by Ring Lardner
No—I ain't signed for next year; but there won't be no trouble about
that. The dough part of it is all fixed up. John and me talked it
over and I'll sign as soon as they send me a contract.
All I told him was that he'd have to let me pick my own roommate
after this and not sic no wild man on to me. You know I didn't hit
much the last two months o' the season. Some o' the boys, I notice,
wrote some stuff about me gettin' old and losin' my battin' eye.
That's all bunk! The reason I didn't hit was because I wasn't gettin'
enough sleep. And the reason for that was Mr. Elliott.
He wasn't with us after the last part o' May, but I roomed with him
long enough to get the insomny. I was the only guy in the club game
enough to stand for him; but I was sorry afterward that I done it,
because it sure did put a crimp in my little old average. And do you
know where he is now? I got a letter today and I'll read it to you.
No—I guess I better tell you somethin' about him first. You fellers
never got acquainted with him and you ought to hear the dope to
understand the letter.
I'll make it as short as I can. He didn't play in no league last
year. He was with some semi-pros over in Michigan and somebody writes
John about him. So John sends Needham over to look at him. Tom stayed
there Saturday and Sunday, and seen him work twice. He was playin' the
outfield, but as luck would have it they wasn't a fly ball hit in his
direction in both games. A base hit was made out his way and he booted
it, and that's the only report Tom could get on his fieldin'. But he
wallops two over the wall in one day and they catch two line drives off
him. The next day he gets four blows and two o' them is triples. So
Tom comes back and tells John the guy is a whale of a hitter and fast
as Cobb, but he don't know nothin' about his fieldin'. Then John signs
him to a contract—twelve hundred or somethin' like that. We'd been in
Tampa a week before he showed up. Then he comes to the hotel and just
sits round all day, without tellin' nobody who he was. Finally the
bellhops was going to chase him out and he says he's one o' the
ballplayers. Then the clerk gets John to go over and talk to him.
He tells John his name and says he hasn't had nothin' to eat for
three days, because he was broke. John told me afterward that he'd
drew about three hundred advance—last winter sometime.
Well, they took him in the dinin' room and they tell me he inhaled
about four meals at once. That night they roomed him with Heine. Next
mornin' Heine and me walks out to the grounds together and Heine tells
me about him. He says: "Don't never call me a bug again. They got me
roomin' with the champion o' the world."
"Who is he?" I says. "I don't know and I don't want to know," says
Heine; "but if they stick him in there with me again I'll jump to the
Federals. To start with, he ain't got no baggage. I ast him where his
trunk was and he says he didn't have none. Then I ast him if he didn't
have no suitcase, and he says: 'No. What do you care?' I was goin' to
lend him some pajamas, but he put on the shirt o' the uniform John give
him last night and slept in that. He was asleep when I got up this
I seen his collar layin' on the dresser and it looked like he had
wore it in Pittsburgh every day for a year. So I throwed it out the
window and he comes down to breakfast with no collar. I ast him what
size collar he wore and he says he didn't want none, because he wasn't
goin' out nowheres.
After breakfast he beat it up to the room again and put on his
uniform. When I got up there he was lookin' in the glass at himself,
and he done it all the time I was dressin'."
When we got out to the park I got my first look at him. Pretty
good-lookin' guy, too, in his unie—big shoulders and well put
together; built somethin' like Heine himself. He was talkin' to John
when I come up. "What position do you play? John was askin' him. "I
play anywheres," says Elliott. "You're the kind I'm lookin' for," says
Then he says: You was an outfielder up there in Michigan, wasn't
you? "I don't care where I play, says Elliott.
John sends him to the outfield and forgets all about him for a
while. Pretty soon Miller comes in and says: "I ain't goin' to shag
for no bush outfielder!"
John ast him what was the matter, and Miller tells him that Elliott
ain't doin' nothin' but just standin' out there; that he ain't makin'
no attemp' to catch the fungoes, and that he won't even chase 'em.
Then John starts watchin' him, and it was just like Miller said.
Larry hit one pretty near in his lap and he stepped out o' the way.
John calls him in and ast him: "Why don't you go after them fly
"Because I don't want 'em," says Elliott. John gets sarcastic and
says: "What do you want? Of course we'll see that you get anythin' you
"Give me a ticket back home," says Elliott. "Don't you want to
stick with the club?" says John, and the busher tells him, no, he
certainly did not. Then John tells him he'll have to pay his own fare
home and Elliott don't get sore at all. He just says: "Well, I'll have
to stick, then—because I'm broke."
We was havin' battin' practice and John tells him to go up and hit
a few. And you ought to of seen him bust 'em! Lavender was in there
workin' and he'd been pitchin' a little all winter, so he was in pretty
good shape. He lobbed one up to Elliott, and he hit it 'way up in some
trees outside the fence—about a mile, I guess. Then John tells Jimmy
to put somethin' on the ball. Jim comes through with one of his fast
ones and the kid slams it agin the right-field wall on a line.
