Stage Premature Scene

Damon Runyon

Washington Herald/October 5, 1915



Damon Runyon Fears For Success Of Series

Pat Moran and Bill Carrigan Act “Hastily” at Polo Grounds Yesterday,

and Result May Be “Serious.”


One of the most essential and certainly one of the most solemn scenes pertaining to a well-regulated world’s series was seriously damaged, if not totally ruined, by a burst of prematureness up at the Polo Grounds this afternoon. From now on we are going to feel mighty pessimistic about the success of this impending series.

It does not seem to us that you can go ahead and put on a scene as important to a world’s series as this one so far in advance without taking something away from the championship contest, and certainly without this scene a world’s series would be something like a New Wayburn show, sans le-er-ah-ah-limb-ah’s.

Which is to say, a blank.

We refer, of course, to that scene where the managers of the opposing clubs shake hands. That is the very scene we are mumbling about, and it is a great hit and has been for years. It takes place just before the opening of the first game, and is most extemporaneous and accidental-like, with everybody else cleared away from the home plate, where it generally occurs, and with the managers holding each other’s grimy right paw as if it were a dead fish, their faces cracked in alleged smiles, and their caps pushed well back from their adamant brows to give the poor lens a chance.

Premature Scene

This scene proves that despite the horrible rivalry existing between ’em, the managers are none the less sportsmen enough to extend the right hand of friendship, especially when the photographers are so insistent about it. We just naturally hate to think of a world’s series without this scene, but what do you suppose occurred up at the Polo Grounds this afternoon?

Why, Pat Moran and Bill Carrigan, managers of the Phillies and the Red Sox, put on the scene several days too soon, and now it will be such old stuff for the world’s series that the house manager may demand they cut it out.

Pat Moran was responsible for the prematureness. He wandered into the Polo Grounds today to see the Red Sox play the Yankees, and he sat concealed behind Post 15 in the grandstand, totally incognito for nearly four seconds. Then the inmates of the pest-box smoked him out.

Pat had with him Grover Cleveland Alexander, who is to play the Red Sox for the world’s championship the latter part of this week, and Grover brought Bill Killifer, his pig-tail in his important games. Grover and Bill remained more open and exposed than Pat throughout the afternoon. They are what you might call shameless about their presence.

Newspaper Men on Job

Between the first and second games Pat went down to the pest-box gate near the Sox bench and squatted on his haunches in the aisle, emitting cries for Bill Carrigan. Nineteen persons, or about 94 per cent of the total attendance, helped him out by lifting their voices, acting as messengers and generally making themselves useful and obnoxious.

Bill was finally located, and came over to the gate, and then and there the scene that should have been reserved for the world’s series was pushed on. They shook hands. It was most impressive.

“Hello, Bill,” said Pat.

“Hello, Pat,” said Bill.

And little did they think that Old Ironsides, the International News Service photographer, at anchor lay in the oiling, snatching photographic reproductions of the imposing situation, while newspaper writers massed themselves close up and took notes of the conversation with frantic haste. We dislike gossip and scandal, but we must say that we have a feeling that but for one thing, Old Ironsides would not turn in those films at this time, but would hold ’em out to save himself work during the world’s series, when he could send ’em marked, “Managers Moran and Carrigan shake hands as Sox and Phils hurl themselves into the fray.”

The one thing that is going to prevent this chichany on Old Ironsides’s part is the fact that Pat Moran was attired in plain clothes, while Bill Carrigan wore the livery of his calling. Even as desperate a character as Old Ironsides would never try to get away with that kind of film.

More “Conversation”

Resuming our report of the conversation between Pat and Bill, we find on reference to our notes that they spoke in part as follows:

“Hello, Bill,”

“Hello, Pat.”

After that the conversation grew very conventional, and not worthwhile. We hear that Pat congratulated Bill, and Bill congratulated Pat, and then they went on.

“Well, good-by Pat,” said Bill.

“Good-by, Bill,” said Pat. “See you Friday.”

“All right, Pat,” said Bill.

It was certainly a great scene, with the newspaper boys all about and Old Ironsides snatching pictures, and the nineteen fans pressed in close, and everybody all worked up and everything, but somehow we feel that they have clouded the film for the world’s series.

