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The World Series

It was a happy team of Giants that left Pittsburgh that night on the
sleeper for New York. The season's strain was over. The coveted flag
was theirs. They had fought their way through many discouragements, had
stood the gaff, and now they were at the top of their League, with none
to contest their title as champions.

"Some victory, eh, Joe?" remarked Jim to his chum.

"Right, Jim," was the ready reply.

To be sure a great battle loomed up ahead of them, but they welcomed
that with eagerness. It meant thousands of dollars to every member of
the team, win or lose. But they had no thought of losing. The return of
their king pitcher to the box that afternoon, and the proof that he was
in magnificent form, had filled them chock full of confidence.

And they were doubly glad that the Yankees were to be their opponents.
That had been settled three days before, when the American League
season had closed with the Yankees just nosing out the Clevelands at
the finish. It was settled that every game of the World Series would be
played in New York.

This meant that there would be no long, tiresome, overnight journeys
between cities. But it meant more than that. It meant that the question
would now be settled once for all as to which of the New York teams was
the better.

This had been a mooted question for a good many years past. Each team
had its warm friends and admirers, who were ready to back it through
thick and thin. The Giants, of course, had been established longer, and
had gained a strong place in the affections of the metropolis. Their
games, as a usual thing, drew many more spectators than those played by
their rivals. But of late the acquisition of Kid Rose by the Yankees
had drawn the greater attention to that team, and the Giants had been
cast in the shade. They were not used to this and did not relish it.
They knew the Yankees were a strong team, but at the same time they
believed that they could take their measure if it ever came to a
showdown. Now that showdown was at hand, and the Giants were glad of it.

The public, too, were eager to have the question of supremacy settled.
The metropolis was fairly seething with excitement over the series, and
the hotels already were filling up with visitors from as far off as
the Pacific Coast. Not only columns but whole pages of the newspapers
were filled with comments and prophecies respecting the chances of the
respective teams.

More than anything else in the public mind was the coming duel between
Kid Rose and Joe Matson as home run hitters. Which would make the
longer hits? Which would make the more home runs? These were the
questions that were on the lips of the fans wherever two or more of
them met. And the sporting pages of the daily newspapers were full of

The series this year was to consist of nine games if so many should be
necessary. The team that first won five games would be the champions of
the world. The members of the teams were to share in the money taken in
at the first five games played, so that there would be no inducement to
spin out the series. After certain percentages had been deducted sixty
per cent was to go to the winners and forty per cent to the losers. The
outlook was that each member of the winning team would get about five
thousand dollars and each member of the losing team between three and
four thousand, a difference great enough to make each player do his
best, apart from his loyalty to his team.

Reggie had come up from Goldsboro, bringing Mabel with him, a
charge of which Joe promptly relieved him. She seemed to Joe more
distractingly beautiful than ever, and his heart thumped as he realized
that in less than a month she would be his own. That had been arranged
in their correspondence. The wedding would take place in Mabel's home
in Goldsboro, and after their honeymoon they were to go to Riverside,
to witness the marriage of Jim and Clara. The latter had hoped to come
on to see the World Series, but Mrs. Matson was not well enough to come
along, and Clara did not want to leave her. So poor Jim had to exercise
patience and not be too envious of the almost delirious happiness of
Joe and Mabel at being together.

A more exciting World Series than that which now began between the
Giants and Yankees had never been known in the history of the game.
Both teams were out for blood. Every man was on his toes, and the
excited spectators were roused almost to madness by the almost
miraculous stops and throws pulled off by the fielders. From the start
it was evident that the nines were very evenly balanced, and that
whichever finally won would in all probability do so by the narrowest
kind of margin.

Victory seesawed between the teams. Joe pitched the first game, and the
Giants won by 3 to 1. The Yankees took the second by 5 to 2. Jim held
them down in the third to two runs, while the Giants accumulated six.
The Yankees made it "fifty-fifty" by galloping away with the fourth
game in a free hitting contest, of which Markwith was the victim, the
final score being 9 to 5. The Giants again assumed the lead by copping
the fifth by 4 to 0, Joe decorating his opponents with a necklace of
goose eggs. They repeated on the following day, and with only one more
game needed to make the five, it looked as though they would be certain
winners. But the Yankees were not yet through, and they came back
strong on the two succeeding days and evened up the score. Each had won
four games. The ninth and final game would determine which team was to
be the champions of the world.

In these contests, Joe had batted like a fiend. McRae had played him
in every game, putting him in the outfield on the days that he was
not scheduled to pitch. In the eight games, Joe had made six circuit
clouts, in addition to four three-baggers, three two-base hits, and
some singles. He was simply killing the ball.

Kid Rose also had done sterling work, and had rapped out five homers,
besides a number of hits for a lesser number of bags. But Baseball Joe
so far had outclassed him, both in the number and the length of his
hits. There was no stopping him. High or low, incurve or outcurve, they
were all the same to him. That eagle eye of his located the course of
the ball unerringly, and when the ash connected with the ball that ball
was slated for a ride.

There was no mistake about it. Joe had arrived. The batting crown was
his. He had long since been recognized as the king of pitchers. Now he
was hailed by acclamation as the greatest hitter in the game!

Next: The Game Of His Life

Previous: Champions Of The League

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