July 13, 1958

I called Brewster, asked if I could go see the X-Man again. No dice. Chitwood was moved overnight to a more secure jail while he waited for his first arraignment on Monday.

“You ought to be in church anyway, Drake. Don’t you know what day it is?”

Well, I did toil away at Our Lady of the Seals Cathedral all afternoon, where there was more prayer-inducing baseball to worship than I can ever remember. Liz at first threatened to join me, but when it came down to either taking in a heavenly ball game or clacking away on her typewriter, she was a devout atheist.

It was her loss. The weather was gorgeous. The crowd today was even bigger than at Saturday’s logjam. Plus, as was the case when I worked PCL games, the more the home team was winning, the bigger the tips got.

The madness all began with Ruben Gomez being wild. Mathews walked, Aaron singled, Covington got plunked and Bruton walked to put the Braves up 1-0. Then Cepeda doubled in two off Bob Rush. Mays scalded a triple into the gap for another run in the 3rd , before Davenport got him home with a single. In the 5th Rush ran for cover. Wagner homered, Mays and Cepeda singled, and a Davenport sac fly and Daryl Spencer (!) homer made it 8-1. Trowbridge gave the mound a try for them in the 6th and with the help of a ball through Mathews’ legs, three walks and a wild pitch, we were up 12-1 and heading for certain Sunday glory.

Celebratory beers dropped into hands all around me. In maybe one hour we’d be a game and a half out of first. I even saw a few fans leave early to get some local sunbathing in.

Being an ex-AAA pitcher, I know a few more things about baseball than most. But you don’t have to be Van Lingle Mungo to know that no game is ever over. Especially against a club as good as Milwaukee.

The 7th inning was our sermon on the mount. Torre singled and with one out Aaron put one over the left field bleachers. Covington walked and Bruton singled and Marv Grissom came on. Crandall yawned and doubled down the line. Roach singled in another. After Logan whiffed Joe Adcock pinch-hit and launched one that’s close to hitting Sputnik by now and it was suddenly 12-8.

Humberto Robinson set us down 1-2-3 and Seals got awful quiet. Then Mathews began their 8th with a line single off Giel and Aaron doubled. Mumbles erupted all around me, most of them prayers. A Bruton walk and another Roach single and it was 12-11. Logan and Pafko singled, loading the bases. The sun vanished behind dark clouds. Locusts were probably heading our way. Torre grounded out to end the inning and there was brief relief.

Cepeda and Davenport’s back-to-back doubles gave the Giants a two-run lead back but Giel wasn’t done torturing us, putting two more on with two gone in the 9th. Gordon Jones walked in to handle Crandall. I hadn’t been to church since I was five and even I was praying. Del swung, popped it up to Spencer, and we had actually survived the ordeal.

Afterwards, sweaty but elated, I talked half the ushers and a few usherettes over to the Double Play. From there, a handful of us stuffed into my Coronet and Butch’s Chevy and headed down to the Red Parrot, Cepeda and Gomez’s other Latin-Caribbean band haunt.

I’d done a bit of snooping down there with Liz a few months back, but it was a funeral home that night compared to the scene we encountered this time. I don’t remember the S. F. Seals having any kind of Latino following, but the Giants—with Orlando, Ruben, Felipe Alou, Ramon Monzant, and Bahamian Andre Rodgers—were another story. Cepeda and Gomez recognized me from my recent guest stint as Nick Testa and had us smoking cigars and snaking through the tables in a conga line in no time, calypso beats pounding into our ears.

Much later and far from sober, I gyrated my way up the steps of my apartment. Liz’s light was off, but it clicked on when she heard me and she poked her head out the door.

“So how was the Red Parrot?”
“Huh?”
“Or wherever the heck you were. Sounded like a good time.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t mess with me, Snap. I heard calypso music.”
“So?”
“So you didn’t call me about two hours ago from there, whisper my name and hold the phone up in the air for almost thirty seconds?”

“Uhh, no.”
“Well, somebody did.” She shivered, tightened her robe. “And it sure couldn’t have been your X-Man.”

