HIS right name was Frank X. Farrell, and I
guess the X stood for "Excuse me."
Because he never pulled a play, good or bad, on or
off the field, without apologizin' for it.
"Alibi Ike" was the name Carey wished
on him the first day he reported down South. O'
course we all cut out the "Alibi" part
of it right away for the fear he would overhear it
and bust somebody. But we called him
"Ike" right to his face and the rest of
it was understood by everybody on the club except
He ast me one time, he says:
"What do you all call me Ike for? I ain't
"Carey give you the name," I says.
"It's his nickname for everybody he takes a
"He mustn't have only a few friends
then," says Ike. "I never heard him say
'Ike' to nobody else."
But I was goin' to tell you about Carey namin'
him. We'd been workin' out two weeks and the
pitchers was showin' somethin' when this bird
joined us. His first day out he stood up there so
good and took such a reef at the old pill that he
had everyone lookin'. Then him and Carey was
together in left field, catchin' fungoes, and it
was after we was through for the day that Carey
told me about him.
"What do you think of Alibi Ike?" ast
"Who's that? " I says.
"This here Farrell in the outfield,"
"He looks like he could hit," I says.
"Yes," says Carey, "but he can't
hit near as good as he can apologize."
Then Carey went on to tell me what Ike had been
pullin' out there. He'd dropped the first fly
ball that was hit to him and told Carey his glove
wasn't broke in good yet, and Carey says the glove
could easy of been Kid Gleason's gran'father. He
made a whale of a catch out o' the next one and
Carey says "Nice work!" or somethin'
like that, but Ike says he could of caught the
ball with his back turned only he slipped when he
started after it and, besides that, the air
currents fooled him.
"I thought you done well to get to the
ball," says Carey.
"I ought to been settin' under it,"
"What did you hit last year?" Carey
"I had malaria most o' the season,"
says Ike. "I wound up with .356."
"Where would I have to go to get
malaria?" says Carey, but Ike didn't wise up.
I and Carey and him set at the same table
together for supper. It took him half an hour
longer'n us to eat because he had to excuse
himself every time he lifted his fork.
"Doctor told me I needed starch,"
he'd say, and then toss a shoveful o' potatoes
into him. Or, "They ain't much meat on one
o' these chops," he'd tell us, and grab
another one. Or he'd say: "Nothin' like
onions for a cold," and then he'd dip into
"Better try that apple sauce," says
Carey. "It'll help your malaria."
"Whose malaria?" says Ike. He'd
forgot already why he didn't only hit .356 last
I and Carey begin to lead him on.
"Whereabouts did you say your home
was?" I ast him. "I live with my
folks," he says. "We live in Kansas
City—not right down in the business part—outside
"How's that come?" says Carey.
"I should think you'd get rooms in the post
But Ike was too busy curin' his cold to get
"Are you married?" I ast him.
"No," he says. "I never run
round much with girls, except to shows onct in a
wile and parties and dances and roller
"Never take 'em to the prize fights,
eh?" says Carey.
"We don't have no real good bouts,"
says Ike. "Just bush stuff. And I never
figured a boxin' match was a place for the
Well, after supper he pulled a cigar out and
lit it. I was just goin' to ask him what he done
it for, but he beat me to it.
"Kind o' rests a man to smoke after a good
work-out," he says. "Kind o' settles a
man's supper, too."
"Looks like a pretty good cigar,"
"Yes," says Ike. "A friend o'
mine give it to me—a fella in Kansas City that
runs a billiard room."
"Do you play billiards?" I ast him.
"I used to play a fair game," he
says. "I'm all out o' practice now—can't
hardly make a shot."
We coaxed him into a four-handed battle, him
and Carey against Jack Mack and I. Say, he
couldn't play billiards as good as Willie Hoppe;
not quite. But to hear him tell it, he didn't
make a good shot all evenin'. I'd leave him an
awful-lookin' layout and he'd gather 'em up in one
try and then run a couple o' hundred, and between
every carom he'd say he'd put too much stuff on
the ball, or the English didn't take, or the table
wasn't true, or his stick was crooked, or
somethin'. And all the time he had the balls
actin' like they was Dutch soldiers and him Kaiser
William. We started out to play fifty points, but
we had to make it a thousand so as I and Jack and
Carey could try the table.
