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August 30, 1958

“Okay. It’s coming back to me now.”
“I’m all ears, Snap.”

Liz sat on my couch tonight, both of us armed with gin and tonics. I had managed to stall Brewster and Sharpwood, who were off investigating the death of a fat limo driver. After spending most of today’s second straight Giants win trying to pester Liz up in the Seals press box, she was finally ready to listen.

“The dream. About driving with my dad, the crackers, the clearing in the woods with a ball game going on—”
“The A.Y.B.L.”
“Right. The Adirondack Youth Baseball league. When I was reading the note our nasty friend left with the limo guy, it started to put itself together. My dad spent half our life savings to send me to that place. Which is why he had to get a second job…as a bus driver.”
“Which caused him to die in an accident. I’m still so sorry.”
“Yeah…”
“So what happened at the camp?”

I took a long sip of gin. Knocked out a Camel.

” ‘Hard and fast and middle up’. Dad drilled it in my head the entire way there. And then…in maybe my first game pitching…I think I hit someone.”
“You think?”
“It was getting dark. The field didn’t have any lights. I remember gripping the ball, whipping it in…and wishing right away that I hadn’t. Too late though. That sickening sound—”
“Who did you hit?”

I took a long pause. Painfully trying to conjure the crickets back into my head, the sticky midsummer heat.

“I don’t remember.”
“That’s too bad. Guess we’ll have to talk to that camp director after all.”
“You don’t think I’ve been trying? Damn phones have been down for days.”
“Then we better take another road trip. Or tell your FBI buddies to send someone on a new goose chase.”
“Forget that. I don’t trust those clowns to wind their watches.”
“Maybe, but all we need is the name of the person you hit!”
“I need more than that. It’s pretty obvious that my blackouts started around that time. If I go to that camp again—and that field—it might bring every detail back and cure me forever.”
“Okay, so what are we waiting for?”

I finished my Camel. Dug out the pack to keep the chain going. “For these eight straight games with the Dodgers to end.”
“Why’s that?”
“Let’s just say…I got a new commitment.”
“To who?”
“To a certain powerful L.A. hoodlum I’d rather not talk to you about.”
“Hey. I don’t care if it’s Mickey Cohen. Right now you need to be honest with me.”

I gazed at her. The words I wanted to say were stuck in my throat like a bunch of chicken bones. She got the message from reading my face.

“Oh god, you know what? You’re right. I don’t want to know.”
“If we can just wait till next week, Liz.”
“Wait? We’ve waited long enough. There might be two more people dead by then!”
“Yeah, well…One’s going to be me if I don’t take care of this thing.”
“Fine then. I’ll go myself.”
“What?”
“Why not? I’m not getting those creepy notes anymore. Meaning the Herald doesn’t care if I write a column or fall off a cliff.”
“I’d worry about you up there. And this is my past we’re dealing with, not yours.”
“I’m a big girl, Snap. Just lend me that old bat of yours and if he tracks me down I’ll bash his peanut of a head in.”

I didn’t like lending Triples Trevor to anyone, let alone a dame. But this was one time I knew I’d be giving in.

THE SKINNYS

L.A. 001 001 000 – 2 5 1
S.F. 110 410 10x – 8 14 0
W-Gomez L-Erskine HR: Larker GWRBI-Wagner
Further Giants carnage perpetrated against the hapless Blue Men. It’s Erskine’s turn to have nothing, and Ruben’s turn to give them nothing other than a Larker homer and Roseboro triple.

CHI 400 000 050 – 9 12 0
STL 000 010 002 – 3 10 0
W-Drott L-Mabe GWRBI-Long
St. Louis’ time over .500 lasts about as long as a fruit fly’s life. Bob Mabe actually throws a decent game, if you discount the four runs he allows in the 1st. Billy Muffett relieves in the 8th and allows five more for the perfect losing bookend. The Cubs play one more at Busch before heading up to Milwaukee for a big Labor Day twinbill.

PIT 000 010 003 – 4 6 0
MIL 000 000 000 – 0 5 1
W-Raydon L-Rush HRS: Mazeroski, Thomas GWRBI-Mazeroski
Could it get any worse for the defending champs? They’re certainly trying. Against Curt Raydon and his 5.54 ERA coming in, the Braves are limper than wet tomahawks. They’ve had issues with Pittsburgh all year, but have never looked this bad. Humberto Robinson relieves Pizarro with two aboard in the 8th inning of a 1-0 game and instantly throws a 3-run gopher ball to Frank Thomas.

PHI 000 232 500 0 – 12 20 1
CIN 200 000 613 1 – 13 23 1
W-Acker L-Farrell HRS: Anderson, Crowe, Pinson GWRBI-Pinson
My vote for the most amazing game this year. Purkey falls apart halfway through, turns a 2-0 lead into a 12-2 deficit. Then Curt Simmons unravels, and Meyer comes on to help the Reds score six times in the 7th and make it a game. Then Temple doubles in Robinson in the 8th to cut it to 12-9. Then two singles and a George Crowe pinch-hit homer tie it 12-12 in the 9th. Then Pinson wins it with a bleacher bomb off Farrell in the 10th, and the Reds are over .500!

NYY 000 030 000 – 3 5 2
WAS 000 001 010 – 2 4 3
W-Ford L-Pascual GWRBI-Siebern
More flat-out bizarreness. All five runs scored in the game are unearned, and the Nats put up a spunky little fight seeing they’re facing Whitey Ford, who becomes our first 20-game winner.

DET 000 100 001 – 2 4 0
CHX 010 300 00x – 4 8 0
W-Latman L-Moford SV-Staley HR-Maxwell GWRBI-Fox
The Chicago beat goes on, with another great start (Latman) more clutch Nellie Fox hitting (two singles and two RBIs) and a 19-6 record now in August.

BAL 000 000 000 – 0 5 2
BOS 000 001 20x – 3 7 0
W-Bowsfield L-Johnson HR: Jensen GWRBI-Jensen
Jackie J. fills in nicely for injured Teddy W., bashing his 36th homer and giving Bowsfield his third shutout of the year.

CLE 000 300 030 – 6 8 0
K.C. 000 000 030 – 3 6 1
W-Narleski L-Herbert SV-Mossi HRS: Nixon, Ward GWRBI-Nixon
The White Sox have stolen all the headline thunder from the Tribe, who get huge hits by Russ Nixon and Mickey Vernon and close in on the plummeting Orioles for fourth place.

National League through Saturday, August 30

Chicago 74 57 .565
San Francisco 72 58 .554 1.5
Milwaukee 69 60 .535 4
Cincinnati 66 65 .504 8
St. Louis 64 64 .500 8.5
Philadelphia 60 66 .476 11.5
Pittsburgh 57 73 .438 16.5
Los Angeles 55 74 .426 18

American League through Saturday, August 30

New York 81 48 .628
Chicago 75 54 .581 6
Boston 69 59 .539 11.5
Baltimore 68 59 .535 12
Cleveland 69 62 .527 13
Detroit 62 65 .488 18
Kansas City 50 78 .391 30.5
Washington 40 89 .310 41
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