It was the bottom of the tenth. The Slumsville Porridges were down 19-20, which was also the year, against the Pecuniopolis Stockbrokers. The whole town had gathered in the stands, because they were too poor to afford a place in the seats. Things looked bad, but there was one hope.

The name of that hope was “Two Foot” Lumpy Stubbins.

Slumsville had been a good town once. That had been when the soup factory was still running. Then, the stock market crashed. Now, all Slumsville had was baseball, Lumpy Stubbins, and the indomitable American spirit.

“I haven’t seen a battle like this since war was ended forever by World War 1,” famous sports commentator Jay Bobino announced to his radio camera. “Unfortunately, it seems the indomitable American spirit just isn’t quite as strong as the chains which hold the working man down.”

“Are they going to lose?” Little George asked, sitting up weakly in his hospital bed, which the orphans had carried all the way to the baseball court. He had worked in the mines for too long, and he had caught the Iron Lung.

“I don’t know,” said his beautiful older sister, Louisa Mae, doing the Charleston. “I just don’t know.”

Lumpy Stubbins stepped up to first base on his signature two feet. The crowd held their breath. This was Lumpy Stubbins. Lumpy Stubbins, the only player who had ever run from first to third without touching second. Lumpy Stubbins, who had never given up, even when he couldn’t afford rent and got evicted from home base. Lumpy Stubbins who had scored the final touchdown against the Plessyburg Hatemongers, beginning the Civil Rights movement.

If he could win, then maybe so could America.

The coach looked puzzled. “Aren’t you going to use a bat?”

Lumpy Stubbins shook his head. “No. I want to finish this game with my bare hands. Our ancestors built America with their hands. I can hit a baseball with mine.”

“What what what what what what what?!!!” cried Aloysius Eloise IV, the Stockbrokers' quarterback, nearly spilling the glass of champagne he was sipping. “Going to bat without a bat? But that’s most irregular!”

“You’re right,” said the referee. “But baseball has always been an irregular game. Ever since Thomas Baseball first discovered that you could hit a ball and then run around a little bit, baseball has been a sport of the strange. The unusual. The irregular. There’s a reason baseball players never wear uniforms. There’s a reason Britain, the land of normalcy, has never been able to invent a complicated game involving a ball and a wooden stick. If he wants to use his bare hands, then I say, as George Washington did before me, ‘Play ball!’”

The orphans all cheered. Little George smiled, for the first time in ten years. Above them, the sun broke through the thick, gray clouds.

“If telephones had been invented, I’d be calling my mother to tell her about this moment,” Jay Bobino said, wiping a single tear from his eye.

“This one’s for you, George,” said Lumpy, taking his place on the pitching mound.

“It’s not over yet!” Aloysius squealed, effeminately. “Don’t forget, we’ve built a hotel on second and third base! If you end your turn on either of them, you’ll owe us $500, which you don’t have!”

“I’m not stopping at any hotels,” Lumpy replied. “I’m going home.”

“We’ll see about that!” With that, he threw the ball, using his left hand, the evil one. It was Aloysius’ signature pitch, the moneyball, and just like the economy, it went low.

Lumpy Stubbins made his move. Thwak! The ball rose up, up, up, like an immigrant living the American dream. 200 yards. 300. And straight for the green.

“That’s strike one!” said Jay. “He struck the ball!”

The crowd cheered. For the first time in all of the 1920’s, they realized that Depression wasn’t actually Great. Actually, joy was better.

Louisa Mae smiled, attractively. “You know what I think?”

“What?” asked George.”

“I think the middle class is going to make it.”