The four of us set round the lobby a wile after
we was through playin', and when it got along
toward bedtime Carey whispered to me and says:
"Ike'd like to go to bed, but he can't
think up no excuse."
Carey hadn't hardly finished whisperin' when
Ike got up and pulled it:
"Well, good night, boys," he says.
"I ain't sleepy, but I got some gravel in my
shoes and it's killin' my feet."
We knowed he hadn't never left the hotel since
we'd came in from the grounds and changed our
clo'es. So Carey says:
"I should think they'd take them gravel
pits out o' the billiard room."
But Ike was already on his way to the elevator,
"He's got the world beat," says Carey
to Jack and I. "I've knew lots o' guys that
had an alibi for every mistake they made; I've
heard pitchers say that the ball slipped when
somebody cracked one off'n 'em; I've heard
infielders complain of a sore arm after heavin'
one into the stand, and I've saw outfielders
tooken sick with a dizzy spell when they've
misjudged a fly ball. But this baby can't even go
to bed without apologizin', and I bet he excuses
himself to the razor when he gets ready to
"And at that," says Jack, "he's
goin' to make us a good man."
"Yes," says Carey, "unless
rheumatism keeps his battin' average down to
Well, sir, Ike kept whalin' away at the ball
all through the trip till everybody knowed he'd
won a job. Cap had him in there regular the last
few exhibition games and told the newspaper boys a
week before the season opened that he was goin' to
start him in Kane's place.
"You're there, kid," says Carey to
Ike, the night Cap made the 'nnouncement.
"They ain't many boys that wins a big league
berth their third year out."
"I'd of been up here a year ago,"
says Ike, "only I was bent over all season
It rained down in Cincinnati one day and
somebody organized a little game o' cards. They
was shy two men to make six and ast I and Carey to
"I'm with you if you get Ike and make it
seven-handed," says Carey.
So they got a hold of Ike and we went up to
"I pretty near forgot how many you
deal," says Ike. "It's been a long wile
since I played."
I and Carey give each other the wink, and sure
enough, he was just as ig'orant about poker as
billiards. About the second hand, the pot was
opened two or three ahead of him, and they was
three in when it come his turn. It cost a buck,
and he throwed in two.
"It's raised, boys," somebody says.
"Gosh, that's right, I did raise it,"
"Takeout a buck if you didn't mean to tilt
her," says Carey.
"No," says Ike, "I'll leave it
Well, it was raised back at him and then he
made another mistake and raised again. They was
only three left in when the draw come. Smitty'd
opened with a pair o' kings and he didn't help
'em. Ike stood pat. The guy that'd raised him
back was flushin' and he didn't fill. So Smitty
checked and Ike bet and didn't get no call. He
tossed his hand away, but I grabbed it and give it
a look. He had king, queen, jack and two tens.
Alibi Ike he must have seen me peekin', for he
leaned over and whispered to me.
"I overlooked my hand," he says.
"I thought all the wile it was a
"Yes," I says, "that's why you
raised twice by mistake."
They was another pot that he come into with
tens and fours. It was tilted a couple o' times
and two o' the strong fellas drawed ahead of Ike.
They each drawed one. So Ike throwed away his
little pair and come out with four tens. And they
was four treys against him. Carey'd looked at
Ike's discards and then he says:
"This lucky bum busted two pair."
"No, no, I didn't," says Ike.
"Yes, yes, you did," says Carey, and
showed us the two fours. "What do you know
about that? " says Ike. "I'd of swore
one was a five spot."
Well, we hadn't had no pay day yet, and after a
wile everybody except Ike was goin' shy. I could
see him gettin' restless and I was wonderin' how
he'd make the get-away. He tried two or three
times. "I got to buy some collars before
supper," he says.
"No hurry," says Smitty. "The
stores here keeps open all night in April."
