching styles, but Mayer has much more “stuff” on the ball than Jack. He is stronger physically and younger. He worked in 48 games in 1914 and in 41 this year up to the last edition of the records. George Chalmers has been making a strong finish, but George had none of Mayer’s effectiveness early in the season when Erskine and Alexander carried the club along.

Southpaws Bothersome

Good lefthanders bother the Red Sox, but Moran is practically all out of good lefthanders. He has two lefthanders, all right, but neither has as yet produced records that qualifies him for the good class.

Eppa Jeptha Rixey, the elongated Virginia collegian who was extracted from an educational institution a couple of years ago by Parley Rigler, the National league umpire, is credited with 11 victories and 11 defeats in the averages which are before us. He figured in 29 games this past season. In 1914 he was out 24 times and procured just two wins, against 11 defeats, showing that he was used chiefly as a sweeper-up of pastimes.

He has never stood out to any extent in point of ability among the left-handers of the National league. Now and then he would have a good day, but generally he was regarded as easy picking. Withal he displayed enough “stuff” to warrant the Philadelphia managers in carrying him along and some day he may be a very great pitcher. He is one of the tallest men in the game and drops the ball down on the batter from ’way, way up yonder. Some baseball men contend that a pitcher cannot be altogether too tall for effectiveness, but the average manager likes ’em just as tall as he can get ’em.

Rixey May Get In

If the Sox give the Philly right-handers a sound beating. Rixey will undoubtedly get his chance; but he will probably represent Moran’s very last line of defense. Pat has another sidewinder—young Baumgartner—but Baumgartner is not likely to be started. Neither is George McQuillan regarded as a possibility in the series, while Al Demaree would be another long shot. Alexander, Mayer and Alexander is the logical sequence of Pat’s pitching experiments for the first three days at least, assuming that Alexander gets by in his opening start.

Even if he is defeated “Alick” will unquestionably get another crack at the Sox, but his decisive defeat will mean a general shift in Moran’s plans.

If you have ever paid any particular attention to the Philadelphia flingers, you must have noticed that they have a style somewhat different from the pitchers of other clubs. At least the pitchers who might be called Philadelphia-trained have this distinctive style, although Al Demaree and George McQuillan still pitch about the same as the average hurler.

Alexander, Mayer and Chalmers, however, all have a way of twisting their bodies in a wind-up so their backs are to the batters just before they swing around again to deliver the ball. Charley Dooin instilled this style in the pitchers and ball experts say it is responsible for much of Alexander’s effectiveness.

Was Good Coach

That Charley was a good pitcher-coach, whatever he may have lacked as a manager, is indicated by the present stars of the Philadelphia staff, but some managers do not like the back-to-the-batter method of delivery. However, it must be remembered that many managers do not care much for pitchers with the sidearm motion characteristic of Alexander.

Several of our acquaintances had a hard time seeing Alexander at all for some years. They felt sure he would wear out with that motion and yet “Alick” is going along about the same as ever.

(Source: Chronicling America,