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Cabbage and Skulls
14 July 1918 Sunday in Washington. The Senators lose to Hughie Jennings and his Jungaleers by the score of 7 to 0. Doc Ayers has the game well in hand until the fifth. The Hillsville mounds man “weakened a trifle and Jennings’ hired men packed away the contest. Bernie Boland, who was doing the heaving duties for the Jungaleers, exhibited an assortment of twisters that simply had the Nationals guessing from gong to gong.”
The following gives a good feel for the period.
Cabbage, because the government had decreed meatless days. The government was relentlessly searching for people hoarding food. The government was also on the hunt for draft evaders. Also on the watch list; people of German descent, Irish, Reds, etc. It was fairly large list.
The seventh inning stretch. The mention here is fairly rare for the period. You don’t read much about it in the papers. Here you will note that it is not only well established but seems almost mandatory.
Throwing the ball back onto the field. Usually the team had someone go get the foul ball.
“It was a great day for skulls out at Georgia Avenue. The big crowd sure did enjoy it, too. After hearing from the whiff that ham and cab-BAGE was on the books for the vespertin performance, we went over the ball yard. Yes, it was rather a warm day for ham and cab-BAGE, but you see we had put in an application for ham and cab-BAGE a week before, and ham and cab-BAGE it was. Not in the winter the winter ham and cab-BAGE is a great dish. It fills the stomach and the soul, too, with a delight most exquisite. In July it fills the stomach, but as for the soul, well, there’s room left in the soul, we’ll admit. As for the skulls, there were several kinds on exhibition at Griffith’s ball yard. And every one of them got a big laugh form the big crowd. Walter Johnson, Babe Ruthing in the garden, was the first exhibition. In the second frame he stuck his skull right into the path of a pitched ball. Instead of falling to the ground and playing dead, the redoubtable Kansan scratched his noble thatch and ambled down to first. The fans laughed hysterically, having been cheated out of a tragedy. The second skull exhibition was different. It was the childish ranker and rage of Yancey Wyatt Ayers, the renowned Dr. Cox. Nallin putting him in a hole, he stamped across and lost his control. And the fans, few thinking on ham and Cab-BAGE let out roars. They gurgled threats at Nallin. They insulted him. They might have assaulted him, had they been closer. Another skull exhibition was offered by a large person in khaki. He was stretched upon the green, green grass in front of the stand. He may have been speculating on ham and cab’BAGE, for all we know. Anyway, he wouldn’t get up for the stretch in the seventh, he absolutely wouldn’t that’s all. For a while it looked like an imminent riot. The fans crowded to the front of the stand. They peered over from above. They yelled. They shrieked. The soldiers on the field pressed around the stubborn man. And HE DID GET UP! He was so disgusted with himself after that that when the game was resumed he ambled off into right field where he could hide his shame and, maybe, ruminate on ham and cab-BAGE. And not long thereafter a soldier down there on the ground declined to give Oscar Stanage room to catch a foul No sir-ree, he just wouldn’t move. He was stringing with the Griffs, that soldier. So Oscar retaliated by not tipping him about that foul. Bang, right on the conk landed that “fowell,” while the crowd roared with delight. That sure was some skull performances. And, of course, that fight field pavilion had to be in on it. Somebody poked a fine “fowell” up among the rooters, and one of them took it on the nut. Where did the ball go? Oh, out to where the ticket windows are, with Perduke Fowler on the hot foot after it. Did the pavilion nuts cheer that skull stuff? They did. Not to be left out in the cold, a gink up in the upper tier produced a hot one. He grabbed a “fowell” and tried to show hiss whip by flinging to back to the diamond. Huh, he hit an officer sitting in a box in front of him. Ha, ha, ha! That was funny; it sure was. From then on we did nothing but speculate on ham and cab-BAGE. On the way home we met Benny Mensh, of Ontario Road, who is a baseball nut. He didn’t know we were rushing home for ham and cab-BAGE, and so he stopped us. “Who won today’s game?” chattered Benny. “Detroit, 7 to 0,” we replied, trying to get away in a hurry. “Gee, how was that?” he asked. “Well Doc Ayers blew up in the fifth for five runs and Shaw did likewise in the eighth for two more.” “And didn’t Washington do anything?” “Oh, yes, Washington provided the skull plays, rallying to the assistance of a right field pavilion nut, two soldiers in khaki, and an officer in an upper tier box.” Then we laid all over that ham and cab-BAGE. And that ham and cab-BAGE, anyway, it was great, even if it was July.