After a minute he opened up again.
"My uncle out in Nebraska ain't expected to
live," he says. "I ought to send a
"Would that save him?" says Carey.
"No, it sure wouldn't," says Ike,
"but I ought to leave my old man know where
"When did you hear about your uncle?"
"Just this mornin'," says Ike.
"Who told you? "ast Carey.
"I got a wire from my old man," says
"Well," says Carey, "your old
man knows you're still here yet this afternoon if
you was here this mornin'. Trains leavin'
Cincinnati in the middle o' the day don't carry no
"Yes," says Ike, "that's true.
But he don't know where I'm goin' to be next
"Ain't he got no schedule?" ast
"I sent him one openin' day," says
Ike, "but it takes mail a long time to get to
"I thought your old man lived in Kansas
City," says Carey.
"He does when he's home," says Ike.
"But now," says Carey, "I s'pose
he's went to Idaho so as he can be near your sick
uncle in Nebraska."
"He's visitin' my other uncle in
"Then how does he keep posted about your
sick uncle?" ast Carey.
"He don't," says Ike. "He don't
even know my other uncle's sick. That's why I
ought to wire and tell him."
"Good night!" says Carey.
"What town in Idaho is your old man
at?" I says.
Ike thought it over.
"No town at all," he says. "But
he's near a town."
"Near what town?" I says.
"Yuma," says Ike.
Well, by this time he'd lost two or three pots
and he was desperate. We was playin' just as fast
as we could, because we seen we couldn't hold him
much longer. But he was tryin' so hard to frame
an escape that he couldn't pay no attention to the
cards, and it looked like we'd get his whole pile
away from him if we could make him stick.
The telephone saved him. The minute it begun
to ring, five of us jumped for it. But Ike was
"Yes," he says, answerin' it.
"This is him. I'll come right down."
And he slammed up the receiver and beat it out
o' the door without even sayin' good-by.
"Smitty'd ought to locked the door,"
"What did he win?" ast Carey.
We figured it up—sixty-odd bucks.
"And the next time we ask him to
play," says Carey, "his fingers will be
so stiff he can't hold the cards."
Well, we set round a wile talkin' it over, and
pretty soon the telephone rung again. Smitty
answered it. It was a friend of his'n from
Hamilton and he wanted to know why Smitty didn't
hurry down. He was the one that had called before
and Ike had told him he was Smitty.
"Ike'd ought to split with Smitty's
friend," says Carey.
"No," I says, "he'll need all he
won. It costs money to buy collars and to send
telegrams from Cincinnati to your old man in Texas
and keep him posted on the health o' your uncle in
Cedar Rapids, D. C."
And you ought to heard him out there on that
field! They wasn't a day when he didn't pull six
or seven, and it didn't make no difference whether
he was goin' good or bad. If he popped up in the
pinch he should of made a base hit and the reason
he didn't was so-and-so. And if he cracked one
for three bases he ought to had a home run, only
the ball wasn't lively, or the wind brought it
back, or he tripped on a lump o' dirt, roundin'
They was one afternoon in New York when he beat
all records. Big Marquard was workin' against us
and he was good.
In the first innin' Ike hit one clear over that
right field stand, but it was a few feet foul.
Then he got another foul and then the count come
to two and two. Then Rube slipped one acrost on
him and he was called out.
"What do you know about that!" he
says afterward on the bench. "I lost count.
I thought it was three and one, and I took
"You took a strike all right," says
Carey. "Even the umps knowed it was a
"Yes," says Ike, "but you can
bet I wouldn't of took it if I'd knew it was the
third one. The score board had it wrong."
"That score board ain't for you to look
at," says Cap. "It's for you to hit
that old pill against."
"Well," says Ike, "I could of
hit that one over the score board if I'd knew it
was the third."
"Was it a good ball? " I says.
"Well, no, it wasn't," says Ike.
"It was inside."
"How far inside?" says Carey.
"Oh, two or three inches or half a
foot," says Ike.
"I guess you wouldn't of threatened the
score board with it then," says Cap.
