Prophit Without Assets
The letters of a self-made hockey player to the girl he left behind him
Quebec, P.Q., October 21, 1935.
MISS BETTINA WILKINS, Sioux Landing, Ontario. Dear Betty: I thought you would like to know that I am here in training camp with the Bostons, in spite of the fact that you and your mother probably hope I am fired and on my way back to make a living, being an amateur hockey player again.
Well, it may help you to know that I turned out with the club yest. a.m. and went like a million dollars with what might make a pretty good kid line, except for a guy called Walters from Winnipeg at right wing and old Trombone McDonald at left. McDonald must be all of thirty and pretty near ready for the ash can, but McQuarrie is only using him until some of the others report. Then we will probably have a real kid line with me at centre and a couple of birds, who can complete the plays I make, on the wings.
When he does talk, however, this McQuarrie is as funny as they come. In practice today, for instant, after I had given two passes to Trombone McDonald to score, I says to him as we skated off, “Pretty good going, eh, chief?” and do you know what he says? Right away he looks at me for a minute and answers, “Mow’d you ever guess I’m an Indian?” And they call that coaching a Big League hockey club !
This McQuarrie is a funny egg lor a manager, and from my way of looking at it, must be a punk who is getting by because his club is lucky to have good players. Honest, the guy don’t say five words from one day to the other. During practice all he does is skate up and down the ice, saying nothing and having a whistle in his mouth on which he blows every once in a while. When he blows the whistle everybody skates over to him and he says quietlike, “Okay. Now we’ll try Jordan and Brown and Fortin as forwards with McDonald and Merrick on defense,” or maybe, “Okay, that’s all,” or something.
Down here they are all watching me close and expecting big things, as you can tell from the papers. Already my name has been in the sports pages, which said today that “the newest rookie to report to the Cats for a tryout is Marty McGonigle from Sioux Landing, Ontario, who played centre for Port Johnson of the Great Lakes League last year.” Rookie is the word they apply to every new player until the season starts. After that there isn’t any more rookies, because all the rookies is either gone back to the bush or is on the club. Anyway, you can see they are all very interested in me and feel sure that I will bolster the team and make a perfect pivot man for the new kid line, which has got to be developed if this club is going any place this winter.
Well, Betty, you’ll soon be hearing more about me in the papers, because when the season starts the scorers’ names and line-up for all the big games is printed, even in hick sheets like the Port Johnson and Fort McHenry Argus, which your old man will still be taking unless his subscription has run out. What I always wondered is how anybody ever prised two bucks out of him for a year’s paper, or maybe he gets it free for being a political heeler. I wouldn’t know.
Give my regards to your mother, who is one member of your family which has always shown good judgment in men, except for her idea that I would of been better off going to work in McClintock’s store than playing hockey here in the Big Leagues. But you can’t blame her for that because she is probably frightened of the big-town dolls, figuring they might ruin her daughter’s happiness. Well, she needn't vyorry as women are nothing in my life this winter, although there are some pretty nifty dames in this town.
Sincerely yrs., Marty.
MISS BETTINA WILKINS. Sioux Landing. Ontario, to Martin McGonigle, October 24. Dear Marty: I was glad to hear that you like your work and also that your employers think well of you, as you state, although I
wouldn’t be too sure, because when anybody like Mr. McQuarrie, who has a very big job it seems to me, keeps quiet for a whole morning, it must be because he isn’t pleased.
But you know your own business better than anybody else, so it won’t do any good for anybody like me to suggest that you ought maybe to be a little bit more modest until you make good. Even professional hockey, I imagine, must have its code of ethics, and I don’t think you will ever go very far talking big. But far be it from me to make any suggestions.
Everything is nice here at home. Colin Beatty took me down to the Port to the movies last night and is coming out for supper Sunday. He and some other girls and fellows were up Saturday to play cards. So everything is moving along in its usual quiet way. I think what you say about not worrying about girls this winter is a very good thing, because, as father says, what a young man ought to think about first is getting somewhere in the world. Such things, of course, are none of my affair, only you mentioned them first, so I will close now. Sincerely yours, Bettina Wilkins.
’KyfARTIN McGONIGLE to Bettina Wilkins, October27. ^ Dear Betty: I got your letter and am glad to hear you are having such a swell time, although what you have ever seen in this Beatty is beyond me. You always acted goofy about him, even when you went to school. Well, I went to school with him too and have played hockey with him in the bush leagues around home, and believe me there isn’t much I can see that he has except a lot of braggadocial and a good-looking hair cut. But, as you say, you know your own business best.