THE SKINNYS

MIL 100 000 730 – 11 19 2
S.F. 202 044 01x – 13 15 0
W-Gomez L-Rush SV-Jones HRS: Aaron, Adcock, Wagner, Spencer GWRBI-Cepeda

CIN 000 002 012 – 5 11 0
L.A. 001 000 002 – 3 7 1
W-Lawrence L-Drysdale HRS: Pinson, Roseboro, Zimmer GWRBI-Lynch

CIN 310 000 220 – 8 8 0
L.A. 410 001 111 – 9 14 1
W-Craig L-Jeffcoat HRS: Robinson, Crowe, Gray (grand slam), Neal GWRBI-Neal
Nice of the Dodgers to get the Reds winning again. Cincy pummels Drysdale in the opener and nearly pulls off the sweep but L.A. scores one run in each of the last four innings of the nightcap, winning it on Hodges, Zimmer and Neal singles off Jeffcoat in the 9th.

PHI 024 300 002 – 11 11 0
CHI 120 104 000 – 8 15 1
W-Cardwell L-Drott SV-Hearn HRS: Hamner-2, Anderson-2, Walls, S. Taylor, Thomson, Banks GWRBI-Anderson

PHI 100 000 020 – 3 11 1
CHI 000 001 12x – 4 12 0
W-Elston L-Farrell SV-Nichols HRS: Jones, Walls, Tanner GWRBI-Tanner
Another near-sweep, but Chuck Tanner pinch-hits a bleacher shot in the last of the 8th to help the Cubbies earn a very needed split. In the opener, Harry Anderson and Granny Hamner knock in nine of the eleven Phillie runs.

PIT 000 000 000 – 0 2 0
STL 013 000 00x – 4 8 1
W-Jackson L-Kline HRS: Boyer, Musial GWRBI-Boyer

PIT 000 000 000 – 0 7 0
STL 400 100 00x – 5 8 1
W-McDaniel L-Blackburn HRS: Smith, Green GWRBI-Boyer
Facing a hot team and unable to beat anyone lately, Larry Jackson and Lindy McDaniel fire nearly matching complete game shutouts, with Ken Boyer driving in the winner each time. You try explaining baseball.

CHX 103 010 000 – 5 9 2
NYY 110 100 201 – 6 13 1
W-Larsen L-Pierce HR: Berra GWRBI-Berra

CHX 000 001 000 – 1 9 0
NYY 010 000 20x – 3 7 0
W-Maas L-Moore HR: McDougald GWRBI-McDougald
The possible swan song for the White Sox. Lacking any power, Chicago singles and walks and grounds into double plays for 18 innings until a Yankee gets around to putting one in the seats late in each game.

CLE 302 021 100 – 9 12 0
BOS 000 000 300 – 3 11 1
W-McLish L-Sullivan GWRBI-Nixon
In a horrific outing, Frank Sullivan can’t get out of the third inning, and the Tribe rolls the Bostonians behind McLish to go two games over .500.

DET 102 200 100 – 5 18 1
BAL 000 000 011 – 2 8 1
W-Foytack L-O’Dell SV-Aguirre GWRBI-Zernial
Wretched use of their eighteen hits, but the Tigers are playing the spiraling Birds so it doesn’t really matter. After a great start to his season, O’Dell has lost five of his last six decisions.

K.C. 100 200 300 – 6 11 0
WAS 000 000 003 – 3 8 1
W-Grim L-Kemmerer SV-Tomanek GWRBI-Simpson

K.C. 100 000 030 – 4 8 0
WAS 203 100 00x – 6 8 1
W-Valentinetti L-Burnette SV-Hyde HRS: Cerv, Simpson, Sievers GWRBI-Zauchin
The Dual of the Titans ends in a split, as the Nats score six off Wally Burnette early in the nightcap and hold on with the usual Hyde help. Roy Sievers’ homer is his 34th, tops in the majors.

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

National League through Sunday, July 13

Milwaukee 46 37 .554
San Francisco 45 39 .536 1.5
Philadelphia 43 39 .524 2.5
Los Angeles 43 41 .512 3.5
Chicago 44 42 .512 3.5
Pittsburgh 40 44 .476 6.5
St. Louis 39 43 .476 6.5
Cincinnati 35 50 .412 12

American League through Sunday, July 13

New York 56 28 .667
Boston 47 36 .566 8.5
Chicago 47 39 .547 10
Baltimore 47 39 .547 10
Detroit 43 41 .512 13
Cleveland 44 42 .512 13
Kansas City 34 50 .405 22
Washington 22 65 .253 35.5
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