Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Your Chance to Win a Copy of King of the Hall of Flakes

Your Chance to Win a Copy of King of the Hall of Flakes

Author W. G. (Will) Braund

Decide which of these crazy things Rube did was the nuttiest and you could win a copy of King of the Hall of Flakes. The tenth submission will be chosen.

    Pick from among the following things.

Rube

chewed live snakes on a vaudeville stage
missed a start because he was home playing with his new puppy
married a girl he'd met two days before
did handsprings and cartwheels off the mound after striking out the side
blew up a stove when imprisoned by the National Guard (they let him go)
wrestled alligators
herded the runners around the bases like dogeys in a cattle drive when coaching first
ate more than 100 oysters in a contest
ordered everyone (but the catcher) off the field
sold wieners on a bun outside the crosstown stadium
often caught fish where no one had for years
knocked out several 'villains' in Stain of Guilt because he couldn't master the fake punch
soaked his arm in cold water BEFORE a game to take some of the speed out of his shoots
introduced himself to his all of his new teammates when he arrived in town - at 3 a.m.
never had a bank account
threw a slider, curve, screwball, and knuckleball
played with a lion on stage
ran into the stands and dragged a notorious gambler onto the diamond
picked up (by himself) and carried a woodstove from a burning store
jumped out a hotel window

Actually he did a lot more crazy things. They're in the book.

Send your choice to w.braund@sympatico.ca



Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Announcement


Preview of  KING of the HALL of FLAKES a baseball novel based on the extraordinary life and career of Rube Waddell.
Available in soft cover at Amazon.com, as a Nook Book via Barnes & Noble, and as a Kobo at chapters.indigo.ca. Soon to be available in both hard and soft cover.


You normally pay 50 cents to see a big league ball game, though sometimes you decide to be thrifty and pay two bits to sit on the bleacher benches. But today you splurge and shell out a dollar to sit in a box seat. You know you’re in for a treat. Rube Waddell, the most exciting twirler in baseball, will be in the pitcher’s box.
It turns out you’ve wasted your money. The phenom does not pitch. In fact, he’s not even in the stadium. You later learn that he chose to play sandlot ball with some kids he passed on his walk from the hotel to the ballpark.

You’re delighted the next time you go to see him and Rube actually shows up, though a bit late - he was playing miggles with kids under the grandstand. But in the second inning, after breezily striking out the side in the first and then doing handsprings off the mound, he suddenly and inexplicably drops the ball and his glove and runs off the mound and straight out the centerfield exit. You have neither seen nor heard anything that might explain such bizarre behavior. But then, outside the stadium walls, you hear what he has heard – the clanging of the bell of a fire wagon. Rube is off to save more lives.
You try one more time and the twirler is late again. You ask the booster sitting beside you what might be the holdup. He matter-of-factly tells you that Rube often soaks his pitching arm in cold water.

Before the game?” you ask.
“Ya, he says he needs to take some of the speed out of it, otherwise his shoots’ll burn up the catcher’s mitt.”

When the star takes the mound he is virtually untouchable. When his fastball smacks into the catcher’s mitt the sound echoes through the seats as if a gun’s been fired. His curveball seems to break two feet and batters just watch helplessly as it drops over the plate. Then he curves one just as sharply the opposite way! He blazes two more incredibly fast pitches over the plate and the hitter barely gets his bat off his shoulder. The next pitch seems to dance up to the plate and the crowd roars in delight as the batter actually swings at it twice. Somehow, this lovable, unsophisticated twirler has taught himself how to throw a knuckleball. “He calls it a wobbler,” the booster next to you explains.

“Is there anything he can’t do?” you ask the cranks around you.
A man with a red handlebar moustache says, “Ya. Rube can’t throw at batters to keep them off the plate like other twirlers do. He’s afraid of killing somebody. And he refuses to throw spitters. Says it ain’t sanitary.”

Instead of resting between innings the phenom coaches first base. He makes faces, does spot-on impressions of the opposing pitcher and the umpire, and pretends to drive the runners around the bases like dogies in a cattle drive. Then he goes up and sits in the stands and shares a bag of peanuts with some of the rooters. You’re close enough to see that he has clear blue eyes, a permanent grin, and huge hands. He compliments a pretty girl on her bonnet and parasol before heading back to work. She blushes.
The Tigers try to distract him by holding up kittens. They know how much Rube loves animals. He does his best to focus. Ty Cobb comes off the bench holding an adorable little tabby.

“You like this one, hayseed? Well I’m gonna drown the little fucker!”

You’ve heard stories of Rube’s incredible strength and wonder if he’ll go after Cobb and throw him over the fence.

In the ninth inning Rube calls time and instructs the infielders and outfielders to sit on the grass and he effortlessly fires nine straight strikes as the hitters stand and stare. Then he does cartwheels all the way to the bench.
“No wonder the stands are full on a Wednesday,” you say to yourself on your way out.