AN ARTICLE FROM THE BASEBALL MAGAZINE: MAY: ONEMOREINNING
FAUST AND THE GIANTS
John McGraw didnt know what to make of
the fellow who stood before him. He was tall, had squinty, weak looking eyes, walked with a limping gait, seemed clumsy and uncoordinated, and never stopped grinning. As if that wasnt enough, he was gap-toothed as well. McGraw had seen strange looking men before. What made this young man unusual was what he kept telling McGraw. He had come from a farm in Kansa, he was a pitcher, and a fortune teller had told him that if he pitched for the Giants, they would absolutely, definitely, no doubt about it, win the 1911 pennant. Well, thats a pretty good prediction.
McGraw took Charles Victor Faust out onto the field and gave him a tryout. There was nothing to lose. The Giants were in St. Louis, it was an off day, things were a bit slow, and this might liven up the day. It did.
It took no time at all for John McGraw to realize that Charles Victor Faust could not pitch. He did manage to reach the plate but there was nothing on the pitches and they were barely within the strike zone, if at all. However there was something about Faust, and of course there was that prediction. How could anyone ignore that?
Faust became the Giants mascot. He was what he was. A country bumpkin, eccentric in manner, (some even suggested that he was a lunatic) and awkward looking in appearance. Before every game during the 1911 season, he would don a Giants uniform and warm up with the other Giants pitchers with the hope that he would pitch that day. Meanwhile the Giants were winning. The season wore on, Faust would go out and warm up before every game and the Giants kept on winning. With a month left to the season they reeled off 20 wins out of 24 games and ended up winning the pennant by 7 ½ games over the powerful Cubs.
In the last game of the season, Charles Victor(Y), a Y had been added to his middle name by the sports-writers for obvious reasons, Faust, came in to pitch the last inning against the last place Dodgers. He allowed one hit and gave up no runs. Besides that, in his turn at bat, he was hit by a pitch, stole second and third and scored. Coming back to the bench, he grinned at his teammates and asked, Whos looney now?
The World Series of 1911 was a battle of mascots. The Athletics under Connie Mack, had a dwarf named Louis Van Zelst and the Giants of course had Charles Victor(Y) Faust. According to the players Van Zelst had brought them luck all season long. As a child he had been involved in an accident which left his body misshapen and humpbacked. Before the start of every game the players would come over to Van Zelst, rub his humpback for luck and then go out to play their game. It must have worked. They won the 1911 pennant. It worked even more so against the 1911 Giants as they beat them 4 games to 2. After the series Faust was quick to point out to McGraw and everybody else that he had just promised the pennant and the World Series he had no control of.
In 1912, the Faust magic worked again as the Giants won their second successive pennant. Once again though, they lost the World Series. It was midway through the season that Fausts behavior became more eccentric than usual. His coloring turned pasty looking, especially around the face. His walk, which was a cross between a rabbits and a kangaroo, became slower and more measured. He was still the team mascot but now he was warming up less than the year before.
1913 was another banner year for the Giants, with Charles Victor(Y) Faust promising them another pennant and making good on that promise. For the third year in a row the Giants won the pennant and as in the last two years, lost the World Series. For some reason Fausts magic only applied to the pennant drive. It was almost as if some higher power was penalizing them for accepting Faust as one of their own. This year though, he was not on the bench during the World Series. Faust had become very difficult to deal with, his health had become precarious, and McGraw had started to become disenchanted with him.
1914 started without him. For the first time in three years the Giants were playing without Faust as a part of their team. His health had deteriorated so badly that there was no way he could perform even his meager duties with the club. Besides that he had become a burden to McGraw. On December 14, 1914, Faust was confined to Western Hospital for the insane in Washington State, Nobody came to see him and his condition rapidly became worse. On June 18, 1915, the Giants were informed that Charles Victor(Y) Faust had died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. None of the Giants showed up at his funeral.
By the way, in 1914, the year that Faust was not with the team for the first time in three years, the Giants came in dead last. I guess you just cant fool around with strange people named Faust!