“Here he comes!” “Hurrah for Matson!” “Great game, old man.” “You stood the Chicagos on their heads that time, Joe.” “That home run of yours was a dandy.” “What’s the matter with Matson?” “He’s all right!” A wild uproar greeted the appearance of Joe Matson, the famous pitcher of the New York Giants, as he emerged from the clubhouse at the Polo Grounds after the great game in which he had pitched the Giants to the head of the National League and put them in line for the World ...
“Here he comes!”
“Hurrah for Matson!”
“Great game, old man.”
“You stood the Chicagos on their heads that time, Joe.”
“That home run of yours was a dandy.”
“What’s the matter with Matson?”
“He’s all right!”
A wild uproar greeted the appearance of Joe Matson, the famous pitcher of the New York Giants, as he emerged from the clubhouse at the Polo Grounds after the great game in which he had pitched the Giants to the head of the National League and put them in line for the World Series with the champions of the American League.
It was no wonder that the crowd had gone crazy with excitement. All New York shared the same madness. The race for the pennant had been one of the closest ever known. In the last few weeks it had narrowed down to a fight between the Giants and the Chicagos, and the two teams had come down the stretch, nose to nose, fighting for every inch, each straining every nerve to win. It had been a slap-dash, ding-dong finish, and the Giants had won “by a hair.”
Joe Matson—affectionately known as “Baseball Joe”—had pitched the deciding game, and to him above all others had gone the honors of the victory. Not only had he twirled a superb game, but it had been his home run in the ninth inning after two men were out that had brought the pennant to New York.
And just at this moment his name was on more tongues than that of any other man in the United States. Telegraph wires had flashed the news of his triumph to every city and village in the country, and the cables and wireless had borne it to every American colony in the world.
Joe’s hand had been shaken and his back pounded by exulting enthusiasts until he was lame and sore all over. It was with a feeling of relief that he had gained the shelter of the clubhouse with its refreshing shower and rubdown. Even here his mates had pawed and mauled him in their delight at the glorious victory, until he had laughingly threatened to thrash a few of them. And now, as, after getting into his street clothes, he came out into the side street and viewed the crowd that waited for him, he saw that he was in for a new ordeal.
“Gee whiz!” he exclaimed to his friend and fellow player, Jim Barclay, who accompanied him. “Will they never let up on me?”
“It’s one of the penalties of fame, old man,” laughed Jim. “Don’t make out that you don’t like it, you old hypocrite.”
“Of course I like it,” admitted Joe with a grin. “All the same I don’t want to have this old wing of mine torn from its socket. I need it in my business.”
“You bet you do,” agreed Jim. “It’s going to come in mighty handy for the World Series. But we’ll be out of this in a minute.”
He held up his hand to signal a passing taxicab, and the cab edged its way to the curb.
The crowd swept in upon the players and they had all they could do to elbow their way through. They succeeded finally and slammed the door shut, while the chauffeur threw in the clutch and the taxicab darted off, pursued by the shouts and plaudits of the crowd.
Joe sank back on the cushions with a sigh of relief.
“The first free breath I’ve drawn since the game ended,” he remarked.
“It’s been a wonderful day for you, Joe,” said Jim, looking at his chum with ungrudging admiration. “That game will stand out in baseball history for years to come.”
“I’m mighty glad I won for my own sake,” answered Joe; “but I’m gladder still on account of the team. The boys backed me up in great shape—except in that fifth inning—and I’d have felt fearfully sore if I hadn’t been able to deliver the goods. But those Chicagos certainly made us fight to win.”
“They’re a great team,” admitted Jim; “and they put up a corking good game. But it was our day to win.”
“Did you see McRae and Robson after the game?” he went on, referring to the manager and the coach of the Giant team. “Whatever dignity they had, they lost it then. They fairly hugged each other and did the tango in front of the clubhouse.”
Joe grinned as the burly figures came before his mental vision.
“They’ve been under a fearful strain for the last few weeks,” he commented; “and I guess they had to let themselves go in some fashion or they’d have burst.”
“Do you realize what that home run of yours meant in money, to say nothing of the glory?” jubilated Jim.