August 14, 1958

The speedometer on my Dodge was busted, but I knew I was driving back from Sacramento last night at close to sixty-five miles an hour because the windows were rattling. Sure, a highway cop might’ve stopped me. But try telling that to the adrenalin in my foot and the eggs I was trying to unscramble in my brain.

Peanut Man had left that fake Phil Todd note on my car at Edmonds Field to get me to The Old Ironsides. Meaning he followed me all the way up there and overheard the conversation with my Spokane pals. His aim was to get me plowed and do something else dastardly, but what? Kidnap me again and throw more sock balls in my face? The muggers he killed had messed up whatever plan he had, and with the law about to arrive, there probably wasn’t enough time to pull it off.

So for those of you scoring this insane game at home, I now had a serial murderer, a mobster, and Sacramento cops to worry about, not to mention City Hall goons in ‘Frisco if I got any deeper into that Candlestick Point scam. What better way to forget about it all but to take in another ball game, right?

Called in “sick’ for one more day and parked myself in the right field bleachers for a change. One bonus of sitting out there is that if I felt frazzled I could just turn around between innings and gaze at the trees in Franklin Square Park. At least until they reminded me of poor Reggie again.

Al Worthington did his best to ease my mind-pain. The Cards swung feebly at his offerings all afternoon, and even though he struck out nobody, thanks to an early Davenport solo shot he took a 1-0 lead and no-hitter into the 7th. The Seals stands were starting to electrify again, like they did for Jim Brosnan’s no-hit gem here back in April against us. First up was Musial, though, and he worked a walk. Worthington bore down against Bobby Gene Smith but he walked too. Up stepped Irv Noren, who killed us with a late three-run homer yesterday.

Well, he whacked the first pitch deep in my direction. I stood and watched the ball sail on a bay breeze over the bleachers, bounce between a pair of passing Oldsmobiles on 16th Street and roll into the grassy park. 3-1 St. Louis and here we went again. Worthington departed after giving up just one hit, Grissom redeemed himself with two shutout innings before Monzant gave up three singles in the 9th. But it didn’t matter. Jackson and Paine put termites in our bats and the Cards, 3-10 against us going in, pulled off the dreadful three-game sweep. All we have now are the blue-hot Cubbies, red-hot Reds and ever-dangerous Braves coming to town, so if you ask me, this is our biggest two weeks of the year here.

Afterwards, I checked an evening Sacramento paper for any dead muggers news, and didn’t see any. Which was strange. Maybe Peanut Man had gone back and disposed of the bodies himself after I left. Or maybe negro victims didn’t warrant space in the local paper. It wasn’t that uncommon.

I stopped at Pete’s Liquor for a new bottle of gin, and headed home.

Only to hear a loud sneeze as I rounded the corner to my steps. Parked at the top with one of his goons was Braggo Farfadecchio, blowing his schnozz into a monogrammed hankie.

“Damn weather up here ain’t fit for an Eskimo, Mr. Snappy. How d’ya do it?”
“Can I help you, Braggo? It’s not exactly Labor Day yet.”
“No it ain’t. But Mickey’s Giants seem to be laborizin’ a little too much this week.”

He stepped up to my face. Even his nose hairs looked scary.

“I don’t care if you’re putting’ opium in their chewin’ tobacco or crabs in their jock straps. But if you enjoy wakin’ up every day you better cut it the fuck out.”

THE SKINNYS
(only games scheduled)

STL 000 000 301 – 4 5 0
S.F. 010 000 001 – 2 5 1
W-Jackson L-Worthington SV-Paine HRS: Noren, Davenport GWRBI-Noren

MIL 100 033 130 – 11 12 4
CIN 200 610 50x – 14 17 1
W-Nuxhall L-Spahn SV-Acker HRS: Aaron, Mathews, Robinson GWRBI-Robinson
Spahnie and Nuxie continue their legacy of disappointment, with Warren getting lit up by lefties again and Joe doing everything he can to cough up an 8-1 lead before Tom Acker holds the fort with three equally dicey innings of relief. Aaron and Robinson with matching great days again, and here’s their updated MVP battle:

Hank Aaron: .350 AVG., 35 HRS, 96 RBIs, .667 SLG 1.074 OPS, 11 game-winners
Frank Robinson: .346 AVG., 34 HRS, 117 RBIs, .654 SLG, 1.089 OPS, 14 game-winners

CHI 010 000 001 01 – 3 9 2
L.A. 200 000 000 00 – 2 3 0
W-Elston L-Craig HRS: Walls, Banks, GWRBI-Walls
Not to be left out of the MVP race, Ernie Banks hits HR #33 with one out in the 9th off Erskine to tie the game, and the swan-diving Dodgers find another way to lose, on a Lee Walls single off Craig in the 11th. After scoring their two runs on an error, single, two walks and a ground out in the 1st, Moe Drabowsky and Don Elston not-hit them until the 10th inning. Meanwhile, how ’bout dem Cubs, who are back to a mere game out of first?

NYY 100 101 000 – 3 6 1
BOS 010 300 01x – 5 9 2
W-Monboquette L-Turley HRS: Skowron, Gernert, Runnels
A monstrous four-game showdown opens at Fenway with the Bosox prevailing to go up 7-6 in the season series. The Yanks load up with their right-handed power but Monbo holds Carey, Bauer, Howard and Skowron to a 3-for-20 day. Stone cold of late Dick Gernert pops a solo shot in the 8th for some desperate insurance. The lead drops to seven and a half and can get to four and a half by Monday, but Whitey Ford and Don Larsen are next on the agenda.

DET 000 001 301 – 5 11 1
CLE 000 012 000 – 3 7 0
W-Bunning L-Bell SV-Wehmeier HRS: Wilson, Kaline, Held, Wertz GWRBI-Kaline
Vic Power provides some replacement offense for Colavito with a 4-for-4 day, but back-to-back blasts in the 8th by Red Wilson and Al Kaline give the Tigers a much-needed comeback win—and Jim Bunning’s 12th victory.

K.C. 001 000 110 – 3 12 0
CHI 021 000 90x – 12 17 1
W-Donovan L-Garver GWRBI-Aparicio
A’s make it close in the top of the 7th, Chisox make it unclose in the last of the 7th with a nine-spot off three K.C. “pitchers”. For a team dead last in baseball in home runs (66 in 115 games), Chicago has managed to stay on the edge of the race.

National League through Thursday, August 14

Milwaukee 63 50 .558
Chicago 64 53 .547 1
San Francisco 60 55 .522 4
St. Louis 55 57 .491 7.5
Philadelphia 54 57 .486 8
Cincinnati 55 61 .474 9.5
Pittsburgh 54 60 .474 9.5
Los Angeles 51 63 .447 12.5

American League through Thursday, August 14

New York 72 43 .626
Boston 64 50 .561 7.5
Baltimore 62 51 .549 9
Chicago 63 52 .548 9
Detroit 58 55 .513 13
Cleveland 59 58 .504 14
Kansas City 45 69 .395 26.5
Washington 35 80 .304 37
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