EVEN a baseball writer
must sometimes work. Regretfully I yielded my seat in the P.
G., walked past the section where Art Graham, Bill Cole,
Lefty Paiks and young Waldron were giving expert tonsorial
treatment to "Sweet Adeline," and flopped down
beside Ryan, the manager.
"Well, Cap," I said, "we're due in
Springfield in a little over an hour and I haven't written a
"Don't let me stop you," said Ryan.
"I want you to start me," I said.
"Lord!" said Ryan. "You oughtn't to have any
trouble rinding out stuff these days, with the club in first
place and young Waldron gone crazy. He's worth a story any
"That's the trouble," said I. "He's been
worked so much that there's nothing more to say about him.
Everybody in the country knows that he's hitting .420, that
he's made nine home runs, twelve triples and twenty-some
doubles, that he's stolen twenty-five bases, and that he can
play the piano and sing like Carus'. They've run his
picture oftener than Billy Sunday and Mary Pickford put
together. Of course, you might come through with how you got
"Oh, that's the mystery," said Ryan.
"So I've heard you say," I retorted. "But
it wouldn't be a mystery if you'd let me print it."
"Well," said Ryan, "if you're really hard
up I suppose I might as well come through. Only there's
really no mystery at all about it; it's just what I consider
the most remarkable piece of scouting ever done. I've been
making a mystery of it just to have a little fun with Dick
Hodges. You know he's got the Jackson club and he's still so
sore about my stealing Waldron he'll hardly speak to me.
"I'll give you the dope if you want it, though it's a
boost for Art Graham, not me . There's lots of people think
the reason I've kept the thing a secret is because I'm
"They give me credit for having found Waldron myself.
But Graham is the bird that deserves the credit and I'll
admit that he almost had to get down on his knees to make me
take his tip. Yes, sir, Art Graham was the scout, and now
he's sitting on the bench and the boy he recommended has got
"That sounds pretty good," I said. "And how
did Graham get wise?"
"I'm going to tell you. You're in a hurry; so I'll
make it snappy.
"You weren't with us last fall, were you? Well, we
had a day off in Detroit, along late in the season. Graham's
got relatives in Jackson; so he asked me if he could spend
the day there. I told him he could and asked him to keep his
eyes peeled for good young pitchers, if he happened to go to
the ball game. So he went to Jackson and the next morning he
came back all excited. I asked him if he'd found me a pitcher
and he said he hadn't, but he'd seen the best natural hitter
he'd ever looked at--a kid named Waldron.
"'Well,' I said, 'you're the last one that ought to
be recommending outfielders. If there's one good enough to
hold a regular job, it might be your job he'd get.'
"But Art said that didn't make any difference to
him--he was looking out for the good of the club. Well, I
didn't see my way clear to asking the old man to dig up good
money for an outfielder nobody'd ever heard of, when we were
pretty well stocked with them, so I tried to stall Art; but
he kept after me and kept after me till I agreed to stick in
a draft for the kid just to keep Art quiet. So the draft went
in and we got him. Then, as you know, Hodges tried to get him
back, and that made me suspicious enough to hold on to him.
Hodges finally came over to see me and wanted to know who'd
tipped me to Waldron. That's where the mystery stuff started,
because I saw that Hodges was all heated up and wanted to kid
him along. So I told him we had some mighty good scouts
working for us, and he said he knew our regular scouts and
they couldn't tell a ball-player from a torn ligament. Then
he offered me fifty bucks if I'd tell him the truth and I
just laughed at him. I said: 'A fella happened to be in
Jackson one day and saw him work. But I won't tell you who
the fella was, because you're too anxious to know.' Then he
insisted on knowing what day the scout had been in Jackson. I
said I'd tell him that if he'd tell me why he was so blame
curious. So he gave me his end of it.
"It seems his brother, up in Ludington, had seen this
kid play ball on the lots and had signed him right up for
Hodges and taken him to Jackson, and of course, Hodges knew
he had a world beater the minute he saw him. But he also knew
he wasn't going to be able to keep him in Jackson, and,
naturally he began to figure how he could get the most money
for him. It was already August when the boy landed in
Jackson; so there wasn't much chance of getting a big price
last season. He decided to teach the kid what he didn't know
about baseball and to keep him under cover till this year.
Then everybody would be touting him and there'd be plenty of
competition. Hodges could sell to the highest bidder.
"He had Waidron out practising every day, but
wouldn't let him play in a game, and every player on the
Jackson club had promised to keep the secret till this year.
