Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/541

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CHAPTER XXXVI.

A CHAPTER OF REMINISCENCES REFERRING TO THE GAME OF BASE BALL AND SOME MEN WHO HAVE PLAYED IT IN OTHER YEARS—BALL PLAYERS AS A RULE ARE MEN OF HONOR.


MOST everybody remembers the story of Horace Greeley's mountain ride with Hank Monk, the celebrated California stage driver of early days, and how that story was told and retold until it became the stock in trade of everybody on the Pacific Coast. Something akin to this is the widespread publicity given to a tale that I encounter frequently in all kinds of publications, relating to my introduction to the game of Base Ball.

This narrative declares that the first time I ever heard of Base Ball was when a veteran of the Civil War came to Rockford in 1863 and explained it to me. The story goes on to state that I immediately organized two teams; that three years later I was clerking in a Chicago grocery and went out to watch a game between two clubs of the Windy City; that the pitcher of one of the nines got his leg twisted, so that the game was likely to go by default, when I volunteered my services and pulled the unfortunate club out of its deplorable situation, etc.

Now, I dislike to shatter this beautiful fairy tale. Especially distasteful is it to me to wreck the bright halo placed upon my brow by some good natured, highly imaginative, but ill-advised historian; but the fact is that, with

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