john_klippstein_1958_0711_cropAugust 31, 1958

So Liz was off again for the East Coast, presumably to track down camp director Randall Nathan in Loon Lake, New York. The fact she left with her novel and fresh notepads made me think a side trip to Manhattan publishing houses was not out of the question.

Me? Business as unusual. With my mother still missing, I needed a day escorting Giants ticket-holders to their seats to keep myself calm. Naturally, Brewster showed up five minutes before the first pitch to make that impossible.

According to his “report,” the dead limo driver was apparently bound and gagged before he was strangled, maybe in the killer’s trunk. He hadn’t been seen since he dropped me at my place eight days ago, and his limo was found abandoned outside a sandwich shop in Daly City.

“The marks on his neck were awful fresh,” he said, “Meaning our friend was keeping him alive for a while. He’s got to be operating out of some local lair.”
“Where he might also be keeping my mom.”
“You would think.”

Norm Larker was stepping into the box against Stu Miller, and there were a dozen fans waiting for my help.

“Guess I’ll talk to you later,” he said, “Oh—one other thing. Fingerprint people came with up nothing visible at your mother’s house. Not even on the broken window.”

He left. I helped two families and two priests find their seats, and the game got going. Miller was effective as always, but the shock was that this skinny guy with big ears named Johnny Klippstein, who came over from the Reds in June, was even better. After Ron Fairly singled and Dick gray tripled to put L.A. on top 1-0 in the 6th, Klippstein struck out our side right after. It seemed to spark the last-place Dodgers, as Gilliam doubled, Furillo put one into the parking lot in deep left, and with a Mays homer the only pimple, the Klipper Kid beat us 3-1 to keep us a game and a half out. The Cubs could very well spend their Labor Day tomorrow bombing the suddenly pathetic Braves twice, so we need to keep pace by doing the same to these Black and Blue Boys.

I wasn’t in the mood for the Double Play, or being at home without Liz. Brewster’s comments were still swimming in my head, and were enough to drive me over the Bay Bridge for another look in my mother’s house. Before going in, I knocked on the door of Ben Mudge, her 80-year-old retired postmaster neighbor who could still be nosy on a good day.

“Already told the police I didn’t hear no screams, Milt. Can’t you all just leave me alone?”
“And you didn’t see that blue car tear out of here?”
“Nope. That was Flo across the street, but she’s half blind so I wouldn’t listen to her. Did manage to hear the engine, though. One of those souped-up jobs.”

I thanked him. Liz’s rockabilly brother would certainly drive a car like that, but come on…

I went in the house, put on some lights. Walked over to the broken window.

This time noticed something odd. A few pieces of glass that were still intact in the frame were bent outward, not inward. I looked down. Some of the window glass was on her carpet, but not all that much.

I hurried back outside, circled around. There was a little broken glass under the windowsill, but a bunch of it was gleaming at me from a bush a few feet away.

I crouched. Carefully spread its leaves open with my hand. A brown glass container was wedged in there, and I pulled it out. It was a bottle of Hamm’s. Its stale beer smell still wafting out the neck.

Unless I was crazy, it was possible the kidnapper hadn’t broken in this window at all. He had flung his empty beer bottle through it—from the inside. Did Billy Frack drink Hamm’s?…

THE SKINNYS

L.A. 000 001 200 – 3 9 0
S.F. 000 000 100 – 1 4 0
W-Klippstein L-Miller HRS: Furillo, Mays GWRBI-Gray

CHI 000 001 000 – 1 5 1
STL 130 002 10x – 7 11 0
W-Jones L-Hobbie HRS: Cunningham, Green GWRBI-Musial
Surprise, surprise! The Cards inch back over .500 by taking two out of three from the first placers. Sad Sam Jones does his usual thing, whiffing nine and waking seven, but this time gets plenty of offense to get him the win.