So Hodges wanted to find out from me which one of his players
had broken the promise.
"Then I asked him if he was perfectly sure that
Waldron hadn't played in a game, and he said he had gone in
to hit for somebody just once. I asked him what date that was
and he told me. It was the day Art had been in Jackson. So I
"'There's your mystery solved. That's the day my
scout saw him, and you'll have to give the scout a little
credit for picking a star after seeing him make one base
"Then Hodges said:
"'That makes it all the more a mystery. Because, in
the first place, he batted under a fake name. And, in the
second place, he didn't make a base hit. He popped out.'
"That's about all there is to it. You can ask Art how
he picked the kid out for a star from seeing him pop out
once. I've asked him myself, and he's told me that he liked
the way Waldron swung. Personally, I believe one of those
Jackson boys got too gabby. But Art swears not."
"That is a story," I said gratefully. "An
old outfielder who must know he's slipping recommends a
busher after seeing him pop out once. And the busher jumps
right in and gets his job."
I looked down the aisle toward the song birds. Art Graham,
now a bench warmer, and young Waldron, whom he had touted and
who was the cause of his being sent to the bench, were
harmonizing at the tops of their strong and not too pleasant
"And probably the strangest part of the story,"
I added, "is that Art doesn't seem to regret it. He and
the kid appear to be the best of friends."
"Anybody who can sing is Art's friend," said
I left him and went back to my seat to tear off my seven
hundred words before we reached Springfield. I considered for
a moment the advisability of asking Graham for an explanation
of his wonderful bit of scouting, but decided to save that
part of it for another day. I was in a hurry and, besides,
Waldron was just teaching them a new "wallop," and
it would have been folly for me to interrupt.
"It's on the word 'you,'" Waldron was saying.
"I come down a tone; Lefty goes up a half tone, and Bill
comes up two tones, Art just sings it like always. Now try
her again," I heard him direct the song birds. They
tried her again, making a worse noise than ever:
"I only know I love you;
Love me, and the world (the world) is mine (the world is
"No," said Waldron. "Lefty missed it. If
you fellas knew music, I could teach it to you with the piano
when we get to Boston. On the word 'love,' in the next to the
last line, we hit a regular F chord. Bill's singing the low F
in the bass and Lefty's hitting middle C in the baritone, and
Art's on high F and I'm up to A. Then, on the word 'you,' I
come down to G, and Art hits E and Lefty goes up half a tone
to C sharp, and Cole comes up from F to A in the bass. That
makes a good wallop. It's a change from the F chord to the A
chord. Now let's try her again," Waldron urged.
They tried her again:
"I only know I love you--"
"No, no! " said young Waldron. "Art and I
were all right; but Bill came up too far, and Lefty never
moved off that C. Half a tone up, Lefty. Now try her
We were an hour late into Springfield, and it was past six
o'clock when we pulled out. I had filed my stuff, and when I
came back in the car the concert was over for the time, and
Art Graham was sitting alone.
"Where are your pals?" I asked.
"Gone to the diner," he replied.
"Aren't you going to eat?"
"No," he said, "I'm savin' up for the
steamed clams." I took the seat beside him.
"I sent in a story about you," I said.
"Am I fired? "he asked.
"No, nothing like that."
"Well," he said, "you must be hard up when
you can't find nothin' better to write about than a old
"Cap just told me who it was that found
Waldron," said I.
"Oh, that," said Art. "I don't see no story
"I thought it was quite a stunt," I said.
"It isn't everybody that can pick out a second Cobb by
just seeing him hit a fly ball."
"No," he replied, "they's few as smart as
"If you ever get through playing ball," I went
on, "you oughtn't to have any trouble landing a job.
Good scouts don't grow on trees."
"It looks like I'm pretty near through now,"
said Art, still smiling. "But you won't never catch me
scoutin' for nobody. It's too lonesome a job."
I had passed up lunch to retain my seat in the card game;
so I was hungry. Moreover, it was evident that Graham was not
going to wax garrulous on the subject of his scouting
ability. I left him and sought the diner. I found a vacant
chair opposite Bill Cole.
"Try the minced ham," he advised, "but lay
off'n the sparrow-grass. It's tougher'n a double-header in
"We're over an hour late," I said.
"You'll have to do a hurry-up on your story, won't
you? " asked Bill. "Or did you write it
"All written and on the way."
"Well, what did you tell 'em?" he inquired.
