June 4, 1958

Hot dogs, peanuts, and cold pop were nowhere to be found high up in the owner’s box. Horace Stoneham had his girl bring out baked chicken breasts smothered in herbs, candied carrots and tall glasses of raspberry lemonade, each one crowned with a mint leaf. And the Giants owner didn’t have gin in his yet.

“About time we started hitting, don’t you think?” he said, trying to keep the air easy.
“This Antonelli has to get his head on straight. Long as we’re pitching, we don’t need to hit too much. Look what the Orioles are doing.”

Down on the field, Stu Miller plunked Johnny Logan with a bases loaded pitch to make it 2-0 Braves in the 1st. Warren Spahn was pitching for Milwaukee, but he’d been knocked around a lot lately, so I wasn’t too worried.

“You’re a pretty sharp fellah, Snappy. What the hell are you ushering for?”
“Like being around the games, I guess. And my pitching career still isn’t panning out.”
“Come on, you’re no old man. Walter Johnson pitched until he was forty.”
“Right. But he was Walter Johnson.”

He sliced open his chicken breast with a shiny steak knife. “Any of those newshounds bother you last night?
“A couple tried. Put my shades down, the radio up, and drank myself to sleep.”
“Hmm. Usually works for me…So I’m going to be frank again here: Who the hell is doing this crap? Who’s got an axe to grind with you? We’ve still got over fifty home games left, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose one fan over this.”
“Listen, if I knew who it was I would’ve killed him myself by now. I still say this Henry North business—”
 “Nothing to do with this, and none of your business, understand?” He speared a candied carrot, threatened me with it.  “The Candlestick deal is just your typical big time big city business, and the only thing getting hurt is a few wallets. This maniac is hanging around here, and we’re going to catch him.”
“Well, that decoy idea didn’t exactly—”
“I seem to remember that being your idea.”
“It was. And it might have worked if the damn team didn’t have to leave town. Or maybe the cops and city officials you’ve been paying off should look a little less into me, and more into people addicted to Salty Dog Nuts.”
“What do you expect me to do? Start selling those things here and see who buys the most bags?”
“I can think of a worse idea. But actually…” I watched a nearby usher leading a late-arriving couple to their seats. “Making me live bait on that last home stand wasn’t entirely wrong.” I turned to Stoneham. “We just did it wrong.”
“What do you mean?”
“Okay. Malarkey put plainclothes cops all over the park, but this killer is no dope. He could sniff those guys out. I say ditch the cops and use the army you already got working for you.”
“Oh really. And what army is that?”

I grinned. Stood and whistled down at the usher. “Hey Butch!”

Butch was bulky, big-faced, with a flat-topped marine haircut. Saw me and worked his way up the aisle to the edge of the private box. Tipped his cap to the team owner.

“Afternoon, Mr. Stoneham. Taking care of our new local celebrity, I see.”
“Butch,” I asked, “Do you like your job?”
“Guess so, yeah. Pays the rent. You know, lots of fresh air.
“What if you got paid a little more, and the job suddenly got kind of…exciting?”
“Gee Snappy, that sounds like it could be pretty swell. Exciting how?”

I glanced at Stoneham, and he gave me a resigned look back. Because he already knew what the answer was.

THE SKINNYS

MIL 200 000 000 – 2 8 1
S.F. 030 002 00x – 5 9 0
W-Miller L-Spahn HRS: Jablonski, Thomas GWRBI-Jablonski
Like I said, I wasn’t worried about us hitting Spahn. Ray Jablonski takes him out of the yard with two aboard in the 2nd, and Stoneham is so thrilled he signs off on my new daffy plan—which you’ll learn all about next time.

CIN 000 010 000 – 1 6 2
L.A. 001 000 21x – 4 11 3
W-Podres L-Schmidt HR: Hodges GWRBi-Snider
The Duke is left in against lefty reliever Kellner, and singles in the eventual winner with the bases loaded and two gone in the 7th.

PIT 020 000 000 – 2 5 1
STL 200 005 00x – 7 7 1
W-Mizell L-Porterfield, HRS: Noren, Green GWRBI-Musial
A nice 2-2 tie disintegrates with a 5-run Cards rally in the 6th, started with a hit batter and Bob Skinner error, finished with surprising bombs from Irv Noren and Gene Green. St. Louis is back up to.500, but the tough part for them has been getting over it.

PHI 000 000 002 01 – 3 7 1
CHI 000 001 010 02 – 4 6 1
W-Elston L-Meyer HRS: Jones-2, Long, Thomson
Great game, and the Cubs hop into first place! Willie Jones comes back from a long injury and smashes two homers, the first tying the game in the 9th, the second putting Philly ahead in the 10th. But Meyer and Farrell give it up, Banks scoring the winner when Farrell unleashes a wild pitch with Tanner at the plate.

CHX 100 000 100 101 – 4 8 0
NYY 100 000 010 100 – 3 7 2
W-Staley L-Trucks SV-Moore
And Torgeson scores the extra-innings winner here on a runaway Virgil Trucks pitch, evening the big series at two games apiece. The Yanks, missing Mantle, Slaughter, and now Berra for 12 games, battle back to tie three times before losing.

DET 000 000 000 – 0 2 1
BAL 300 001 00x – 4 9 0
W-Harshman L-Hoeft GWRBI-Gardner
Another day, another Birds shutout, the first by Jack Hardshman, and Baltimore is just 3 1/2 behind New York.

CLE 000 001 000 – 1 4 0
BOS 000 100 001 – 2 10 0
W-Smith L-McLish HR: Malzone GWRBi-Malzone
While the Red Sox close to within four, on their THIRD straight 9th inning jog-of homer. Worse for Cleveland, Colavito gets injured for the Tribe’s next three games—the last two at Yankee Stadium.

K.C. 001 200 010 4 – 8 11 0
WAS 100 001 020 0 – 4 8 1
W-Daley L-Hyde HRS: Power, Sievers GWRBI-Cerv
Dick Hyde’s first awful outing of the year, as six of the seven A’s he faces in the 10th reach base. Look for the plague of locusts to hit Griffith Stadium over the weekend.

National League through Wednesday, June 4

Chicago 26 23 .532
Philadelphia 24 22 .522 0.5
Los Angeles 25 23 .521 0.5
St. Louis 23 23 .500 1.5
Milwaukee 23 24 .489 2
Cincinnati 22 23 .489 2
San Francisco 23 25 .479 2.5
Pittsburgh 23 26 .469 3

American League through Wednesday, June 4

New York 32 16 .667
Chicago 29 19 .604 3
Baltimore 29 20 .592 3.5
Boston 28 20 .583 4
Detroit 22 26 .458 10
Cleveland 23 28 .451 10.5
Kansas City 19 28 .404 12.5
Washington 12 37 .245 20.5
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