July 30, 1958

“I don’t care if he’s the Duke of Flatbush or Windsor, you’re staying with me in the press box.”

Liz’s response was what I predicted, and I didn’t blame her, even though the Peanut Killer’s latest published passage was more bizarre and harmless than the others:

Summer’s moon on the wane
And no threat of rain
A rocky field of grain
Is a neighbor to pain

“He can rhyme from now till doomsday for all I care,” I said over toast and eggs at the Pfister this morning, “Long as he keeps his peanuts in his pants.”

The Dodgers had another night game in Milwaukee, so Liz and me had a nice day strolling the big lake, Kosciusko Park, and the incredible Basilica of St Josaphat in Lincoln Village. The church was cavernous and half-empty, every footstep behind us echoed, and there were plenty of nooks inside crannies for someone to watch us from. Liz was handling this press box deal pretty well, but I was still nervous about leaving her alone for more than an inning.

My presence seemed to give the Dodgers crazy luck again. Joey Jay walked Larker, Snider and Roseboro in the top of the 1st and Dick Gray cleaned off the bases with a line drive grand slam. The Braves chipped back against Podres, but the most dependable fireman other than Roy Face—Roger Craig—came on with the bases stuffed in the 6th to shut them down on one hit the rest of the way.

More Jay wildness in the 7th and a horrible 2-base error from Logan later, the Dodgers won the game on only four hits. Another note from Duke Snider was slipped to me, this time inviting me to after-game beers at an old saloon called Kneisler’s White House. I was going to invite Liz along but she had a headache and was no doubt tired of being in rooms full of men.

It took a while for me to escort her back to the hotel and into her room. Then I had to think of an excuse to leave again (“need to track down some cigarettes”). By the time I finally got to Kneisler’s, all of the Dodger players had come and gone except Don Zimmer, their little chunky shortstop. And I had no idea what to say to that guy.

I found a seat at the far end of the bar and ordered a draft. It was cold and delicious and went straight to my head. So did the next one. I heard the bartender mention to someone that Antonelli and the Giants had lost badly. It shouldn’t have helped my mood, but it did.

And then I heard a song in the air. The bar had an old juke box in the corner, and Bing Crosby’s rendition of “June in January” was suddenly playing. The music swirled with the lager in my brain. I felt woozy. Buried images, snapshot memories. Clawing their way to the surface. A white room. A distant water tower. Crosby’s crooning voice drifting up a long hallway with a polished floor…

There may have been a lot more, but I don’t remember. By then I was losing my balance, falling off the bar stool and hitting my head on the tavern’s floor.

THE SKINNYS

L.A. 400 000 300 – 7 4 0
MIL 000 012 000 – 3 6 2
W-Podres L-Jay SV-Craig HR: Gray GWRBI-Gray

S.F. 200 100 000 – 3 10 1
CIN 010 314 02x – 11 15 0
W-Purkey L-Antonelli HRS: Whisenant, Hoak, Robinson, Dropo GWRBI-Hoak
Great. Now Antonelli will have a rescue party out for me. Johnny reverts to his awfulness after being staked to a 2-0 lead in the 1st. Frank Robinson, on base four of his five trips again, is having the year of his life for this pitching-starved team. Try .349, 33 homers, ML high 102 RBIs and a 1.112 OPS.

STL 002 300 100 – 6 12 0
PHI 000 100 000 – 1 7 1
W-Jones L-Semproch HR: Philley GWRBI-Cunningham
Sad Sam was due for an easy win, which are never easy against the Phillies. Even chips in with a double, triple and two RBIs.

CHI 001 000 040 000 – 5 7 3
PIT 311 000 000 001 – 6 10 2
W-Face L-Drott HRS: S. Taylor, Mejias GWEBI-Virdon
Rare errors by Clemente and Mazeroski and a two-out Sammy Taylor grand slam in the 8th tie this one up, but Virdon’s triple in the 12th put the Bucs back in the win column after a mini-slump.

NYY 000 100 870 – 16 17 1
K.C. 000 000 000 – 0 5 3
W-Shantz L-Herbert HRS: Sieberm Carey, Skowron GWRBI-Skowron
A lot closer than the score would indicate. I’m not kidding. Thanks to a Skowron RBI single in the 4th, the A’s are only down 1-0 with two aboard and two gone in the 6th. Bob Cerv can put them ahead with a solid hit off Bobby Shantz. Instead, he grounds out. Fifteen Yankee runs later, this one’s over.

BOS 200 400 003 – 9 13 0
DET 000 202 100 – 5 14 0
W-Sullivan L-Foytack HRS: Williams, Runnels, Jensen, Bolling GWRBI-Williams
The Tigers make a brave try at it, but beating the Sox with singles and doubles when they’re beating you with homers doesn’t usually work.

WAS 000 100 000 – 1 5 0
CHX 001 001 00x – 2 7 0
W-Pierce L-Ramos HRS: Sievers, Torgeson, Phillips GWRBI-Phillips
Man, the Senators are like a different team, actually IN most of their games lately. Sievers slams his 38th homer in a losing cause.

BAL 010 400 000 – 5 9 2
CLE 101 001 000 – 3 7 3
W-Johnson L-Woodeshick SV-Loes HR: Doby GWRBI-Williams
A sloppy, aggravating game for both clubs, filled with walks, double plays, LOB and general sloppy aggravation. Billy Loes throws three and a third of great relief to provide some order.

LATEST RUN DIFFERENTIALS:

NL
Braves +93
Phillies +16
Dodgers –1
Pirates –1
Cubs –2
Giants –5
Reds –52
Cards –53

AL
Yankees +151
Red Sox +81
Orioles +64
Indians +35
Tigers –20
White Sox –35
Athletics –141
Senators –146

National League through Wednesday, July 30

San Francisco 55 45 .550
Milwaukee 53 45 .541 1
Philadelphia 50 47 .515 3.5
Chicago 52 49 .515 3.5
Los Angeles 48 51 .485 6.5
Pittsburgh 48 51 .485 6.5
St. Louis 46 50 .479 7
Cincinnati 43 57 .430 12

American League through Wednesday, July 30

New York 67 35 .657
Boston 56 43 .566 9.5
Baltimore 56 45 .554 10.5
Chicago 54 48 .529 13
Detroit 50 50 .500 15
Cleveland 51 51 .500 15
Kansas City 39 61 .390 27
Washington 31 71 .304 36
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