"I'd of pulled it down the right foul line
if I hadn't thought he'd call it a ball,"
Well, in New York's part o' the innin' Doyle
cracked one and Ike run back a mile and a half and
caught it with one hand. We was all sayin' what a
whale of a play it was, but he had to apologize
just the same as for gettin' struck out.
"That stand's so high," he says,
"that a man don't never see a ball till it's
right on top o' you."
"Didn't you see that one? "ast Cap.
"Not at first," says Ike; "not
till it raised up above the roof o' the
"Then why did you start back as soon as
the ball was hit?" says Cap.
"I knowed by the sound that he'd got a
good hold of it," says Ike.
"Yes," says Cap, "but how'd you
know what direction to run in?"
"Doyle usually hits 'em that way, the way
I run," says Ike.
"Why don't you play blindfolded?"
"Might as well, with that big high stand
to bother a man," says Ike. "If I could
of saw the ball all the time I'd of got it in my
Along in the fifth we was one run to the bad
and Ike got on with one out. On the first ball
throwed to Smitty, Ike went down. The ball was
outside and Meyers throwed Ike out by ten feet.
You could see Ike's lips movin' all the way to
the bench and when he got there he had his piece
"Why didn't he swing?" he says.
"Why didn't you wait for his sign?"
"He give me his sign," says Ike.
"What is his sign with you?" says
"Pickin' up some dirt with his right
hand," says Ike.
"Well, I didn't see him do it," Cap
"He done it all right," says Ike.
Well, Smitty went out and they wasn't no more
argument till they come in for the next innin'.
Then Cap opened it up.
"You fellas better get your signs
straight," he says.
"Do you mean me? " says Smitty.
"Yes," Cap says. "What's your sign
"Slidin' my left hand up to the end o' the
bat and back," says Smitty.
"Do you hear that, Ike?" ast Cap.
"What of it?" says Ike.
"You says his sign was pickin' up dirt and
he says it's slidin' his hand. Which is
"I'm right," says Smitty. "But
if you're arguin' about him goin' last innin', I
didn't give him no sign."
"You pulled your cap down with your right
hand, didn't you? " ast Ike.
"Well, s'pose I did," says Smitty.
"That don't mean nothin'. I never told you
to take that for a sign, did I?"
"I thought maybe you meant to tell me and
forgot," says Ike. They couldn't none of us
answer that and they wouldn't of been no more said
if Ike had of shut up. But wile we was settin'
there Carey got on with two out and stole second
"There!" says Ike. "That's what
I was tryin' to do and I'd of got away with it if
Smitty'd swang and bothered the Indian."
"Oh!" says Smitty. "You was
tryin' to steal then, was you?
I thought you claimed I give you the hit and
"I didn't claim no such a thing,"
says Ike. "I thought maybe you might of gave
me a sign, but I was goin' anyway because I
thought I had a good start."
Cap prob'ly would of hit him with a bat, only
just about that time Doyle booted one on Hayes and
Carey come acrost with the run that tied.
Well, we go into the ninth finally, one and
one, and Marquard walks McDonald with nobody out.
"Lay it down," says Cap to Ike.
And Ike goes up there with orders to bunt and
cracks the first ball into that right-field stand!
It was fair this time, and we're two ahead, but I
didn't think about that at the time. I was too
busy watchin' Cap's face. First he turned pale
and then he got red as fire and then he got blue
and purple, and finally he just laid back and
busted out laughin'. So we wasn't afraid to laugh
ourselfs when we seen him doin' it, and when Ike
come in everybody
on the bench was in hysterics.
But instead o' takin' advantage, Ike had to try
and excuse himself. His play was to shut up and
he didn't know how to make it.
"Well," he says, "if I hadn't
hit quite so quick at that one I bet it'd of
cleared the center-field fence."
Cap stopped laughin'.
"It'll cost you plain fifty," he
"What for? " says Ike.
"When I say 'bunt' I mean 'bunt,'"
"You didn't say 'bunt,'" says Ike.
"I says 'Lay it down,'" says Cap.
