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May 25, 1958

Good old Mom and her VapoRub. I might not have been feeling like a million bucks this morning, but a few thousand were definitely in play. And when Bob invited me down to his place on lower 3rd Street to watch the Giants’ twinbill in Pittsburgh, I jumped at the chance to rejoin the living.

Bob didn’t make great money selling his 9-inch screws, but it was nice enough to buy himself a homey little bungalow on the edge of China Basin, where a lot of his factory folks were. Being almost a mile away from the bay, his street didn’t even smell like dead crabs.

If it did, it may not have mattered. Bob had a pot of his famous Sloppy Joes simmering on the stove, and the meat-pepper-onion aroma filled the place. My gut wasn’t recovered enough for a big helping, but he’d also stocked up on bottled lagers, so I was grateful enough to try his latest batch out. Bob is what you’d call a Sloppyphile, an expert on the recipe, which as I learned from him once, was invented in 1930 by a cook named Joe in a Sioux City, Iowa diner. Bob’s additions of paprika, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce gave it a killer flavor, along with the fact he buttered the insides of the buns.

Anyway, Gomez was on the hill for us in the opener against Friend, and for the first part of the game I thought I was still delirious, because the Giants were hitting and scoring like escaped convicts at Mardi Gras. It was 12-2 after three innings, and the more they scored, the more glum I got. “Watch this,” I said. “Fifteen runs this game, zippety-doo-dah the next. Baseball does this all the time.” The final was 17-5, and all we had to do was beat Bob Porterfield in the nightcap to make it back to .500.

It was a rare thing to have the second half of a Sunday doubleheader on television, and by the 5th inning, the three camera angles were starting to make my eyes swim. So were the Giants. Ramon Monzant was pitching as well as he possibly could for us, but it was a losing battle.

When Roy Face whiffed Ed Bressoud with the bases loaded to end the 2-1 loss, I cursed at the top of my lungs. An Oriental next-door neighbor yelled something that sounded much nastier out his window. I marched over to Bob’s window to fire a volley back, but my friend jumped up from his recliner and blocked me.

“Forget it, Snappy. It’s China Basin.”

Instead, I let my fourth bottle of beer calm me down. After a piece of chocolate cream pie, Bob escorted me to the door.

“So you liked those Sloppy Joes?”
“Always. Thanks. Next time maybe you can add some ballpark food, too. Y’know, hot dogs. Peanuts…”

He paused abruptly on the carpet. His face darkened. “Naw. Not those things.”
What things?”
“Peanuts…They found an open bag of them on the seat of Reggie’s car. Far as I know he didn’t even eat them.”

I stared at him. “He was parked near the stadium?”
“Yeah. You didn’t know that? I figured he bought ’em at the Double Play that night, but Chumpo doesn’t carry Salty Dog Nuts.”

And then I stared some more, thinking. And I remembered the Opening Day body I found in section 16, covered in peanut shells. And my favorite out-of-town paper left in the booth at the Double Play—which was covered in peanut shells.

And I suddenly had the chills…

THE SKINNYS

Game 1
S.F.273 001 202 – 17 20 1
PIT 002 001 101 – 5 15 3
W-Gomez L-Friend GWRBI-Mays

Game 2
S.F. 100 000 000 – 1 7 2
PIT 000 100 10x – 2 9 2
W-Porterfield L-Monzant

Game 1
STL 000 204 000 – 6 5 0
CIN 210 000 010 – 4 9 1
W-Mabe L-Lawrence SV-Martin HRS: Boyer, Robinson, Hoak GWRBI-Hoak

Game 2
STL 200 004 010 – 7 14 0
CIN 000 001 001 – 2 6 0
W-McDaniel L-Acker GWRBI-B.G. Smith
No Musial? No problem. Boyer steps up in the opener with a double and game-deciding homer, while Tom Acker gets pelted in the nightcap. The Cards are back at .500, the league’s favorite hangout.

Game 1
CHI 000 001 010 – 2 9 0
MIL 000 000 100 – 1 7 0
W-Hobbie L-Burdette HRS: Banks, Logan GWRBI-Banks

Game 2
CHI 000 102 000 – 3 6 1
MIL 000 011 000 – 2 8 0
W-Briggs L-Buhl SV-Elston HR: Long GWRBI-Walls
Incredibly frustrating day at the plate for the Braves. In the opener Logan ties it with a homer but Banks wins it with another a minute later. In the second game, the Cubs get 10 people on base, the Braves 19 but ground into four DPs, with Aaron going 0-for-9 on the doubleheader.

