The field was
completely encircled by fans. They were three or four deep all the way down the
foul lines, behind the catcher and in massed ranks behind the outfielders. You
could forget all about chasing foul balls. No chance. Anything that went into
the crowd in the outfield was an automatic double.
As a matter of
fact, they completely took over the Cincinnati dugout, forcing the players to
sit against the backstop. They knew better than to try to take over our dugout.
I guess they'd heard about Joe Medwick.
I swear to Heaven
it was a miracle that nobody got killed. The fans were standing so close to
home plate that you couldn't swing without coming within a couple of feet of
somebody's head. Early in the game, a curving line drive hit one spectator
flush in the face. He was carted away, and nobody else moved an inch.
As one inning was
about to start, I looked around and saw Medwick standing on the line a few feet
behind third base arguing with a gorgeous blonde. Paul Dean was already in his
motion, and since you couldn't hear anything from here to there, I had to go
running in and scale my glove past his ear.
The best was yet
to come. In the eighth we were leading 2-1. The first Cincinnati batter went
out, the next man walked and up toward the plate strode Babe Herman. Before he
got there, the blonde—who had moved to within a few feet of the plate by that
time—stepped out of the crowd and plucked the bat from his hand. She took her
stance in the batter's box, high heels and all, and motioned for Paul to pitch
to her. You can look it up. Best-looking strike zone I ever saw. She had been
telling Medwick all evening that even she could hit better than he could, and
now she was going to prove it.
God knows what
would have happened if Diz had been pitching. He'd probably have said she was
digging in on him and knocked her down. Poor Paul didn't know what to do. Twice
in a row he went into a big exaggerated windup and then stepped off the rubber
and looked in toward the plate umpire, Bill Stewart. What could Stewart do?
Judge Landis was there in his box, and even he had been afraid to do anything.
We were playing the game only because:
wasn't going to give all that money back.
2. If we didn't
play it, they'd have torn the park down.
making a move, Paul Dean bent forward as if he were throwing the ball to a
little kid and flipped it up to the plate underhand.
And she hit it.
She hit a little twisting ground ball down between first base and the pitcher's
mound and set out—lickety split, clickety click—for first base. Paul Dean, game
to the end, fielded the ball and threw her out.