August 16, 1958

“Stay up here till we figure this out, Snappy. It’s for your own goods.”

Chumpo’s “apartment” was a two-room hovel atop the Double Play. Furnished with a lumpy bed, girlie calendar and hot plate. He and Bob were committed to keeping me “safe” until it was clear that Peanut Man had planted the knife on me. But how could I prove it if I was stinking drunk at the time?

“One thing you ain’t doin’ is turnin’ that knife over to the Sacramento cops,” said Chumpo this morning, “They give jaywalkers five years up there.”
“Yeah,” asked Bob, “but what if the sicko’s prints are all over the thing?”

I shook my head. “Doubtful. This guy’s nuts but he isn’t sloppy. If he was we would’ve caught him by now. If you ask me, best thing I can do is usher today’s game like nothing ever happened. Like I didn’t even find the knife. Wait for him to try something else.”
“No way, San Jose,” said Chumpo, “You found that blade when you were in my joint, and I ain’t losin’ my license over it. One day to keep cool, that’s all I’m askin’ here.”

So I went along with it. He brought me up a burger and fries and bottle of Royal Crown, then switched on Russ Hodges’ broadcast for me.

Not like I needed it. The half-open dirty window brought crowd noise and Hamm’s brewery odor wafting into the room all afternoon. And just my luck, I missed the Giants belting five solo homers as they handled the Cubs again and picked up a game on the Braves.

Later, I used Chumpo’s phone to call Liz and tell her about the knife. There was a good ten-second pause on the line when I’m sure she was deciding whether or not to hang up and call the FBI on me.

“You’re my best friend right now, Liz. I need you to believe me.”
“Really? What happened to your saloon buddies?”
“Okay, change that. You’re my smartest best friend.”
“I’m not saying I don’t believe you, Snap. But every weird thing that happens to you tests me a little more. Maybe you should come back down to L.A. so I can keep an eye on you.”
“Don’t think so. I’ll see you plenty end of the month during that eight-game series.” (I left out telling her about my “assignment” for Mickey Cohen.)
“Geez. Don’t remind me about that. One day some hack’s going to write an article about the most idiotic baseball scheduling in history.”
“Yeah, but for now, I don’t want you any more involved.”
“I already am, remember? I’m Peanut Killer’s ghost publisher. Just take some aspirin, calm down, and I’ll talk to you soon.”

I hung up. Wandered into Chumpo’s World War I trench of a bathroom and rummaged through his medicine cabinet. Found a bottle of three-year old morphine pills his doctor must’ve filled after Chumpo got back from Korea. Popped a few of those and laid down on the lumpy bed for a while to think about what I could do on Sunday. Until I gradually stopped thinking at all…

THE SKINNYS

CHI 001 000 000 – 1 2 0
S.F. 211 010 00x – 5 9 0
W-Antonelli L-Phillips HRS: Alou, Mays, Thomas, Sauer-2 GWRBI-Alou

PHI 310 000 000 – 4 11 0
MIL 000 020 000 – 2 5 0
W-Roberts L-Rush HR: Jones GWRBI-Jones
Robin Roberts goes to 13-6 with a Milwaukee smothering, as Willie Jones, batting cleanup for the injured Harry Anderson, smacks a three-run shot in the 1st off Rush.

PIT 003 000 001 – 4 13 1
CIN 012 010 002 – 6 8 0
W-Acker L-Face HRS: Bailey, Lynch GWRBI-Lynch
Doubles off Purkey by Kluszewski and Groat tie this in the 9th, but no big deal. Jerry Lynch trots off with a two-run blast off Roy Face in the last of the 9th. Still-hot Reds are now just one game out of fourth place.

[Cards and Dodgers have Saturday off, maybe for USC football practice at the Coliseum, but will play another twinbill there on Sunday.]

NYY 000 020 300 – 5 13 1
BOS 000 000 300 – 3 5 1
W-Larsen L-Sullivan HRS: Siebern, Renna GWRBI-Siebern
Larsen goes to 11-4,and Norm Siebern collects three hits including a game-winning homer, as the Yanks take games two and three out of four to make the pennant race more boring again. Bill Renna hits yet another pinch-hit homer for Boston, but it ain’t enough.

WAS 210 000 100 – 4 6 0
BAL 008 000 00x – 8 11 1
W-Brown L-Pascual HRS: Sievers, Triandos, Gardner GWRBI-Robinson
And with this travesty, the Senators are officially eliminated from pennant contention. Too bad because Sievers’ 46th homer and Pascual being on the mound seemed to suggest they’d be around another day. Eight runs off Camilo in the 3rd quickly put an end to that.

CLE 000 100 010 – 2 4 0
CHX 034 022 00x – 11 15 1
W-Wilson L-Woodeshick HRS: Minoso, Boone-2 GWRBI-Smith
Ray Boone has a day, 4-for-5 with a double, two homers and seven RBIs, as the Tribe await the imminent return of the Rock to hopefuly wake back up.

DET 000 000 000 – 0 3 0
K.C. 210 000 00x – 3 5 0
W-Terry L-Lary HRS: Cerv, DeMaestri GWRBI-Cerv
Someone explain the Tigers to me. They get five or six games above .500 for the first time, then drop into a chasm by losing five straight now to the A’s. Getting blanked two games in a row in the best home run park outside of Detroit. Yeesh.

National League through Saturday, August 16

Milwaukee 64 51 .557
Chicago 64 55 .538 2
San Francisco 62 55 .530 3
St. Louis 56 58 .491 7.5
Philadelphia 55 58 .487 8
Cincinnati 57 61 .483 8.5
Pittsburgh 54 62 .466 10.5
Los Angeles 52 64 .448 12.5

American League through Saturday, August 16

New York 74 43 .632
Boston 64 52 .552 9.5
Baltimore 63 52 .548 10
Chicago 64 53 .547 10
Detroit 58 57 .504 15
Cleveland 60 59 .504 15
Kansas City 47 69 .405 26.5
Washington 36 81 .308 38
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