Things are going very good here, but would be better if I could only get some wings to work with which knew something about playing their positions. This Walters from Winnipeg is libel to be good after three or four years seasoning in the minors, but to put a fast skater and playmaker like me with a guy like this Trombone McDonald, which is just about ready for the ash can, is criminal because it doesn’t give a real player a chance to show what he has got.
Today I spoke to McQuarrie about this, and am now sure he understands what is wrong with our line. What I did was skate over to him after one of our plays was gummed because McDonald wasn’t in the goal mouth to take my pass, and say, “Listen, boss, couldn’t I work with a couple of wings which know their stuff, because I can’t show you what I’ve got if 1 always have to wait for the way-freight to come up.”
So McQuarrie says, “Olí, I see now. I guess I must be dumb, because what I thought happened on that play was that Connors took the puck away from you. Thanks for putting me right.”
So when we practise tomorrow, probably I’ll be given a chance to work with the first-string wing men, Demers and Woolatt, because Morris, the regular centre from last year, is known to be slipping, and they will have to work in a new man pretty quick or the first line will be ruined. Probably this is what McQuarrie had on his mind all the time, only I didn’t guess it before. I’ll let you know more about this tomorrow, or maybe in a couple of days.
Well, I have to go now, because I have a date to take a femme to the movies (viz : femme is what the Frenchies call their girl friend). Sincerely yrs., Marty.
Port Johnson, Ontario, October 28, 1935.
GEORGE MCQUARRIE. Esq.,
Manager, Boston Bearcats Hockey Club,
Dear Specs: I thought I better drop you a note about this fellow Beatty with the Fort McHenry Brigands, as he looks
like a boy who will go far. Maybe you ought to dotted-line him before the Rovers, who are training at the Fort, get wise.
This Beatty went like a house on fire for Port Johnson last year, until he broke an ankle in January. Now, looking better than ever, he jumps us to play for the Fort and leaves me stuck for a first-string centre, as you have my other man McGonigle already. So I certainly would not mind if Beatty left the Brigands. Will you let me know? Sincerely yours,
Manager, Port Johnson Amateur Hockey Club.
CONNIE LEBEAU PORT JOHNSON ONT AM PUTTING HIM ON OUR NEGOTIATION LIST STOP DOES THIS MCGONIGLE GO BETTER AT CENTRE OR INTERLOCUTOR MCQUARRIE
BETTINA WILKINS to Martin
McGonigle, October 30. Dear Martin: I am glad to know you
expect to be made a member of the first forward line of your team and that everybody there thinks you are doing so well, but I wouldn’t be too cocky about it yet if I were you, because I am sure you can remember the days when you said you were going to be the captain at the Port and then the team elected Colin Beatty instead.
Talking about Colin, he has decided to play for the Fort McHenry club this winter, and they will play their first exhibition game for charity on Tuesday against the Rovers of the National League, who are doing their early training at the Fort McHenry rink this year. A bunch from here are going to drive over and see the game, and I will let you know how it goes and how Colin plays against the professionals. Daddy is going to take some of us in our car and the Wadsworths and the Saunders are taking their cars as well.
I hope you enjoyed your visit to the movies with the young lady you were speaking about in your last letter, and what is her name? I am sure it must be nice to have somebody to take out, because it would be very lonesome if you didn't have anybody who was willing to go to the movies with you, I should think. Yours sincerely, Bettina Wilkins.
MARTIN MCGONIGLE to Bettina Wilkins, November 2. Dear Betty: You certainly seem to be having a swell time with this Beatty, but I suppose you have to have somebody to take you around since I left town. Only don’t let him kid you about his being a hockey player. I admit he looked pretty good when he played for the Port until last January, but that was only a flash in the pan, as they will soon find out at Fort McHenry when they see him in a couple of games.
I am still playing with the same line of Walters and
BETTINA WILKINS to Martin Mc-
Gonigle, November 6. Dear Martin: I thought you would want to know right away about the game between Fort McHenry and the Rovers last night, and was it exciting ! Three cars went from here and we all sat together and cheered for the Brigands and Colin, which, as you know, is what the Fort McHenry club is called. Colin played swell. Everybody was worried about his ankle after what happened last winter, but it is as strong as ever, and he was just as good as when he played for the Sailors early last winter, before he got hurt and they had to make you the regular centre.
Colin scored two goals for the Brigands and was all over the ice breaking up their plays, and honestly he looked so good that people all around us were saying he ought to be in the big leagues, and no doubt the Rovers would sign him before leaving the Fort. Although a girl isn’t supposed to know much about these things, anybody could tell last night that in addition to being a perfect gentleman Colin is an awfully good hockey player. I know you will be glad to hear how well he did, because you and he were teammates before you went east for your tryout. After the game Colin took me down to Murtagh’s for oyster stew, and then drove me back to the Landing in his uncle’s car. We all felt very proud of him and some of the girls were teasing me about would I be leaving town when the Rovers go.
