CHAPTER FOURTEEN

1909 —1911: Recessional

HEN CY YOUNG returned to a Cleveland baseball club in 1909, he was joininga pennant contender. Which is precisely W why the Naps wanted him. 1 In 1908 Cleveland had finished just half a game behind first-place Detroit. The club already had Addie Joss, who had finished the 1908 season — his fourth in a row as a twenty-game winner — by throwing the twentieth century's second perfect game. It was easy for the Cleveland management to believe that if Cy Young had been wearinga Nap uniform in 1908, Cleveland would have swept to the flag. Manager Larry Lajoie, who had urged Charles Somers to go after Young's contract, was delighted at the addition to his already strong staff. “Cy Young, ” he declared, “will be one of our mainstays for several seasons.... The beauty about Cy is that he can work in any kind of weather.” 2

Rather than make his customary trip to Hot Springs, Young joined the rest of the Nap squad in Mobile, as big as ever but in high spirits and ready to trim himself into shape. Alabama fans swarmed into the ballpark in March to see the three stars now playing for Cleveland — the brilliant Joss, not yet thirty and presumably approaching his prime, and the veterans Lajoie and Young, whose activities eight years earlier had given crucial credibility to Ban Johnson's experiment. When Young marked off his forty-second birthday, his teammates threw a party. 3 Far from beinga merely local occasion, the celebration triggered a deluge of cong ratulatory messages from around the country. Most observers expected a Cleveland team fortified by Cy Young to appear in the World Series in 1909.

Things did not work out that way. But the season still provided Cy Young with several memorable moments. The earliest came with Cleveland's opening series. Scheduled for St. Louis, it gave him and his former

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