May 20, 1958

I tried like hell to see Horace Stoneham at his stadium office this morning, but he was both out and about. I could have waited around three hours, but with more denials and whiskey being the only likely outcome, I went down to City Hall instead.

Mayor Christopher’s secretary was a middle-aged tart named Mrs. Bluebottom, and she was right out of library school. Even kept a sharp pencil lodged in her hair bun. Her first lie came in the first five seconds, when she said the Mayor was out to lunch, even though I could clearly see him through the crack of his open office door. Then she lied and said he was “back from lunch but in a meeting now,” when I could hear him yelling at a travel agent on the phone.

So I borrowed a pen and piece of paper and scribbled out a note for him:

Dear Mayor Christopher,

Rumor has it you’re involved with this Candlestick land “deal.” The recent Seals Stadium tragedies may be connected. Please call me when you can. Maybe I can help.

Milton “Snappy” Drake

I folded the note, scotch taped it shut, and handed it to Mrs. Bluebottom.

“Please give this to the Mayor when you see him, okay?”
“Sometimes he’s out the entire day after a meeting.”
“I don’t care if he’s sailing the Orient. Just give him the note when you see him.”
“He doesn’t have time to read every note.”
“Believe me, he’ll read this one.”
“I wouldn’t presume things, Mr…”
“Drake. And I’m not presuming anything. Except maybe that you got this job because you’re related to someone, and won’t lose it no matter how many visitors’ palms you slap with your nun’s ruler.

Her nose crinkled. “I’ll do the best I can, sir.”
“I look forward to seeing what that is.”

* * *

I took a long walk home to flush out my annoyance. Buses, autos, streetcars and cable cars jockeyed for space with workers flooding out of their offices. The weather was cooling down quick, the city braced for another dinnertime fog cloud. I found myself walking up steep Webster to Broadway. The slow climb put my lungs and heart through the ringer, but it felt good.

Broadway was noisy, and I ducked into a quiet alley behind some apartments. Paused to crouch and tie one of my shoelaces.

Heard heavy footsteps a few yards back. I peered over my shoulder. No one was there. Stood back up and kept walking.

Footsteps again. practically pounding the pavement. I whipped around again. Still no one there. A couple of fog fingers were reaching into the far end of the alley.


No answer. No sounds. I picked up my pace, rejoined the traffic on Buchanan and started heading back. Hopped a bus stopped at the first corner and repeatedly glanced at the mysterious alley until we rolled away and it disappeared in the fog.

Not surprisingly, the Mayor never called later. I dialed Chumpo for the Giants score (they lost in Cincy, damn it), poured myself a stiff gin and tonic, and knocked off early by listening to every creak–even when there weren’t any.


S.F. 000 020 020 – 4 10 1
CIN 101 024 00x – 8 13 1
W-Lawrence L-Gomez SV-Jeffcoat HR: Lynch GWRBI-Crowe
The first of two battles for first goes the Redleg way, as George Crowe breaks a 2-2 tie in the 5th with a triple off Ruben Gomez. A rare 2-base Mays error lowlights a 4-run sixth, Hal Jeffcoat bails his team out of two late jams for the save, and Cincy moves back into first by percentage points, after being dead last a few minutes ago.

STL 000 010 000 01 – 2 8 0
PHI 000 000 100 00 – 1 8 0
W-Mabe L-Semproch HRS: Katt, Boyer GWRBI-Boyer
Katt blast puts the Cards ahead, doubles by Pancho Herrera and Lopata tie it, a Ken Boyer bomb wins it in the 11th. Phillies waste a lead off triple and two leadoff doubles in the process and drop their third in a row after sniffing first place. Herrera, by the way, was filling in at third for Willie Jones, who will be out two weeks.

CHI 000 000 000 – 0 7 2
PIT 000 010 10x – 2 6 0
W-Friend L-Hobbie GWRBI-Friend
Bucs get back on track with a great performance by their best Friend, who also singles in the eventual winner in the 5th.

L.A. 000 402 010 – 7 10 1
MIL 400 001 000 – 5 11 1
W-Drysdale L-Burdette HRS: Neal, Zimmer, Covington, Burdette GWRBI-Neal
Ho hum. Braves take big early lead, crap it away with awful pitching and fielding, lose their fifth in a row and seven out of eight,and now find themselves in last place. No, really.

NYY 100 000 010 – 2 7 2
CHX 000 003 00x – 3 6 0
W-Pierce L-Turley HR: Carey GWRBI-Callison
Our long American League nightmare is over. After giving Andy Carey a home run to start the game, Pierce stifles the Yanks the rest of the way and the Great Winning Streak ends at unlucky 13. Bottom of the 6th: Torgeson singles with one out, Richardson boots a DP ball, Lollar singles with two gone to load the bases, and rookie Johnny Callison runs the table with a triple.

BAL 000 010 000 – 1 7 0
DET 101 020 10x – 5 9 3
W-Foytack L-Harshman HRS: Kuenn, Groth GWRBI-Triandos
The Birds fail to take advantage of the Yankee loss, falling to Foytack while Harshman is treated harshly.

BOS 000 020 004 – 6 10 0
CLE 000 201 000 – 3 9 0
W-Kiely L-Grant HRS: Ward, Wertz, GWRBI-Malzone
Bosox tie it in the 9th on doubles by Daley and Stephens off Mudcat. Score comes on to give up a single and three straight walks and put this one to bed.

WAS 000 011 001 – 3 6 2
K.C. 200 310 00x – 6 11 1
W-Grim L-Ramos SV-Gorman HRS: Sievers, Courtney, Cerv GWRBI-Simpson
A’s fans jump for joy as the Senators come to town. Errors by Courtney and Zauchin get loss #26 going for the Sad Sacks in the first inning, and Cerv caps matters with a 3-run blast in the 4th.

National League through Tuesday, May 20

Cincinnati 17 14 .548
San Francisco 18 16 .529 0.5
Pittsburgh 18 17 .514 1
Philadelphia 16 16 .500 1.5
St. Louis 16 16 .500 1.5
Los Angeles 16 18 .471 2.5
Chicago 16 18 .471 2.5
Milwaukee 15 17 .469 2.5

American League through Tuesday, May 20

New York 26 8 .765
Baltimore 20 14 .588 6
Chicago 18 16 .529 8
Detroit 17 17 .500 9
Cleveland 18 19 .486 9.5
Boston 16 18 .471 10
Kansas City 14 19 .424 11.5
Washington 8 26 .235 18