I hope you are still doing as well there and that you aren’t staying up too late going to the movies with Mrs. Trombone McDonald’s sister who, even though she is lovely and blonde, can still be bad for a hockey player who has to keep in condition. For your sake, of course, I am glad you have a nice girl to go out with, because it would certainly be pretty lonesome here if Colin were not around. Is Mr. McDonald’s real name Trombone?
Sincerely yours, Bettina Wilkins.
FORT MCHENRY, ONT 6 SPECS MCQUARRIE BOSTON BEARCATS HOCKEY CLUB QUEBEC QUE
THIS BOY WENT LIKE A STREAK SCORING TWO GOALS STOP SHALL I GET OUT THE DOTTED LINE LEBEAU
CONNIE LEBEAU PORT JOHNSON ONT YEAH BUT AWAIT LETTER STOP DID INTERLOCUTOR MCGONIGLE LEAVE HIS GREASE PAINT AND MAYBE HIS BANJO THERE DONT ANSWER MCQUARRIE
McDonald, but that is only because McQuarrie hasn’t got straightened out yet, because after practice today I asked him when he was going to give me a chance to show my real speed and he said, “Don’t hurry me, kid. Give me a chance to get straightened out.” So almost any day now you will be reading in the paper that I have been nominated to play first-string centre for the Cats and team up with Demers and Woolatt. Can you imagine the goals a line like that will get in a season? Boy ! I can see ’em raining in now, what with me making plays for the wings, and with that flip-shot right into the goal which I developed last year. McQuarrie knows now that if he is going to have a real scoring line this winter he will have to be doing something about it pretty quick, and there certainly isn’t anybody on this club with my speed or stick-handling ability. Watch me go !
There isn’t nothing much else doing here, as we are all working very hard getting into training. I go to the movies a couple of times a week accompanied by the young lady of
which I spoke before. She is a sister of Trombone McDonald’s wife, and in addition to being a very pretty blonde with a swell figure, is also probably interested in me because she realizes I am destined to be a star and, what with Trombone being just about ready for the ash can, they will be needing another hockey player in the family pretty soon to keep up the interest, ha, ha !
Well, I must be going now because practice is at eleven o’clock and it takes twenty minutes to get from here to the rink. Yrs., Marty.
PORT JOHNSON ONT 2
SPECS MCQUARRIE BOSTON BEARCATS HOCKEY CLUB QUEBEC QUE
BOY YOU MENTION WILL LISTEN TO REASON STOP WE ALWAYS FOUND MCGONIGLE TALKED HIS BEST GAME AS AN END MAN LEBEAU
(From the Port Johnson and Fort McHenry Argus)
LAST NIGHT’S exhibition tilt between the revamped ' Forts and the visiting major leaguers, Chicago Royers, who are doing their pre-season training in the River Cities, was featured by the performance of a local player who skated rings around many of the stars from the Big Time. The player was curly-headed Colin Beatty, who hails from near-by Sioux Landing. Beatty played with Port Johnson Sailors last season until a broken ankle ended his scintillating career in mid-January. Recently he joined the Brigands as first-string centre.
Every one of the local entry’s three goals was scored or manufactured by Beatty, who twice tallied single-handed during the second period and paved the way to the locals’ third counter with a beautiful pass to Condon in the dying seconds of the fracas. After the game it was rumored in the
Continued on t'age 36
Continued from page 13S—Starts on page 12 -
dressing rooms that Beatty is negotiating with Manager Rossiter of the Rovers and may sign a professional contract before the Big Leaguers complete their training in the Fort . . .
(From the Quebec Journal)
Seek Another Amateur Star
Fort McHenry. Ont.. Nov. 6.—Following his splendid showing against the Chicago Rovers in an exhibition game here last night, in which the professional team emerged I victorious by nine goals to three, the local j press reports that Colin Beatty, centre I player of the Fort McHenry Brigands, has
been offered a contract by the visiting Chicagoans.