"Give him your spitter!" yells John, and Jim handed him one. He
pulled it over first base so fast that Bert, who was standin' down
there, couldn't hardly duck in time. If it'd hit him it'd killed him.
Well, he kep' on hittin' everythin' Jim give him—and Jim had
somethin' too. Finally John gets Pierce warmed up and sends him out to
pitch, tellin' him to hand Elliott a flock o' curve balls. He wanted
to see if lefthanders was goin' to bother him. But he slammed 'em
right along, and I don't b'lieve he hit more'n two the whole mornin'
that wouldn't of been base hits in a game.
They sent him out to the outfield again in the afternoon, and after
a lot o' coaxin' Leach got him to go after fly balls; but that's all he
did do—just go after 'em. One hit him on the bean and another on the
shoulder. He run back after the short ones and 'way in after the ones
that went over his head. He catched just one—a line drive that he
couldn't get out o' the way of; and then he acted like it hurt his
hands. I come back to the hotel with John. He ast me what I thought
of Elliott. "Well," I says, he'd be the greatest ballplayer in the
world if he could just play ball. He sure can bust 'em."
John says he was afraid he couldn't never make an outfielder out o'
him. He says: "I'll try him on the infield to-morrow. They must be
Some place he can play. I never seen a lefthand hitter that looked so
good agin lefthand pitchin'—and he's got a great arm; but he acts like
he'd never saw a fly ball."
Well, he was just as bad on the infield. They put him at short and
he was like a sieve. You could of drove a hearse between him and
second base without him gettin' near it. He'd stoop over for a ground
ball about the time it was bouncin' up agin the fence; and when he'd
try to cover the bag on a peg he'd trip over it. They tried him at
first base and sometimes he'd run 'way over in the coachers' box and
sometimes out in right field lookin' for the bag. Once Heine shot one
acrost at him on a line and he never touched it with his hands. It
went bam! right in the pit of his stomach—and the lunch he'd ate
didn't do him no good. Finally John just give up and says he'd have to
keep him on the bench and let him earn his pay by bustin' 'em a couple
o' times a week or so. We all agreed with John that this bird would be
a whale of a pinch hitter—and we was right too. He was hittin' 'way
over five hundred when the blowoff come, along about the last o' May.
Before the trainin' trip was over, Elliott had roomed with pretty
near everybody in the club.
Heine raised an awful holler after the second night down there and
John put the bug in with Needham. Tom stood him for three nights.
Then he doubled up with Archer, and Schulte, and Miller, and Leach,
and Saier—and the whole bunch in turn, averagin' about two nights with
each one before they put up a kick. Then John tried him with some o'
the youngsters, but they wouldn't stand for him no more'n the others.
They all said he was crazy and they was afraid he'd get violent some
night and stick a knife in 'em. He always insisted on havin' the water
run in the bathtub all night, because he said it reminded him of the
sound of the dam near his home. The fellers might get up four or five
times a night and shut off the faucet, but he'd get right up after 'em
and turn it on again. Carter, a big bush pitcher from Georgia, started
a fight with him about it one night, and Elliott pretty near killed
him. So the rest o' the bunch, when they'd saw Carter's map next
mornin', didn't have the nerve to do nothin' when it come their turn.
Another o' his habits was the thing that scared 'em, though. He'd
brought a razor with him—in his pocket, I guess—and he used to do his
shavin' in the middle o' the night. Instead o' doin' it in the
bathroom he'd lather his face and then come out and stand in front o'
the lookin'-glass on the dresser. Of course he'd have all the lights
turned on, and that was bad enough when a feller wanted to sleep; but
the worst of it was that he'd stop shavin' every little while and turn
round and stare at the guy who was makin' a failure o' tryin' to sleep.
Then he'd wave his razor round in the air and laugh, and begin shavin'
agin. You can imagine how comf'table his roomies felt! John had
bought him a suitcase and some clothes and things, and charged 'em up
to him. He'd drew so much dough in advance that he didn't have nothin'
comin' till about June. He never thanked John and he'd wear one shirt
and one collar till some one throwed 'em away. Well, we finally gets
to Indianapolis, and we was goin' from there to Cincy to open. The
last day in Indianapolis John come and ast me how I'd like to change
roomies. I says I was perfectly satisfied with Larry. Then John says:
"I wisht you'd try Elliott. The other boys all kicks on him, but he
seems to hang round you a lot and I b'lieve you could get along all
"Why don't you room him alone?" I ast. "The boss or the hotels
won't stand far us roomin' alone," says John. "You go ahead and try
it, and see how you make out. If he's too much for you let me know;
but he likes you and I think he'll be diff'rent with a guy who can talk
to him like you can."
