Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/149

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119
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

this time it had devoted its energies almost entirely to practice games and matches with local and nearby nines. Now, however, it began to receive and issue challenges, with the result that in nearly every instance victory favored the Rockford players.

It was thus early in my Base Ball career that I came face to face for the first time with the business end of the game. It came about in this way: The Forest Citys, although a comparatively young organization, as we have seen, had already attracted considerable attention by reason of many victories; and commercial travelers from Chicago and other cities, who were fond of Base Ball, would so schedule their trips as to be at Rockford when we played. I was employed at the time at a very small salary in a Rockford grocery, whose proprietor affected to be quite proud of my efficiency as a pitcher—but who regularly "docked" me when absent from the store. Therefore, when I was approached one day by a Chicago man with an offer of $40 per week to take a position as bill clerk with a wholesale grocery house of that city, with the understanding that my store duties would be nominal, and a chance given to play ball frequently, without affecting my salary to reduce it, I found no difficulty so far as my Rockford job was concerned in making up my mind as to what I ought to do.

But there were other considerations that might not be so easily disposed of. I was a mere youth both in age and in experience. I dared not trust my own judgment as to what was best. My home was and had long been at Rockford, with my widowed mother. Ought I, just as I was