Four years after Rube Waddell played his final game for the Athletics, The Philadelphia Bulletin told a story that, like much of the Waddell canon, may or may not be apocryphal:
“To those who know the steady, staid (Connie) Mack, the following may appeal:
“A ‘cub’ reporter in Chicago strayed into the clutches of the Rube one afternoon and impressed the great pitcher with the fact that he must have something startling in the way of news or be apt to lose his position.
“The Rube was ever a friendly spirit, sympathetic with the weak, even if he had to tap the strong to reimburse the fallen.”
So, said The Bulletin, Waddell was determined to provide the young reporter with a “Startling” scoop:
“I’d take you to see Connie,’ opened the Rube, ‘but he and (Michael) ‘Doc’ Powers are playing poker and ‘doc’ hates to be disturbed when they are gambling.”
He then told the reporter that Lave Cross was:
“Off somewhere and I guess he is tending bar for a friend somewhere on State Street. (and) I don’t know any news to give you except that all this stuff about Ossee Schreck (Schrecongost) is a ‘kid,’ he never fools with the firewater and every time that Monte Cross gets off the wagon why they blame it on me or Schreck.”
The reporter hurried back to his paper:
“(T)uring over in his mind the thought that Mack was gambling with his players, Lave Cross was the wild man and that Monte Cross was the real culprit when it came to tapping the paint. He whirled off a story on the machine and handed it to the sporting editor. That dignitary looked at the cub, scratched his head and kindly asked the youth where he secured his information.
“’Why, it’s big news and ‘Rube’ Waddell gave it to me,’ answered that unsophisticated party. ‘Well, young man,’ continued the sporting editor, ‘Connie Mack never wagers, drinks or smokes; Lave Cross is the quietest man in the world and does not tend bar, and Monte Cross is a white ribboner.”
The editor of the Chicago paper went to Mack and informed him about Waddell’s conversation with the young reporter:
“Connie, Lave and Monte had a quiet laugh and derived considerable interest watching Waddell load up with a bundle of newspapers each day to catch his red-hot interview.”