Now Voshen knew he was on the right track. If he had any doubts, they were soon dispelled. A few days later a man who identified himself as Lou Boudreau called Voshen. Voshen was aware that Boudreau (the former Cleveland short-stop and manager who was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last month) was McLain's father-in-law. Boudreau asked that Voshen be patient and told him he would get his money. A couple of days later Boudreau called again, pleading for more time. Voshen wasn't in any mood to wait. He paid his gambling debts promptly. Earlier that year he had lost some $35,000 at the Shorthorn and had come up with the money.
Voshen went from mobster to mobster, seeking influence to enable him to collect his money. He was finally granted an audience with Tony Giacalone, the "voice in the street"—or enforcer—for Joe Zerilli, the Detroit Cosa Nostra boss. Giacalone, 51, 6 feet, 210 pounds, never wears the same pair of undershorts or socks twice; he wears them once, then throws them out. A gangland court was convened in Giacalone's $25,000 boat-well—it contains a duplex apartment and a slip for a 50-foot cruiser—at Detroit's Gregory Marina.
Giacalone heard Voshen's complaint, mulled it over and ruled that the Detroit Cosa Nostra wouldn't intervene. His men had nothing to do with the Flint handbook, Giacalone pointed out. What's more, he said, McLain was crazy to get into such a scheme. Giacalone did have one piece of advice for Voshen: Why not try to get some kind of settlement out of the Shorthorn?
A while later Giacalone went to jail for six days for failing to talk to a grand jury, even though he had immunity. Soon after Sept. 2, when he got out, he was again asked to help settle Voshen's claim. This time a teamster lawyer named George Mantho approached Giacalone on Voshen's behalf. The meeting took place at Woody's Hillcrest Country Club in Mt. Clemens, Mich. "There's a table in the corner of this rustic room that Tony liked," says an old associate. "Nobody could get in front of you or behind you." Mantho laid it all out. Giacalone told him that it was his, Mantho's, responsibility to take care of Voshen, that Voshen wasn't to make a beef, that Mantho was to control him.
Meanwhile, McLain was having his troubles on the mound, too. From Sept. 2, when Giacalone got out of jail, through Sept. 18, McLain started four games, won none, lost two and didn't last more than 5⅔ innings in any single game, giving up 13 runs in 13⅔ innings. In fact, he didn't win another game that season, winding up with a 17-16 record. On Sept. 18, he lasted only two innings against the Red Sox. Shortly thereafter he reported that he had severely injured two toes on his left foot. He first said he had fallen asleep watching TV and so had one of his legs. He awoke, got to his feet and somehow stubbed his toes. Later he claimed he hurt the toes chasing raccoons that were raiding his garbage cans. A third account, by teammate Mickey Lolich, had McLain kicking a water cooler when he was yanked from the game. A fourth version, provided later by McLain himself, is that he hurt his toes when he angrily kicked lockers in the clubhouse.
There is also a fifth version. McLain was ordered to report to Giacalone's boatwell; Tony wasn't as uninterested in the debt as he had professed. Once McLain was there, Tony Giacalone and his brother Billy, another Mafioso, went into their "angry act." Giacalone is under the impression that he's a great psychologist, that he can outpsych anyone. He gave McLain the full act, including his famous stare. Then he brought his heel down on McLain's toes and told him to get the money up.
The money to pay off Voshen, or at least some of it, was raised—some by McLain, some by Schober—but Voshen insisted he never saw it. The story is that Tony Giacalone kept all but a token sum, which went to Mantho.
However McLain's toes were dislocated, he missed two or possibly three starts, not pitching again until Oct. 1, the final day of the 1967 season. That day the Tigers won the first game of a double-header from the Angels 6-4 to tie the Red Sox for the league lead. McLain started the second game. He went 2⅔ innings, giving up four hits and three runs. He had nothing. The Tigers lost the game 8-5 and the pennant by one game. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who interviewed McLain last week, said, "There is no indication that [McLain's] activities in any way involve the playing or outcome of baseball games."
According to a gangland source, just prior to McLain's toe injury Billy Giacalone had made big bets on both the Red Sox and the Twins to win the pennant and later had bet heavily against the Tigers in McLain's final start.
Although McLain won 31 games in 1968, to become the first 30-game winner in the majors since Dizzy Dean, was a 24-game winner last year and reportedly makes $200,000 a year, he has continued to be plagued by money problems. A suit has been filed to evict him from his Beverly Hills, Mich. home, claiming nonpayment of seven months' rent totaling $2,450. In Lakeland, Fla., where he also has a home, an office-supply owner reclaimed $500 worth of office furniture after some checks bounced. The IRS has filed a $9,460 lien against McLain for disputed income taxes. Consumers Power Company, a Michigan utility, won an uncontested $779 judgment against him for back bills. He was sued twice last year for allegedly failing to pay bills related to his $75,000, six-passenger Cessna (SI, Dec. 15); the Detroit Bank & Trust Co. has confirmed reports that the Tigers are sending McLain's checks to the bank to pay off a $13,000 balance on an outstanding loan; and the Michigan Securities Bureau is investigating a paint company, Dyco International, formed by McLain. There have been complaints he sold stock in Dyco before it was officially chartered.