June 27, 1958

He grabbed me by the back of my undershirt, hauled me into the El Rancho Rankin parking lot at six in the morning and threatened to pistol whip me.

“Really?” I said to Agent Brewster. “I think you could get reprimanded for that.”

One of his FBI goons was busy dragging Billy—wearing nothing but his socks and underpants—out of the coeds’ room to the other side of the lot. Billy was only beginning to wake up and get mad, but Brewster had a head start on me.

“We have an operation going here, Drake. remember that? You’re supposed to be impersonating a ballplayer.”
“Yeah, well…Don’t ballplayers do this?”
“Don’t get smart. Unless you want us to re-look at that breaking and entering charge out on Candlestick Point.”
“Oh, heavens no. Not that. How’s our old scam artist mayor doing these days, anyway?”

Brewster didn’t answer. I shook him off, headed over to pull Billy away from his oafish captor.

“So who’s your friend here from Los Angeles? Yeah Drake, we ran his plates.”
“That would be Liz Dumas’ brother. Who’s going to help me find his sister while you guys are busy swimming in molasses.”
“Watch it, Drake. I wouldn’t exactly call all-night relations with teenage girls a quick way to find her, would you?”
“They’re college-age, and I’m off duty.”
“Then get on duty in a hurry. We know your cover’s blown, but we need to keep you on the team to keep the suspect sniffing around. We’re confident he’ll be in custody soon.”

Billy was back in his real room getting dressed. A half hour later he was across from me in the coffee shop, trying to enjoy breakfast with the feds peering at us through the window.

“This scene is just dead, Pops. Why don’t I drop you at the park, cruise up to Chicago a few days early? Ain’t that your next stop? If I set up near Wrigley somewhere, maybe I can scope him out before he scopes us.”

I was in no mood to disagree. And Billy was right about Cincy being dead, because it sure was for the Giants. Scoreless into the last of the 4th tonight, and then Frank Robinson went bananas. He’d doubled off Gomez in the 1st, after I spent half an hour warming Ruben up with my mouth shut. Then Robinson hit one over the scoreboard in left. Then after a Temple sac fly made it 2-0 in the 5th he tripled into the right corner to knock in two more. He waited to finish off his cycle until their five-run explosion in the 8th off Giel and Grissom, when his infield dunk single got tossed into the stands by Bressoud.

I was sorry Billy was leaving town. After going 3-1 in Philly we were now 0-5, and I was as welcome in the clubhouse as head lice. I needed a day on Ohio back roads in his baby blue Nomad wagon, jumpy rock blasting out the windows, our hair flying…

What I didn’t need or want was the empty Salty Dog peanut bag I found taped to my room door at the Netherland Plaza after midnight. With a note scrawled on the back that said: SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR LITTLE FRIEND.

THE SKINNYS

S.F. 000 000 310 – 4 6 2
CIN 000 133 05x – 12 12 0
W-Purkey L-Gomez HRS: Speake, Wagner, Robinson, Bailey GWRBI-Robinson

L.A. 100 000 000 – 1 4 0
MIL 100 200 00x – 3 11 1
W-Burdette L-Drysdale HRS: Snider, Torre, GWRBI-Logan
Duke starts the game with a bomb, Frank Torre matches him in the last of the 1st. After Burdette tucks the Dodgers in for the night, Johnny Logan picks a great spot for his first game-winning hit of the year, and the Braves win by two when by all rights they should have won by six. Either way, they’re suddenly in second place, a game and a half out.

STL 000 101 002 – 4 14 5
PHI 623 000 00x – 11 15 2
W-Simmons L-Mabe GWRBI-Philley
Ghastly pitching by Bob Mabe, allowing seven straight Phillies to reach base via singles and walks in the 1st. Shortstop Eddie Kasko makes three errors on three consecutive batters in the 2nd inning. ‘Nuff said.

CHI 001 014 200 – 8 12 1
PIT 011 021 50x – 11 13 0
W-Gross L-Anderson SV-Face HRS: Thomas-2, Clemente, Stevens GWRBI-Thomas
Huge, and I mean HUGE win for the Bucs. Curt Raydon is given a 4-2 lead but can’t get anyone out. Neither can Blackburn, but after Gross calms the Cubs down, Frank Thomas caps a five-run 8th by bashing his second homer of the game for the final lead.

BAL 111 040 010 – 8 11 3
CLE 002 000 205 – 9 11 0
W-Kelly L-Pappas HRS: Triandos-2, Harrell, Wertz GWRBI-Wertz
Wow! Down 8-4 in the 9th with Pappas in relief because Wilhelm’s unavailable, a wild pitch and error with two outs brings up Vic Wertz, who puts a game-winning 3-run shot into orbit. The Tribe is now just a game under .500.

BOS 120 000 000 – 3 10 1
DET 400 000 03x – 7 8 1
W-Foytack L-Sullivan SV-Morgan HRS: Zernial, Bolling GWRBI-Zernial
The gritty Tigers plate four in the 1st off Sullivan and hold on with the help of a monstrous 3-run smash in the 8th by Frank Bolling. Boston was this close to going into first and now can’t buy a win.

WAS 000 000 000 – 0 3 0
CHX 020 000 00x – 2 7 1
W-Pierce L-Kemmerer GWRBI-Callison
All Billy Pierce, all night, as the Chicagoans try to regroup and get something rolling again. Good team to do it against.

NYY 200 430 000 – 9 12 0
K.C. 202 000 000 – 4 9 2
W-Larsen L-Urban HR: Cerv GWRBI-Berra
Harry Simpson bats leadoff, gets on base all five times for the A’s. Cerv hits another one. K.C. goes up 4-2 on Don Larsen. And it don’t mean a thing ’cause Jack Urban don’t got that swing. Yogi highlights a two-inning, seven run outburst with a bases clearing double and the Yanks go back up by two games.

National League through Friday, June 27

Chicago 38 33 .535
Milwaukee 36 32 .529 0.5
Los Angeles 37 33 .529 0.5
Philadelphia 35 32 .522 1
St. Louis 34 34 .500 2.5
Cincinnati 33 37 .471 4.5
San Francisco 33 38 .465 5
Pittsburgh 32 39 .451 6

American League through Friday, June 27

New York 44 26 .629
Baltimore 43 29 .597 2
Boston 40 30 .571 4
Chicago 39 32 .549 5.5
Cleveland 36 37 .493 9.5
Detroit 34 37 .479 10.5
Kansas City 28 41 .406 15.5
Washington 20 52 .278 25
Advertisements