So I says I'd tackle it, because I didn't want to throw John down.
When we got to Cincy they stuck Elliott and me in one room, and we was
together till he quit us.
I went to the room early that night, because we was goin' to open
next day and I wanted to feel like somethin'. First thing I done when
I got undressed was turn on both faucets in the bathtub.
They was makin' an awful racket when Elliott finally come in about
midnight. I was layin' awake and I opened right up on him. I says:
"Don't shut off that water, because I like to hear it run."
Then I turned over and pretended to be asleep.
The bug got his clothes off, and then what did he do but go in the
bathroom and shut off the water! Then he come back in the room and
says: I guess no one's goin' to tell me what to do in here."
But I kep' right on pretendin' to sleep and didn't pay no
attention. When he'd got into his bed I jumped out o' mine and turned
on all the lights and begun stroppin' my razor. He says: "What's
"Some o' my whiskers," I says. "I always shave along about this
"No, you don't!" he says. "I was in your room one mornin' down in
Louisville and I seen you shavin' then."
"Well," I says, the boys tell me you shave in the middle o' the
night; and I thought if I done all the things you do mebbe I'd get so's
I could hit like you.
"You must be superstitious!" he says. And I told him I was. "I'm
a good hitter," he says, "and I'd be a good hitter if I never shaved at
all. That don't make no diff'rence."
"Yes, it does," I says. "You prob'ly hit good because you shave at
night; but you'd be a better fielder if you shaved in the mornin'."
You see, I was tryin' to be just as crazy as him—though that
wasn't hardly possible. "If that's right," says he, "I'll do my
shavin' in the mornin'—because I seen in the papers where the boys
says that if I could play the outfield like I can hit I'd be as good as
Cobb. They tell me Cobb gets twenty thousand a year."
"No," I says; "he don't get that much—but he gets about ten times
as much as you do."
"Well," he says, I'm goin' to be as good as him, because I need the
"What do you want with money? I says. He just laughed and didn't
say nothin'; but from that time on the water didn't run in the bathtub
nights and he done his shavin' after breakfast. I didn't notice,
though, that he looked any better in fieldin' practice.
It rained one day in Cincy and they trimmed us two out o' the other
three; but it wasn't Elliott's fault. They had Larry beat four to one
in the ninth innin' o' the first game. Archer gets on with two out,
and John sends my roomy up to hit—though Benton, a lefthander, is
workin' for them. The first thing Benton serves up there Elliott
cracks it a mile over Hobby's head. It would of been good for three
easy—only Archer—playin' safe, o' course—pulls up at third base.
Tommy couldn't do nothin' and we was licked. The next day he hits one
out o' the park off the Indian; but we was 'way behind and they was
nobody on at the time. We copped the last one without usin' no pinch
hitters. I didn't have no trouble with him nights durin' the whole
series. He come to bed pretty late while we was there and I told him
he'd better not let John catch him at it. "What would he do?" he says.
"Fine you fifty, I says. "He can't fine me a dime," he says, because
I ain't got it."
Then I told him he'd be fined all he had comin' if he didn't get in
the hotel before midnight; but he just laughed and says he didn't think
John had a kick comin' so long as he kep' bustin' the ball.
"Some day you'll go up there and you won't bust it," I says.
"That'll be an accident," he says. That stopped me and I didn't say
nothin'. What could you say to a guy who hated himself like that? The
"accident" happened in St. Louis the first day. We needed two runs in
the eighth and Saier and Brid was on, with two out. John tells Elliott
to go up in Pierce's place. The bug goes up and Griner gives him two
bad balls—'way outside. I thought they was goin' to walk him—and it
looked like good judgment, because they'd heard what he done in Cincy.
But no! Griner comes back with a fast one right over and Elliott pulls
it down the right foul line, about two foot foul. He hit it so hard
you'd of thought they'd sure walk him then; but Griner gives him
another fast one. He slammed it again just as hard, but foul. Then
Griner gives him one 'way outside and it's two and three. John says,
on the bench: "If they don't walk him now he'll bust that fence down."
I thought the same and I was sure Griner wouldn't give him nothin'
to hit; but he come with a curve and Rigler calls Elliott out. From
where we sat the last one looked low, and I thought Elliott'd make a
kick. He come back to the bench smilin'. John starts for his
position, but stopped and ast the bug what was the matter with that
Any busher I ever knowed would of said, "It was too low," or "It
was outside," or "It was inside." Elliott says: "Nothin' at all. It
was right over the middle."
"Why didn't you bust it, then?" says John.