PIT 100 110 001 – 4 8 1
MIL 000 101 000 – 2 7 0
W-Witt L-Jay HR. Covington GWRBI-Kluszewski
After an abysmal road trip, the Braves open a critical homestead by getting swept by the seventh-place Pirates. Covington goes 3-for-4 for a change, but the rest of the lineup contributes nothing—the story of the month. In their last nine games, Milwaukee has scored more than two runs exactly once. In their eight losses in those nine games, they’ve scored a total of six runs. And now they get the Cubs.

PHI 030 003 020 – 8 14 1
CIN 101 000 001 – 3 10 0
W-Roberts L-Haddix HRS: Post, Bouchee, Hemus-2 GWRBI-Ashburn

PHI 000 001 131 – 6 14 0
CIN 010 000 051 – 7 10 0
W-Acker L-Farrell HRS: Lopata, Dropo-2, Burgess, Robinson GWRBI-Robinson
Exhausted from their miracle comeback on Saturday, they have trouble scoring on Robin Roberts in the opener, but remember how to walk on water in the nightcap. Down 5-1 in the 8th, Dropo hits a 3-run shot, Hoak triples and Smoky Burgess homers to put them ahead. Willie Jones ties it back up with a two-out double in the 9th, but MVP probable Frank Robinson takes Turk Farrell’s first pitch out of the yard, his incredible 17th game-winner of the year.

NYY 102 000 010 0 – 4 10 1
WAS 001 000 300 1 – 5 7 0
W-Hyde L-Duren HRS: Sievers-2 GWRBI-Sievers
Speaking of MVPs, Roarin’ Roy Sievers puts the Senators ahead with his 49th homer off Trucks in the 8th, then wins it with his 50th off Duren in the 10th. The Yanks trudge back to the Bronx to welcome the Red Sox for a Labor Day double-dipper.

DET 000 000 011 – 2 6 1
CHX 031 001 32x – 10 18 1
W-Pierce L-Lary HRS: Phillips GWRBI-Phillips
The Big White Chisox Machine keeps rolling, sweeping the Tigers and closing to—that’s right—five games from first place. They’ll be hosting the also-hot Indians for two tomorrow.

BAL 100 000 100 – 2 10 3
BOS 000 030 71x – 11 15 0
W-Sullivan L-Harshman HRS: Williams, Jensen, Renna GWRBI-Jensen
Man, give Boston an inch and they’ll take the whole yardstick and smash it over your head. A Dick Williams homer cuts it to a 3-2 game in the 7th, but after Brooks Robinson boots a DP ball for his second rare gaffe of the game, the Sox explode for seven runs to make their trip down to New York a little nicer.

CLE 550 000 140 – 15 18 1
K.C. 300 010 000 – 4 9 1
W-McLish L-Terry HRS: Colavito, Wertz-2, Nixon
Last in the league in pitching and defense, the A’s suddenly can’t hit either with three of their regulars still out. It’s been a sad, sad month for them green and gold elephants.

TEAM STATS REPORT: Here are your team hittingteam pitching, and assorted miscellany through Sunday’s games.

RECORDS IN AUGUST: Reds 23-9, Cubs 21-9, Giants 17-13, Cards 18-14
Braves 15-16, Phillies 11-19, Pirates 10-21, Dodgers 8-22

White Sox 21-6, Indians 18-11, Yankees 13-14, Orioles 12-14,
Red Sox 13-16, Tigers 11-16, Athletics 11-17, Senators 10-17

National League through Sunday, August 31

Chicago 74 58 .562
San Francisco 72 59 .550 1.5
Milwaukee 69 61 .531 4
St. Louis 65 64 .504 7.5
Cincinnati 67 66 .504 7.5
Philadelphia 61 67 .477 11
Pittsburgh 58 73 .443 15.5
Los Angeles 56 74 .431 17

American League through Sunday, August 31

New York 81 49 .623
Chicago 76 54 .585 5
Boston 70 59 .543 10.5
Baltimore 68 60 .531 12
Cleveland 70 62 .530 12
Detroit 62 66 .484 18
Kansas City 50 79 .388 30.5
Washington 41 89 .315 40
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