He got on the Giants' charter at the Shamrock Hilton. Nobody else was on board. "I saw the keys in the ignition, and I thought, What the heck," Minton says. He shoved the bus into first and rumbled off. He had never driven a bus before. "I don't know how many gears that bus had, but I went through three of them."
Minton needed new shoes, so he drove a few miles to Gary's Hats and Boots. One of Gary's clerks watched him disembark.
"Is the rest of the team coming, too?" he asked.
"No," said Minton. "Just me."
He bought a pair of boots—"elephant ear or eel, I think"—and then completed the trip to the Astrodome. He got there at 4:50, 10 minutes before the team was due. By 5:10, nobody else had shown up. Ditto, 5:20. At 5:25 a few players drifted in clutching taxi chits.
"Moonie!" said Tom Haller, the Giants' general manager. "Is what I heard true?"
"That all depends on what you heard."
"The bus. Did you steal it?"
"I was just trying to loosen up the team."
"Then why don't you loosen up your wallet?"