“Up and atom, Snap!”
Coffee and nagging early morning thoughts will get me up every time, Not so much bouncy enthusiasm from a dame. And I certainly had things on my mind this morning.
My plan was to call the Comiskey Park press box later to get the goods on D.L. Tressip from that Bronx Bugle writer. If he wasn’t there for the big Yankee-White Sox series I might not find him anywhere, but if that was the case, either Casey Stengel or one of the other Yankee players or writers could likely give me what I needed.
“That’s crazy,” said Liz, “You need to be at Connie Mack Stadium to warm up those Giants pitchers. How about if I actually GO to Chicago?”
“That sounds even more crazy.”
“Not at all. I want to see my folks in St. Louis, anyway. You know, about Billy. I can stop at Comiskey tonight and talk to your writers on the way. I bet some of my cronies from the Herald will even be there.”
“How do you know that?”
“Come on. Would YOU want to write about the Dodgers right now?”
She had a point. But I wasn’t wild about her going off by herself again.
“Hey, a press box is the safest place I could be. Besides, if Peanut Face is going to be anywhere, it’s in Philly.”
“That’s sure nice to hear.”
I said I would try and reach her at Comiskey right after the game started. This Tressip business was bugging the hell out of me, though. Lollygagging in Philly seemed like the wrong move. The second Liz took off for Chicago, I hopped an express train to New York.
* * *
It was only the second time I’d been in Manhattan, and my first brief one as a kid didn’t count. After years of getting around in serene west coast cities, walking in Times Square was like being sucked into a pedestrian meat grinder. I had a late lunch at an automat, where I heard a lot of businessmen and shoppers discussing the big Yankee game in Chicago later. That gave me an idea, but my first stop was the archive room at the New York Times, where I found plenty of info on D.L. Tressip.
His death in a closet of his upper west side townhouse was indeed ruled a suicide, in November of ’57. He was a widower, his wife having died of severe influenza twenty years earlier. He never remarried. He was survived by his only child, 38-year-old Richard. I even had the address of their townhouse, but was “Richie” still living there?
I made my way by dirty, crowded subway to the upper west side, where I checked in at an upper crust tavern off Central Park West—a half dozen blocks from Tressip’s 84th Street address. The Yankee talk at the bar was more muted here. A few more references to summer homes and sailboats thrown in. I caught the bartender’s eye.
“Say, did you ever see D.L. Tressip in here?”
He frowned. “You mean the deceased millionaire D.L. Tressip? No, sir.”
“How about his kid?”
He shrugged. “Didn’t know he had one. I stay out of rich people’s business.”
“But you knew he was dead.”
I didn’t tell him that my girlfriend and I never had a clue, but what good would that have done? New Yorkers have a way of assuming that everything that happens in their city is world news.
I walked a few more very long blocks. The Museum of Natural History passed on my left, but it had closed an hour ago. Too bad. After a few cold ones I was in the mood to take on a wooly mammoth.
The next tavern was called Shorty’s. Decidedly less snobby, and luckily they had a TV over the bar tuned to the Yankee game. Don Larsen and Early Wynn were warming up when I got the ear of the gum-chewing barkeep.
“Who do you like tonight?” I asked.
“Yanks big time. Larsen’s something like 13-4 and Wynn’s a fat old man. Still got a few minutes to lay down a wager if you like.”
“No, that’s okay. I’m actually looking for a guy. Thought maybe drank here sometimes.”
“I know ’em all, mac. Try me.”
“Richard Tressip? He’s the son of D.L.—”
“You mean Richie? Damn yeah! Stops by pretty often, but never drinks.”
“Oh. He places bets?”
“No, no. Just drops off a few of his newspapers.”
I stared at him. “Newspapers?”
He reached under the bar, handed me a copy of the Bronx Bugle. It was yesterday’s edition, the first I’d ever seen with a bright color photo.
“No kidding…So what, he works for them?”
“If he doesn’t I don’t know where the hell he gets ’em. Drops off a little stack whenever they come out.”
Weird. I flipped through the little 8-pager. The front was well done, but the rest of it–stories from the Bronx community and cheap little ads—looked like it had been slapped together by a sixth grader. The bartender looked curious.
“See the name Richie Tressip in there? I thought maybe he wrote for ’em and was too modest to tell me or something. To tell you the truth, the guy’s a little strange.”
I looked at the front page again. This time the lead story’s byline stuck in my eyes:
Archie Stripes…Richie Tressip
I snapped the paper shut. “He lives right up the street from here?”
“Yeah. In the Park West Arms. Good chance Richie won’t be there, though.”
Slapped down a dollar for my beer. “Why’s that?”
“Ants in his pants. He always seems to be going out of town.”
* * *
I thought about calling Brewster, getting him there right away with a search warrant, but I was much too impatient. Instead I called Liz in Chicago. Sherm Lollar had just hit a homer off Larsen to put the White Sox up 5-0, and there was much groaning in Shorty’s, but the phone booth gave me a little peace.
“Well, you won’t believe this, Snap. Those interviews Archie Stripes was doing with Stengel and the Yankees? Complete baloney. No one ever talked to him. Yankee press secretary told me they’d sue the creep if they could find him.”
“Makes sense, Liz. Because he’s not only a liar. I think he’s our killer!”
“Look at his last name! It’s ‘Tressip’ all scrambled. And I just read this new front page story. He’s lost his marbles! The whole thing is a lunatic’s rant against the Giants!!”
“That makes him a killer? He could just be a Dodger fan.”
