Hugh Fullerton was one of baseball’s most influential writers; his career began in 1889 and he was active into the 1930s. Widely credited as the first writer to directly quote players and managers, he is the source of hundreds of stories. Some, like the story the story of Bill Lange’s fence-crashing catch, are likely untrue. Others may be apocryphal, or exaggerated.
This one is about Hall of Famer John Alexander “Bid” McPhee:
“The cleverest bit of quick thinking I ever witnessed was years ago in Cincinnati, and Bid McPhee, the ‘King,’ pulled it off. How fast he thought only can be guessed. It must have been instantaneous. Bid was on first base with nobody out, when somebody drove a ball straight at ‘Wild’ Bill Everitt who was playing first for Chicago. Bill dug up the ball, touched first, and made one of his copyrighted throws to second to catch Bid, having plenty of time for the double play.
“The ball disappeared. (Bill) Dahlen, who was on second, never saw it. He thought the ball had hit Bid. The umpire, crouching to see the play at the base, lost the ball. Bid hesitated at second, glanced around, saw the entire Chicago infield running around wildly and tore for third. At third, after turning the base, he hesitated again, looked back, and then tore for home. From his actions both at second and third any spectator would have sworn Bid was as ignorant of the whereabouts of the ball as were the Chicago players.
“The Chicago team was wild with excitement and the crowd was mystified. No one knew where the ball was. The only clue was a yell of amusement from the Cincinnati bench.
“The ball had disappeared utterly and the umpire threw out a new one. After the game we learned what had become of the ball. Everitt hit Bid with it. The ball had struck him under the arm, and holding it tight against his body Bid carried it entirely around the bases and to the bench while acting as if he didn’t know where it was.”