They were all there: Butch and his pal Dominic, Rudy Krupp, Cheesesteak Phil (our east coast transplant), Stan Lowsack and his real deep baritone, Gus and Russ Nicholson, colored identical twins who used to porter on the same California Zephyr train and confuse the passengers, and even Tall Tom Tupper, who was so old I think he once showed Mark Twain to his seat.
Our boss Pence Murphy had let me call this meeting of Seals ushers, a half hour after today’s afternoon finale with the Braves, and space was tight in our bite-sized changing room. It was about to get tighter.
“First off,” I began, “I know there’s been a lot of creepy trash in the papers about me. But don’t believe a damn word of it.”
“Aw, don’t worry,” said Rudy, “That was about some guy named Melvin.”
The room broke up, and then Butch piped in. “And we already knew you were a murderin’ degenerate!”
The room exploded. It helped me relax, but not by much.
“Okay, guys. Listen. This killer—the one who attacked me the other night and knocked me out—hinted pretty strongly he was going to kill again, ‘all season long’ as he put it. So why make it easy for him? Putting plainclothes cops in the park got us nowhere, so this time Mr. Stoneham has agreed to give each and every one of you a two hundred dollar bonus to become undercover usher cops for this home stand. With a bigger reward for someone who actually nabs him.
“Count me in,” said Gus Nicholson.
“Sign me up,” said Russ Nicholson.
“Do we get to beat him to death?” asked Dominic.
“Don’t think you’ll need to. Starting tomorrow night against the Reds, you’ll all be given one of these…” I motioned to clubhouse boy Johnny Heep in the corner, who carried over a big carton and ripped open the top. Inside were a dozen or so hand-held radio boxes, like what our soldiers used at the Battle of the Bulge. A few of the ushers grabbed one. “They’re Motorola ‘Handy-Talkies’. They were good enough for World War II, so they’re good enough for us. See anybody who even looks suspicious, especially around my Section 16, talk to each other, and talk to me. But do NOT push the red button unless you’re just about positive you have the killer.”
“Why? Does it explode the joint?” asked Cheesesteak Phil.
“No, but it will buzz a room under the stands that’s filled with cops ready to make the arrest.”
“So what’s this meathead look like?” asked Phil.
“How do you turn this thing on?” asked Tall Tom.
“Right now we can narrow it down to a muscular guy with a bit of a stutter who seems to like peanuts.”
“Oh good,” said Dominic, “That’s only half the damn park.”
Then Stan Lowsack got to his feet. The room quieted down, braced itself.
“Tell me something” he began, his depth charge of a voice rattling the lockers around us, “How do you know this murderer isn’t one of us?”
He was dead serious. There were a few nervous squeaks of laughter, a lot of quick, suspicious eye glances. I crossed my arms.
“Because I’ve been working with you bozos here for years. I know your voices, I know what’s on your breath and it usually isn’t peanuts. And I know you wouldn’t risk being able to usher major league ball games for anything.”
The room cheered. Even Stan grinned. I knew they were all on board.
And then three possible mutineers swung open the changing room door.
“Okay. We want in on this Dragnet stuff.”
It was Dot, Lindee, and Veronica—our fetching usherettes.
MIL 100 101 000 – 3 6 1
S.F. 000 200 000 – 2 6 0
W-Burdette L-Antonelli HRS: Roach, Aaron GWRBI-Pafko
Even when he pitches decently, Antonelli finds a way to lose, this time giving up four walks in the 6th after we’d recovered to tie the game after his two early gopher balls. The Giants’ “ace” is now a godawful 0-7 with a 6.61 ERA, and on a pace to give up around 45 homers on the year.
CIN 020 000 001 – 3 4 1
L.A. 500 000 02x – 7 14 0
W-Drysdale L-Haddix GWRBI-Hodges
I got no idea what Liz has been up to down there, but I hope she’s getting out to the Coliseum because her Dodger boys have been playing a lot better. Today they rack up six straight hits off Haddix in the 1st for five runs, and Drysdale survives a shaky 2nd to shut the Reds down from there. They’ll have the Braves in for the weekend.
PHI 000 020 003 – 5 11 3
CHI 002 002 012 – 7 10 2
W-Henry L-Morehead HRS: Banks, Walls, Moryn GWRBI-Moryn
But nobody wants to visit Wrigley anytime soon. The Phils get swept out of town on their way to St. Louis, as they tie it up 5-5 on the usually unhittable Bill Henry with three in the top of the 9th, only to have Banks single and Moryn put one in the bleachers with two outs in the last of the 9th.
PIT 002 000 100 – 3 5 0
STL 000 002 000 – 2 6 1
W-Raydon L-Brosnan SV-Face HRS: Kluszewski, Cunningham, Musial GWRBI-Stuart
Nearly identical to the Braves/Giants game. Early 2-0 lead by visitors gets tied up, but home team loses on a bases loaded walk, this one to pinch-hitter Dick Stuart.
CHX 000 002 000 000 02 – 4 9 0
NYY 000 100 100 000 00 – 2 8 1
W-Wilson L-Ditmar HRS: Siebern, Carey GWRBI-Phillips
The Yanks feel the difference in their first game without Yogi and the Mick, as Jim Wilson pitches all 14 innings without getting tired or surrendering a walk. Ditmar attempts the same, but hits Lollar with one out in the 14th, Callison and Phillips single, and Duren surrenders a sac fly for the two Chicago runs, putting them just two games out of first as they head into Fenway.
CLE 302 000 000 – 5 13 0
BOS 000 010 000 – 1 6 1
W-Narleski L-Sullivan HR: Wertz GWRBI-Wertz
The Tribe cools down the other Sox on a 3-run Vic Wertz bullpen blast off Frank Sullivan in the 1st. Colavito being out doesn’t even faze them, though he’ll miss their first two games in New York.
DET 010 100 002 1 – 5 14 0
BAL 000 000 301 3 – 7 10 0
W-Wilhelm L-Morgan HRS: Woodling-2 GWRBI-Woodling
Ready for two incredible games to finish the day? Frank Lary has the Birds’ number for six innings, then gives up a Woodling solo shot and 2-run pinch single by Willie Tasby to lose the lead in the 7th. Tigers take the lead back on a Kuenn double and Maxwell single off Wilhelm in the 9th. Orioles tie it on back-to-back Gardner and Taylor doubles in the bottom of the 9th. A Kaline triple and Bolling sac fly put Detroit up 5-4 in the 10th. Aguirre gives up a Boyd single to start the last of the 10th, and after Tom Morgan enters, Pilarcik pinch-hits a walk and Woodling smashes another one into the seats for Baltimore’s shocking 30th win.
K.C. 101 010 100 – 4 10 3
WAS 000 010 004 – 5 6 0
W-Ramos L-Gorman HRS: Power, Cerv, Lemon GWRBI-Lemon
But nothing all year is as shocking as the Senators’ 13th win. Brutalized by Vic Power and Bob Cerv all night (7-for-10 with two doubles and two homers), winless Pedro Ramos is lifted for a pinch-hitter in the last of the 9th, down 4-1 to Ray Herbert, after Julio Becquer reaches on a Joe DiMaestri error. The pinch hitter is Herb Plews, and he walks. Yost and Pearson make outs, but Sievers beats out a single to load the bases. Tom Gorman enters to no doubt whiff Jim Lemon with the sacks juiced and end the game. Instead, Lemon hits one 420 feet to end the game his way, and after losing his first nine decisions, Pedro Ramos now has an actual victory.
National League through Thursday, June 5
American League through Thursday, June 5