fooling," Casey said, licking the envelope. "Gee, I read the Gazette
He handed the
bellboy the note and a half a dime. "Seven-eighteen. And wait for the
Then he stuck out
his hand to Fox. "I'm Timothy Casey, rightfielder on the Mudville
well," said Fox. "I've got a bit of business in a while, but would you
join me for some nose paint while I'm waiting?"
Casey looked at
Fox. The Police Gazette. He looked at the bellboy waiting for the elevator, and
he thought of Phoebe's hair cascading over her bare shoulders. He looked back
at Fox. He saw Flossie's eyes. Back to the bellboy. He was just getting on the
elevator. He saw all of Flossie. He saw Flossie's love and his own shame—and in
the split second it takes a horsehide to travel 50 feet to the bat, Casey
dashed to the elevator and yanked the little bellboy out through the closing
doors. "Keep the half a dime, but gimme the note back," he said, and
then, smiling, he hustled back over to Fox.
Nobody had come
up with the term sports bar in 1888, but if they had, the Third Base Saloon,
Michael T. McGreevey, Prop., would surely have been recognized as the first
such institution. Athletic souvenirs—especially baseball gear—cluttered the
place, barely leaving room for the cranks who jammed in, particularly after
Beaneater games at the South End Grounds nearby. "I call it Third Base
'cause it's the last place you stop before you steal home," McGreevey would
growl. " 'Nough said?"
stout and tiny, a terrier among men, with a handlebar mustache, and while he
had been baptized Michael Thomas, he was always called Nuf Ced. Fox explained
this to Casey as they entered the Third Base Saloon and trod across the large
mosaic on the floor that spelled out NUF CED. "He's here, Johnny," Nuf
Ced roared from behind the bar.
here?" The great booming voice of John L. Sullivan answered from somewhere
in the back. "Anybody important?"
Richard Fox, the chucklehead who gave a championship belt to Jake Kilrain."
facetiously, tipped his hat to Nuf Ced and bade Casey join him at a table. They
ordered beers, and Fox explained they would just have to wait for Sullivan.
Sure enough, it was an hour or more before Sullivan, with a big tankard of ale
in one hand, appeared. He was accompanied by Smiler Pippen on the one side and
by his floozy of the evening, Rosie, on the other. "All right, Fox, what is
it you're wantin'?" John L. snarled, and Nuf Ced, taking his cue, came over
to the table to stand between the two men.