I was itchy, the Coronet needed to stretch her tires, and a visit to my Pacific Coast League scout buddy Phil Todd was in order. Lucky me, his Spokane Indians happened to be 75 miles north in Sacramento, playing a series with the Solons. Bingo.
After calling Pence to inform him of my latest one-day flu, I hit the old highway. The drive took about an hour and a half through hot, dusty fields. Spent the time listening to Russ Hodges’ call of our matinee with the Cards. It ended even more badly than last night’s game, but I’ll get to that tragedy later. I killed the radio when I hit Sacramento, cruised around a bit till I found Edmonds Field.
It was an ancient yard on the corner of Broadway and Riverside. With the imminent evaporation of the PCL, it would probably be demolished soon. The Solons were in sixth place, just in front of Spokane but well back of first-place Phoenix. The rickety stands were two-thirds full of farmers, families, scattered migrant workers in the cheaper seats. I wandered down to a box rail during batting practice, caught the eye of Glen Gorbous, one of the brief friends I made during my couple of days with the Indians back in late April. Naturally, he dragged Norm and Larry Sherry over from the cage.
“What the hell YOU doin’ here, Drake?” Gorbous asked “Bored bein’ a celebrity?”
“Actually I’m looking for Phil Todd. Tried his office and they said he was on the road with the team.”
“You kiddin’?” said Norm Sherry, “We’re lucky if we see him once in a purple moon. Guy’s off watching’ high school and little league games half the time. You fly up here to see him?”
“No, my trusty Coronet. If he shows up tonight, tell him I’m here, okay?”
Their game with the Solons was pretty grim. I remembered how feeble they looked up in Spokane, and they hadn’t exactly risen in the standings since. After the 12-2 drubbing, I walked out to my car and saw a typed, folded note under the wipers:
MEET ME AT THE OLD IRONSIDES BAR FOR A MOSCOW MULE.
So my old pals had come through. And I was dying to find out what a Moscow Mule was.
* * *
Ginger beer and vodka, that’s what. Papa Bill Bordisso’s house special since his place on 10th Street opened in 1934. The Ironsides was packed with summer night revelers. Billiard balls cracked from a back room and a local combo played some old jazz and swing favorites that thankfully didn’t include Bing Crosby. By the time I finished my first Mule, Phil Todd hadn’t shown up, and by the time I finished my second, I’d forgotten he was even coming. Instead of taking over our schools and government, the Commies could’ve just poured us a few million of these.
“Tell ya…what” I burped to the out-of-focus bartender, “Iffa guy name Phillip…Todd shows up…have him…call me.” And stumbled outside.
First thing I did was lose my car. Second thing I did was turn down the wrong sidewalk while looking for my car. It was a pretty residential area with some nice front porches. I was tempted to curl up on one for a nap, or if they didn’t have a porch, knock on a front door and use the closest living room couch.
It was also a quiet area, and I could tell because my shoes were making echo sounds on the sidewalk. At least I thought they were echoes. When I paused to light a Camel, though, and the echo kept going a few extra seconds, I wasn’t so sure.
I picked up my pace. Reached a modest rectangle of greenery called Roosevelt Park and ducked into some trees. Peered out. Thought I saw a quick shadow move off the walk.
Turned and another shadow stood in front of me. A shadow with a dark hand holding a revolver.
“Gimme that wallet now.”
His cohort appeared behind me. “Best listen to the man.”
“How about I do neither?”
“Then you be dead.”
The rear mugger brought up a knee, caught me in the spleen. I collapsed like an upside down cake, got a kick to the back of my head. I felt rough hands going through my pockets. One came out with my wallet.
Suddenly, the warm night air shifted. The wallet fell to the ground, a few inches from my aching head. Moments later its thief dropped on the grass, clutching a bleeding stab wound in his gut. A horrible gurgling followed. I looked up in time to see the first mugger drop his gun, pathetically try to keep the blood gushing from his neck while he fell and bled to death.
I then heard a third voice. Gruff. Out-of-breath. One I could recognize on a foggy night through tin cans.
“You owe me one, Milton. Actually…make that two.”
It was hard for me to sit up, but when I did, two negro muggers lay dead on either side of me. And the Peanut Killer was gone again.
STL 200 101 035 – 12 16 0
S.F. 004 100 000 – 5 9 1
W-Mizell L-Gomez HRS: Katt, Noren GWRBI-Noren
What’s going on here? We were 10-3 against the Cards, and now, after losing in 13 and now this disaster—a three-run Irv Noren homer off Gomez in the 8th, and six consecutive singles of Grissom in the 9th—we’ve dropped four behind the Braves. So I guess that’s what’s going on.
MIL 010 002 100 – 4 9 0
CIN 011 000 000 – 2 5 1
W-Willey L-Haddix HRS: Adcock, Aaron, Lynch GWRBI-Aaron
Cincy, 7-5 against Milwaukee going into this series, loses a chance to close to within a game of fourth place when Aaron turns around a Haddix fastball to give the Braves the lead for good.
CHI 010 200 000 – 3 11 0
L.A. 000 010 000 – 1 5 0
W-Hillman L-Drysdale HR: Banks, GWRBI-S. Taylor
At least Drysdale pitched semi-decently, but Dodger bats are helpless again and Banks hits #32, his fourth homer in two days.
PIT 100 000 000 2 – 3 12 2
PHI 000 000 100 0 – 1 11 0
W-Face L-Farrell GWRBI-Groat
Bucs and Phils waste a ton of scoring chances until a walk, two singles, and a double off Turk Farrell in the 10th drop the Phillies three games under .500. Even worse, Harry Anderson gets hurt for four games. Is their luck finally running out?
WAS 100 000 010 – 2 6 0
NYY 030 002 20x – 7 11 0
W-Shantz L-Kemmerer HR: Slaughter GWRBI-Shantz
Two bases-filled doubles, one by pitcher Shantz and one by Kubek, plate five of the seven New York runs. Mediocre Bobby also retires 18 A’s in a row at one point and the Yank triumph breaks an 11-game winning streak by road teams.
BOS 300 101 011 – 7 12 0
BAL 000 000 000 – 0 5 0
W-Brewer L-O’Dell HRS: Jensen, Renna GWRBI-Jensen
The best offense in baseball vs. the worst, and it’s amazing these teams were 7-7 in the season series. Six of Boston’s 12 hits here go for extra bases, which isn’t really news but I thought I’d report it.
DET 200 100 000 – 3 6 2
CLE 200 010 03x – 6 11 1
W-McLish L-Foytack HRS: Zernial, Held GWRBI-Held
Pressed into service by a Doby injury, Woodie Held hits a solo blast to trigger a three-run Tribe uprising in the 8th, as the Tigers have suddenly hit the skids.
K.C. 010 010 200 – 4 6 0
CHI 500 000 00x – 5 11 1
W-Pierce L-Grim HR: Lollar GWRBI-Lollar
Sherm hits a three-run blast in the 1st and the five Chicago runs hold up, inching them right behind Baltimore’s rump.
National League through Wednesday, August 13
American League through Wednesday, August 13