I could hear Comiskey explode behind her. The White Sox were having their way and the AL race was still very alive.
“Well, I’m going to try and go ask him. Talk to you later.”
I hung up. Left the bar in the dark and huffed and puffed up the final endless blocks to 84th Street.
The Arms was on a brownstoned corner overlooking Central Park. It also had a doorman. I lingered by a mailbox until the guy went to the curb to help an elderly resident out of her chauffeured Cadillac, then ducked past him and into the building. Quickly found the mailbox for TRESSIP in Apartment 1203 and passed up the elevator for the stairs.
My Camel-smoking didn’t help the climb. I was beyond winded when I reached the 12th floor. Found the door to 1203 and knocked. Stood back, ready for anything.
No one answered. A few yards up the hall, I saw faint neon light filtering in from outside. I walked around a corner. A closet, fire extinguisher and window were there, a ledge visible just outside the glass. I went over, lifted the window as high as I could and climbed out onto the ledge.
Tried not to look down. Tried not to let the gusting wind and flapping pigeon wings bother me either. Facing the building, I inched my way along the dark ledge. Curtains were drawn on the many windows of 1203. The last window was open just a crack. I slowly crouched, wedged my fingers underneath and lifted it up. Slipped inside.
It was a vast, high-ceilinged townhouse, but it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in two months. Piles of newspapers, nearly all of them Bronx Bugles. Dirty clothes, empty food containers drawing flies, and a dirty dish here or there. The place stank of old perspiration and something else.
Ink. I found a lamp and switched it on. Sure enough, a giant metal contraption took up half the far wall.
It was a home printing press.
S.F. 010 300 000 – 4 6 0
PHI 010 000 000 – 1 5 0
W-Antonelli L-Simmons HR: Cepeda GWBI-Sauer
Well, Antonelli sure didn’t miss me. Cepeda clocks one off Simmons in the 2nd, Hank Sauer drives in the go-ahead run with a rare triple in the 4th, Granny Hamner grounds into three double plays, and the Giants win reasonably easy.
STL 000 003 101 000 000 000 00 – 5 22 1
MIL 100 030 100 000 000 000 01 – 6 19 1
W-McMahon L-Paine HRS-Mathews-2 GWBI-Pafko
Another root canal of a win for Milwaukee. Make that 20 INNINGS of root canal. Eddie Mathews whacks two homers the day after I make fun of his batting average. Warren Spahn is given a 4-0 lead and naturally blows it. After the Cards tie it in the 9th on a two-out Musial single, the Braves blow good chances to win the game in five straight innings against Phil Paine, who last I recall, couldn’t do a thing right. Wes Covington, who hasn’t been hitting for over a month, gives way to Pafko for late defense, and it’s Pafko who drives in the winner with a bottom of the 20th sac fly, slowpoke Frank Torre just beating Cunningham’s throw.
L.A. 011 003 000 – 5 12 2
PIT 120 100 000 – 4 6 0
W-Williams L-Kline GWRBI-Neal
The Pirates gave it their all, staying alive the last two days with clutch wins against the Giants, but let up a bit too much against L.A. and Ron Kline gets mugged from behind in the top of the 6th to eliminate the Buccos from the race. Five consecutive Dodgers reach base for the three runs, and the home folks can’t score again off Stan Williams.
[Cubs and Reds are idle, play tomorrow at Crosley Field.]
NYY 000 000 001 – 1 3 1
CHX 000 230 10x – 6 12 1
W-Wynn L-Larsen HRS: Mantle, Lollar GWRBI-Phillips
A total pitching mismatch favoring the Bombers naturally goes the White Sox way. Wynn has been pitching much better lately but nothing like this. Strikes out nine, including seven out of eight Yankee hitters in mid-game. Takes a two-hit shutout into the 9th, when the Mick slams his 43rd homer just to be a wise guy. Archie Stripes said Ditmar was starting the season series finale tomorrow, but it’s actually going to be Bob Turley against Jim Wilson. Archie has a little bit on his mind right now…
BOS 000 030 002 – 5 8 2
CLE 000 100 030 – 4 6 0
W-Smith L-Ferrarese HR: Doby GWRBI-White
And it’s bye-bye to the Tribe for ’58, as Hal Woodeshick turns in yet another awful outing, giving up a double-double-walk-walk-walk-hit batter combo with two outs and nobody on in the Boston 5th (the second double to non-hitting pitcher Ike Delock). To cap off their Elimination Day, after Runnels makes two errors to help the Indians take an 8th inning lead, bad Cleveland fielding range gives the Sox two winning runs in the 9th. Yuck.
BAL 000 000 001 – 1 3 0
DET 101 000 01x – 3 13 1
W-Hoeft L-Portocarrero SV-Wehmeier HR: Groth GWRBI-Bolling
Also ready to pack it in for the winter are the Orioles, who can’t hit in Tiger Stadium or win with ace Arnie on the mound. The Tigers seem to have caught St. Louis’ Under .500 Virus, so expect them to lose two out of their next three.
WAS 410 200 100 – 8 12 0
K.C. 000 001 011 – 3 12 1
W-Clevenger L-Grim HRS: Sievers, Zauchin-2, Cerv GWRBI-Sievers
NOW we’re talking excitement. Senators only have twelve games left, but are seven back in the loss column to the hapless A’s. Can they catch ’em for seventh place? Roy Sievers says yes, as he bashes homer #52, drives in RBIs 133, 134 and 135.
National League through Friday, September 12
American League through Friday, September 12