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قراءة كتاب A Ball Player's Career Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson

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‏اللغة: English
A Ball Player's Career
Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson

A Ball Player's Career Being the Personal Experiences and Reminiscensces of Adrian C. Anson

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 3

I did so I saw them vanish through the open door-way and disappear in the darkness.

There was no sleep for me that night, as you may imagine. I fancied that the entire Pottawattomie tribe had gathered about the house and that they would never be content until they had both killed and scalped me. I just lay there and shivered until the dawn came, and I do not think there was a happier boy in the country than I when the morning finally broke and I convinced myself by the evidence of my own eye-sight that there was not so much as even a single Indian about.

As soon as it was possible I told my father about my two unwelcome visitors, but the old man only laughed and declared that I had been dreaming. It was just possible that I had, but I do not believe it. I saw those two Indians as they stood at the head and foot of my bed just as plainly as I ever saw a base-ball, and I have had my eye on the ball a good many times since I first began to play the game. I saw both their painted faces and the tomahawks that they held in their sinewy hands. More than that, I heard them as well as saw them when they went out.

That is the reason why I insist that I was not dreaming. I deny the allegation and defy the alligator!

There were two Indians in my room that night. What they were there for I don't know, and at this late day I don't care, but they were there, and I know it. I shall insist that they were there to my dying day, and they were there!


What's in a name? Not much, to be sure, in many of them, but in mine a good deal, for I represent two Michigan towns and two Roman Emperors, Adrian and Constantine. My father had evidently not outgrown his liking for Michigan when I came into the world, and as he was familiar with both Adrian and Constantine and had many friends in both places he concluded to keep them fresh in his memory by naming me after them.

I don't think he gave much consideration to the noble old Romans at that time. In fact, I am inclined to believe that he did not think of them at all, but nevertheless Adrian Constantine I was christened, and it was as Adrian Constantine Anson that my name was first entered upon the roll of the little school at Marshalltown.

I was then in my "smart" years, and what I didn't know about books would have filled a very large library, and I hadn't the slightest desire to know any more. In my youthful mind book-knowledge cut but a small, a very small, figure, and the school house itself was as bad if not worse than the county jail.

The idea of my being cooped up between four walls when the sunbeams were dancing among the leaves outside and the bees were humming among the blossoms, seemed to me the acme of cruelty, and every day that I spent bending over a desk represented to my mind just so many wasted hours and opportunities. I longed through all the weary hours to be running out barefoot on the prairies; to be playing soak-ball, bull pen or two old cat, on one of the vacant lots, or else to be splashing about like a big Newfoundland dog in the cool waters of Lynn Creek.

About that time my father had considerable business to attend to in Chicago and was absent from home for days and weeks at a time. You know the old adage, "When the cat's away," etc.? Well, mouse-like, that was the time in which I played my hardest. I played hookey day after day, and though I was often punished for doing so it had but little effect. Run away from school I would, and run away from school I did until even the old man became disgusted with the idea of trying to make a scholar of me.

Sport of any kind, and particularly sport of an outdoor variety, had for me more attractions than the best book that was ever published. The game of base-ball was then in its infancy and while it was being played to some extent to the eastward of us the craze had not as yet reached Marshalltown. It arrived there later and it struck the town with both feet, too, when it did come.

"Soak Ball" was at this time my favorite sport. It was a game in which the batter was put out while running the bases by being hit with the ball; hence the name. The ball used was a comparatively soft one, yet hard enough to hurt when hurled by a powerful arm, as many of the old-timers as well as myself can testify. It was a good exercise, however, for arms, legs and eyes, and many of the ball players who acquired fame in the early seventies can lay the fact that they did so to the experience and training that this rough game gave to them.

So disgusted did my father finally become with the progress of my education at Marshalltown that he determined upon sending me to the State University at Iowa City. I was unable to pass the examination there the first time that I tried it, but later I succeeded and the old man fondly imagined that I was at last on the high road to wealth, at least so far as book-knowledge would carry me.

But, alas, for his hopes in that direction! I was not a whit better as a student at Iowa City than I had been at home. I was as wild as a mustang and as tough as a pine knot, and the scrapes that I managed to get into were too numerous to mention. The State University finally became too small to hold me and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, then noted as being one of the strictest schools in the country, was selected as being the proper place for "breaking me into harness," providing that the said "breaking in" performance could be successfully accomplished anywhere.

To Notre Dame I went and if I acquired any honors in the way of scholarships during the brief time that I was there I have never heard of them. Foot-ball, base-ball and fancy skating engrossed the most of my attention, and in all of these branches of sport I attained at least a college reputation. As a fancy skater I excelled, and there were few boys of my age anywhere in the country that could beat me in that line.

The base-ball team that represented Notre Dame at that time was the Juanitas, and of this organization I was a member, playing second base. The bright particular star of this club was my brother Sturgis, who played the center field position. Had he remained in the business he would certainly have made his mark in the profession, but unfortunately he strained his arm one day while playing and was obliged to quit the diamond. He is now a successful business man in the old town and properly thankful that a fate that then seemed most unkind kept him from becoming a professional ball player.

Looking back over my youthful experiences I marvel that I have ever lived to relate them, and that I did not receive at least a hundred thrashings for every one that was given me. I know now that I fully deserved all that I received, and more, too. My father was certainly in those days a most patient man. I have recorded the fact elsewhere that I was as averse to work as I was to study, and I had a way of avoiding it at times that was peculiarly my own.

While I was still a boy in Marshalltown and before I had graduated (?) from either the State University or the college of Notre Dame, my father kept a hotel known as the Anson House. The old gentleman was at that tune the possessor of a silver watch, and to own that watch was the height of my ambition. Time and again I begged him to give it to me, but he had turned a deaf ear to my importunities.

In the back yard of the hotel one day when I had been begging him for the gift harder than usual, there stood a huge pile of wood that needed splitting, and looking at this he remarked, that I could earn the watch if I chose by doing the task. He was about to take a journey at the time and I asked him if he really meant it. He replied that he did, and started away.

I don't think he had any more idea of my doing the task than he had of my flying. I had some ideas of my own on the subject, however, and he was scarcely out of sight before I began to put them into execution. The larder of the hotel was well