In a minute he was back. He sat down on the stool and put on the other sock.
"What did he want?" asked Miller.
"Well," said Von calmly, his eyes never leaving the floor, "I'm going to get them out tonight."
A half hour later, on the field, the Cardinal substitutes were taking batting practice. Von sat by himself in the Cardinal dugout. Lindy, bat in hand, came over.
"Hey, Von, if I were you, I'd go in and lie down on Doc's table and get some rest."
Von shook his head. "I want some air. I've been in the hotel all day writing letters. Hey, Lindy? Do I take batting practice with the regulars?" Lindy nodded. "How many swings do I take?"
"Bunt two, then take five swings," said Lindy. Then he turned and headed for the batting cage.
For another 10 seconds Von sat in silence on the bench. Then he rose nonchalantly and said, "Well, I guess I'll go in and lie down on Doc's table and get some rest."
Three hours later Busch Stadium was filled. Dusk had darkened the sky, but the bright lights of the stadium made the field look sunny. In front of the Cardinal dugout, Von McDaniel, 18, threw his last warmup pitches to Walker Cooper, 42.
Then the four umpires gathered at home plate, the national anthem was played, and the first batter, Junior Gilliam of the Dodgers, walked to the plate. Von McDaniel, looking at least 22 with his cap pulled down over his forehead, delivered his first pitch, a strike. The crowd roared. Gilliam grounded out and the crowd roared again. Reese went out too, and then Snider struck out foolishly to end the first inning. The crowd rose in applause.