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One day I was sitting on a low stone wall outside the guest house at the farm, waiting for MacPhail. We were going to Pimlico to see two of his horses run, but first he was going to show me around the stables. This was the day I had determined to ask MacPhail about the time he was arrested for fighting with state police at Bowie (and, in consequence, barred from the track of which he was president). But as I waited, I drew a notebook from my pocket and got interested in some notes I had on MacPhail's baseball career in Brooklyn. His flamboyant personality and belligerence and loud clothes suited that borough exactly, and when MacPhail made Leo Durocher manager—with his pugnacity and even louder clothes—it was almost more good fortune than Brooklyn could bear. Together they brought Brooklyn its first National League pennant in 21 years. A fair sample of how MacPhail operated seemed to be reflected in notes I had made on a game played June 18, 1940, when Joe Medwick, the Dodger outfielder, was struck on the head by a ball pitched by Bob Bowman of the St. Louis Cardinals. Next day The New York Times reported:
"In the Brooklyn dugout, Larry MacPhail, the Dodger president, had to be held back by Chuck Dressen and Babe Phelps. After Med wick had been removed from the field, MacPhail did cross over toward the Cardinal bench and there had heated words with the visitors."
The New York Herald Tribune said:
" Larry MacPhail, who saw the accident from the press box, rushed at once to the Dodger dugout. So angry was the Dodger president that he had to be restrained from entering the Cardinal dugout.
"With Dressen and Durocher trying to hold him back, MacPhail walked across the field and challenged the Cardinal bench."
A year later, The New Yorker described the same incident:
"...The spectators...cheered as they watched MacPhail's arrival on the scene. Waving his arms and roaring in his vibrant moose voice, he galloped down the aisles of the grandstand and across the diamond to the pitcher's box.... As one umpire said later, 'MacPhail came down here and tried to provoke a riot.'"
Look magazine had occasion to refer to the matter four years after that. In its issue of July 10, 1945, Sportswriter Tom Meany wrote, "MacPhail charged from his box onto the field, threatened Bowman and the Cardinals."
Aside from minor conflicts about the manner of MacPhail's approach (running from the press box, charging from his own box, galloping down the aisles and out to the pitcher's mound and struggling from the arms of Dressen and Phelps and from the arms of Dressen and Durocher), there seemed to be no doubt that MacPhail had gone out on the field.
A screen door slammed and I looked up to see MacPhail coming down the walk, swinging along, a big bunch of carrots in one hand. As he approached I got up and said, "How about that time in Brooklyn when Joe Medwick was beaned and you ran out on the field and challenged the whole Cardinal bench?"