MARTIN MCGONIGLE to Bettina Wilkins, November 6. Dear Bettina: I see by the papers here today that this Colin Beatty, who played centre at the Port last year until I began hitting the high spots, scored a couple of goals last night and now wants to tum pro. Since he seems to be a pretty good friend of yours I thought maybe I better write you right away and tell you to advise him not. This Beatty simply hasn’t got what it takes to be a star in this league, and only a very few new players like me has any chance to make the grade against the
best in the business. Knowing this guy’s play as well as I do and how he is a great friend of yours, I think you ought to advise him to stick to his job there and be satisfied with the dough he can make as an amateur. Honest, Betty, he would never get by in this company. ^
Things are going better than ever with me, and McQuarrie is determined to work me in with Woolatt and Demers on the first-string line. His only trouble is what to do with Morris, who has been with the club a long time and McQuarrie don’t want to hurt his feelings by getting too tough. But anybody can plainly see it is Marty McGonigle which is being groomed for the job, and when the old starting gong rings you will be seeing my name in the papers as the new centre icer of the Cats. I hope this won’t burn your old man up too much, because I know he never had much use for me. I guess that is the same old story about a prophit being without assets in his own neck of the woods. Don’t forget what I said about Beatty.
CONRAD LEBEAU PORT JOHNSON ONT PRESS HERE REPORTS YOUR MAN BEING SIGNED BY ROVERS STOP WHATS THE BIG IDEA ANSWER WRITING MCQUARRIE
ERNIE ROSSITER MANAGER CHICAGO ROVERS HOCKEY CLUB FORT MCHENRY ONT LAY OFF BEATTY I SAW HIM FIRST STOP BETTER CHECK RECENT ADDITIONS TO OUR NEGOTIATION LIST MCQUARRIE
Boston Bearcats Hockey Club World Champions, 1932-33
Quebec, November 6, 1935.
CONRAD LEBEAU, Esq..
Port Johnson. Ont.
Dear Connie: Earlier in the day I wired you as follows:
“Press here reports your man being signed by Rovers stop What’s the big idea answer writing.”
Now listen. Connie, since your legs gave out and you had to quit playing, this club has always regarded you as its ear to the ground in your part of the country. In the last couple of years you have sent us two or three pretty good prospects and have gladdened our hearts this fall by shipping in one Martin McGonigle, the Wandering Minstrel of the Middle West. But this boy Beatty, who was under your tutelage at Port Johnson last year until he broke his neck or leg or something, seems to have escaped your attention. Not only have you let him get away from your own club to join a rival amateur outfit, but now it seems you are going to let him get away from the Bearcats as well.
Well, don’t, Connie, because if you do and he signs a Rover contract large pieces of hades are going to pop in your general direction. So get busy. I enclose contract blanks with amounts filled in. If this isn’t enough you can go another five hundred without wiring for any okay. What we want is Beatty, not the old alibi. Sincerely yours, George A. McQuarrie, Manager.
PORT JOHNSON ONT 6 SPECS MCQUARRIE MANAGER BOSTON BEARCATS QUEBEC QUE
DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ STOP AWAITING YOUR LETTER SITUATION IN HAND
MARTIN MCGONIGLE to Bettina Wilkins, November 8. Dear Betty: Well, I had my first serious run-in today with this guy McQuarrie, which pretends to know hockey znd to manage our team. It had to come some time and it might as well be now as in mid-season, but the way he runs a club I’m not surprised this Bearcat entry was knocked off in the first round of the play-offs last year. It happened this
way, when I got sick and tired of stringing with a line which can’t even take a pass. Wanting to help the club, I skate over to McQuarrie and suggest he let me work with the rest of the first-string forwards for a while, so we can begin to learn each other’s style of play before the season opens. And did a guy ever blow up !
“Listen, kid,” he says in exactly that tone, “you came here for a tryout and first thing you know your going to be back with the Mudville Minstrels, or whoever it was sent you here. Go read your joke book !” Then he walks away before I get a chance to bum up and tell him what I think, or even to explain that he has got me mixed with somebody else, probably with some rookie, as I do not come from the Mudville Minstrels, which I believe is in the Prairie League. Anyway, if that’s the way he feels, McQuarrie can worry along some new way, because after I mail this letter I’m putting it all in writing and asking for a transfer to some club which can appreciate a good hockey player, some club like the Chicago Rovers, for instant. Knowing as I do how interested you are in my career, I’ll let you know right away what happens and just what steps I am forced to take to put McQuarrie in his place.
Before closing, Betty, I guess I better say one other thing, and it’s about this Colin Beatty who wanted to come up into the Big Leagues but has probably discovered by now that what he saw in the papers was just another of those news stories. Beatty is all right, I guess, but it burns me up when you tell me how you go out with him all the time, and so I want you to promise you will quit playing around with him as this is affecting my play, on account of worry. Realizing this, I am sure you will attend to it right away. Yrs., Marty.
