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With a 12-mile wind at his back, conditions were not ideal for sharp breaks, yet Wood's pitches dropped with astonishing suddenness. Since the ball was more or less consistently breaking down, the Angels seemed unable to hit anything but ground balls. Wood himself had five assists, four in succession. He was one out from his fourth shutout when Epstein, surprising even himself, hit a solid single to score Bill Grabarkewitz, who had gotten on base with a broken-bat blooper. Through most of the game Wood looked for all the world like a man playing catch at a picnic. He hardly seemed to exert himself as, with an absolute economy of motion, he tossed the ball back and forth with Herrmann, who, for his part, escaped the embarrassment of passed balls and stolen bases.
Ferrell, watching from behind the screen at home plate, was frankly awed. "I have seen most of the great knuckleballers," he said at one point, "but it is hard to say that anyone has ever been better than Wood, regardless of time or whatever."
After the game Manager Tanner made a comment in the same vein: "I just pencil in his name and Wilbur Wonderful goes out and does it."
Wilbur Wonderful, meanwhile, stood by his locker, a giant stogie protruding from his round friendly face. His undershirt was soaked with perspiration, belying the impression that it had been an afternoon devoid of serious exertion. He was as amiable as ever, much the same as his look-alike in the neighborhood tavern, and he seemed unimpressed with his conquest. A visiting newsman advised him that he would win 48 games if he simply kept producing at his current clip.
Wood adjusted the cigar and looked thoughtful, as if there was some merit to this fantastic notion.
"The win I want," he said, flattening every "a" around, "is the next one."
And the next and the next and the next and....