Once upon a Time a Base Ball Fan lay on his Death-Bed.
He had been a Rooter from the days of Underhand Pitching.
It was simply Pie for him to tell in what year Anse began to play with the Rockfords and what Kelly’s Batting Average was the Year he sold for Ten Thousand.
If you asked him who played Center for Boston in 1886 he could tell you quick–right off the Reel. And he was a walking Directory of all the Glass Arms in the Universe.
More than once he had let drive with a Pop Bottle at the Umpire and then yelled “Robber” until his Pipes gave out. For many Summers he would come Home, one Evening after Another, with his Collar melted, and tell his Wife that the Giants made the Colts look like a lot of Colonial Dames playing Bean Bag in a Weedy Lot back of an Orphan Asylum, and they ought to put a Trained Nurse on Third, and the Dummy at Right needed an Automobile, and the New Man couldn’t jump out of a Boat and hit the Water, and the Short-Stop wouldn’t be able to pick up a Ball if it was handed to him on a Platter with Water Cress around it, and the Easy One to Third that ought to have been Sponge Cake was fielded like a One-Legged Man with St. Vitus dance trying to do the Nashville Salute.
Of course she never knew what he was Talking about, but she put up with it, Year after Year, mixing Throat Gargle for him and reading the Games to him when he was having his Eyes tested and had to wear a Green Shade.
At last he came to his Ninth Inning and there were Two Strikes called and no Balls, and his Friends knew it was All Day with him. They stood around and tried to forget that he was a Fan. His Wife wept softly and consoled herself with the Thought that possibly he would have amounted to Something if there had been no National Game. She forgave Everything and pleaded for one Final Message. His Lips moved. She leaned over and Listened. He wanted to know if there was Anything in the Morning Papers about the Condition of Bill Lange’s Knee.
MORAL: There is a Specific Bacillus for every Classified Disease.