" 'Well,' he said, 'go ahead, and I'll hit it out of sight.'
"I laughed and said: 'Would you tell on me? If you got traded, I mean?'
"He snickered, turned out the light, and rolled over in bed. 'I reckon not,' he said."
Roe got a slightly worried look.
"I don't want you to get the wrong idea," he said. "Some boys really laid on my spitter and if they ever read your story I want them to know that I know I didn't fool 'em.
"Some of the guys used to hit it pretty good. A lot of my best have gone out of the park. Musial hit one back at me one day, and almost tore my head off. Del Ennis always hit the spitter good; probably better than anyone. It got so bad I had to throw fast balls and sliders to him because he hit the darned things so often. I used to give him nothing but the decoys, but I wouldn't give him the real spitter."
Roe lit another cigar.
"The guys on my team used to call it 'your Beech-Nut curve,' " he continued. "That's because of the gum. On the bench, between innings, I'd dig into my pocket for a stick of it, and say: 'I'm gonna get me a new batch of curve balls.'
"I don't know why Beech-Nut was better. There seemed to be something in it that would make the ball slicker than any other gum. If this is a testimonial, then they can have it for free. I'm just telling the truth. I tried every kind of gum, and tried that slippery elm, too, but nothing worked for me like plain old Beech-Nut.