June 12, 1958

Nothing seemed to be missing from my place, and the only thing the intruder left was a safety pin under the windowsill. Maybe he tried to open the door lock with it. What I really wanted to do was take Triples Trevor to work with me today, but that may have looked a bit strange.

It was strange enough just walking in the usher’s changing room. Everyone looked at me like I had leprosy.

“Sniffles all clear up, Snappy?” asked Cheesesteak Phil.
“We were really hoping to catch the guy while you were gone,” said Dominic, “and a few of us was hoping it was you.”

Stan Lowsack stepped between us before anything escalated. “No picking on Snappy, got that?” After the room stopped shaking, everyone went back to their business and headed out to the stands. Pence decided to pair me with Tall Tom for the finale with the Pirates, the best move he could have made. Tom worked the lower first base boxes over the Giants dugout, land of the richer season ticket holders and serious ball fans. He knew every one by name, where they went to school, and as long as I was with him (in my “sunglasses disguise again), they barely noticed I was there. The price, of course, was having to endure Tall Tom’s nine innings of anecdotes. Such as…

“Hollywood Stars were up here in ’46, and Bogey sat in my section. Bet me twenty bucks they’d beat the Seals and when they went extra innings and didn’t, he tried to slip me fifteen due to the Stars’ ‘extra effort’. Great actor, but a real cheapskate.”

And…

“Should have heard this kid. Twelve years old with a mouth like a drunken wife-beater. Calling the home plate ump a blind rotten so-and-so from the first inning to the seventh. Finally I grab his collar, haul him down to a vacated front row seat behind home and tell him to try cursing from there. The ump turns, stares right at him and the kid just about floods his trousers.”

After another dozen tall tales, I barely noticed we’d scored three runs in the 7th off Ron Kline to snap a 2-2 tie and send us to a three-game sweep of the Bucs. Tall Tom may be a motor mouth, but he sure makes the games go quicker.

Unfortunately, for the third straight day there was also no action on our Handy-talkies. The ushers were getting annoyed with the whole scheme and I still got the silent treatment later. It was a nice late afternoon when I left the park and looked forward to my short stroll home.

“Hey Snappy!”

Some guy in his late 20s with shirtsleeves, tie and a little notebook in his hand was coming up behind me on the sidewalk.

“If you got a few minutes I got a few questions.”
“Who the hell are you?”
“I’m uh…from the Tribune?”
“Prove it.”

He fished in his slacks, pulled out a press badge reading EUGENE BUZZBEE, OAKLAND TRIBUNE. When I saw the unused hole on top of the badge I suddenly knew more about this guy than he thought I did.

“Why should I even talk to you?”
“Because I’ll get the story right.”
“What story? Nothing’s happened since the last body.”
“Oh really? Is that why you split town for a few days?”

I took a menacing step, backed him against a lamp post. “The only thing I’m going to split right now is your head. Tell me Eugene, they pay you well at that paper for your stories? Or do you bill them for a little after-hours snooping?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“The hell you don’t!” Dug into his pocket and yanked out the press badge again. “Missing a little safety pin, I see. The one you left in my place yesterday?”
“That wasn’t me. I swear—”
“Don’t lie to me, weasel. I got enough freaks on my tail right now to last me a lifetime, and I don’t mind one bit putting one out of commission.”
“Okay, okay… I didn’t mean nothing by it. There’s a lot of reporters lookin’ for leads on this story and I thought maybe if I dug around some I could get an edge.”
“Oh. I see. Digging around includes breaking and entering?”

I took his badge, tossed it into a nearby storm drain. “Go dig for that. And if I catch you anywhere need my place again I’ll sic Malarkey’s police dogs on your rookie rump.”

I let him go so he could scramble after his badge in the gutter. Went home, slammed the door and made friends with my gin bottle.

THE SKINNYS

PIT 200 000 010 – 3 10 1
S.F. 100 103 00x – 5 10 3
W-Worthington L-Kline SV-Giel HR: Spencer GWRBI-Davenport
Daryl Spencer makes two errors in the field, but homers and singles at the plate as we make another push to get back to .500, with the surprisingly scary Phillies coming in for the weekend.

PHI 000 000 000 – 0 8 2
L.A. 100 031 00x – 5 11 0
W-Erskine L-Simmons GWRBI-Gray
Not too scary here, though. Carl Erskine, the worst Dodger pitcher in the rotation scatters seven singles and a double and Gino Cimoli, batting leadoff for the Duke against lefty-killer Curt Simmons, collects two singles and a triple.

MIL 100 030 000 – 4 8 1
CHI 000 001 04x – 5 9 0
W-Henry L-Robinson SV-Elston HRS: Covington, Banks, GWRBI-Banks
Think I’m going to write a letter to Archie Stripes at the Bronx Bugle and have him write something on the defending champion Braves, who have just been having the worst time of it. Here’s another one: Seemingly headed to an easy win behind Joey Jay, a Chuck Tanner pinch double to start the 8th and two singles brings on relief specialist Humberto Robinson. Ernie Banks promptly takes him into the bleachers for the ball game. Milwaukee had that winning thang going for the first month but just can’t put anybody away now, and lead both leagues with 17 blown leads.

CIN 001 010 000 – 2 6 1
STL 000 610 00x – 7 11 0
W-Jones L-Nuxhall HRS: Robinson, Green, Cunningham GWRBI-Smith
Even Sad Sam Jones benefits on Cards Winning Day, and there’s no question who the St. Louis MVP has been: leadoff on-base machine Joe Cunningham, who is now hitting homers.

DET 203 011 012 – 10 13 0
BOS 000 000 000 – 0 7 2
W-Hoeft L-Delock HRS: Kaline, Martin GWRBI-Maxwell
Whoa, do the Tigers ever add to their revenge, earning a 4-game split behind the first great Billy Hoeft start of the year and a whole bunch of offense. They’ll need it, heading back down to New York this weekend.

K.C. 000 100 000 – 1 5 2
NYY 001 310 01x – 6 12 2
W-Ford L-Herbert HR: Siebern GWRBI-Skowron
Oh well. They tried. Whitey gives up one unearned run to the A’s and drops his ERA to 2.04. Clutch Bill Skowron with three singles, including the game-decider.

CLE 000 000 000 – 0 1 0
BAL 100 000 01x – 2 8 1
W-Harshman L-McLish HR; Triandos GWRBI-Robinson
Four wins in a row now for Harshman, who has a no-no until Carroll Hardy’s two-out double in the 7th.

CHX 013 010 000 – 5 11 2
WAS 003 612 20x – 14 19 1
W-Pascual L-Wynn HRS: Landis, Lollar, Lemon-2, Zauchin, Aspromonte
I’ll let you all breathe deeply here for a few seconds, then look at this line score again. It really happened. The Senators’ team OPS jumped 14 points in one day.

COOL NEW PENNANT RACE CHARTS!
Now you can study the spread-out American League and tighter than a girdle National League in all their weekly glory.

National League through Thursday, June 12

Los Angeles 30 25 .545
Chicago 31 26 .544
Philadelphia 28 26 .519 1.5
St. Louis 27 27 .500 2.5
Cincinnati 26 27 .491 3
San Francisco 27 29 .482 3.5
Milwaukee 26 28 .481 3.5
Pittsburgh 25 32 .439 6

American League through Thursday, June 12

New York 36 19 .655
Baltimore 36 22 .621 1.5
Chicago 34 23 .596 3
Boston 33 24 .579 4
Detroit 26 30 .464 10.5
Cleveland 25 34 .424 13
Kansas City 22 33 .400 14
Washington 15 42 .263 22
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