Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Wagon before the Horse

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The migration from Ohio to Missouri didn’t go as Joseph Smith envisioned. What went wrong?
a.                  The poor went before the rich
b.                  The Jack Mormons went before the Spiritually vested Mormons
c.                   Members purchased land before selling off their Ohio properties
d.                  The regular members flooded the area before the leaders arrived
Yesterday’s answer:
D   800
South African Mission baseball:   Back in Cape Town the Cumorah’s and Nomads would do battle many times that first season with their rivalry culminating in a five-game championship series held over the last week of January and the first two weeks of February 1933. After four games, the winner of the Henry Hermann Cup had yet to be determined, and Game 5 was scheduled for Saturday, February 11, at Hartleyvale Field in Observatory. More than eight hundred fans witnessed the historic finale to the Western Province Baseball Championship. The game went into the final inning tied four all. The Nomads were held scoreless in the top half; and with two outs and a man on third in the bottom, it all came down to the “Suit Rack”—the nickname of the Cumorah’s ninth man, a missionary who had not grown up playing the game and was not particularly good at it, especially when it came to hitting. According to Dalton, who never mentions the player by name, the moniker was given the missionary simply because the team required nine players “so a suit was hung on him” to compete the lineup. Dalton’s energetic writing captures the moment:
Look! The score is four to four in the ninth and Cumorah is last at bat and has two men down, however, a man is on third and if he can be brought in, the game will be won. Imagine the publicity this will give the Mormons. But the “Suit Rack” was the man to go to the bat, and all Cumorah and friends let out a groan. He would fan for sure and the Nomads would get another chance and they were plenty strong and were trying hard to win. Boy! If a prayer could only be answered now in favor of Cumorah.
The “suit rack” knew his weakness and felt it more than anyone else. He was the humblest of any man on the field and felt that too. He picked up a bat, it didn’t make any difference, which one it was, any one would do, the result would be the same. Charlie Converse the polished Nomads pitcher knew that and his winning smile became bigger and bigger as he looked about the in-field with satisfaction as the eager team mates registered delight because of the poor plight Cumorah found itself in, which was all to the advantage of the Nomads.
The scorekeeper called a second time the name of the “suit rack” because he was so slow in performing his unwanted duty. He dragged the heavy bat over to the missionary [Don Dalton] and said, “Pray for me--, where upon the missionary replied, “Pray for you! Yes, but I’m tired [of] praying for you!, Go out there and hit that ball.”
The “suit rack” squared his shoulders and crunched his molars. His lower jaw became firm and set and he went to the plate, --a man. “Step into it Elder”, came the word from the bench as Converse wound up.
Down the alley, and through the groove the ball came, because there was no use using any more than three balls straight over the plate to strike out the “suit rack”. But WHAM!—WHAT! He stepped into it, a great hit, a Texas leaguer, where the infield could not reach it and too short for the outfield. Oh! Boy!—the crowd went wild. They didn’t even notice the winning run as one of the missionaries ran across the plate. All eyes were on the “suit rack”. It was a feast. Cheered and admired the humblest one of all was showered with congratulations. His best was not good enough, but the prayer that his best might be made better was answered. This was in fact his best missionary work.
Booker T. Alston, The Cumorah Baseball Club: Mormon Missionaries and Baseball in South Africa, Journal of Mormon History, Summer 2014, 105-107.

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