Chick Stahl’s Tale of Cy Swaim and his Concerns with a Lady Friend

Chick Stahl, former star of the 1890s with the champion Boston club of the National League, sat down with a group of writers and told a story about his former teammate Cy Swaim, a tall pitcher he once formed a battery with during a pick-up game at Fort Wayne.  Stahl’s story speaks more about Swaim’s interest in the thoughts of a lady he was courting than his own health.  This yarn comes courtesy the Chicago Inter Ocean, October 30, 1898.

Chick says, “I was Cy Swaim’s catcher once in an exhibition game at Fort Wayne.  We were short of a backstop, and George Tebeau stuck me behind the wind pad because I used to catch occasional games in our spring practice.  Cy’s full arm swing, that windmill of his, confused me when the base runners on the other team tried to steal a base.  I could nail a runner at third once in a while, but on the throw to second Cy’s pile-driver shape loomed up before me and balked my throw.  So I fixed it up with Cy to give him a tip every time I was in the act of throwing to the second sack.  ‘When I yell “Low Bridge!” Cy, you duck, and don’t feel afraid that I will nail you’ said I.  At the first yell of low bridge I fired away.  But Cy forgot to duck, and the ball collided with his Adam’s apple, bounced off into foul ground, and the base stealer ran to third.  When Cy recovered he sauntered up to the home plate and threatened to make a whisk broom of me.  ‘See here, Chick,’ said Cy, ‘don’t give me any more of that low bridge business and make me look like a rube.  I won’t stand for it.  I have a young lady friend here–that one with the yaller dress up there in the stand–and if you keep yelling low bridge at me you will queer me with the lady.'”


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