Rookie of the Year

Free Rookie of the Year by John R. Tunis

Book: Rookie of the Year by John R. Tunis Read Free Book Online
Authors: John R. Tunis
The man on the sack, furious, hurled the ball into the ground before his feet. Suddenly a piercing shout rose from the diamond and from the bleachers behind third. The first baseman jumped down, grabbed the ball, whirled and burned it to the plate. Big Red Allen, on second, had started with the bunt, rounded third without pausing, and roared home. His two hundred pounds straining to give everything he had, legs extended, arms up, he came charging into the plate in a smoke screen of dust as the ball reached the catcher above. The umpire, bending over, extended his hands. Another run across.
    When the noise subsided, or as it was subsiding, Roy Tucker was sliding head first into second. The catcher, off balance, threw quickly and the ball got past the shortstop into left field. Roy picked himself up and came into third standing. Meanwhile at the plate Red Allen rose slowly from the dirt. Spike ran over and helped the big chap to his feet, walking back to the bench, his arm around him. “Red, by golly, before I came to this club I always thought you were the greatest first baseman in the game. Now, doggone, I’m sure of it!”
    The veteran leaned over, shook the dirt from his uniform, and grinned. “We’ll get ’em for you yet, Spike.”
    Gosh, what a team! They’re money players; looks like they’ve got to be spotted a couple of runs before they really bear down. What a team they are in a pinch!
    “All right, gang, le’s go! Here comes another pitcher, boys; here comes a new man. What say we get this one? O.K., Clyde, one man down and a runner on third.” Nervously swinging two bats, Spike Russell stood in the circle watching his star rookie in the batter’s box. Holy smoke; he’s cooler’n I am. But we sure need this game. If we can only grab off two more runs and take second place tonight, we won’t ever look back; I know we won’t.
    Baldwin hit cleanly into the hole between second and first. Tucker came across with the fourth run. What a crowd to play with! They’re just never beaten. Now it’s up to me.
    The man in the box was keeping the ball low and outside, Spike’s one weakness, but at two and two he hit. A weak one, in the air. He ran hard to first but the yells from the stands told the story. He was out.
    Shaking his head, he returned to the dugout. Shucks, that’s not backing them up like I should. I ought to have crowned that second pitch, that fast ball. You can’t hit if you don’t take your bat off your shoulder. And my timing is way off these days. But we aren’t licked yet; Harry Street always picks me up.
    Harry caught the two and two count and laced the ball over third down the left field line, a good clean single. Baldwin was coming into third, and Spike, tense and anxious, stood on the step of the dugout watching Harry race like mad, head down, for second base. The throw was to third, it was wild... c’mon, Clyde, c’mon in.... Holy Smoke, now Harry’s going into third! What a ballplayer that guy is!
    Baldwin was in and Harry slid safely into third. The bases were cleared ahead of him and the score was a tie at five apiece. When Bob swaggered to the plate, Spike hardly dared look, feeling certain his brother would bring home the winning run. He did. His shot bounced against the scoreboard; 475 feet from home plate.
    Now the Dodgers were leading; they were ahead by two runs, but they weren’t yet out of the woods. For in the last of the ninth the Pirates came roaring back, angered at seeing a game already won snatched from them. The first batter hit a sizzling bounder through the box. Spike darted across. It was a hard ball tagged for center field, yet he had stopped harder ones. So he went all out, racing desperately over to stab it back of second. Then, in his hurry, he made a mistake. Off balance, he threw to Red.
    The throw was so wild not even Red could block it, and the runner, without pausing, rounded the inside of the bag and started for second. Then Spike saw Jocko Klein. He

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