"If that don't mean 'bunt,' what does it
"'Lay it down' means 'bunt' all
right," says Ike, "but I understood you
to say 'Lay on it.'"
"All right," says Cap, "and the
little misunderstandin' will cost you fifty."
Ike didn't say nothin' for a few minutes. Then
he had another bright idear.
"I was just kiddin' about misunderstandin'
you," he says. "I knowed you wanted me
"Well, then, why didn't you bunt?"
"I was goin' to on the next ball,"
says Ike. "But I thought if I took a good
wallop I'd have 'em all fooled. So I walloped at
the first one to fool 'em, and I didn't have no
intention o' hittin' it."
"You tried to miss it, did you?" says
"Yes," says Ike.
"How'd you happen to hit it?" ast
"Well," Ike says, "I was lookin'
for him to throw me a fast one and I was goin' to
awing under it. But he come with a hook and I met
it right square where I was swingin' to go under
the fast one."
"Great!" says Cap. "Boys,"
he says, "Ike's learned how to hit Marquard's
curve. Pretend a fast one's comin' and then try
to miss it. It's a good thing to know and Ike'd
ought to be willin' to pay for the lesson. So I'm
goin' to make it a hundred instead o' fifty."
The game wound up 3 to 1. The fine didn't go,
because Ike hit like a wild man all through that
trip and we made pretty near a clean-up. The
night we went to Philly I got him cornered in the
car and I says to him:
"Forget them alibis for a wile and tell me
somethin'. What'd you do that for, swing that
time against Marquard when you was told to
"I'll tell you," he says. "That
ball he throwed me looked just like the one I
struck out on in the first innin' and I wanted to
show Cap what I could of done to that other one if
I'd knew it was the third strike."
"But," I says, "the one you
struck out on in the first innin' was a fast
"So was the one I cracked in the
ninth," says Ike.
You've saw Cap's wife, o' course. Well, her
sister's about twict as good-lookin' as her, and
that's goin' some.
Cap took his missus down to St. Louis the
second trip and the other one come down from St.
Joe to visit her. Her name is Dolly, and some
doll is right.
Well, Cap was goin' to take the two sisters to
a show and he wanted a beau for Dolly. He left it
to her and she picked Ike. He'd hit three on the
nose that afternoon—off'n Sallee, too.
They fell for each other that first evenin'.
Cap told us how it come off. She begin flatterin'
Ike for the star game he'd played and o' course he
begin excusin' himself for not doin' better. So
she thought he was modest and it went strong with
her. And she believed everything he said and that
made her solid with him—that and her make-up.
They was together every mornin' and evenin' for
the five days we was there. In the afternoons Ike
played the grandest ball you ever see, hittin' and
runnin' the bases like a fool and catchin'
everything that stayed in the park.
I told Cap, I says: "You'd ought to keep
the doll with us and he'd make Cobb's figures look
But Dolly had to go back to St. Joe and we
come home for a long serious.
Well, for the next three weeks Ike had a letter
to read every day and he'd set in the clubhouse
readin' it till mornin' practice was half over.
Cap didn't say nothin' to him, because he was
goin' so good. But I and Carey wasted a lot of
our time tryin' to get him to own up who the
letters was from. Fine chanct!
"What are you readin'?" Carey'd say.
"No," Ike'd say, "not exactly a
bill. It's a letter from a fella I used to go to
"High school or college?" I'd ask
"College," he'd say.
"What college?" I'd say.
Then he'd stall a wile and then he'd say:
"I didn't go to the college myself, but my
friend went there."
"How did it happen you didn't go?"
Carey'd ask him.
"Well," he'd say, "they wasn't
no colleges near where I lived."
"Didn't you live in Kansas City?" I'd
say to him.
One time he'd say he did and another time he
didn't. One time he says he lived in Michigan.
"Where at? "says Carey.
"Near Detroit," he says.
"Well," I says, "Detroit's near
Ann Arbor and that's where they got the
"Yes," says Ike, "they got it
there now, but they didn't have it there
"I come pretty near goin' to
Syracuse," I says, "only they wasn't no
railroads runnin' through there in them
"Where'd this friend o' yours go to
college?" says Carey.