"I was afraid I'd kill somebody, says Elliott, and laughed like a
big boob. John was pretty near chokin'. "What are you laughin' at?"
he says. "I was thinkin' of a nickel show I seen in Cincinnati," says
the bug. "Well," says John, so mad he couldn't hardly see, "that show
and that laugh'll cost you fifty.
We got beat, and I wouldn't of blamed John if he'd fined him his
whole season's pay. Up 'n the room that night I told him he'd better
cut out that laughin' stuff when we was gettin' trimmed or he never
would have no pay day.
Then he got confidential. "Pay day wouldn't do me no good," he
"When I'm all squared up with the club and begin to have a pay day
I'll only get a hundred bucks at a time, and I'll owe that to some o'
I wisht we could win the pennant and get in on that World's Series
dough. Then I'd get a bunch at once."
"What would you do with a bunch o' dough?" I ast him. "Don't tell
nobody, sport," he says; "but if I ever get five hundred at once I'm
goin' to get married."
"Oh!" I says. "And who's the lucky girl?"
"She's a girl up in Muskegon," says Elliott; "and you're right when
you call her lucky.
"You don't like yourself much, do you? I says. "I got reason to
like myself," says he. "You'd like yourself, too, if you could hit 'em
"Well," I says. "you didn't show me no hittin' to-day.
"I couldn't hit because I was laughin' too hard," says Elliott.
"What was it you was laughin' at?" I says.
"I was laughin' at that pitcher," he says. "He thought he had
somethin' and he didn't have nothin'."
"He had enough to whiff you with," I says.
"He didn't have nothin'!" says he again. "I was afraid if I busted
one off him they'd can him, and then I couldn't never hit agin him no
Naturally I didn't have no comeback to that. I just sort o' gasped
and got ready to go to sleep; but he wasn't through. "I wisht you
could see this bird!" he says.
"What bird?" I says. "This dame that's nuts about me," he says.
"Good-looker?" I ast. "No," he says; "she ain't no bear for looks.
They ain't nothin' about her for a guy to rave over till you hear
her sing. She sure can holler some."
"What kind o' voice has she got?" I ast.
"A bear," says he."
"No," I says; "I mean is she a barytone or an air?"
"I don't know," he says; "but she's got the loudest voice I ever
hear on a woman. She's pretty near got me beat."
"Can you sing?" I says; and I was sorry right afterward that I ast
him that question. I guess it must of been bad enough to have the
water runnin' night after night and to have him wavin' that razor
round; but that couldn't of been nothin' to his singin'. Just as soon
as I'd pulled that boner he says, Listen to me!" and starts in on
'Silver Threads Among the Gold.' Mind you, it was after midnight and
they was guests all round us tryin' to sleep! They used to be noise
enough in our club when we had Hofman and Sheckard and Richie
harmonizin'; but this bug's voice was louder'n all o' theirn combined.
We once had a pitcher named Martin Walsh—brother o' Big Ed's—and I
thought he could drownd out the Subway; but this guy made a boiler
factory sound like Dummy Taylor. If the whole hotel wasn't awake when
he'd howled the first line it's a pipe they was when he cut loose,
which he done when he come to "Always young and fair to me." Them words
could of been heard easy in East St. Louis. He didn't get no encore
from me, but he goes right through it again—or starts to. I knowed
somethin' was goin' to happen before he finished—and somethin' did.
The night clerk and the house detective come bangin' at the door. I
let 'em in and they had plenty to say. If we made another sound the
whole club'd be canned out o' the hotel. I tried to salve 'em, and I
says: "He won't sing no more."
But Elliott swelled up like a poisoned pup.
"Won't I?" he says. "I'll sing all I want to."
"You won't sing in here," says the clerk. "They ain't room for my
voice in here anyways, he says. "I'll go outdoors and sing."
And he puts his clothes on and ducks out. I didn't make no attemp'
to stop him. I heard him bellowin' 'Silver Threads' down the corridor
and dawn the stairs, with the clerk and the dick chasin' him all the
way and tellin' him to shut up.
Well, the guests make a holler the next mornin'; and the hotel
people tells Charlie Williams that he'll either have to let Elliott
stay somewheres else or the whole club'll have to move. Charlie tells
John, and John was thinkin' o' settlin' the question by releasin'
I guess he'd about made up his mind to do it; but that afternoon
they had us three to one in the ninth, and we got the bases full, with
two down and Larry's turn to hit. Elliott had been sittin' on the
bench sayin' nothin'. "Do you think you can hit one today? says John.
"I can hit one any day, says Elliott.
"Go up and hit that lefthander, then," says John, "and remember
there's nothin' to laugh at."
Sallee was workin'—and workin' good; but that didn't bother the
bug. He cut into one, and it went between Oakes and Whitted like a
shot. He come into third standin' up and we was a run to the good.
