The Earl stared impassively. "Maybe in the morning," said his wife.
Halper ignored her. "I can come to your room right now," he said.
It was too late. Halper had already left for his room to fetch some Averilliana. The Averills reached their room about the same time as Halper. The Sultan got his autographs.
The next morning Halper noticed a commotion in the lobby. An ambulance had taken away one of the old-timers. "Which one?" Halper asked a bellman.
Averill had slipped into a coma from which he would never slip out. Six weeks later he was dead. Halper thinks he did Averill a favor: "I gave him one last glorious moment of being asked for his autograph."
Not all ballplayers have been appreciative. When cornered by Halper a few years back, Leo Durocher snapped, "You people are so strange."
"Well, you're so normal," Halper replied.
Durocher searched Halper's face and asked, "Where have I seen you before?"