"I forget now," says Ike.
"Was it Carlisle? "ast Carey.
"No," says Ike, "his folks
wasn't very well off."
"That's what barred me from Smith," I
"I was goin' to tackle Cornell's,"
says Carey, "but the doctor told me I'd have
hay fever if I didn't stay up North."
"Your friend writes long letters," I
"Yes," says Ike; "he's tellin'
me about a ball player."
"Where does he play?" ast Carey.
"Down in the Texas League—Fort
Wayne," says Ike.
"It looks like a girl's writin',"
"A girl wrote it," says Ike.
"That's my friend's sister, writin' for
"Didn't they teach writin' at this here
college where he went?" says Carey.
"Sure," Ike says, "they taught
writin', but he got his hand cut off in a railroad
"How long ago?" I says.
"Right after he got out o' college,"
"Well," I says, "I should think
he'd of learned to write with his left hand by
"It's his left hand that was cut
off," says Ike; "and he was
"You get a letter every day," says
Carey. "They're all the same writin'. Is he
tellin' you about a different ball player every
time he writes?"
"No," Ike says. "It's the same
ball player. He just tells me what he does every
"From the size o' the letters, they don't
play nothin' but double-headers down there,"
We figured that Ike spent most of his evenin's
answerin' the letters from his "friend's
sister," so we kept tryin' to date him up for
shows and parties to see how he'd duck out of 'em.
He was bugs over spaghetti, so we told him one day
that they was goin' to be a big feed of it over to
Joe's that night and he was invited.
"How long'll it last?" he says.
"Well," we says, "we're goin'
right over there after the game and stay till they
"I can't go," he says, "unless
they leave me come home at eight bells."
"Nothin' doin'," says Carey.
"Joe'd get sore."
"I can't go then," says Ike.
"Why not?" I ast him.
"Well," he says, "my landlady
locks up the house at eight and I left my key
"You can come and stay with me," says
"No," he says, "I can't sleep in
a strange bed."
"How do you get along when we're on the
road?" says I.
"I don't never sleep the first night
anywheres," he says. "After that I'm
"You'll have time to chase home and get
your key right after the game," I told him.
"The key ain't home," says Ike.
"I lent it to one o' the other fellas and
he's went out o' town and took it with him."
"Couldn't you borry another key off'n the
"No," he says, "that's the only
one they is."
Well, the day before we started East again, Ike
come into the clubhouse all smiles.
"Your birthday?" I ast him.
"No," he says.
"What do you feel so good about?" I
"Got a letter from my old man," he
says. "My uncle's goin' to get well."
"Is that the one in Nebraska?" says I
"Not right in Nebraska," says Ike.
But afterwards we got the right dope from Cap.
Dolly'd blew in from Missouri and was goin' to
make the trip with her sister.
Well, I want to alibi Carey and I for what come
off in Boston. If we'd of had any idear what we
was doin', we'd never did it. They wasn't nobody
outside o' maybe Ike and the dame that felt worse
over it than I and Carey.
The first two days we didn't see nothin' of Ike
and her except out to the park. The rest o' the
time they was sight-seein' over to Cambridge and
down to Revere and out to Brook-a-line and all the
other places where the rubes go.
But when we come into the beanery after the
third game Cap's wife called us over.
"If you want to see somethin'
pretty," she says, "look at the third
finger on Sis's left hand."
Well, o' course we knowed before we looked that
it wasn't goin' to be no hangnail. Nobody was
su'prised when Dolly blew into the dinin' room
with it—a rock that Ike'd bought off'n Diamond
Joe the first trip to New York. Only o' course
it'd been set into a lady's-size ring instead o'
the automobile tire he'd been wearin'.
Cap and his missus and Ike and Dolly ett supper
together, only Ike didn't eat nothin', but just
set there blushin' and spillin' things on the
table-cloth. I heard him excusin' himself for not
havin' no appetite. He says he couldn't never eat
when he was clost to the ocean. He'd forgot about
them sixty-five oysters he destroyed the first
night o' the trip before.
