Public Enemy No. 1: Ramon Monzant

June 8, 1958

I needed an ushering break. Actually, a week in Honolulu would’ve done the trick, but Malarkey had other ideas.

“Sit in the stands like an average Joe, in your average Joe clothes. Enjoy the game and a hot dog and I’ll have a guy sitting one row behind to make sure you enjoy your game and your hot dog.”

Fair enough. A full day of Dot-chatter and another in Kiddie World had me ready to scream. I threw on a tee-shirt and an old fishing hat I had left in my closet to complete my leisurely “disguise” and sank into a perfect seat behind the Giants’ first base dugout that Stoneham had left for me. We were battling the Reds and Pirates to stay out of last place, but Brooks Lawrence was going against his sketchy equal Mike McCormick, so it seemed like a fun afternoon.

Fun wasn’t in the cards quite yet. Temple singled, Lynch doubled and Walt Dropo, this big lug who just arrived from the White Sox, sacrifice popped out to Kirkland, and we were behind 1-zip. Cepeda, Kirkland and Davenport all reached in our 2nd, Spencer pop flied a run home, but Bob Speake, an outfielder forced to catch because of injuries to Thomas and Schmidt, lined into a killing DP.

There was a lot of killing and a lot of bodies on the bases today. For them, Frank Robinson doubled and was left to rot. Dropo, Whisenant and Bilko all singled to fill ’em up but Grammas grounded into a DP. The Giants stranded two in the 3rd, went up 2-1 but double played themselves out of that one. After Cincy tied it 2-2 we got singles from Mays, Cepeda and Kirkland to finish off Lawrence, but Tom Acker weasled out of the inning leaving ’em loaded.

Somehow we were ahead 4-2. Then it got creepy. A fog bank rolled up the hill and poured into the park. Gordon Jones took the slab from McCormick and doused it with petrol. Thurman, Temple, Lynch, and Dropo all got hits and we were scorched and sprawled in the gutter at 5-4. A Bressoud double and Kirkland single tied it 5-5. Spencer led with an 8th inning triple but three straight Giants left him to die. I was on my fourth beer and a stinking mess.

For the next four innings Tebbets and Rigney emptied their bullpens and benches like crazed generals at Verdun. Screaming walks, ghastly errors, painful double plays filled the Seals trench. Ramon Monzant issued a bases-loaded pass to Gus Bell to put the Reds ahead 6-5 in the 12th, but Alex Kellner, who’d retired all six Giants he’d faced, picked the wrong time to explode, Brandt, Mays and Cepeda all singled to tie it 6-6, but Johnny Klippstein burst in. Whiffed Kirkland in his tracks and got Davenport to—you guessed it—smack into another twin killing.

Monzant was spent, but the only sap left in the pen was Ray Crone. I had an urge to cold-cock Ramon, steal his uniform and get out there myself. If I wasn’t shivering from the fog I might have. Instead I sat bound and gagged, gaped in terror as Big Frank Robinson sliced a two-run single in the 13th, Lynch cracked one halfway to Alcatraz and Crone finally came in to mop up the entrails.

We went out 1-2-3 like condemned men. Against a team missing four guys in their lineup we’d given them 21 hits. We stink like dead fish and deserve to be in the cellar and I’m angry. Nobody better look at me sideways tonight…

THE SKINNYS

CIN 100 010 300 001 4 – 10 21 0
S.F. 010 102 100 001 0 – 6 15 3
W-Klippstein L-Monzant HR: Lynch GWRBI-Robinson

MIL 010 101 011 – 5 7 1
L.A. 000 104 01x – 6 5 2
W-Podres L-Spahn HRS: Aaron, Logan, Gray-2 GWBI-Gray
On top of that, the Dodgers play an awful game but win anyway because Dick Gray makes good on booting in two Braves runs with errors by hitting two homers off the suddenly dreadful Warren Spahn, including a grand slam in the 6th to ice the game. L.A.’s fifth straight win puts them into first by percentages.

PIT 000 002 000 – 2 4 1
CHI 100 000 20x – 3 6 0
W-Drott L-Witt HR: Stevens GWRBI-Moryn

PIT 200 000 100 – 3 8 1
CHI 000 000 101 -2 8 3
W-Law L-Briggs SV-Gross HRS: Neeman, Moryn GWRBI-Groat
Blackburn and Gross hold the nightcap lead by their fingernails to snap the Cubs’ win streak at seven. After a day off for both first place teams, the Cubs welcome the disappointing Braves while the Dodgers host the Phils.

PHI 000 002 100 – 3 10 2
STL 600 200 01x – 9 12 1
W-Mizell L-Roberts HR: Katt GWRBI-Boyer

PHI 010 402 000 – 7 12 1
STL 300 001 000 – 4 7 2
W-Morehead L-McDaniel HRS: Philley, Anderson, Young GWRBI-Young
Because St. Louis is seemingly incapable of going above .500, Lindy McDaniel has the dishonors today of coughing up their 3-1 lead in Game 2 on homers by Anderson and the seldom-used Bobby Young.

CLE 000 000 000 – 0 6 0
NYY 010 210 00x – 4 11 0
W-Shantz L-McLish GWRBI-Shantz
Berra and Slaughter are out of the lineup, McDougald gets injured in this one for three games, and it means squat. In a pitching matchup that clearly favors Cleveland, all 11 New York hits are singles and they win with ease.

K.C. 100 000 000 – 1 5 0
BAL 000 003 00x – 3 10 1
W-Harshman L-Garver GWRBI-Miranda

K.C. 010 110 102 – 6 12 1
BAL 250 120 00x – 10 15 0
W-Pappas L-Burnette HRS: Tuttle, Woodling GWRBI-Nieman
Orioles pick up a half game on the Yanks. The opener features a classic Birds rally: two scratch singles, a walk, a single by Miranda ripped past a drawn-in infield, and a single past the no-range Lopez by pitcher Harshman. With K.C. saddled with a dry bullpen after Saturday’s marathon, the nightcap features a ritual slaughter of Wally Burnette, Walt Craddock, and Bob Davis.

CHX 000 000 001 – 1 4 0
BOS 042 000 31x – 10 13 2
W-Monboquette L-Wynn HRS: Lollar, Piersall, GWRBI-Piersall

CHX 023 000 022 – 9 14 1
BOS 140 000 001 – 6 10 0
W-Moore L-Fornieles SV-Staley GWRBI-Francona
Chicago keeps Boston from robbing third place by squeaking out the nightcap behind Ray Moore. In the opener, Jimmy Piersall knocks in five and runs the bases backward after a home run. He’ll do that sort of thing.

DET 000 400 310 – 8 17 0
WAS 000 000 000 – 0 4 0
W-Moford L-Clevenger GWRBI-Bolling
No Kaline? No big deal. If only the Tigers could buy property in Washington…

TEAM STAT REPORTS: Here are your team hitting, team pitching, and assorted miscellany through Sunday’s games.

National League through Sunday, June 8

Los Angeles 29 23 .558
Chicago 30 24 .556
Philadelphia 26 25 .510 2.5
St. Louis 25 26 .490 3.5
Cincinnati 24 25 .490 3.5
Milwaukee 24 27 .471 4.5
Pittsburgh 25 29 .463 5
San Francisco 24 28 .462 5

American League through Sunday, June 8

New York 35 17 .673
Baltimore 33 21 .611 3
Chicago 31 22 .585 4.5
Boston 31 22 .585 4.5
Detroit 24 28 .462 11
Cleveland 24 31 .436 12.5
Kansas City 20 32 .385 15
Washington 14 39 .264 21.5
Advertisements