Golden Age of Baseball in Detroit
by Richard Bak
Buy it from Amazon from Barnes & Noble
« 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 »
EDDIE WELLS: Then the next year when school was out, I reported to Detroit in Boston. See, I was a country boy... I hit Boston about 6:30 in the morning, at the New Brunswick Hotel where the Detroit club was. And the first thing I did, I called Cobb on the phone! He was sound asleep. Got him out of bed. Man, I didn't know ball players didnit get out of bed 'til nine or ten in the morning. I was just a farm boy, I didn't have no sense.
Anyway, Cobb says, "Come on up." So I had breakfast with him. Spent the whole morning with ol' Ty. He asked me all about myself. Then that afternoon we go to the ballpark and-- dad-gone! -- come the eighth inning and I'm in the ball game! Ira Flagstead was the first batter I faced. Never will forget it. He hit a line drive right at my face and I threw my glove up and caught it. Pitched one inning. Didn't get one hit. That's my initiation into the big leagues. I was just about scared to death. Anyone who tells you they're not scared their first game is full of bull.
That night we left for New York to play the Yankees. George Dauss, the old Detroit pitcher, he liked his beer. Cobb told George, "Listen, when we get to New York, you leave the beer alone. You're gonna pitch the opening game of the series tomorrow."
So lo and behold, we get to the ballpark the next day, it's a beautiful day, and George comes in. Cobb takes one look at ol' George and he's red in the face.
He says, "You've been drinking beer!" George says, "Yes I have."
Cobb says, "You're starting the game."
Well, he started that ball game and they got seven runs before you could shake a stick at him. There's four or five pitchers in that ball game. But anyhow, around the fifth inning Cobb says, "Ed, go down to the bullpen." By the start of the sixth inning I was in the ball game. And Babe Ruth is the first man up.
Johnny Bassler was the catcher and he come out and ask me, "Whatcha gonna throw him?"
I told him, "Nothin'." He looked at me and I said, "I ain't throwin' him nothin'." I had a whale of a slow curveball. And that's what I threw him. Struck him out. They didn't get no hits in three innings off me.
I stayed with the club until July 21. Cobb came up to me and said, "You need more experience. How'd you like to go to Birmingham, Alabama, and finish the year?" I said, "Well, that's fine." So I went to Birmingham in the Southern League and won eight, lost seven. Then the next year , my senior year, I won six and lost eight with Detroit.
From Cobb Would Have Caught It by Richard Bak.
Copyright © 1991 by Wayne State University Press. Reprinted with permission.