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If You’re Ever in Tampa, Skip Margie’s

Maybe Chan Ho Park should feel lucky his teammates cut up his clothes.

By historic standards, it could have been much worse.

Henry W. Thomas relates what the 1924 Washington Senators did to Al Schacht in his book, “Walter Johnson: Baseball’s Big Train.” Johnson, one of the conspirators that night, was Thomas’ grandfather.

Schacht was trying to resurrect his pitching career with the Senators in spring training in Florida. One night at dinner Washington Manager Bucky Harris said to Schacht:

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“Al, last night I met two of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. They’re going to rent a cottage near here in a few days and you and I are going to visit them. I told them all about you and they’re dying to meet you.”

Several nights later, Harris whispered to Schacht: “It’s all set for tonight, Al.”

Schacht got a haircut and shave, had his suit pressed and bought a $12 bottle of Prohibition whiskey.

A taxi took the pair into the dark countryside, to a cottage, where Harris knocked on the door. When it opened, Harris said: “Is Margie in?”

A man with a revolver suddenly appeared and aimed it at Harris’ heart. The man shouted: “So you’re the dirty bums who are trying to break up my home!”

He fired two shots at Harris, and the manager screamed: “I’m shot! He got me!”

Harris crumpled to the ground.

Then the man looked at the white-faced Schacht and yelled: “And now I’m going to get you, you rat!”

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Leaping from the porch in a hail of gunshots, Schacht took off running down the road back to Tampa, miles away. He ducked into bushes along the way when cars appeared.

When he staggered into the hotel lobby, exhausted, he was confronted by the entire Senator team--including Harris. All of the players had watched the episode from behind bushes.

“Al, you look a little pale,” someone said.

Said Schacht, years later: “What really hurt is that they couldn’t keep it to themselves. Even now, every once in a while, someone will shout: ‘Hey, Al--how’s Tampa Margie?’ ”

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