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The Young Pitcher   By: (1872-1939)

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First Page:

The Young Pitcher

By Zane Grey

1911

CONTENTS

I. The Varsity Captain

II. A Great Arm

III. Prisoner of the Sophs

IV. The Call for Candidates

V. The Cage

VI. Out on the Field

VII. Annihilation

VIII. Examinations

IX. President Halstead on College Spirit

X. New Players

XI. State University Game

XII. Ken Clashes with Graves

XIII. Friendship

XIV. The Herne Game

XV. A Matter of Principle

XVI. The First Place Game

XVII. Ken's Day

XVIII. Breaking Training

I

THE VARSITY CAPTAIN

Ken Ward had not been at the big university many days before he realized the miserable lot of a freshman.

At first he was sorely puzzled. College was so different from what he had expected. At the high school of his home town, which, being the capital of the State, was no village, he had been somebody. Then his summer in Arizona, with its wild adventures, had given him a self appreciation which made his present situation humiliating.

There were more than four thousand students at the university. Ken felt himself the youngest, the smallest, the one of least consequence. He was lost in a shuffle of superior youths. In the forestry department he was a mere boy; and he soon realized that a freshman there was the same as anywhere. The fact that he weighed nearly one hundred and sixty pounds, and was no stripling, despite his youth, made not one whit of difference.

Unfortunately, his first overture of what he considered good fellowship had been made to an upper classman, and had been a grievous mistake. Ken had not yet recovered from its reception. He grew careful after that, then shy, and finally began to struggle against disappointment and loneliness.

Outside of his department, on the campus and everywhere he ventured, he found things still worse. There was something wrong with him, with his fresh complexion, with his hair, with the way he wore his tie, with the cut of his clothes. In fact, there was nothing right about him. He had been so beset that he could not think of anything but himself. One day, while sauntering along a campus path, with his hands in his pockets, he met two students coming toward him. They went to right and left, and, jerking his hands from his pockets, roared in each ear, "How dare you walk with your hands in your pockets!"

Another day, on the library step, he encountered a handsome bareheaded youth with a fine, clean cut face and keen eyes, who showed the true stamp of the great university.

"Here," he said, sharply, "aren't you a freshman?"

"Why yes," confessed Ken.

"I see you have your trousers turned up at the bottom."

"Yes so I have." For the life of him Ken could not understand why that simple fact seemed a crime, but so it was.

"Turn them down!" ordered the student.

Ken looked into the stern face and flashing eyes of his tormentor, and then meekly did as he had been commanded.

"Boy, I've saved your life. We murder freshmen here for that," said the student, and then passed on up the steps.

In the beginning it was such incidents as these that had bewildered Ken. He passed from surprise to anger, and vowed he would have something to say to these upper classmen. But when the opportunity came Ken always felt so little and mean that he could not retaliate. This made him furious. He had not been in college two weeks before he could distinguish the sophomores from the seniors by the look on their faces. He hated the sneering "Sophs," and felt rising in him the desire to fight. But he both feared and admired seniors. They seemed so aloof, so far above him. He was in awe of them, and had a hopeless longing to be like them. And as for the freshmen, it took no second glance for Ken to pick them out. They were of two kinds those who banded together in crowds and went about yelling, and running away from the Sophs, and those who sneaked about alone with timid step and furtive glance... Continue reading book >>




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