Sallee was so sore he kind o' forgot himself and took pretty near his
full wind-up pitchin' to Tommy. And what did Elliott do but steal home
and get away with it clean! Well, you couldn't can him after that,
could you? Charlie gets him a room somewheres and I was relieved of
his company that night. The next evenin' we beat it for Chi to play
about two weeks at home. He didn't tell nobody where he roomed there
and I didn't see nothin' of him, 'cep' out to the park. I ast him what
he did with himself nights and he says: "Same as I do on the
road—borrow some dough same place and go to the nickel shows."
"You must be stuck on 'em," I says. "Yes. he says; "I like the
ones where they kill people—because I want to learn how to do it.
I may have that job some day.
"Don't pick on me," I says. "Oh," says the bug, "you never can
tell who I'll pick on."
It seemed as if he just couldn't learn nothin' about fieldin', and
finally John told him to keep out o' the practice. "A ball might hit
him in the temple and croak him," says John. But he busted up a couple
o' games for us at home, beatin' Pittsburgh once and Cincy once.
They give me a great big room at the hotel in Pittsburgh; so the
fellers picked it out for the poker game. We was playin' along about
ten o'clock one night when in come Elliott—the earliest he'd showed up
since we'd been roomin' together. They was only five of us playin' and
Tom ast him to sit in. "I'm busted," he says. "Can you play poker?" I
ast him. "They's nothin' I can't do!" he says. "Slip me a couple o'
bucks and I'll show you.
So I slipped him a couple o' bucks and honestly hoped he'd win,
because I knowed he never had no dough. Well, Tom dealt him a hand and
he picks it up and says: "I only got five cards."
"How many do you want?" I says. "Oh," he says, if that's all I get
I'll try to make 'em do."
The pot was cracked and raised, and he stood the raise. I says to
myself: "There goes my two bucks!" But no—he comes out with three
queens and won the dough. It was only about seven bucks; but you'd of
thought it was a million to see him grab it. He laughed like a kid.
"Guess I can't play this game!" he says; and he had me fooled for a
minute—I thought he must of been kiddin' when he complained of only
havin' five cards. He copped another pot right afterward and was
sittin' there with about eleven bucks in front of him when Jim opens a
roodle pot for a buck. I stays and so does Elliott. Him and Jim both
drawed one card and I took three. I had kings or queens—I forget
which. I didn't help 'em none; so when Jim bets a buck I throws my
How much can I bet?" says the bug. "You can raise Jim a buck if
you want to," I says. So he bets two dollars. Jim comes back at him.
He comes right back at Jim. Jim raises him again and he tilts Jim
right back. Well, when he'd boosted Jim with the last buck he had, Jim
says: "I'm ready to call. I guess you got me beat.
What have you got?"
"I know what I've got, all right," says Elliott. "I've got a
straight." And he throws his hand down. Sure enough, it was a
straight, eight high. Jim pretty near fainted and so did I.
The bug had started pullin' in the dough when Jim stops him.
"Here! Wait a minute!" says Jim. "I thought you had somethin'. I
filled up." Then Jim lays down his nine full. "You beat me, I guess,"
says Elliott, and he looked like he'd lost his last friend. "Beat you?
says Jim. "Of course I beat you! What did you think I had?"
"Well," says the bug, "I thought you might have a small flush or
When I regained consciousness he was beggin' for two more bucks.
"What for?" I says. "To play poker with? You're barred from the game
"Well," he says, if I can't play no more I want to go to sleep, and
you fellers will have to get out o' this room."
Did you ever hear o' nerve like that? This was the first night
he'd came in before twelve and he orders the bunch out so's he can
sleep! We politely suggested to him to go to Brooklyn. Without sayin'
a word he starts in on his 'Silver Threads' and it wasn't two minutes
till the game was busted up and the bunch—all but me—was out o'
there. I'd of beat it too, only be stopped yellin' as soon as they'd
went. "You're same buster!" I says. "You bust up ball games in the
afternoon and poker games at night."
"Yes, he says; "that's my business—bustin' things." And before I
knowed what he was about he picked up the pitcher of ice-water that was
on the floor and throwed it out the window—through the glass and all.
Right then I give him a plain talkin' to. I tells him how near he
come to gettin' canned down in St. Louis because he raised so much
Cain singin' in the hotel. "But I had to keep my voice in shape," he
"If I ever get dough enough to get married the girl and me'll go
out singin' together."
"Out where?" I ast. "Out on the vaudeville circuit," says Elliott.
"Well," I says, if her voice is like yours you'll be wastin' money
if you travel round. Just stay up in Muskegon and we'll hear you, all
I told him he wouldn't never get no dough if he didn't behave
himself. That, even if we got in the World's Series, he wouldn't be
with us—unless he cut out the foolishness. "We ain't goin' to get in
no World's Series,"
he says, and I won't never get a bunch o' money at once; so it
looks like I couldn't get married this fall."
