SI Vault
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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Casey started to approve this wisdom, but he was stopped cold, for at that moment the Great John L. Sullivan entered the stage, a huge green robe slung loosely over his shoulders. Casey was aghast. The Boston Strong Boy was, in fact, the Boston Fat Boy. "He's fat," Flossie said, with shock. "Disgustingly fat," said Phoebe, with disgust.

The heavyweight champion of the world, 29 years old, looked closer to 39 and packed 243 pounds on his 5'10�" frame. He was grotesquely flabby. His attendant, a spidery little sort named Smiler Pippen, laced on the champ's gloves, and that motion was enough to jiggle Sullivan's jowls and belly. John L. liked having Smiler around, for he was a self-professed druggist, who dispensed rubdowns and a favored potion, a so-called physic, which was made up of zinnia, salts and licorice. That was Sullivan's only concession to training.

He sauntered out to face one Francis Rooney, and to Casey's surprise, he had to admit that Sullivan could be remarkably nimble when he had to be—for a second or two. But he was too much the walrus to maintain any pace, and though his blows obviously devastated poor Rooney, John L. was hardly a scintillating climax to the evening. Drinkwater and his guests left a bit disappointed.

Casey had hoped then for a stroll down the boardwalk, perhaps even a little trip along the beach, but Flossie was exhausted from the long day, and he had to settle for a chaste peck on her cheek. Then Phoebe conscientiously assumed her chaperon's mantle and ushered Flossie off to her room. "A little nose paint?" Drinkwater said to Casey, beckoning to the bar, where they took a table for brandy and cigars.

"Well, Timothy, my boy, have you decided to accept my little proposition?" Drinkwater asked after they'd lit up.

"I think so, but I'm not...."

"I understand. You're a prudent young man," Drinkwater said, toasting him. "So, let's run over it again. Now, you tell me you make...."

"Eight hundred dollars for the season...."

"...playing for Mudville."

So Drinkwater took out his billfold and laid out eight $100 bills. Casey blinked.

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