He was goin' to take her to a show, so after
supper he went upstairs to change his collar. She
had to doll up, too, and o' course Ike was through
long before her.
If you remember the hotel in Boston, they's a
little parlor. where the piano's at and then
they's another little parlor openin' off o' that.
Well, when Ike come down Smitty was playin' a few
chords and I and Carey was harmonizin'. We seen
Ike go up to the desk to leave his key and we
called him in. He tried to duck away, but we
wouldn't stand for it.
We ast him what he was all duded up for and he
says he was goin' to the theayter.
"Goin' alone?" says Carey.
"No," he says, "a friend o'
mine's goin' with me."
"What do you say if we go along?"
"I ain't only got two tickets," he
"Well," says Carey, "we can go
down there with you and buy our own seats maybe we
can all get together."
"No," says Ike. "They ain't no
more seats. They're all sold out."
"We can buy some off'n the scalpers,"
"I wouldn't if I was you," says Ike.
"They say the show's rotten."
"What are you goin' for, then?" I
"I didn't hear about it bein' rotten till
I got the tickets," he says.
"Well," I says, "if you don't
want to go I'll buy the tickets from you."
"No," says Ike, "I wouldn't want
to cheat you. I'm stung and I'll just have to
stand for it."
"What are you goin' to do with the girl,
leave her here at the hotel?" I says.
"What girl?" says Ike.
"The girl you ett supper with," I
"Oh," he says, "we just happened
to go into the dinin' room together, that's all.
Cap wanted I should set down with 'em."
"I noticed." says Carey, "that
she happened to he wearin' that rock you bought
off'n Diamond Joe."
"Yes." says Ike. "I lent it to
her for a wile."
"Did you lend her the new ring that goes
with it?" I says.
"She had that already," says Ike.
"She lost the set out of it."
"I wouldn't trust no strange girl with a
rock o' mine," says Carey.
"Oh, I guess she's all right," Ike
says. "Besides, I was tired o' the stone.
When a girl asks you for somethin', what are you
goin' to do?"
He started out toward the desk, but we flagged
"Wait a minute!" Carey says. "I
got a bet with Sam here, and it's up to you to
"Well," says Ike, "make it
snappy. My friend'll be here any minute."
"I bet," says Carey, "that you
and that girl was engaged to be married."
"Nothin' to it," says Ike.
"Now look here," says Carey,
"this is goin' to cost me real money if I
lose. Cut out the alibi stuff and give it to us
straight. Cap's wife just as good as told us you
Ike blushed like a kid.
"Well, boys," he says, "I may
as well own up. You win, Carey."
"Yatta boy!" says Carey.
"You got a swell girl, Ike," I says.
"She's a peach," says Smitty.
"Well, I guess she's O. K.," says
Ike. "I don't know much about girls."
"Didn't you never run round with
'em?" I says.
"Oh, yes, plenty of 'em," says Ike.
"But I never seen none I'd fall for."
"That is, till you seen this one,"
"Well," says Ike, "this one's O.
K., but I wasn't thinkin' about gettin' married
yet a wile."
"Who done the askin'—her?" says
"Oh, no," says Ike, "but
sometimes a man don't know what he's gettin' into.
Take a good-lookin' girl, and a man gen'ally
almost always does about what she wants him
"They couldn't no girl lasso me unless I
wanted to be lassoed,"
"Oh, I don't know," says Ike.
"When a fella gets to feelin' sorry for one
of 'em it's all off."
Well, we left him go after shakin' hands all
round. But he didn't take Dolly to no show that
night. Some time wile we was talkin' she'd came
into that other parlor and she'd stood there and
heard us. I don't know how much she heard. But
it was enough. Dolly and Cap's missus took the
midnight train for New York. And from there Cap's
wife sent her on her way back to Missouri.
She'd left the ring and a note for Ike with the
clerk. But we didn't ask Ike if the note was from
his friend in Fort Wayne, Texas.
