May 21, 1958

Enough already. I hopped down the stairs first thing in the morning, rapped on the driver’s side window of Malarkey’s goonmobile.

“Wake up, boys! You’re taking me in.”
“Why?” said the yawning driver. “What’d you do?”
“Nothing at all. Same as you. But I miss your boss, so how about a ride?”

* * *

Fifteen minutes, later I sat in a room across from Malarkey and his sidekicks. No surprise, Malarkey was eating scallions and eggs.

“Gotta admit, Drake,” he said between mouthfuls, “Keeping tabs on you may be the dullest beat we’ve ever had.”
“So pack it up. It’s been almost three weeks since the last killing, and the Giants don’t get back until early June. Pretty obvious that Murder Man’s lost interest in me.”
“Mr. Stoneham isn’t too sure.”
“Oh really. Hmm. So the owner of a ball team is now running this case?”

Malarkey munched away and didn’t even look up. I slid my chair closer.

“Let me tell you something, mac. I’ve drummed up more info in the last 48 hours than you deadbeats have in a week. Ever hear of Henry North?”

One of the cops behind Malarkey scratched his pimply chin. “Wait…Wasn’t he the guy in that Steinbeck movie about grapes?”
“That’s Henry Fonda, numbskull,” said his partner.
“I’ll spare you any more thinking,” I said. “North is Mr. Grand Jury in this town, and he thinks the Mayor and some other characters are fleecing the city for that new ballpark out on the Point.”

Malarkey laughed to himself. “The Mayor, huh? You been hittin’ the peach brandy, Drake?”
“I’m a gin man. And the Mayor’s definitely in on it. I heard him arguing with North in a steam bath.”
“Steam bath?” barked the film scholar, “What are you, some kind of a fairy now?”
“Calm down, Griff,” said Malarkey, “Our friend here just fancies himself as an amateur little Hercules Poirot. Despite the fact that city hall shenanigans have absolutely nothing to do with two dead bodies at Seals Stadium.”
“You sure about that? After I tried to see the Mayor yesterday, someone was on my tail pretty damn quick. And it wasn’t either of you sleepy buzzards, that’s for sure.”

Malarkey finished his breakfast, shoved his plate aside. “Listen, Drake. I happen to like the Mayor. He’s good to the police and cares a lot about this town. If I were you I’d stay home for a while. Follow the Giants’ road trip in the papers. Hell, I’ll even call off my hound dogs here and you can invite that tomato of a girlfriend over for a noodle and meatballs night. But most of all…” He leaned forward, scallions wafting into my face, “keep your snoopy, snappy nose out of places it ain’t invited.”
“Even steam baths?”
“ESPECIALLY STEAM BATHS!” yelled Griff.

THE SKINNYS

S.F. 000 000 001 – 1 9 0
CIN 200 000 00x – 2 7 1
W-Schmidt L-McCormick GWRBI-Lynch
Eight in a row for the scalding Redlegs! Willard Schmidt makes a Temple single, Robinson double, Lynch scoring grounder and Steve Bilko single hold up the rest of the way, as the Giants’ swing through Ohio is a complete dud.

L.A. 100 000 010 0 – 2 5 3
MIL 000 200 000 1 – 3 5 2
W-Willey L-Kipp
As ugly an exciting game as you’ll ever find. Three of the five runs score on errors, including the game-winner in the 10th when Logan walks, gets bunted to second, and Charlie Neal throws a grounder into the stands with two outs. Only silver lining is Koufax;s second straight good start, enduring just one tough inning out of the seven he throws. Oh yeah, and the Braves finally win again, prepare to welcome the Giants while the Dodgers head into Cincy.

CHI 011 001 100 – 4 14 0
PIT 000 000 000 – 0 6 0
W-Hillman L-Law HRS: Banks, Long GWRBI-Banks
Dave Hillman’s first win of the year is a sweet shutout, and Ernie B. belts one out of Forbes in the 2nd to get the Cubbie ball rolling.

STL 100 000 000 – 1 4 2
PHI 040 000 02x – 6 8 0
W-Sanford L-Jones GWRBI-Herrera
Unluckiest picture in the universe Sam Jones loses another one, as his mates can’t solve Sanford and swap standing spots with the Phils again.

NYY 001 100 000 – 2 7 3
CHX 110 002 00x – 4 7 3
W-Donovan L-Ford GWRBI-Goodman
Even sloppier than the Dodgers-Braves game, and the White Sox stun the Yanks to sweep the mini-series. Five of the six runs in this one are unearned, but Chicago strings together a Lollar double, singles by Smith and Goodman and Whitey error for the winning rally.

BAL 300 000 301 – 7 12 0
DET 000 000 030 – 3 8 0
W-O’Dell L-Bunning HR: Woodling GWRBI-Nieman
Bunning gets racked by hits by the first four Birds he faces, and Billy O’Dell goes to 6-1 as the O’s pick up a game on new York, something that hasn’t happened since forever.

BOS 000 300 400 – 7 10 0
CLE 100 002 110 – 5 9 1
W-Smith L-Woodeshick SV-Wall HRS: Jensen, Daley, Wertz-2 GWRBI-Daley
Boston takes both games by the Lake, as Pete Daley breaks the 3-3 tie with a pinch 3-run smash off Woodeshick in the 7th. Boston now goes to K.C. while the Indians can recover against the Senators.

WAS 001 000 011 – 3 11 0
K.C. 240 101 12x – 11 16 2
W-Terry L-Clevenger HRS: Sievers, Cerv, Power, Lopez GWRBI-Cerv
Ah yes. Washington’s dreams of seventh place seem further away, now that they can’t even beat the A’s. Have to admit that despite their lack of talent, they’re also not getting one stitch of luck on the ball field.

National League through Wednesday, May 21

Cincinnati 18 14 .563
Philadelphia 17 16 .515 1.5
San Francisco 18 17 .514 1.5
Pittsburgh 18 18 .500 2
Chicago 17 18 .486 2.5
St. Louis 16 17 .485 2.5
Milwaukee 16 17 .485 2.5
Los Angeles 16 19 .457 3.5

American League through Wednesday, May 21

New York 26 9 .743
Baltimore 21 14 .600 5
Chicago 19 16 .543 7
Detroit 17 18 .486 9
Cleveland 18 20 .474 9.5
Boston 17 18 .486 9
Kansas City 15 19 .441 10.5
Washington 8 27 .229 18
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