(left to right, Mickey Cochrane, Frankie Frisch)
From Harold Rosenthal’s “The Ten Best Years Of Baseball : An Informal History Of The Fifties” (Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1979)
Everyone was familiar with Frankie Frisch’s outside interests. He was an ardent gardener, a voracious reader, an effervescent friend to most newsmen and radio people.
One day in Ebbets Field, Red Barber, the Brooklyn broadcaster, pressed a novel on Frisch, insisting he read it. Standing by the dugout Barber enthused, “I can’t remember when I enjoyed a book so much.” Barber was a strong reader himself.
The book was “Quiet Street”, a novel by Zelda Popkin, which still surfaces occasionally. Frisch thanked Barber, took it and placed it alongside him on the dugout bench.
Now it was time for turning over the starting lineups to the umpires. Out came Pee Wee Reese, the Dodger captain, in lieu of Burt Shotton (The elderly Shotton wore civvies, usually with a Dodger windbreaker and a fedora and this get-up was unacceptable on the field.) Bearing the other lineup card came Frisch.
As Frisch approached the blue his bile began to churn.
They were still working with three-man crews. This one consisted of Jocko Conlna, a Hall of Famer, Bill Stewart, who also officiated in hig-league hockey, and Artie Gore.
Conlan had given Frisch the thumb the previous evening for pressing a point beyond what Conlan considered reasonable limitations. Frisch hadn’t cared for the ejection and even after sleeping on it he started to seethe as though it had taken place only five minutes earlier.
As he turned in the card listing the order in which his humpties would hit (The Cubs finished a snappy seventh that season) he muttered, “I hope we get a better game than the one you gave us last night.”
Stewart was scheduled to work behind the plate. He had a New England accent and rabbit ears. “Y’routa the game” he yelled, giving Frisch the big motion.
Before departing Frisch unleased his very best vocabularly . The officials stood around listening carefully, hoping he’d go beyond the usual invective so they could mention some unusual phrase of epithet in their report. Then he turned on his heel and strode into the dugot, en route to the banishment of the clubhouse. When you’re thumbed out you can’t stick around for a view.
The first Cub batter took his stance against Preacher Row, the angular lefty who was not above calling on a spitter when necessary. Bill Stewart called out to him to start pitching.
Suddenly, there was a commotion off to one side. Something had come hurtling out of the Cub dugout in the general direction of home plate. What’s this? A book? The batboy ran across, picked it up, and turned it over so Stewart could read the title ; “Quiet Street.”