Then I told him we played a city series every fall. He'd never
thought o' that and it tickled him to death. I told him the losers
always got about five hundred apiece and that we were about due to win
it and get about eight hundred.
"But," I says, we still got a good chance for the old pennant; and
if I was you I wouldn't give up hope o' that yet—not where John can
hear you, anyway.
"No," he says, we won't win no pennant, because he won't let mime
play reg'lar; but I don't care so long as we're sure o' that
"You ain't sure of it if you don't behave," I says. "Well," says
he, very serious, "I guess I'll behave." And he did—till we made our
first Eastern trip.
I went to Boston first, and that crazy bunch goes out and piles up
a three-run lead on us in seven innin's the first day. It was the
pitcher's turn to lead off in the eighth, so up goes Elliott to bat for
him. He kisses the first thing they hands him for three bases; and we
says, on the bench: "Now we'll get 'em!"—because, you know, a
three-run lead wasn't nothin' in Boston. "Stay right on that bag!"
John hollers to Elliott.
Mebbe if John hadn't said nothin' to him everythin' would of been
all right; but when Perdue starts to pitch the first ball to Tommy,
Elliott starts to steal home. He's out as far as from here to Seattle.
If I'd been carryin' a gun I'd of shot him right through the heart.
As it was, I thought John'd kill him with a bat, because he was
standin' there with a couple of 'em, waitin' for his turn; but I guess
John was too stunned to move. He didn't even seem to see Elliott when
he went to the bench. After I'd cooled off a little I says: "Beat it
and get into your clothes before John comes in. Then go to the hotel
and keep out o' sight."
When I got up in the room afterward, there was Elliott, lookin' as
innocent and happy as though he'd won fifty bucks with a pair o' treys.
"I thought you might of killed yourself," I says.
"What for?" he says. "For that swell play you made," says I.
"What was the matter within the play? ast Elliott, surprised. "It
was all right when I done it in St. Louis."
"Yes, I says; "but they was two out in St.
Louis and we wasn't no three runs behind."
"Well," he says, if it was all right in St.
Louis I don't see why it was wrong here."
"It's a diff'rent climate here," I says, too disgusted to argue
with him. "I wonder if they'd let me sing in this climate?" says
Elliott. "Na," I says. "Don't sing in this hotel, because we don't
want to get fired out o' here—the eats is too good."
"All right," he says. "I won't sing." But when I starts down to
supper he says: I'm li'ble to do somethin' worse'n sing."
He didn't show up in the dinin' roam and John went to the boxin'
show after supper; so it looked like him and Elliott wouldn't run into
each other till the murder had left John's heart. I was glad o'
that—because a Mass'chusetts jury might not consider it justifiable
hommercide if one guy croaked another for givin' the Boston club a
I went down to the corner and had a couple o' beers; and then came
straight back, intendin' to hit the hay. The elevator boy had went for
a drink or somethin', and they was two old ladies already waitin' in
the car when I stepped in.
Right along after me comes Elliott. "Where's the boy that's
supposed to run this car?" he says. I told him the boy'd be right
back; but he says: I can't wait. I'm much too sleepy.
And before I could stop him he'd slammed the door and him and I and
the poor old ladies was shootin' up. "Let us off at the third floor,
please!" says one o' the ladies, her voice kind o' shakin'.
"Sorry, madam," says the bug; "but this is a express and we don't
stop at no third floor."
I grabbed his arm and tried to get him away from the machinery; but
he was as strong as a ox and he throwed me agin the side o' the car
like I was a baby. We went to the top faster'n I ever rode in an
elevator before. And then we shot dawn to the bottom, hittin' the
bumper down there so hard I thought we'd be smashed to splinters. The
ladies was too scared to make a sound durin' the first trip; but while
we was goin' up and down the second time—even faster'n the first—they
begun to scream. I was hollerin' my head off at him to quit and he was
makin' more noise than the three of us—pretendin' he was the
locomotive and the whole crew o' the train. Don't never ask me how
many times we went up and dawn! The women fainted on the third trip
and I guess I was about as near it as I'll ever get.
The elevator boy and the bellhops and the waiters and the night
clerk and everybody was jumpin' round the lobby screamin'; but no one
seemed to know how to stop us. Finally—on about the tenth trip, I
guess—he slowed down and stopped at the fifth floor, where we was
roomin'. He opened the door and beat it for the room, while I, though
I was tremblin' like a leaf, run the car down to the bottom. The night
clerk knowed me pretty well and knowed I wouldn't do nothin' like that;
so him and I didn't argue, but just got to work together to bring the
old women to. While we was doin' that Elliott must of run down the
stairs and slipped out o' the hotel, because when they sent the
officers up to the room after him he'd blowed.