CONRAD LEBEAU to George A. McQuarrie, November 9. Dear Specs: You bum up too fast and put too much of the old I-believe-you in the newspapers. I am at Fort McHenry and yesterday I had a long talk with young Beatty at the hotel here, followed by another today. Between times I saw his parents who, though not anxious to have their boy turn out to be a dirty professional—on account of him doing pretty well as an amateur, I guess—nevertheless won’t stand in his way if he wants to take the jump.
I showed him the contracts and did his eyes pop ! All we need now is to get his name and his Old Man’s on the dear old dotted line, which will be done in the morning. Meanwhile I have him parked out where the Rovers ' can’t find him, at a place called Sioux Landing, where his girl friend lives. So everything will be finished tomorrow.
This will be a big help to me in more ways than one, Specs. When Beatty signed to play for Fort McHenry he left me stuck for a first-string centre, after I sent you the kind of talkative McGonigle. So if Beatty signs with you, that will be equally tough on the Fort McHenrys and so help me to even up. Not so bad for an old negotiator, huh?
Will wire as soon as the mortgage is signed. Sincerely, Connie Lebeau.
MISS BETTINA WILKINS to Mr.
Martin McGonigle, November 10. Dear Mr. McGonigle: I do not know where you will be by the time this reaches you, and I don’t much care. You always were too smart and headstrong and getting into jams, which daddy says is the reason why you could never hold a job when you were at home. I have always tried to be your friend and to argue in your favor, but now I see I was wrong and that you will never amount to anything until you learn respect for your betters.
As for the things you have been saying in your letters about Colin Beatty and now your outrageous request for me to stop going out with him, please let me tell you something. Colin Beatty is a much better hockey player than you ever hoped to be, and as a gentleman there is no comparison. Moreover, Colin has been a boy friend of mine since we went to school, and I do not j
know what I ever did to make you think there was any chance for you, even though I did go out with you a couple of times and have you out to the house while he was running around with Myrtle Lloyd down in Port Johnson this summer. That was simply a misunderstanding, however, which has been all fixed up, so please do not write me any more of these insulting letters as though you owned me or had been married to me for five years. I am, yours sincerely, Bettina Wilkins.
FORT MCHENRY ONT 10 SPECS MCQUARRIE MANAGER BOSTON BEARCATS QUEBEC QUE
OKAY HE SIGNED WHAT SHALL I DO WITH THE BODY LEBEAU
CONRAD LEBEAU PORT JOHNSON ONT SEND ME BEATTY AND I WILL SHIP BACK YOUR WANDERING MINSTREL STOP HOWS THAT FOR THE OLD HELPING HAND
VfR. MARTIN McGONIGLE to Miss •*■*■*Bettina Wilkins, November 12. Dear Miss Wilkins: Your outstanding letter came at a time of decision in my life, showing you how silly it is for you to jump to conclusions just because Beatty has curly hair. Since writing to you last I have decided that this professional game is too mean and unfair for a player like me which has always had the true amateur spirit at heart, so I have decided to leave this club without delay, letting McQuarrie settle his own troubles the best way he can, and return to the amateur ranks in a section of the country where people know and appreciate good hockey. Fortunately, never being quite sure that I would want to be associated with professionals for the rest of my life, I always insisted on staying on a tryout
basis and never signed an actual contract.
So I am leaving at once to return to Port Johnson, where Mr. Lebeau says he will be more than glad to have me and already has a job for me which will pay thirty a week for the season, with nothing to do but go down and get paid every Saturday noon. So I am going to remain a strict amateur, able to hold up my head in decent society and play for a club which, with me back at centre, is bound to go places.
Your mother will be glad of this, I know, even though you are apparently so infatuous about this Beatty that you can’t see straight. However, people who make their own beds have to sweep out the cracker crumbs and be sorry for themselves when they see a local boy make good. Yrs. sincerely,
PORT JOHNSON ONT 13 SPECS MCQUARRIE MANAGER BOSTON BEARCATS QUEBEC QUE
PLAYER COLIN BEATTY AND BRIDE FORMER MISS BETTINA WILKINS OF SIOUX LANDING LEFT HERE TONIGHT STOP SHIP MCGONIGLE FREIGHT PREPAID
CONRAD LEBEAU PORT JOHNSON ONT
SHIPPING MCGONIGLE VIA REFRIGERATOR CAR STOP WHAT DOES THE BRIDE PLAY STOP GOAL DEFENSE SAXOPHONE CULBERTSON OR THE HAWAIIAN GUITAR ANXIOUS MCQUARRIE
PORT JOHNSON ONT 13 SPECS QUARRIE BOSTON BEARCATS QUEBEC QUE
INTERLOCUTOR FOR PLAYER BEATTY STOP GOOD LUCK