July 17, 1958

As I figured, Liz wanted me to press charges against the Mayor.

“Are you kidding? He’ll rope in his cops, lawyers, and judges and before you know it they’ll have me up on breaking and entering. Forget it, Liz. I’ve been barking on the wrong fire hydrant with this one. The Mayor’s gang is too openly stupid to do anything cunning and calculated like plan a string of murders. Another ice pack, please.”

My mother had a different remedy for my beat-up head in mind: her annual birthday dinner. She had this joint in Jack London Square she liked me to take her called the Seafood Grotto. Surf ‘n turf, baked potato with cheese and chives and a big glass of wine for $4.99.

“We’ll have a good time,” she said. “It’ll do you some good to get your mind off all this nonsense.”

Mom wasn’t wrong, and after the game today (we won again!), I even talked Liz into driving and having dinner with us. With the usual third degree attached.

“Why do I need to meet your mother again?”
“Because some day you might have to.”
“And why would that be?”
“Another ice pack, please.”

The Grotto was packed for a Thursday evening, and Dorothy Gladys Drake actually got along fine with Liz—especially after her second Chablis.

“So what do you think of Mr. Baseball Usher here?”
“Oh…I guess he’s okay by me,” said Liz. She tickled my leg beneath the table.
“Yeah, he’s a good son. Make a good darn good father, too.”
“Mom, stop…”
“I’m only saying. I know the qualities. George sure had them, bless his soul. Would do anything for his boy…”

Her voice tailed off, and she polished off her wine to fill the gap. Caught the waiter’s eye to signal for a fresh glass.

“Spent every dime we had on that silly camp…”
“Camp?” asked Liz.
My mother paused. Shook her head violently, like a giant twitch. “Shut up, Dorothy…”
“You were saying—”
“Oh you know. Sleepaway camp. How’s your chicken marsala, dear?”
“Just fine…How’s your dinner, Snap?”
“Good enough.”
“Still got that headache?”
“The beer helps.”
“Oh, you’ll be right as a rainstorm tomorrow,” said my mother without thinking. Her trademark.
“What makes you think so?”
“I’m your mother, remember? Known you for a while. Heck, every time you blacked out you were always good as new the next day.”

It was too late. Mom was cursing herself again and Liz was staring at me.

“You used to black out?”
“Yeah. Fainting spells of some kind when I was a teenager. Not too often.”
“We had a GREAT doctor. Jerry Donaldson. A real cutie pie. Married three times but he knew his stuff so you couldn’t hold it against him. Remember Dr. Donaldson, Milton?”

My mind sharpened for a second. But it wasn’t on the name you’d think.

“Milton! Did you hear me?”
“He never said that…”
“Huh?? Who never said what?”

I looked at Liz, suddenly tongue-tied. She was as baffled as my mother. The traditional slice of chocolate bundt birthday cake arrived on the table, complete with lit candle. Liz and I managed to sing a soft rendition of “Happy Birthday”, and as Dorothy Drake wobbly rose to blow out the candle, I gazed at the flame as if it were a miniature light bulb that just switched on in my brain. The nagging thing that was bothering me was nagging no more.

At the FBI office the other day, the X-Man never called me Milton. Not even once.

THE SKINNYS

PHI 002 000 100 – 3 7 2
S.F. 011 100 001 – 4 7 1
W-Jones L-Sanford HR: Schmidt GWRBI-Schmidt
Gomez is real shaky, but gets out of enough jams to give us a chance to take the lead on a passed ball in the 3rd, and win it on a Bob Schmidt dinger off Sanford with one out in the 9th. Taking two out of three against these pains in the posterior, especially with the Braves idle, is a real boost. Now we get the Bucs for the weekend before starting our next long trip.

PIT 011 100 000 – 3 10 0
L.A. 100 010 000 – 2  7 0
W-Friend L-Drysdale GWRBI-Kluszewski
Although it’s pretty clear the Bucs are playing much better. Three triples, two from Bill Virdon, do in not-so-dandy Don and the Dodgers, who drop back to .500.

CIN 000 000 301 – 4 9 0
CHI 020 000 000 – 2 3 1
W-Purkey L-Drabowsky HRS: Dropo, Moryn GWRBI-Dropo
Huge 3-run shot by Walt Dropo in the 7th shocks the Cubs, who do nothing with Bob Purkey after the 2nd inning.

DET 000 103 000 – 4 11 2
NYY 100 000 000 – 1 8 1
W-Foytack L-Shantz SV-Wehmeier HR: Siebern GWRBI-Bertoia
The Tigers salvage the finale behind a great outing from Foytack and even greater relief from Herm Wehmeier, who bails them out of a bases loaded pickle in the 8th by retiring Bauer.

K.C. 000 120 000 – 3  9  3
BOS 302 304 01x – 13 14 1
W-Sullivan L-Urban HRS: Jensen, Renna, Gernert, Malzone GWRBI-Renna
Bill Renna, filling in for Ted Williams, hits for the cycle and Dick Gernert continues his monster mashing week with a grand slam. Nothing new, really.

CHI 001 000 002 – 3 8 1
BAL 300 014 01x – 9 10 1
W-Johnson L-Pierce HR: Taylor GWRBI-Taylor
Lost in Chicago’s disappointing play of late is the failings of supposed ace Billy Pierce. Walks six guys here in five and a third innings and gives up another devastating homer, to Joe Taylor with two of his walks aboard in the 1st. Pierce has now allowed 20 long balls in 139 innings.

CLE 210 500 021 – 11 17 0
WAS 100 000 020 – 3  6  1
W-McLish L-Ramos HRS: Colavito, Minoso, Nixon, Yost, Zauchin GWRBI-Colavito
And the universe rights itself, thanks to another sterling performance by Pedro “3-15” Ramos. Eleven hits allowed in three and two-third innings, eight of them for extra bases.

National League through Thursday, July 17

Milwaukee 48 38 .558
San Francisco 47 41 .534 2
Chicago 46 43 .517 3.5
Philadelphia 44 42 .512 4
Los Angeles 44 44 .500 5
Pittsburgh 42 45 .483 6.5
St. Louis 40 44 .476 7
Cincinnati 37 51 .420 12

American League through Thursday, July 17

New York 59 29 .670
Boston 50 37 .575 8.5
Baltimore 50 40 .556 10
Chicago 48 42 .533 12
Detroit 44 44 .500 14
Cleveland 45 45 .500 14
Kansas City 35 52 .402 23.5
Washington 24 66 .267 36
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