We saw a lot of persons interviewing G. Cleveland Alexander, who plays the Red Sox Friday, but we must confess we did not go near him. We were afraid he might say he is confident of beating the Sox, although they seem to have a good ball club, and that he is feeling simply grand, and can pitch three games if necessary, just like Jacob wrote the note. We were afraid that he might tell us that he is not entitled to all the credit he is getting for his great showing, and that his teammates are responsible for everything.

Fails to Interview Grover

We sorely feared he would start in to describe those teammates to us: their many lovable characteristics and their little kindnesses to the folks at home, and how they just went ahead and played steady ball behind him, and didn’t hurrah the umpires more than necessary, and what a grand guy is Pat Moran. Oh, what a grand guy, and “Loody” and “Cravvy,” and all the rest. And we just knew that we’d get to remarking in the paper about the intense modesty of this young bird who is the talk of the nation, and how he sat there so careless-like and loose in his seat, and tried so hard to avoid being interviewed that no one would ever have suspected that he was Alexander the Great.

Well, nobody did suspect at that, outside of everybody present, and there wasn’t enough present to make the suspection very general.

So, as we were saying, we did not interview Grover, but a lot of others did, and so what he said will not appear in numerous prints.

What he thought even is a very exclusive item with this paper. We hired a mind reader to go around and read Grover’s mind during the afternoon; and so we are enabled to give an accurate report on the hurler’s thoughts—that is, it is accurate unless the mind reader deceived us. The mind reader says he knows Grover was thinking that way, because everybody else was, and great minds run in the same channel.

“So this is the Boston bunch, is it?” thought “Alick.” “The champions of the American League, and they are going to try to beat me out of a world’s championship. Well! Well! It’s a shame to receive the currency. Why, that fellow Leonard can’t pitch up an alley, and this Histler or Croster or Foster, or whatever his name is, is just in there throwing the baseball. I suspect these are the Degnon Grays they’re playing. Someone told me I’d get to see the Yanks and the Red Sox, but, of course, they’ve rung in the Degnon Grays as the Yanks. That’s too bad, because I wanted to see the Yanks.

Mind Reader’s Report

“If the Red Sox can’t lick a semipro outfit, how are they going to lick us? And that’s the great Speaker out there, is it? Well, he must have been putting on that muff he made of Nunamaker’s knock. He had the ball right in his hands. Paskert would have held on. And Speaker’ll be leaving his arm on the Polo Grounds if he tears off many more of those throws from the Harlem River to third.

“I hear they took Scott out and put Janvrin in because Scott was booting the ball around too much. Well, Bancroft won’t boot many of ’em. We haven’t had to take him out for that reason all season. So Scott boots ’em, does he? Well, I’ll tell the boys to chunk ’em all at him. I don’t think some of these birds would hit me with a board. And Moran down there handing Carrigan the old stuff. What are we over here for anyway? I’ve seen enough. Curve for that guy, curve for this one, curve, curve, curve, curve; but not so much speed, no. They love their speed. Not much speed for them Friday. Well, I wish I was back in dear old Philly.”

Maybe the mind reader got his mental wires crossed and read the mind of Bill Fleishmann, but the above is what he turned in to us on “Alick.” And, of course, “Alick” would never, never put such thoughts into worlds, even if he thunk ’em, for “Alick” is nothing if not a gent.

Same Old Alibi

Of course, the Sox had an alibi for their showing against the Yanks today. You can bet they had it. In the first place, they said the Sox don’t beat the Yanks very much anyway, and in the second place, the Sox have been laying off for some days and need a few pastimes under their respective belts to put them in championship form, and the Yanks are not the Phillies. The alibi, like the poor, is always with us.

Not that we think the showing of the Sox today was any line on the form they will display in the world’s series. Tris Speaker will not miss another fly such as he muffed today in the next ten years, and it was a difficult chance, too, while young Foster can pitch better ball with his left-hand than he showed today with his right.

It is very likely Carrigan will start Foster in the series, and this will be exercising good judgment. Foster is far and away the headiest pitcher on the Sox staff, though he may not have as much natural stuff as “Long” Shore. He is a cracking good pitcher, is Foster, and the workout today should put him right on edge.