"Did you tell 'em we had a pleasant trip, and Lenke lost
his shirt in the poker game, and I'm goin' to pitch
to-morrow, and the Boston club's heard about it and hope
"No," I said. " I gave them a regular story
to-night--about how Graham picked Waldron."
"Who give it to you?"
"Ryan," I told him.
"Then you didn't get the real story," said Cole,
"Ryan himself don't know the best part of it, and he
ain't goin' to know it for a w'ile. He'll maybe find it out
after Art's got the can, but not before. And I hope nothin'
like that'll happen for twenty years. When it does happen, I
want to be sent along with Art, 'cause I and him's been
roomies now since 1911, and I. wouldn't hardly know how to
act with him off'n the club. He's a nut all right on the
singin' stuff, and if he was gone I might get a chanct to
give my voice a rest. But he's a pretty good guy, even if he
"I'd like to hear the real story," I said.
"Sure you would," he answered, "and I'd
like to tell it to you. I will tell it to you if you'll give
me your promise not to spill it till Art's gone. Art told it
to I and Lefty in the club-house at Cleveland pretty near a
nionth ago, and the three of us and Waldron is the only ones
that knows it. I figure I've did pretty well to keep it to
myself this long, but it seems like I got to tell
"You can depend on me," I assured him, "not
to say a word about it till Art's in Minneapolis, or wherever
they're going to send him."
"I guess I can trust you," said Cole. "But
if von cross me, I'll shoot my fast one up there in the press
coop some day and knock your teeth loose."
"Shoot," said I.
"Well," said Cole, "I s'pose Ryan told you
that Art fell for the kid after just seem' him pop out."
"Yes, and Ryan said he considered it a remarkable
piece of scouting."
"It was all o' that. It'd of been remarkable enough
if Art'd saw the bird pop out and then recommended him. But
he didn't even see him pop out."
"What are you giving me?"
"The fac's." said Bill Cole. "Art not only
didn't see him pop out, but he didn't even see him with a
ball suit on. He wasn't never inside the Jackson ball park in
"No. Art I'm talkin' about."
"Then somebody tipped him off," I said, quickly.
"No, sir. Nobody tipped him off, neither. He went to
Jackson and spent the ev'nin' at his uncle's house, and
Waldron was there. Him and Art was together the whole
ev'nin'. But Art didn't even ask him if he could slide feet
first. And then he come back to Detroit and got Ryan to draft
him. But to give you the whole story, I'll have to go back a
ways. We ain't nowheres near Worcester yet, so they's no
hurry, except that Art'll prob'ly be sendin' for me pretty
quick to come in and learn Waldron's lost chord.
"You wasn't with this club when we had Mike McCann.
But you must of heard of him; outside his pitchin', I mean.
He was on the stage a couple o' winters, and he had the
swellest tenor voice I ever heard. I never seen no grand
opera, but I'll bet this here C'ruso or McCormack or Gadski
or none o' them had nothin' on him for a pure tenor. Every
note as clear as a bell. You couldn't hardly keep your eyes
dry when he'd tear off 'Silver Threads' or 'The River
"Well, when Art was still with the Washin'ton club
yet, I and Lefty and Mike used to pal round together and onct
or twict we'd hit up some harmony. I couldn't support a
fam'ly o' Mormons with my voice, but it was better in them
days than it is now. I used to carry the lead, and Lefty'd
hit the baritone and Mike the tenor. We didn't have no bass.
But most o' the time we let Mike do the singin' alone, 'cause
he had us outclassed, and the other boys kept tellin' us to
shut up and give 'em a treat. First it'd be ' Silver Threads'
and then 'Jerusalem' and then 'My Wild Irish Rose' and this
and that, whatever the boys ast him for. Jake Martin used to
say he couldn't help a short pair if Mike wasn't singin'.
"Finally Ryan pulled off the trade with Griffith, and
Graham come on our club. Then they wasn't no more solo work.
They made a bass out o' me, and Art sung the lead, and Mike
and Lefty took care o' the tenor and baritone. Art didn't
care what the other boys wanted to hear. They could holler
their heads off for Mike to sing a solo, but no sooner'd Mike
start singin' than Art'd chime in with him and pretty soon
we'd all four be goin' it. Art's a nut on singin', but he
don't care nothin' about list'nin', not even to a canary.
He'd rather harmonize than hit one past the outfielders with
"At first we done all our serenadin' on the train.
Art'd get us out o' bed early so's we could be through
breakfast and back in the ear in time to tear off a few
before we got to wherever we was goin'.
