April 19, 1958

I didn’t say a peep to Liz about that weird phone call. Not even when she poured us brandies in her bungalow later and tried to get chummy with me. I may not be Robert Mitchum but I’m sure as hell no pigeon. Too bad that when I passed on the cuddle business she stopped talking to me for the night.

It was a tiny place, clean and functional with turquoise kitchen cabinets and a Kelvinator Food-O-Rama. All perched on a steep slope like someone’s twisted version of a tree house. I curled up on her dinky living room couch and slept badly. Between the crickets and the howls of coyotes before they tore apart some neighbor’s cat, I wished I was back in my clammy and quiet hovel.

Breakfast was more of the same between us. It didn’t help that her coffee tasted like something that poured out of a rain gutter. I waited till she started in again with the fishing for info nonsense, then told her about the phone call I had with the Herald.

She crumbled like an overcooked cobbler. “Okay,” she started, “I lied a little bit. I do write for the Herald—you saw my press pin, right?—but it’s um…for the show biz section.”

I said nothing. She let out an exasperated sigh that puffed up the front of her hair. “‘Gaddy’s Gadabouts.’ Ever read the column? Movie and TV gossip mostly, who’s dating who, who was seen at which hotel, eating what dish. Gaddy’s in a wheelchair now and I help write up celebrity sightings for him.”

“O-kay…So why the hell did you—”
“Because I WANT to write about crime, okay? City desk cronies won’t even give me the time of day. Why do you think that guy you got on the line never heard of me?” She spooned out a hunk of grapefruit, chewed it up. “So there I am at Seals Stadium on Opening Day to look for celebrities, and this murder just…happened to happen. Get it?”
“Sure…One juicy scoop about something like that and maybe you’re in the big boys’ room. Cute. Well, you could’ve been nice about it and told me the truth.”
“I know. And I’m sorry. Guess I thought you’d slam the door in my face.”
“Kind of did that anyway, didn’t I?” Her school girl smile reappeared. I took my half-drunk cup of mud to her sink. “Well Liz, you sure got some gumption.”
“Got more coffee too, if you want a refill.”
“Naw, that’s okay.”

She then told me about her upbringing in Iowa. How she took a bus to L.A. in ’53 to be an actress and got nowhere fast. Well-off Daddy set her up in the hills anyway and made a few calls to old friends to get her a spot on the Herald. Her first regular gig was scouting the stands at Gilmore Field, home of the Pacific Coast League’s Hollywood Stars, and on our way back to the Coliseum for the Saturday game, she took the long way to Beverly and Fairfax. Gilmore Field was supposedly a week or two away from the wrecking ball, and Liz gazed at the decaying, fenced-in grandstand with a pained face.

“Had a two-week thing with Red Munger once—the year he won 23 games—but that was about the only perk.”

From Gilmore it was back to the south central part of town. The Dodgers lost another very winnable game with the Giants. Four out of five of those now, by my count. This time we just went out to a pizza joint on LaBrea afterwards where we could have some beers and not have to worry about being polite.

We sure weren’t. Back up in the hills she kissed like a champ. Right when things were about to take a turn for the saucy, though, I heard something.

A creak on the outside deck. I slowly raised my eyes from the curve of her neck…up over the living room couch…

…and saw a human shadow duck away from the window.

THE SKINNYS

SF 020 000 002 1 – 5 15 0
LA 000 010 012 0 – 4 4 3
W-Worthington L-Labine HRS: Thomas, Rodgers, Zimmer, Hodges GWRBI-Lockman
Okay, enough of this. And I’m a Giants man. Just can’t stand to see fans get mentally tortured day after day. You know the drill by now. Giants take the lead with the help of crap Dodger defense, this time a Snider two-base error in the 1st, a dropped third strike by Roseboro and error by Neal later. Zimmer ties it with a solo shot in the 8th off Worthington, but ‘Frisco touches Newcombe for solo blasts by Thomas and Rodgers in the 9th. Two outs in the last of the 9th, Roseboro walks and Hodges homers to tie it up and drive today’s much-smaller crowd batty. Labine comes on for the daily extras, gives up singles to Davenport and Brandt and a sac fly to Lockman and if I would’ve told you we’d be 4-1 out of the San Fran gate I’d be lying.

MIL 100 612 020 – 12 17 1
PHI 011 000 020 – 4 9 1
W-Rush L-Simmons HR: Aaron GWRBI-Adcock
Phils go up 2-1 in the 3rd on an Anderson triple and Philley single, before Milwaukee pounds out the next eleven runs. Aaron isn’t retired once, with a walk, single, two doubles and a homer.

CIN 000 020 000 001 – 3 11 0
PIT 000 100 001 000 – 2 12 1
W-Jeffcoat L-Blackburn HR: Lynch GWRBI-Pinson
These folks can sure set their tables but leave dirty dishes all over the damn place, 14 all told by the Bucs. Pinson comes in to spell Lynch for late defense and ends up with a game-winning double.

STL 401 000 100 – 6 11 0
CHI 000 200 030 – 5 9 0
W-Jackson L-Phillips SV-Paine HRS: Boyer-2, S. Taylor, Moryn
Kenny Boyer goes nuts, with two singles and two taters. Paine saves Larry Jackson’s bacon after Moryn makes it close with a Sheffield Avenue bomb with two aboard.

BAL 000 000 301 – 4 7 0
NYY 000 000 000 – 0 5 0
W-Brown L-Shantz GWRBI-Busby
Another amazing pitching duel between the Birds and Yanks, until Busby bats for Ginsberg with the bases loaded in the 7th and pops a sacrifice fly. Dick Williams singles in two more and Hal Brown gets the brilliant whitewash, walking only one.

BOS 000 204 121 – 10 18 0
WAS 000 010 000 –  1  4  0
W-Bowsfield L-Kemmerer HRS: Williams GWRBI-Buddin
Back in D.C., the Red Sox commit a whole lot of capitol offense. Hard to believe this game is 2-1 as late as the 6th, when Teddy Ballgame celebrates his return to the lineup with a grand slam off Kemmerer. It’s a little early in the season, but donations to Washington Fan Anonymous can be made by contacting your local Senator.

CLE 000 101 000 – 2 8 0
DET 000 010 11x – 3 9 0
W-Axford L-Tomanek HR: Boone GWRBI-Boone
Another tight duel, won in comeback style in the 8th on a pinch home run off Tomanek by Ray Boone.

CHX 200 000 011 – 4 9 0
K.C. 000 020 100 – 3 11 0
W-Moore L-Gorman SV-Latman HRS: Lollar-2
Guess who leads the majors with five homers? Yup, the Sherm Machine. His second one of this game ties it in the 8th, sets up pinch-runner Rivera racing home in the 9th with the game-winner on a Wally Burnette wild pitch.

National League through Saturday, April 19

San Francisco 4 1 .800
Philadelphia 2 1 .667 1
Cincinnati 2 1 .667 1
Chicago 2 2 .500 1.5
Milwaukee 2 2 .500 1.5
St. Louis 2 2 .500 1.5
Pittsburgh 1 3 .250 2.5
Los Angeles 1 4 .200 3

American League through Saturday, April 19

Baltimore 3 1 .750
Kansas City 3 2 .667 0.5
New York 3 2 .667 0.5
Chicago 3 2 .667 0.5
Boston 3 2 .667 0.5
Cleveland 2 3 .400 1.5
Detroit 2 3 .400 1.5
Washington 0 4 .000 3
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