June 28, 1958

Valmy Thomas didn’t want to hear about it. Neither did Schmidt, Grissom, Giel or Crone. Rigney was so angry at our team you couldn’t get within two feet of him, and I was still too afraid for Liz to get Agent Brewster involved.

Unless it was already too late. “Say goodbye to your little friend”? Who even says something like that? Was he talking about Billy or his sister? And how did this guy always know what room I was in? Our travel man Fred Coombs kept hotel assignments under brain lock and key till the last minute. Players couldn’t even approach him, let alone stowaways. Nope. Peanut Man had to be stalking me big time.

But I had to try something. Before heading back over to Crosley for tonight’s game, I snuck in a call to the Ohio State Police. Gave them the info on Billy’s car. Of course all that did was distract the hell out of me while I was warming up Mike McCormick in the pen. It showed in the early part of the game, as Frank Robinson took him over the left field wall twice, once with a man aboard and the next time with two. Rigney marched out after the second blast and removed Mike from the mound before Robinson even crossed the plate, and I was the team leper once again.

Luckily, Joe Nuxhall was 3-9 for a reason. Hank Sauer got us close with a 2-run homer in the 5th, before an Alou triple and Mays sac fly tied it up in the 8th. Giel, Jones and Grissom combined for four and two-thirds of 4-hit baseball after McCormick left, bench warmer Ray Jablonski hit for Jones in the 11th and crushed a Kellner fastball out of the park, and we broke our five-game losing streak with a clutch win.

For the first time in days, Giants players in the locker room looked me in the eye, and before heading back to the hotel I got a private phone call.

“Mr. Drake? Officer Reinhofer from the Ohio State Police. We’ve found your friend William Frack.”
I was afraid to ask. But did anyway.
“Well, his Chevrolet Nomad wagon was in a ditch, two miles from the Ohio-Indiana border. There was evidence of tampering with the car’s brake pads and tire treads. Appeared to be quite a crash.”
“Thank god…”
“What was that, sir?”
“No—I mean, I’m glad it was just a crash. Which he survived, right?”

There was a long pause. “Stable condition at Dayton General. We’d like to see that note you told us about, Mr. Drake.”

I said sure, arranged a rendezvous with an Officer Grundheinz for the morning and hung up. Valmy was inviting me out for beers again, and this time I went along, got loaded enough to sleep on the floor of his room. Enough with the notes. The rest of my plan was to hop a bus up to Dayton for a quick Billy visit before Sunday’s game.

But plans these days seem to be made out of tissue. Or peanut brittle.

THE SKINNYS

S.F. 000 102 020 02 – 7 10 0
CIN 003 020 000 00 – 5 8 1
W-Jones L-Kellner SV-Grissom HRS: Sauer, Jablonski, Robinson-2 GWRBI-Jablonski

L.A. 020 000 000 – 2 4 0
MIL 100 000 000 – 1 4 0
W-Koufax L-Willey SV-Craig HRS: Larker, Aaron GWRBI-Larker
The Braves finally lose another game, and they shouldn’t have. Koufax retires 15 straight Braves after an early Aaron homer, amazing with how wild he can be, then leaves for Craig when he loads the sacks with two outs in the 8th. Aaron crushes Craig’s first pitch for a certain grand slam, only to have a rogue wind gust knock it down into Jim Gilliam’s glove in left.

CHI 000 001 000 – 1 8 0
PIT 300 041 00x – 8 12 0
W-Witt L-Phillips HRS: Mejias-2 GWRBI-Thomas
Well, the Bucs are suddenly making noise again. Roman Mejias goes yard twice and the Cubs fall a half game out.

STL 010 000 003 – 4 8 1
PHI 000 005 00x – 5 9 0
W-Roberts L-Jones SV-Farrell HRS: Boyer, B. G. Smith GWRBI-Ashburn
The human bad luck factory that is Sad Sam Jones strikes again. For you dice-throwers out there: Phillies start the 6th down 1-0, roll 40%, 15% and 20% single chances in succession to begin their inning, before Lopata walks and Ashburn clears the bases with a triple. Cards score three in the top of the 9th off Roberts and Farrell, but Freese misses an 80% triple chance that would have tied the game.

NYY 102 110 000 – 5 12 3
K.C. 100 000 201 – 4 9 1
W-Turley L-Terry HRS: Carey-2, Mantle, Skowron-2 GWRBI-Mantle
A’s battle the Yanks bravely, but Ralph Terry is no help, issuing five solo homers to the Bombers to put K.C. behind the 8-ball to stay early on.

BAL 000 001 000 0 – 1 6 0
CLE 000 010 000 2 – 3 5 0
W-Score L-O’Dell HRS: Brown-2, GWRBI-Brown
Lefty-killer Dick Brown hammers his second dinger of the game to trot the Tribe off with a win, and put them at the .500 mark! The Birds drop three games out of first.

BOS 100 000 000 – 1 4 1
DET 000 200 00x – 2 6 0
W-Bunning L-Brewer HR: Martin GWRBI-Martin
Speaking of dropsy, the Red Sox get a Ted Williams RBI single in the 1st, then drop dead against Jim Bunning the rest of the way. Scrappy Billy Martin hits a 2-run shot for both Tiger runs and starts a key DP in the 7th.

WAS 020 000 000 – 2 8 0
CHX 200 000 12x – 5 10 3
W-Donovan L-Clevenger SV-Staley GWRBI-Landis
Tex Clevenger is now 1-9, and here’s why: Gets the first two Sox in the 7th, then serves up a double to non-hitting Dick Donovan, a walk to Torgeson and single to Jim Landis. Chicago is honing in on making this a 4-team race again.

National League through Saturday, June 28

Los Angeles 38 33 .535
Philadelphia 36 32 .529 0.5
Chicago 38 34 .528 0.5
Milwaukee 36 33 .522 1
St. Louis 34 35 .493 3.5
San Francisco 34 38 .472 5
Cincinnati 33 38 .465 5.5
Pittsburgh 33 39 .458 6

American League through Saturday, June 28

New York 45 26 .634
Baltimore 43 30 .589 3
Boston 40 31 .563 5
Chicago 40 32 .556 5.5
Cleveland 37 37 .500 9.5
Detroit 35 37 .486 10.5
Kansas City 28 42 .400 16.5
Washington 20 53 .274 26
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