"It got so's Art wouldn't leave us alone in the
different towns 'we played at. We couldn't go to no show or
nothin'. We had to stick in the hotel and sing, up in our
room or Mike's. And then he went so nuts over it that he got
Mike to come and room in the same house with him at home, and
I and Lefty was supposed to help keep the neighbors awake
every night. O' course we had mornin' practice w'ile we was
home, and Art used to have us come to the park early and get
in a little harmony before we went on the field. But Ryan
finally nailed that. He says that when he ordered mornin'
practice he meant baseball and not no minstrel show.
"Then Lefty, who wasn't married, goes and gets
himself a girl. I met her a couple o' times, and she looked
all right. Lefty might of married her if Art'd of left him
alone. But nothin' doin'. We was home all through June onct,
and instead o' comin' round nights to sing with us, Lefty'd
take this here doll to one o' the parks or somewheres. Well,
sir, Art was pretty near wild. He scouted round till he'd
found out why Lefty'd quit us and then he tried pretty near
everybody else on the club to see if they wasn't some one who
could hit the baritone. They wasn't nobody. So the next time
we went on the road, Art give Lefty a earful about what a
sucker a man was to get married, and looks wasn't everything
and the girl was prob'ly after Lefty's money and he wasn't
hem' a good fella to break up the quartette and spoil our
good times, and so on, and kept pesterin' and teasin' Lefty
till he give the girl up. I'd of saw Art in the Texas League
before I'd of shook a girl to please him, but you know these
"Art had it all framed that we was goin' on the
stage, the four of us, and he seen a vaudeville man in New
York and got us booked for eight hundred a week--I don't know
if it was one week or two. But he sprung it on me in
September and says we could get solid bookin' from October to
March; so I ast him what he thought my Missus would say when
I told her I couldn't get enough o' hem' away from home from
March to October, so I was figurin' on travelin' the
vaudeville circuit the other four or five months and makin'
it unanimous? Art says I was tied to a woman's apron and all
that stuff, but I give him the cold stare and he had to pass
up that dandy little scheme.
"At that, I guess we could of got by on the stage all
right. Mike was better than this here Waldron and I hadn't
wore my voice out yet on the coachin' line, tellin' the boys
to touch all the bases.
"They was about five or six songs that we could kill.
'Adeline' was our star piece. Remember where it comes in,
'Your fair face beams'? Mike used to go away up on 'fair.'
Then they was 'The Old Millstream' and 'Put on Your Old Gray
Bonnet.' I done some fancy work in that one. Then they was
'Down in Jungle Town' that we had pretty good. And then they
was one that maybe you never heard. I don't know the name of
it. It run somethin' like this."
Bill sottoed his voice so that I alone could hear the
"'Years, years, I've waited years
Only to see you, just to call you 'dear.'
Come, come, I love but thee,
Come to your sweetheart's arms; come back to me.'
"That one had a lot o' wallops in it, and we didn't
overlook none o' them. The boys used to make us sing it six
or seven times a night. But 'Down in the Cornfield' was Art's
favor-ight. They was a part in that where I sung the lead
down low and the other three done a banjo stunt. Then they
was 'Castle on the Nile' and 'Come Back to Erin' and a whole
"Well, the four of us wasn't hardly ever separated
for three years. We was practisin' all the w'ile like as if
we was goin' to play the big time, and we never made a nickel
off'n it. The only audience we had was the ball players or
the people travelin' on the same trains or stoppin' at the
same hotels, and they got it all for nothin'. But we had a
good time, 'specially Art.
"You know what a pitcher Mike was. He could go in
there stone cold and stick ten out o' twelve over that old
plate with somethin' on 'em. And he was the willin'est guy in
the world. He pitched his own game every third or fourth day,
and between them games he was warmin' up all the time to go
in for somebody else. In 1911, when we was up in the race for
aw'ile, he pitched eight games out o' twenty, along in
September, and win seven o' them, and besides that, he
finished up five o' the twelve he didn't start. We didn't win
the pennant, and I've always figured that them three weeks
"Anyway, he wasn't worth nothin' to the club the next
year; but they carried him along, hopin' he'd come back and
show somethin'. But he was pretty near through, and he knowed
it. I knowed it, too, and so did everybody else on the club,
only Graham. Art never got wise till the trainin' trip two
years ago this last spring. Then he come to me one day.