L.A. 001 001 010 – 3 9 2
PHI 200 000 04x – 6 8 1
W-Farrell L-Drysdale HR: Hodges GWRBI-Post
Drysdale and the Dodgers are six outs away from condensing the National League to two and a half games from top to bottom, but absolutely combust in the 8th inning. Anderson walks, Dick Gray boots a Philley grounder, Hamner sacrifices, Herrera walks, Lopata and Post single off Labine, Neal throws an Ashburn infield hit into the seats, and that’s all folks. Phillies take a miraculous one-game lead!

Game 1
NYY 020 100 030 – 6 10 0
CLE 150 100 01x – 8 6 0
W-Grant L-Turley SV-Score HRS: Skowron, McDougald, Howard, Bauer, Minoso, Colavito GWRBI-Colavito

Game 2
NYY 000 520 044 – 15 14 1
CLE 200 000 240 – 8  7  2
W-Maas L-Ferrarese HRS: Berra, Skowron, Mantle, Colavito-2, Doby-2 GWRBI-Berra
The two most powerful teams in the league strut their stuff. Thirteen home runs are hit in this doubleheader, with grand slams leaving the bats of Colavito in the opener, and Skowron and the Mick in back-to-back innings of the nightcap. Swing starter Don Ferrarese has been a disaster for the Tribe. This time he takes a 2-0 lead to the 4th, and with two gone and nobody on base: double-walk-homer-walk-single-single-double.

Game 1
WAS 101 000 000 – 2 6 0
DET 000 211 20x – 6 13 0
W-Foytack L-Ramos HRS: Sievers, Kaline GWRBI-Kaline

Game 2
WAS 000 004 000 – 4 3 0
DET 000 100 010 – 2 10 0
W-Romonosky L-Susce HRS: Lemon, Harris GWRBI-Lemon
Speaking of disasters, Pedro Ramos drops to 0-9 on the season, and the Tigers roll to hand the Nats their 30th loss in the opener. Then John Romonosky earns the thankless fifth spot in Washington’s rotation with a tough little 10-hitter in the nightcap and finally, their tenth win of the year! The Senators get just three hits but make every one count.

Game 1
BOS 010 202 000 – 5 6 0
CHX 000 000 000 – 0 2 1
W-Brewer L-Pierce HRS: White, Renna GWRBI-Renna

Game 2
BOS 000 000 000 – 0 5 1
CHX 000 000 001 – 1 4 0
W-Moore L-Fornieles GWRBI-Goodman
All Tom Brewer and Bill Renna in the first game, snapping the Chisox win streak, but the home hosiery earns the split with a signature Chicago win later on. After doing nothing with Mike Fornieles for eight innings, Torgeson singles, Landis gets himself hit by a pitch and Goodman singles in the winner.

BAL 000 300 200 – 5 9 0
K.C. 010 020 100 – 4 9 0
W-Harshman L-Grim HR: Power GWRBI-Pilarcik
Subbing for injured Dick Williams, Al Pilarcik chips in with a single and two doubles in the leadoff spot to give the Birds a much-needed win after getting swept in Chicago.

TEAM STAT REPORTS WITH SOME NEW NUMBERS! Here are the team hitting, team pitching, and assorted miscellany through Sunday’s games. Miscellany includes records in one-run games, home and away, extra innings, comeback wins, and blown leads. Enjoy!

National League through Sunday, May 25

Philadelphia 20 17 .541
Cincinnati 19 18 .514 1
Pittsburgh 21 20 .512 1
St. Louis 19 19 .500 1.5
Milwaukee 19 19 .500 1.5
Chicago 20 20 .500 1.5
San Francisco 19 21 .475 2.5
Los Angeles 18 21 .462 3

American League through Sunday, May 25

New York 28 12 .700
Chicago 23 17 .575 5
Baltimore 22 17 .564 5.5
Boston 21 19 .525 7
Detroit 20 20 .500 8
Cleveland 21 22 .488 8.5
Kansas City 15 23 .395 11
Washington 10 30 .250 18
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