Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/395

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363
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

"The President was disappointed in Washington's failure to win, but he said he enjoyed the game and hoped to get to the park frequently.

"The President was the center of interest up to the sixth inning, when Washington got the bases full, with no one out. Then the ruling passion put the chief executive temporarily in eclipse and the faithful rooters nearly yelled their heads off for Delehanty to 'Hit 'er out!' and for Charley Street to 'Biff it in the eye!' Two runs resulted from the combination of bats and cheers.

"Mr. Taft was as interested as all the rest. He knows Base Ball thoroughly and is up on all the finer points of the game. The day was ideal for the national game."

As long ago as when the late Hon. Paul Morton was Secretary of the Navy, in 1905, for the purpose of obtaining correct information and data as to the status of Base Ball in that branch of the public service, I wrote a personal letter to that official, and received the following interesting reply, which is here published for the first time:

"NAVY DEPARTMENT.

"Washington, March 9, 1905.

"Mr. A. G. Spalding,
"Point Loma, Cal.

"Dear Sir:—I am in receipt of your letter of the 2d instant in reference to Base Ball in the Navy. The enlisted men of the Navy have been playing Base Ball as far back as the memory of anybody in the Department goes and it is the chief amusement of the men on whatever station they may be. For years the game was carried on by subscription on the part of the officers and men, but in 1903 my predecessor, Secretary Moody, issued an order, a copy of which is enclosed, which provided the necessary material for the sport at the expense of the Government. With the facilities thus given, the game has been even more general than it had been in former years, and wherever two or three vessels are together, and the weather is favorable, Base Ball games are arranged between the ships, and between representative nines of the ships and land crews, which attract general attention wherever they are played.

"I am advised that on the Asiatic Station during the last several years regular series of games have been played between teams representing the different vessels of the squadron, and these games were attended by thousands of people, natives of the ports at which the vessels happened to be lying. The games between the teams representing the vessels of the North Atlantic Squadron are features of