- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Half a century later, I'm not sure of all the players, but I do recall that virtually everyone rotated into the pitcher's spot. Our starting pitcher was the visiting beau of one of the island beauties. Two particularly memorable players played at short and second. They were a couple of dissipated young collegians known island-wide as Flotsam and Jetsam. If I ever knew their real names, they're long gone from my mind.
The Boothbay town team was composed of lobstermen, fishermen and farmers, all of them seasoned ballplayers. They were fast, experienced, talented, used to playing as a team, and they outclassed us shamefully. Their pitcher was a skinny, bald-headed veteran called Herb, with a sneaky fastball and a big out curve. Our college men showed in the top of the first inning that his fastball wasn't too sneaky for them. We got four or five hits and two or three runs before Herb went to his curve and got us out.
The townies took out their innate dislike of invading Summer People on us in the bottom of the first, batting around and scoring half a dozen runs. I spent a busy 10 minutes chasing line shots to the fence and playing the carom.
I led off the second inning, and I remember hoping nobody would notice my trembling knees when I moved into the batter's box. Herb started me off with a fastball that I took for a strike. I swung late at another fastball that would have been easy pickings for one of the college men but was too much for me. Ahead by nothing and two, Herb decided to polish me off with his curveball. It was just like a session with the corncobs in our backyard. The ball started off right at my chin, but analyzing Herb's wrist snap was nothing to someone who had faced Chas. I waited for it, subsconsciously calculated the trajectory of the break, shifted my weight and swung. The ball went on a line over the first baseman's head and rolled all the way to the fence, while I turned on full speed and made it standing to third base.
The fact that I died on third couldn't erase the thrill of the triple, nor could the fact that Herb's curveball mowed down the islanders for the next two innings, while the townies padded their score almost at will. I came up again in the fourth inning and again got the curveball, bouncing a single to center. Later, I made a lucky running catch of a short flyball and, with my momentum helping, executed a perfect throw home to nail a townie trying to score after the catch.
We did nothing in the top of the fifth, and the game was called off to the very vocal annoyance of the entire population of Boothbay Harbor, which was enjoying seeing "them rich loafers from the island" getting their teeth kicked in. The final score was something like 27-3 or 26-2. It didn't matter much to me. I had had a marvelous day and was puffed with pride at being the only islander with two hits, a scintillating catch and an assist on a double play.
On the boat going back to Squirrel—the Nellie G., smallest steamship in the world—my ego was stroked further when either Flotsam or Jetsam sought me out and did a selling job on the glories of Williams College and its baseball team. I was the kind of fellow, he indicated, that Williams was looking for. I went to bed that night convinced that by morning the island would be ringing with the story of the game and particularly my heroic part in it. I wrote Chas a long and, I'm afraid, bragging letter without, I'm sure, thanking him for making it all possible.
The next day when I went to the tennis courts, expecting a certain amount of worship, all I got was a question from a friend about where I'd been the previous day. They had needed a fourth for doubles. Later in the day I came face to face with Flotsam and Jetsam on the boardwalk. They didn't even go single file to let me by. I had to step off into the tall grass to get around them.