Ready for Series

Damon Runyon

Washington Herald/October 7, 1916


Red Sox and Dodgers Meet in First Game Today

 Boston, Mass., Oct. 6.—Your Uncle Wilbert Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodgers reached Boston about 7:30 o’clock this evening, and as far as they are concerned the world series may now proceed.

Their train was late; it was a train that probably never was a very early train at any tie in its career. It moved along with a leisurely air that must have been acquired only after great practice.

There are trains on the New York, New Haven and Hartford which hurry between New York and Boston with all the animation of sacred coyotes, but the sedate train happened to be the firt one going out when the Dodgers reached the Grand Central today, and they took that one by mistake.

They mistook it for one of the ground eaters. It is practically impossible to distinguish a slow train from a fast one on the New York, New Haven and Hartford when they are lying dormant at the station, because both kinds wear locomotives with wheels.

The big waiting room of the Grand Central Station was packed with people when the Dodgers reached there after a parade in Brooklyn. Every player had his private crowd at his heels whereve he moved. Your Uncle Wilbert Robinson, who was a crowd within himself, of course, had a hard time working his way through an aisle of folks and past barriers of outstretched hands to the train.

The fat manager of the National League champions is ever a genial soul, and hs broad face was engulfed in one gigantic grin as he listened to the congratulations and good wishes. After getting aboard the train, Robby hunted up an extra wide seat and buried himself in peaceful slumber.

Robert W. De Marquis, alias Rube Marquard. stalked about the Grand Central with majestic mien before the train left, and a crowd of pop-eyed admirers hoved in his august wake. After getting on the train, however, the Reuben cast aside his imperial manner, and fell for such humble pursuits as “rummy” and “hearts.”

Left-Hander One of Heroes

The lean, wry-necked left-hander was one of the heroes of the mob today and plenty of good luck was shrieked after him in divers keys as he took his departure. Mrs. Richard De Marquis, otherwise Blossom Seely, is hastening on from Cleveland, where she has been in vaudeville, to be present at the opening of the series in Brooklyn.

“It’s no cinch I’m going to start Marquard tomorrow,” said Your Uncle Wilbert Robinson, between naps today. “I’ve got a couple of other pitchers in great condition right now, besides the Rube. Say, you fellows have been talking a lot about Marquard and Coombs, but I’m willing to make a bet that Pfeffer pitches as well as any of them in the series.”

This remark leads to the suspicion that Your Uncle Wilbert is thinking some of tossing in the big right-hander for the starter.

Pfeffer has always been one of Robby’s favorites. The manager of the Brooklyns believes that the lord of all pitchers of all time was Sadie McMahon, the old Baltimore Oriole, and it is said that Pfeffer has much of McMahon’s general style.

When he was coach of the Giants’ pitchers, Your Uncle Wilbert was always seeing something in some youngster that reminded him of Sadie, but in Pfeffer’s case it is not imagination, and Robby is the man who developed Pfeffer and made him a good hurler.

Praise for Pfeffer

New York followers of baseball will never forget how Robby worked with Pfeffer the first time he took the blanket off the youngster in a game against the Giants; the solicitous, paternal care with which Robby patted and coddled the right-hander through to victory. He said then, and has often said since, that Pfeffer is sure to be one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever known.

Marquard and Coombs are generally picked by the guessers to open for the Dodgers tomorrow, however, and if Robby starts Pfeffer, it will be a tremendous surprise. “Colby Jack” had a quiet but prosperous journey to Boston as he also found diversion with the newspaper men at their similar pursuits.

When the train stopped at New London, as it stopped at all other new, and also old, ports along the road, a traveling salesman got aboard and entered one of the Dodgers’ private cars. Some were for ejecting him forthwith, but finally Fred Merkle, who had noted something familiar about the fellow from the beginning, recognized him as none other than “Handsome Harold” McCormick, the great old pinch poker of the Giants.

Handsome Harold is not a whit less handsome than formerly, and not a whit less better dressed, whatever a whit is. He is now traveling for a steel concern, selling steel, and had “made’ New London in his pursuit of business. He did not know the Dodgers were on that train until he climbed aboard. McCormick became a salesman for a steel outfit when he withdrew from baseball some years ago, dropping steel when he returned to the game for McGraw. Now he is back at it again.

Special Cars Arranged

The Dodgers had a couple of special cars strapped to the head of the train on their journey today and the party numbered about sixty persons. Many of the ball players were accompanied by their wives and other members of their families.

When the Dodgers’ train finally reached Boston this evening the lads marched to the Hotel Brunswick, some blocks distant from the station. For years and years ball clubs have patronized the old Copley Square here, only one outfit having the hardihood to go elsewhere. That was the Pittsburgh Pirates, who always put up at the Brunswick. Not long ago the Copley Square hurled a bomb into the big leagues by announcing that it could not accommodate the pastimers further and most of the clubs now attend the Lenox or the Brunswick.

Most of the Dodgers went to bed early tonight. This was not a difficult task. They acquired the habit in Brooklyn. They will be early to rise tomorrow, and it is a lead-piipe cinch that they will not meet any of the prominent people of the great national pastime, judging from the scenes around the Boston hotels this evening.

There is some betting here, and it favors the Red Sox, at a rate of about10 to 7-1/2. No real big wages have been reported.

(Source: Chronicling America,

The works of Damon Runyon and other American journalists are now freely available at The Archive of American Journalism. Visit our bookstore for single-volume collections–-ideal for research, reference use or casual reading.