"'Bill,' he says, 'I don't believe Mike's comin'
"'Well,' I says, 'you're gettin's so's they can't
nobody hide nothin' from you. Next thing you'll be findin'
out that Sam Crawford can hit.'
"'Never mind the comical stuff,' he says. 'They ain't
no joke about this!'
"'No,' I says, 'and I never said they was. They'll
look a long w'ile before they find another pitcher like
"'Pitcher my foot!' says Art. 'I don't care if they
have to pitch the bat boy. But when Mike goes, where'll our
"'Well,' I says, 'do you get paid every first and
fifteenth for singin' or for crownin' that old pill?'
"'If you couldn't talk about money, you'd be deaf and
dumb,' says Art.
"'But you ain't playin' ball because it's fun, are
"'No,' he says, 'they ain't no fun for me in playin'
ball. They's no fun doin' nothin' but harmonizin', and if
Mike goes, I won't even have that.'
"'I and you and Lefty can harmonize,' I says.
"'It'd be swell stuff harmonizin' without no tenor,'
says Art. 'It'd be like swingin' without no bat.'
"Well, he ast me did I think the club'd carry Mike
through another season, and I told him they'd already carried
him a year without him hem' no good to them, and I figured if
he didn't show somethin' his first time out, they'd ask for
waivers. Art kept broodin' and broodin' about it till they
wasn't hardly no livin' with him. If he ast me onet he ast me
a thousand tmmes if I didn't think they might maybe hold onto
Mike another season on account of all he'd did for 'em. I
kept tellin' him I didn't think so; but that didn't satisfy
him and he finally went to Ryan and ast him point blank.
"'Are you goin' to keep McCann? 'Art ast him.
"'If he's goin' to do us any good, I am,' says Ryan.
"If he ain't, he'll have to look for another job.'
"After that, all through the trainin' trip, he was
right on Mike's heels.
"'How does the old souper feel?' he'd ask him.
"'Great!' Mike'd say.
"Then Art'd watch him warm up, to see if he had
anything on the ball.
"'He's comin' fine,' he'd tell me. 'His curve broke
to-day just as good as I ever seen it.'
"But that didn't fool me, or it didn't fool Mike
neither. He could throw about four hooks and then he was
through. And he could of hit you in the head with his fast
one and you'd of thought you had a rash.
"One night, just before the season opened up, we was
singin' on the train, and when we got through, Mike says:
"'Well, boys, you better be lookin' for another
"'What are you talkin' about?' says Art.
"'I'm talkin' about myself,' says Mike. 'I'll be up
there in Minneapolis this summer, pitchin' onct a week and
swappin' stories about the Civil War with Joe Cantillon.'
"'You're crazy,' says Art. 'Your arm's as good as I
ever seen it.'
"'Then,' says Mike, 'you must of been playin'
blindfolded all these years. This is just between us, 'cause
Ryan'll find it out for himself; my arm's rotten, and I can't
do nothin' to help it.'
"Then Art got sore as a boil.
"'You're a yellow, quittin' dog,' he says. 'Just
because you conic round a little slow, you talk about
Minneapolis. Why don't you resign off'n. the club?'
"'I might just as well,' Mike says, and left us.
"You'd of thought that Art would of gave up then,
'cause when a ball player admits he's slippin', you can bet
your last nickel that he's through. Most o' them stalls along
and tries to kid themself and everybody else long after they
know they're gone. But Art kept talkin' like they was still
some hope o' Mike comin' round, and when Ryan told us one
night in St. Louis that he was goin' to give Mike his chanct,
the next day, Art was as nervous as a bride goin' to get
married. I wasn't nervous. I just felt sorry, 'cause I knowed
the old boy was hopeless.
"Ryan had told him he was goin' to work if the
weather suited him. Well, the day was perfect. So Mike went
out to the park along about noon and took Jake with him to
warm up. Jake told me afterwards that Mike was throwin', just
easy like, from half-past twelve till the rest of us got
there. He was tryin' to heat up the old souper and he
couldn't of ast for a better break in the weather, but they
wasn't enough sunshine in the world to make that old whip
"Well, sir, you'd of thought to see Art that Mike was
his son or his brother or somebody and just breakin' into the
league. Art wasn't in the outfield practisin' more than two
minutes. He come in and stood behind Mike w'ile he was
warmin' up and kept tellin' how good he looked, hut the only
guy he was kiddin' was himself.
"Then the game starts and our club goes in and gets
"'Pretty soft for you now, Mike,' says Art, on the
bench. 'They can't score three off'n you in three years.'
