D.C. was different place last time Washington played in postseason

continued from page 1

The police kept busy. Pickpockets relieved Edgar Greever of $90 and George Wyncoop of $53 in the stands. Capt. William E. Holmes’ first precinct men shut down 11th and Pennsylvania Avenue as fans gathered by the electronic scoreboard on the side of the Washington Star building with 11 loudspeakers for the National Broadcasting Company’s play-by-play. And the police arrested a man named Robert Alexander, his home separated from Griffith Stadium by a brisk walk.

Two days earlier, Lawrence Zimmerman took his son, Lawrence Jr., to Game 3. His 37-year-old wife, Louise, stayed at their bakery on 17th Street. As she worked alone in the front room, Alexander came in and demanded money at knifepoint. She refused. So, Alexander jumped the counter and slashed her throat.

A baker in back of the shop, Rudolph Wehner, hit Alexander in the arm with a rolling pin and chased him into the street along with John Reynolds, a cab driver. In Alexander’s haste to exit, he lost a shoe. That helped police catch him, as Louise Zimmerman lay in Emergency Hospital breathing from a metal tube in her throat.

Katsuji Debuchi, the Japanese ambassador and baseball aficionado, arrived at Griffith Stadium with a pair of field glasses. Sen. James Hamilton Lewis and Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball’s first commissioner came, too. The blue pigeon that spent much of Game 3 pecking its way through the infield, undisturbed by shouts or baseball, showed up. Some Giants regarded the pigeon as a “bird of ill omen.”

Red-capped ushers, with nothing else to do, swung Giants bats in front of their dugout. Then, an hour before the 1:15 p.m. first pitch, the flag, bunting and green cushions were removed from the president’s box. The game was never among his 14 appointments that day, dominated instead by a White House conference to find a solution to Pennsylvania’s violent coal strike.

While the Senators sat in their clubhouse, the president dedicated a statue to labor icon Samuel Gompers at 10th and Massachusetts Avenue. The president’s 1,050-word speech hinted at the country’s deep-seated problems. He railed against workers who were “hotheads who think results can be attained by noise or violence” and employers who “prefer government by a privileged class.”

Small help-wanted sections choked among the mess of hopeful advertisements touting “prosperity month” in that day’s newspapers. Pastry cook. Salesman at Economy Fish Market. Two wide-awake men to sell beer. Tenor and bass soloists for a church choir. Cafe cashier in exchange for two meals per day.

Everything filtered through race. Jewish. White. Colored. Filipino. Irish. Domestic help. Apartments. The vacant waitress job at 5522 Connecticut Avenue. White only.

Preparations for fox hunting season commenced in Warrenton. At the Geneva disarmament conference, diplomat Henry Morgenthau Sr. predicted war in Europe within a year. Nazi Germany refused to join the League of Nations in ensuring equal rights for Jews. Dr. A.A. Stockdale readied to deliver his sermon at the National Congregational Church the next evening on “the devil’s playground in Washington.”

White House Coffee. Four pounds of Jonathan apples for 19 cents. Little Orphan Annie comic strips. Congress beer. Cigarettes to keep husbands from yelling at wives. Cigarettes to steady the nerves of air mail pilots. Cigarettes for 99 cents per carton. Ash cans and electric banjo clocks and spending our way out of the depression.

As Cronin, batting cleanup, popped out to Mel Ott on the first pitch of the second inning, the president lunched with Clark Howell, the corruption-chasing, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and publisher of the Atlanta Constitution.

Cronin lived by himself at Wardman Park Hotel. Autograph and photo requests were awkward. He didn’t smoke or stay out late. He didn’t like to speak about himself, allowing, “I’m just a young fellow playing shortstop.” Women swooned over the youngster from San Francisco who once wanted to be a quarterback. The anxiety during spring training in Biloxi, Miss., over Cronin’s appointment as manager transformed to plaudits as “baseball’s boy wonder.”

Desperate to end a series-long slump at the plate, the Senators dumped a pile of bats in front the dugout. Each player used the first one he touched.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus