"It's too late
to worry about sleep now," Veeck said. "You better just keep
Wynn reached the
ball park at 11, put on a rubber jacket and began to run. He sweated, showered
and went out and pitched a shutout. "Then the reporters came," Veeck
says, "and Early answered all their questions. He got somebody with the
knuckleball. Someone else was fooled by a high slider. He did just fine until
the last reporter left the dressing room. Then he fell over on his
There was nothing
bland about Early, nothing subdued, nothing cautious. He didn't like hitters,
and he said he didn't like hitters. He knocked them down. "Why I should
worry about hitters?" Wynn said. "Do they worry about me? Do you ever
find a hitter crying because he's hit a line drive through the box? My job is
getting hitters out. If I don't get them out I lose. I don't like losing a game
anymore than a salesman likes losing a big sale. I've got a right to knock down
anybody holding a bat."
was your own mother?" a reporter said.
briefly. "Mother was a pretty good curveball hitter," he said.
That was humor,
but at Yankee Stadium I saw Wynn brush back his son. Joe Early was a tall,
rangy boy who was visiting at his father's place of business for a day, and
Early volunteered to throw a little batting practice. Joe Early hit a long line
drive to left center. The next pitch was at his cheekbone; it sent Joe Early
diving to the ground.
crowd me," Wynn said with a certain noncommittal tenderness.
Wynn learned rope
tricks and played supermarket openings. He began a newspaper column and within
a month had attacked general managers for their penury and
The Sporting News
for publishing too much gossip. Air travel bothered him, so he took flying
lessons and purchased a single-engine plane. He bought a cabin cruiser and a
motorcycle and a Packard and a Mercedes, leading Shirley Povich of the The
Washington Post to comment, "Early does not lack for transportation."
Wynn simply seized life with his great hands, implacably determined to squeeze
every ounce of living out of his time.
Despite that, his
staying power was prodigious. He pitched for the Senators in 1939, moved on in
1949 to become a mainstay of the great Indian staff that included Bob Feller
and Bob Lemon, and 10 years after that pitched the White Sox to a pennant and
won the Cy Young award. He was a thick-chested, black-haired man with a natural
glower, which he would direct at the batters like a death ray. He seemed
indestructible. But in the early 1960s he began to suffer attacks of gout. On a
snap throw to first, he strained muscles near his elbow, and the gout moved
into his pitching arm. His legs were weakening. It was time to quit, but he
wanted to win his 300th game.
last years," says Wynn's wife Lorraine, "when he'd come back from
running, his legs would be so sore that we had to work out this routine. He'd
lie down on his stomach and I'd take a rolling pin and move it up and down over
the backs of his legs. That was the only thing that seemed to relax the