They was goin' to fire the club out; but Charlie had a good
stand-in with Amos, the proprietor, and he fixed it up to let us
stay—providin' Elliott kep' away. The bug didn't show up at the ball
park next day and we didn't see no more of him till we got on the
rattler far New York. Charlie and John both bawled him, but they give
him a berth—an upper—and we pulled into the Grand Central Station
without him havin' made no effort to wreck the train.
I'd studied the thing pretty careful, but hadn't come to no
conclusion. I was sure he wasn't no stew, because none o' the boys had
ever saw him even take a glass o' beer, and I couldn't never detect the
odor o' booze on him. And if he'd been a dope I'd of knew about
it—roomin' with him. There wouldn't of been no mystery about it if
he'd been a lefthand pitcher—but he wasn't. He wasn't nothin' but a
whale of a hitter and he throwed with his right arm. He hit
lefthanded, o' course; but so did Saier and Brid and Schulte and me,
and John himself; and none of us was violent.
I guessed he must of been just a plain nut and li'ble to break out
any time. They was a letter waitin' for him at New York, and I took
it, intendin' to give it to him at the park, because I didn't think
they'd let him room at the hotel; but after breakfast he come up to the
room, with his suitcase. It seems he'd promised John and Charlie to be
good, and made it so strong they b'lieved him. I give him his letter,
which was addressed in a girl's writin' and came from Muskegon. "From
the girl?" I says. "Yes, he says; and, without openin' it, he tore it
up and throwed it out the window. "Had a quarrel?" I ast. "No, no,"
he says; "but she can't tell me nothin' I don't know already. Girls
always writes the same junk. I got one from her in Pittsburgh, but I
didn't read it."
"I guess you ain't so stuck on her," I says.
He swells up and says: "Of course I'm stuck on her! If I wasn't,
do you think I'd be goin' round with this bunch and gettin' insulted
all the time? I'm stickin' here because o' that series dough, so's I
can get hooked."
"Do you think you'd settle down if you was married?" I ast him.
"Settle down?" he says. "Sure, I'd settle down. I'd be so happy that
I wouldn't have to look for no excitement."
Nothin' special happened that might 'cep' that he come in the room
about one o'clock and wake me up by pickin' up the foot o' the bed and
droppin' it on the floor, sudden-like. "Give me a key to the room," he
says. "You must of had a key, I says, or you couldn't of got in."
"That's right!" he says, and beat it to bed.
One o' the reporters must of told Elliott that John had ast for
waivers on him and New York had refused to waive, because next mornin'
he come to me with that dope. "New York's goin' to win this pennant!"
he says. "Well," I says, they will if some one else don't. But what
"I'm goin' to play with New York," he says, "so's I can get the
World's Series dough."
"How you goin' to get away from this club?" I ast. "Just watch
me!" he says. "I'll be with New York before this series is over."
Well, the way he goes after the job was original, anyway. Rube'd
had one of his good days the day before and we'd got a trimmin'; but
this second day the score was tied up at two runs apiece in the tenth,
and Big Jeff'd been wobblin' for two or three innin's. Well, he walks
Saier and me, with one out, and Mac sends for Matty, who was warmed up
John sticks Elliott in in Brid's place and the bug pulls one into
the right-field stand. It's a cinch McGraw thinks well of him then,
and might of went after him if he hadn't went crazy the next afternoon.
We're tied up in the ninth and Matty's workin'. John sends Elliott up
with the bases choked; but he doesn't go right up to the plate. He
walks over to their bench and calls McGraw out. Mac tells us about it
afterward. "I can bust up this game right here!" says Elliott. "Go
ahead," says Mac; "but be careful he don't whiff you.
Then the bug pulls it. "If I whiff," he says, will you get me on
"Sure!" says Mac, just as anybody would. By this time Bill Koem
was hollerin' about the delay; so up goes Elliott and gives the worst
burlesque on tryin' to hit that you ever see.
Matty throws one a mile outside and high, and the bug swings like
it was right over the heart.
Then Matty throws one at him and he ducks out o' the way—but
swings just the same. Matty must of been wise by this time, for he
pitches one so far outside that the Chief almost has to go to the
coachers' box after it.
Elliott takes his third healthy and runs through the field down to
the clubhouse. We got beat in the eleventh; and when we went in to
dress he has his street clothes on. Soon as he seen John comin' he
says: I got to see McGraw!" And he beat it. John was goin' to the
fights that night; but before he leaves the hotel he had waivers on
Elliott from everybody and had sold him to Atlanta. "And," says John,
"I don't care if they pay for him or not." My roomy blows in about nine
and got the letter from John out of his box. He was goin' to tear it
up. but I told him they was news in it. He opens it and reads where
he's sold. I was still sore at him; so I says: "Thought you was goin'
to get on the New York club?"