"Say, it's lucky he ever got the side out in the
first innin'. Everybody that come up hit one on the pick, but
our infield pulled two o' the greatest plays I ever seen and
they didn't score. In the second, we got three more, and I
thought maybe the old bird was goin' to be lucky enough to
"For four or five innin's, he got the grandest
support that was ever gave a pitcher; but I'll swear that
what he throwed up there didn't have no more on it than
September Morning. Every time Art come to the bench, he says
to Mike, 'Keep it up, old boy. You got more than you ever
"Well, in the seventh, Mike still had 'em shut out,
and we was six runs to the good. Then a couple o' the St.
Louis boys hit 'em where they couldn't nobody reach 'em and
they was two on and two out. Then somebody got a hold o' one
and sent it on a line to the left o' second base. I forgot
who it was now; but whoever it was, he was supposed to be a
right field hitter, and Art was layin' over the other way for
him. Art started with the crack o' the bat, and I never seen
a man make a better try for a ball. He had it judged perfect;
but Cobb or Speaker or none o' them couldn't of catched it.
Art just managed to touch it by stretchin' to the limit. It
went on to the fence and everybody come in. They didn't score
no more in that innin'.
"Then Art come in from the field and what do you
think he tried to pull?
"'I don't know what was the matter with me on that
fly ball,' he says. 'I ought to caught it in my pants pocket.
But I didn't get started till it was right on top o' me.'
"'You misjudged it, didn't you?' says Ryan.
"'I certainly did,' says Art without crackin'.
"'Well,' says Ryan, 'I wisht you'd misjudge all o'
them that way. I never seen a better play on a ball.'
"So then Art knowed they wasn't no more use trying to
alibi the old boy.
"Mike had a turn at bat and when he come back, Ryan
ast him how he felt.
"'I guess I can get six more o' them out,' he says.
"Well, they didn't score in the eighth, and when the
ninth come Ryan sent I and Lefty out to warm up. We throwed a
few w'ile our club was battin'; but when it come St. Louis'
last chanct, we was too much interested in the ball game to
know if we was throwin' or bakin' biscuits.
"The first guy hits a line drive, and somebody jumps
a mile in the air and stabs it. The next fella fouled out,
and they was only one more to get. And then what do you think
come off? Whoever it was hittin' lifted a fly ball to centre
field. Art didn't have to move out of his tracks. I've saw
him catch a hundred just like it behind his back. But you
know what he was thinkin'. He was sayin' to himself, 'If I
nail this one, we're li'ble to keep our tenor singer a w'ile
longer.' And he dropped it.
"Then they was five base hits that sounded like the
fourth o' July, and they come so fast that Ryan didn't have
time to send for I or Lefty. Anyway, I guess he thought he
might as well leave Mike in there and take it.
"They wasn't no singin' in the clubhouse after that
game. I and Lefty always let the others start it. Mike, o'
course, didn't feel like no jubilee, and Art was so busy
tryin' not to let nobody see him cry that he kept his head
clear down in his socks. Finally he beat it for town all
alone, and we didn't see nothin' of him till after supper.
Then he got us together and we all went up to Mike's room.
"'I want to try this here " Old Girl o'
Mine,"' he says.
"'Better sing our old stuff,' says Mike. 'This looks
like the last time.'
"Then Art choked up and it was ten minutes before he
could get goin'. We sung everything we knowed, and it was two
o'clock in the mornin' before Art had enough. Ryan come in
after midnight and set a w'ile listenin', but he didn't chase
us to bed. He knowed better'n any of us that it was a
farewell. When I and Art was startin' for our room, Art
turned to Mike and says:
"'Old boy, I'd of gave every nickel I ever owned to
of caught that fly ball.'
"'I know you would,' Mike says, 'and I know what made
you drop it. But don't worry about it, 'cause it was just a
question o' time, and if I'd of got away with that game,
they'd of murdered some o' the infielders next time I
"Mike was sent home the next day, and we didn't see
him again. He was shipped to Minneapolis before we got back.
And the rest o' the season I might as well of lived in a
cemetery w'ile we was on the road. Art was so bad that I
thought onct or twict I'd have to change roommies. Onct in a
w'ile he'd start hummin' and then he'd break off short and
growl at me. He tried out two or three o' the other boys on
the club to see if he couldn't find a new tenor singer, but
nothin' doin'. One night he made Lefty try the tenor. Well,
Lefty's voice is bad enough down low. When he gets up about
so high, you think you're in the stockyards.
