Miss Murphy waited a minute and then said, "Well, I agree with you and I think it's the least the club could do." Then she went back to her desk and took $5 out of her own handbag and came back and offered it to Red. Red blushed and hesitated a minute. Then he reached out and took the money, looked at Miss Murphy a bit defiantly and blurted: "I'll bring back the change."
"It's not necessary to bring back the change," said Miss Murphy. "You just see to it that you and the other boys all get plenty to eat."
Red said, "We sure do thank you." He led the other boys down the steps in orderly fashion and when they were outside they all broke into a run for Murph's Place across the street.
There was no problem about lunch for Red on the last day of the tryouts. Joe Mathes, the famous Cardinal scout, personally took him to Murph's Place and gave him his pick of the steam table. After they had finished eating, Joe Mathes told Red that every Cardinal scout who had been watching the boys had agreed on one particular prospect.
"Red, said Joe Mathes, "how would you like to play with Union City in the Kitty League?"
Next day, the Cardinals sent a man over to Germantown to get the signature of Red's father on a contract. Red's professional career had begun.
Red's old eye injury, which was destined to plague him at odd times during his career, became a problem at Union City, although he hit safely the first eight times at bat. But, as a righthanded hitter, he found that he had to turn his head in order to see a righthander's curve ball with his better eye. He confided his problem to Everett Johnson, the Union City manager, and proposed a simple solution. "What I'll do," Red told his manager, "is learn to bat left-handed."
The manager's mouth fell open. "Just like that you'll become a switcher?" he said.
"If you don't have any objections," said Red.
The manager shook his head and said there weren't any objections he could think of at the moment. In a few days, Red was hitting from both sides of the plate.