Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/139

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109
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

4 by a nine their Rockford rivals had beaten the day before, was galling in the extreme.

Next day the Chicago Tribune charged the Nationals with throwing the game to Rockford "for betting purposes." Mr. A. P. Gorman and President Jones, of the Nationals, visited the Tribune office and compelled a retraction of the charges.

Thus ended the great Western tour of the Washington Nationals, the first tour of an Eastern Base Ball club to the West.

I recall an incident in connection with this game which may be of interest. I was the pitcher of the Forest City Club in this victory over the famous Nationals, and, as a lad of seventeen, experienced a severe case of stage fright when I found myself in the pitcher's box, facing such renowned players as George Wright, Norton, Berthrong, Fox, and others of the visiting team. It was the first big game before a large audience in which I had ever participated. The great reputations of the Eastern players and the extraordinary one-sided scores by which they had defeated clubs in Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, Indianapolis and St. Louis, caused me to shudder at the contemplation of punishment my pitching was about to receive. A great lump arose in my throat, and my heart beat so like a trip-hammer that I imagined it could be heard by everyone on the grounds.

I knew, also, that every player on the Rockford nine had an idea that their kid pitcher would surely become rattled and go to pieces as soon as the strong batters' of the Nationals had opportunity to fall upon big delivery.