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HUGE COMMOTION IN MUDVILLE
Frank Deford
July 18, 1988
AMAZING FINISH! Mighty Casey Fans Slugger Didn't Arrive Till Seventh Inning Beautiful, Evil Woman Seen In His Company WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT Sun Still Shining Bright At Undisclosed U.S. Site
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July 18, 1988

Huge Commotion In Mudville

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"And if you stay with Mudville after this season, you'll be reserved," Drinkwater said. "You understand? They'll own you. Reserve is just a pretty word for own. Bad enough that provision was put in for the major-club players, now it's in the minors, too. What is this? This is 1888. We fought a war over this 25 years ago."

"Yes sir." The nerve of old Cyrus Weatherly and those other owners.

"Now, I'm prepared to pay you three thousand dollars"—to spell things out, Drinkwater laid down two more centuries and a pair of $1,000 bills—"to leave Mudville."

Casey gasped.

"Take the summer off," Drinkwater went on. "Next season, I'll help you sign with anyone."

"The Beaneaters," said Casey.

"Why not, Timothy, my boy? Casey's eyes twinkled.

"And finally, an extra $500 to seal the bargain," Drinkwater said, and he laid out a $500 bill. "And I'll throw in a beautiful new gown for that young lady of yours. You get this right now"—he slid the $500 closer to Casey—"and the rest after five more games. Only you're not to get a single hit in any of those games. I don't want you just disappearing. That'd be too curious. But if all of a sudden you start striking out, it'll look like something went wrong with Mighty Casey. People will think he went lame, lost his ginger. Then you take the $3,000 and drop out of sight. Only, when you materialize next year, you're in the National League."

Casey's hand itched to reach out and take the $500, but, after hesitating, he took up the brandy glass instead. Casey was no dummy. "Mr. Drinkwater, I'm no dummy," he said. "There must be a reason you'd pay me all this."

"Of course there is, my boy. But there's an expression going around: What you don't know won't hurt you. You just have my word as a sporting man that it's not illegal. What do you say?"

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