July 18, 1958

I called Brewster first thing this morning and told him that the X-Man never called me by my given name, something the Peanut Man always seemed to do. Naturally, he wasn’t impressed and didn’t want me going back to see him, but did manage to slip out the name of the facility out in Livermore where Chitwood was being held.

So I gave myself a little daytime road trip before tonight’s weekend opener with the Pirates. Lucky for me, it was visiting hours when I got there, and I talked a looming red-haired guard into passing the suspect a note that “Uncle Snappy” was waiting to visit him. They set us up in a private room with a glass wall between us and an extra guard on hand to announce we had three minutes.

“Nice to see you again…Uncle” the X-Man began, trying not to laugh.
“Same here. But did you forget something?”

He looked puzzled. “Oh…You mean Timmy broke another tooth?”
“No, no. When you said hi to me just now. You didn’t use my real name.”
“Sure I did. Uncle Snappy.”
“Not that one, Xavier…My REAL name…”

He squinted at me through the glass. I saw a trickle of perspiration over one of his eyebrows.

“Why are you messing with me?”
“I can ask you the same question, bud.”

His eyes went vacant, like he was searching through some kind of weird memory bank in his head. Then he grinned.

“I have no reason to mess with anyone. Except for those poor saps I killed…Milton.”

I slumped in my chair. Nothing I was coming up with was working.

“It’s been nice playing this game with you, Milton but I just got tired. Do you know someone who can write a book about me?”

I didn’t, and I never would. Turned and asked the guard to let me out. I was frustrated, and when I hit the hallway nearly shoved a janitor out of the way who was mopping the floor.

By the time I got back to town it was nearly ushering time, and drove over to Seals. The X-Man was still bugging me, and I decided I’d duck out early and head down to the Wharf to get into his flophouse.

But I had a new twist waiting for me at the ballpark: Agent Brewster on his night off, holding tickets with his wife Bonnie Brewster in MY darn section.

“You don’t mind if I give you a big tip tonight, do ya Drake? I’m feeling a little accomplished these days.”

Good for you, I thought, not wanting to drop one word about my trip out to Livermore. And I would have to fake a little sickness to cut out early.

When we fell behind 5-0 on two rare Bill Virdon home runs, it seemed like my plan would be easy as pie. Except I wasn’t counting on upside-down cake. Mays and Wagner popped 2-run homers off Ron Kline, and it was 6-4 Bucs going to the 8th.

Bonnie Brewster was slim and kind of mute, and her husband spent most of the game explaining the rules to her. Lassoed me to fill in some of the blanks and I was starting to get annoyed with the both of them. We loaded the bases with one out and Elroy Face came on to face the usually disappointing Willie Kirkland.

“Why do they call the bases sacks, Drake? Bonnie wants to know.”
“Why you think? They look like them.”
“No they don’t. They’re flat.”
“So they’re flat sacks. Do you mind if I—”

WHOCK!! Kirkland hit one on a rising line over the right field bleachers for a grand slam, an exploding crowd, a certain win, and my perfect cue to duck out the nearest exit.

* * *

Finding Chitwood’s hovel was a cinch. I knew the general seedy neighborhood down on Fisherman’s Wharf, and then it was just a few questions to local merchants and locating the police tape over the door. I climbed up a fire escape, forced open a window on his room. Clicked on my flashlight.

Brewster was right. Chitwood’s walls were plastered with newspaper clippings on the “Peanut Man” killings. I even found my name in a few of the early stories where I was a person of interest. My name “Milton” circled in pen. Hmm…

I looked around some more. Eventually lifted up his stained, moth-eaten bare mattress. Saw a black scrapbook secured below it with a strap. I pulled it out.

inside were pages and pages of other clippings, some from newspapers, some ripped out of library books. All about murderers. Leopold and Loeb made an appearance. So did a lot of clippings about Ed Gein, the demented killer up in Wisconsin last year.

Xavier Lawrence Chitwood was into murder, alright. But there was a slight chance he was just a diehard fan.

THE SKINNYS

PIT 020 300 100 – 6 8 0
S.F. 000 202 04x – 8 9 2
W-Giel L-Kline HRS: Virdon-2, Mays, Wagner, Kirkland GWRBI-Kirkland

PHI 000 000 200 – 2 5 0
L.A. 013 010 00x – 5 9 1
W-Erskine L-Cardwell SV-Craig HR: Gray GWRBI-Gray
Untypically awful Cardwell outing, as the Dodgers shell him for five extra base hits, with all five of their runs knocked in by Dick Gray. On the down side, Roseboro gets hurt for and will miss six games, though Joe Pignatano has been great off the bench.

MIL 110 200 002 – 6 11 0
CHI 000 000 000 – 0 4 1
W-Willey L-Drott HR: Adcock GWRBI-Covington
Major Milwaukee underachiever has been Joe Adcock, but today at Wrigley he homers and doubles his first two times up and sets the tone for Carl Willey’s masterful shutout.

STL 112 000 202 – 8 16 0
CIN 101 030 001 – 6 13 0
W-Mizell L-Nuxhall SV-Paine HRS: Flood, Musial, Dropo GWRBI-Boyer
Stan is The Man for another night, going 4-for-5 with a double, homer, and four RBIs. Vinegar Bend wins his 12th despite one of his worst starts of the year.

K.C. 000 010 021 02 – 6 13 1
NYY 001 020 001 00 – 4 16 0
W-Gorman L-Duren HRS: Simpson, Mantle Carey GWRBI-Tuttle
Shocker in the Bronx, as the A’s battle back, blow a 1-run lead in the 9th on a two-out Skowron single, but win it on a Simpson walk, Tuttle triple and Cerv single in the 11th off Duren.

DET 300 000 000 – 3 9 0
BOS 010 012 03x – 7 11 0
W-Brewer L-Bunning HRS: Daley, Gernert-2 GWRBI-Renna
Boston puts 11 men on base and scores 7, Detroit puts 15 men on base and scores 3. Any other questions? Yes, has Dick Gernert been given a rabies test yet? That’s seven homers in his last five games.

CLE 000 000 011 – 2 5 2
BAL 213 000 00x – 6 10 0
W-O’Dell L-Woodeshick HRS: Triandos, Nieman GWRBI-Busby
Billy O. gets back on the winning beam and big Bird hits help him out early. Orioles ain’t out of this thing yet.

CHX 000 000 020 – 2 9 2
WAS 110 003 00x – 5 10 0
W-Kemmerer L-Donovan SV-Hyde HRS: Yost, Zauchin GWRBI-Yost
Not sure I can say the same for the Pale Hosers, though, who continue their ghastly month by dropping their opener in D.C. to the previously 1-15 Russ Kemmerer.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I provided a full confession of my long and sordid Strat-playing history to the Outsider Baseball Bulletin the other day. The OBB is a very fine historical “e-zine” worth subscribing to that’s published by ’58 Cubs skipper Scott Simkus. Here’s a link to the PDF with my story.

National League through Friday, July 18

Milwaukee 49 38 .563
San Francisco 48 41 .539 2
Chicago 46 44 .511 4.5
Philadelphia 44 43 .506 5
Los Angeles 45 44 .506 5
St. Louis 41 44 .482 7
Pittsburgh 42 46 .477 7.5
Cincinnati 37 52 .416 13

American League through Friday, July 18

New York 59 30 .663
Boston 51 37 .580 7.5
Baltimore 51 40 .560 9
Chicago 48 43 .527 12
Cleveland 45 46 .495 14
Detroit 44 45 .494 14
Kansas City 36 52 .409 22.5
Washington 25 66 .275 35
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