"And Art had a rotten year in baseball, too. The old
boy's still pretty near as good on a fly ball as anybody in
the league; but you ought to saw him before his legs begin to
give out. He could cover as much ground as Speaker and he was
just as sure. But the year Mike left us, he missed pretty
near half as many as he got. He told me one night, he says:
"'Do you know, Bill, I stand out there and pray that
nobody'll hit one to me. Every time I see one comin' I think
o' that one I dropped for Mike in St. Louis, and then I'm
just as li'ble to have it come down on my bean as in my
"'You're crazy,' I says, 'to let a thing like that
make a bum out o' you.'
"But he kept on droppin' fly balls till Ryan was
talkin' about settin' him on the bench where it wouldn't hurt
nothin' if his nerve give out. But Ryan didn't have nobody
else to play out there, so Art held on.
"He come back the next spring---that's a year
ago--feelin' more cheerful and like himself than I'd saw him
for a long w'ile. And they was a kid named Burton tryin' out
for second base that could sing pretty near as good as Mike.
It didn't take Art more'n a day to find this out, and every
mornin' and night for a few days the four of us would be
together, hittin' her up. But the kid didn't have no more
idea o' how to play the bag than Charley Chaplin. Art seen in
a minute that he couldn't never beat Cragin out of his job,
so what does he do but take him out and try and learn him to
play the outfield. He wasn't no worse there than at second
base; he couldn't of been. But before he'd practised out
there three days they was bruises all over his head and
shoulders where fly balls had hit him. Well, the kid wasn't
with us long enough to see the first exhibition game, and
after he'd went, Art was Old Man Grump again.
"'What's the matter with you?' I says to him. 'You
was all smiles the day we reported and now you could easy
pass for a undertaker.'
"'Well,' he says, 'I had a great winter, singin' all
the w'ile. We got a good quartette down home and I never
enjoyed myself as much in my life. And I kind o' had a hunch
that I was goin' to be lucky and find somebody amongst the
bushers that could hit up the old tenor.'
"'Your hunch was right,' I says. 'That Burton kid was
as good a tenor as you'd want.'
"'Yes,' he says, 'and my hunch could of played ball
just as good as him.'
"Well, sir, if you didn't never room with a corpse,
you don't know what a whale of a time I had all last season.
About the middle of August he was at his worst.
"'Bill,' he says, 'I'm goin' to leave this old
baseball flat on its back if somethin' don't happen. I can't
stand these here lonesome nights. I ain't like the rest o'
the boys that can go and set all ev'nin' at a pitcher show or
hang round them Dutch gardens. I got to be singin' or I am
"'Go ahead and sing,' says I. 'I'll try and keep the
"'No,' he says, 'I don't want to sing alone. I want
to harmonize and we can't do that 'cause we ain't got no
"I don't know if you'll believe me or not, but sure
as we're settin' here he went to Ryan one day in Philly and
tried to get him to make a trade for Harper.
"'What do I want him for?' says Ryan.
"'I hear he ain't satisfied,' says Art.
"'I ain't runnin' no ball players' benefit
association,' says Ryan, and Art had to give it up. But he
didn't want Harper on the club for no other reason than
because he's a tenor singer!
"And then come that Dee-troit trip, and Art got
permission to go to Jackson. He says he intended to drop in
at the ball park, but his uncle wanted to borry some money
off'n him on a farm, so Art had to drive out and see the
farm. Then, that night, this here Waldron was up to call on
Art's cousin--a swell doll, Art tells me. And Waldron set
down to the py-ana and begin to sing and play. Then it was
all off; they wasn't no spoonin' in the parlor that night.
Art wouldn't leave the kid get off'n the py-ana stool long
enough to even find out if the girl was a blonde or a
"O' course Art knowed the boy was with the Jackson
club as soon as they was interduced, 'cause Art's uncle says
somethin' about the both o' them hem' ball players, and so
on. But Art swears he never thought o' recommendin' him till
the kid got up to go home. Then he ast him what position did
he play and found out all about him, only o' course Waldron
didn't tell him how good he was 'cause he didn't know
"So Art ast him would he like a trial in the big
show, and the kid says he would. Then Art says maybe the kid
would hear from him, and then Waldron left and Art went to
bed, and he says he stayed awake all night plannin' the thing
out and wonderin' would he have the nerve to pull it off. You
see he thought that if Ryan fell for it, Waldron'd join us as
soon as his season was over and then Ryan'd see he wasn't no
good; but he'd prob'ly keep him till we was through for the
year, and Art could alibi himself some way, say he'd got the
wrong name or somethin'. All he wanted, he says was to have
the kid along the last month or six weeks, so's we could
harmonize. A nut? I guess not.