When we'd came to Boston Ike was hittin' plain
.397. When we got back home he'd fell off to
pretty near nothin'. He hadn't drove one out o'
the infield in any o' them other Eastern parks,
and he didn't even give no excuse for it.
To show you how bad he was, he struck out three
times in Brooklyn one day and never opened his
trap when Cap ast him what was the matter.
Before, if he'd whiffed oncet in a game he'd of
wrote a book tellin' why.
Well, we dropped from first place to fifth in
four weeks and we was still goin' down. I and
Carey was about the only ones in the club that
spoke to each other, and all as we did was remind
ourself o' what a boner we'd pulled.
"It's goin' to beat us out o' the big
money," says Carey.
"Yes," I says. "I don't want to
knock my own ball club, but it looks like a
one-man team, and when that one man's dauber's
down we couldn't trim our whiskers."
"We ought to knew better," says
"Yes," I says, "but why should a
man pull an alibi for bein' engaged to such a
bearcat as she was?"
"He shouldn't," says Carey.
"But I and you knowed he would or we'd never
started talkin' to him about it. He wasn't no
more ashamed o' the girl than I am of a regular
base hit. But he just can't come clean on no
Cap had the whole story, and I and Carey was as
pop'lar with him as an umpire.
"What do you want me to do, Cap?"
Carey'd say to him before goin' up to hit.
"Use your own judgment," Cap'd tell
him. "We want to lose another game."
But finally, one night in Pittsburgh, Cap had a
letter from his missus and he come to us with it.
"You fellas," he says, "is the
ones that put us on the bum, and if you're sorry I
think they's a chancet for you to make good. The
old lady's out to St. Joe and she's been tryin'
her hardest to fix things up. She's explained
that Ike don't mean nothin' with his
talk; I've wrote and explained that to Dolly,
too. But the old lady says that Dolly says that
she can't believe it. But Dolly's still stuck on
this baby, and she's pinin' away just the same as
Ike. And the old lady says she thinks if you two
fellas would write to the girl and explain how you
was always kiddin' with Ike and leadin' him on,
and how the ball club was all shot to pieces since
Ike quit hittin', and how he acted like he was
goin' to kill himself, and this and that, she'd
fall for it and maybe soften down. Dolly, the old
lady says, would believe you before she'd believe
I and the old lady, because she thinks it's her
we're sorry for, and not him."
Well, I and Carey was only too glad to try and
see what we could do. But it wasn't no snap. We
wrote about eight letters before we got one that
looked good. Then we give it to the stenographer
and had it wrote out on a typewriter and both of
us signed it.
It was Carey's idear that made the letter good.
He stuck in somethin' about the world's serious
money that our wives wasn't goin' to spend unless
she took pity on a "boy who was so shy and
modest that he was afraid to come right out and
say that he had asked such a beautiful and
handsome girl to become his bride."
That's prob'ly what got her, or maybe she
couldn't of held out much longer anyway. It was
four days after we sent the letter that Cap heard
from his missus again. We was in Cincinnati.
"We've won," he says to us.
"The old lady says that Dolly says she'll
give him another chance. But the old lady says it
won't do no good for Ike to write a letter. He'll
have to go out there."
"Send him to-night," says Carey.
"I'll pay half his fare," I says.
"I'll pay the other half," says
"No," says Cap, "the club'll pay
his expenses. I'll send him scoutin'."
"Are you goin' to send him to-night?"
"Sure," says Cap. "But I'm
goin' to break the news to him right now. It's
time we win a ball game."
So in the clubhouse, just before the game, Cap
told him. And I certainly felt sorry for Rube
Benton and Red Ames that afternoon! I and Carey
was standin' in front o' the hotel that night when
Ike come out with his suitcase.
"Sent home?" I says to him.
"No," he says, "I'm goin'
"Where to? " I says. "Fort
"No, not exactly," he says.
"Well," says Carey, "have a good
"I ain't lookin' for no good time,"
says Ike. "I says I was goin'
"Well, then," says Carey, "I
hope you see somebody you like."
"And you better have a drink before you
go," I says.
"Well," says Ike, "they claim it
helps a cold."