Support from outside the clubhouse, however, was tremendous. One of the psychics who recently called the Met offices offered to arrange a s�ance with Curtis. Another fan claiming to be a doctor offered reassurance that after losing 22 straight patients, his 23rd operation turned out to be a success. Others sent him rabbit-feet, coins, a plastic troll with orange hair, a Buddha statuette and a miniature horseshoe, all of them supposedly possessing the mystical power to end the losing. Good sport that he is, Young adorned his locker with the notions, a sort of shrine to the gods of fortune.
After loss No. 23, Young wore a black T-shirt with this message on the back: LIVE AND LEARN. "I'm not the type to run and hide from my problems," Young said.
And how bad is he? Well, his career record is 4-29, leaving him with a better lifetime batting average (.146) than winning percentage (.121).
Then again, Young can throw the ball 90 mph and is often the subject of inquiries from clubs looking to make a trade. And he did throw 28? scoreless innings last season—during the streak. "If you were sitting up in the stands," says Green, "you'd say, 'Hey, he's got an arm.' "
That, too, is what his fans find endearing. He has enough talent to make them curse his luck. But mostly it's his gracious resolve in the face of defeat that has won Young so much sympathy. To look into his sad, dark eyes—or even at one of his 24 historic box scores—is to gaze into a looking glass. Another bad day at the office. Rain during the vacation. Smoke rising from underneath the hood. Be like Mike? In truth, we are like Anthony.
"Everything is over with now," he told that jostling crowd of reporters in Green's office on Sunday afternoon. "I broke the record. I'm in the record books. Now that I have the record, I hope you all can leave me alone." Would that it were so easy to leave it behind. Young is scheduled to start again on Saturday, on the 110th anniversary of the birth of Cliff Curtis.