"Well, as you know, Waldron got sick and didn't
report, and when Art seen him on the train this spring he
couldn't hardly believe his eyes. He thought surely the kid
would of been canned durin' the winter without no trial.
"Here's another hot one. When we went out the first
day for practice, Art takes the kid off in a corner and tries
to learn him enough baseball so's he won't show himself up
and get sent away somewheres before we had a little benefit
from his singin'. Can you imagine that? Tryin' to learn this
kid baseball, when he was born with a slidin' pad on.
"You know the rest of it. They wasn't never no
question about Waldron makin' good. It's just like everybody
says--he's the best natural ball player that's broke in since
Cobb. They ain't nothin' he can't do. But it is a funny thing
that Art's job should be the one he'd get . I spoke about
that to Art when he give me the story.
"'Well,' he says, 'I can't expect everything to break
right. I figure I'm lucky to of picked a guy that's good
enough to hang on. I'm in stronger with Ryan right now, and
with the old man, too, than when I was out there playin'
every day. Besides, the bench is a pretty good place to watch
the game from. And this club won't be shy a tenor singer for
"'No,' I says, 'but they'll be shy a lead and a
baritone and a bass before I and you and Lefty is much
"'What of it?' he says. 'We'll look up old Mike and
all go somewheres and live together.'"
We were nearing Worcester. Bill Cole and I arose from our
table and started back toward our car. In the first vestibule
we encountered Buck, the trainer.
"Mr. Graham's been lookin' all over for you, Mr.
Cole," he said.
"I've been rehearsin' my part," said Bill.
We found Art Graham, Lefty, and young Waldron in Art's
seat. The kid was talking.
"Lefty missed it again. If you fellas knew music, I
could teach it to you on the piano when we get to Boston.
Lefty, on the word 'love,' in the next to the last line,
you're on middle C. Then, on the word 'you,' you slide up
half a tone. That'd ought to be a snap, but you don't get it.
I'm on high A and come down to G and Bill's on low F and
comes up to A. Art just sings the regular two notes, F and B.
It's a change from the F chord to the A chord. It makes a
dandy wallop and it ought to be a ----"
"Here's Bill now," interrupted Lefty, as he
caught sight of Cole.
Art Graham treated his roommate to a cold stare.
"Where the h--l have you been?" he said angrily.
"Lookin' for the lost chord," said Bill.
"Set down here and learn this," growled Art.
"We won't never get it if we don't work."
"Yes, let's tackle her again," said Waldron.
"Bill comes up two full tones, from F to A. Lefty goes
up half a tone, Art sings just like always, and I come down a
tone. Now try her again."
Two years ago it was that Bill Cole told me that story.
Two weeks ago Art Graham boarded the evening train on one of
the many roads that lead to Minneapolis.
The day Art was let out, I cornered Ryan in the club-house
after the others had dressed and gone home.
"Did you ever know," I asked, "that Art
recommended Waldron without having seen him in a ball
"I told you long ago how Art picked Waldron," he
"Yes," said I, "but you didn't have the
right story." So I gave it to him.
"You newspaper fellas," he said when I had done,
"are the biggest suckers in the world. Now I've never
given you a bad steer in my life. But you don't believe what
I tell you and you go and fall for one of Bill Cole's hop
dreams. Don't you know that he was the biggest liar in
baseball? He'd tell you that Walter Johnson was Jack's father
if he thought he could get away with it. And that bunk he
gave you about Waldron. Does it sound reasonable?
"Just as reasonable," I replied, "as the
stuff about Art's grabbing him after seeing him pop
"I don't claim he did," said Ryan. "That's
what Art told me. One of those Jackson ball players could
give you the real truth, only of course he wouldn't, because
if Hodges ever found it out he'd shoot him full of holes. Art
Graham's no fool. He isn't touting ball players because they
can sing tenor or alto or anything else."
Nevertheless, I believe Bill Cole; else I wouldn't print
the story. And Ryan would believe, too, if he weren't in such
a mood these days that he disagrees with everybody. For in
spite of Waldron's wonderful work, and he is at his best
right now, the club hasn't done nearly as well as when Art
and Bill and Lefty were still with us.
There seems to be a lack of harmony.