"No," he says. "I got turned down cold.
McGraw says he wouldn't have me in his club. He says he'd had
Charlie Faust—and that was enough for him."
He had a kind o' crazy look in his eyes; so when he starts up to
the room I follows him. "What are you goin' to do now?" I says. "I'm
goin' to sell this ticket to Atlanta," he says, and go back to
Muskegon, where I belong."
"I'll help you pack," I says. "No," says the bug. "I come into
this league with this suit o' clothes and a collar. They can have the
rest of it." Then he sits dawn on the bed and begins to cry like a
baby. No series dough for me," he blubbers, "and no weddin' bells! My
girl'll die when she hears about it!"
Of course that made me feel kind o' rotten, and I says: "Brace up,
boy! The best thing you can do is go to Atlanta and try hard. You'll
be up here again next year."
"You can't tell me where to go!" he says, and he wasn't cryin' no
more. "I'll go where I please—and I'm li'ble to take you with me."
I didn't want no argument, so I kep' still.
Pretty soon he goes up to the lookin'-glass and stares at himself
for five minutes. Then, all of a sudden, he hauls off and takes a
wallop at his reflection in the glass. Naturally he smashed the glass
all to pieces and he cut his hand somethin' awful. Without lookin' at
it he come over to me and says: Well, good-by, sport!"—and holds out
his other hand to shake. When I starts to shake with him he smears his
bloody hand all over my map.
Then he laughed like a wild man and run out o' the room and out o'
Well, boys, my sleep was broke up for the rest o' the season. It
might of been because I was used to sleepin' in all kinds o' racket and
excitement, and couldn't stand for the quiet after he'd went—or it
might of been because I kep' thinkin' about him and feelin' sorry for
I of'en wondered if he'd settle down and be somethin' if he could
get married; and finally I got to b'lievin' he would. So when we was
dividin' the city series dough I was thinkin' of him and the girl. Our
share o' the money—the losers', as usual—was twelve thousand seven
hundred sixty bucks or somethin' like that. They was twenty-one of us
and that meant six hundred seven bucks apiece. We was just goin' to
cut it up that way when I says: "Why not give a divvy to poor old
About fifteen of 'em at once told me that I was crazy. You see,
when he got canned he owed everybody in the club. I guess he'd stuck
me for the most—about seventy bucks—but I didn't care nothin' about
that. I knowed he hadn't never reported to Atlanta, and I thought he
was prob'ly busted and a bunch o' money might make things all right for
him and the other songbird.
I made quite a speech to the fellers, tellin' 'em how he'd cried
when he left us and how his heart'd been set on gettin' married on the
series dough. I made it so strong that they finally fell for it. Our
shares was cut to five hundred eighty apiece, and John sent him a check
for a full share. For a while I was kind o' worried about what I'd
did. I didn't know if I was doin' right by the girl to give him the
chance to marry her. He'd told me she was stuck on him, and that's the
only excuse I had for tryin' to fix it up between 'em; but, b'lieve me,
if she was my sister or a friend o' mine I'd just as soon of had her
manage the Cincinnati Club as marry that bird. I thought to myself:
"If she's all right she'll take acid in a month—and it'll be my fault;
but if she's really stuck on him they must be somethin' wrong with her
too, so what's the diff'rence?"
Then along comes this letter that I told you about. It's from some
friend of hisn up there—and they's a note from him. I'll read 'em to
you and then I got to beat it for the station: Dear Sir: They have got
poor Elliott locked up and they are goin' to take him to the asylum at
Kalamazoo. He thanks you for the cheek, and we will use the money to
see that he is made comf'table. When the poor boy came back here he
found that his girl was married to Joe Bishop, who runs a soda
fountain. She had wrote to him about it, but he did not read her
letters. The news drove him crazy—poor boy—and he went to the place
where they was livin' with a baseball bat and very near killed 'em
both. Then he marched down the street singin' 'Silver Threads Among
the Gold' at the top of his voice. They was goin' to send him to
prison for assault with intent to kill, but the jury decided he was
crazy. He wants to thank you again for the money.
Yours truly, Jim— I can't make out his last name—but it don't
make no diff'rence. Now I'll read you his note: Old Roomy: I was at bat
twice and made two hits; but I guess I did not meet 'em square. They
tell me they are both alive yet which I did not mean 'em to be. I hope
they got good curve-ball pitchers where I am goin'. I sure can bust
them curves—can't I, sport? Yours, B. Elliott. P.S.—The B stands for
That's all of it, fellers; and you can see I had same excuse for
not hittin'. You can also see why I ain't never goin' to room with no
bug again—not for John or nobody else!