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TUESDAY, SEPT. 10
Bob Gibson, the right-handed pitcher, could not sleep last night. The idea of the pennant race caused him to toss and turn in his bed at the George Washington Hotel. He wanted to sleep late this morning, but at 10 a.m. he gave up even trying and decided to walk downtown and look in store windows. "Bob is always like that on the day he pitches," says Flood. "I know. I'm his roommate on the road. He gets up and he stalks around and turns on the television set and talks back to it. He gets grumpier and grumpier as game time gets closer, then sometimes he gets so bad that I want to throw a punch at him. But he senses this coming and takes himself a walk." Keane is putting Groat back in the lineup tonight. "Dick Groat has such a good eye," says Flood, "that he could hit .300 with a strand of barbed wire."
In the dressing room at 6 p.m. everyone is smoking cigars. Stan Musial, an outfielder, became a grandfather at 5 this morning. It's a boy. He is truly proud. "I'll take a $25,000 bonus for him right now," he says. Funny thing about Musial. He lets everyone kid him, but suddenly he excuses himself from a knot of reporters and walks over to shake the hand of Corky Withrow, a kid the Cardinals bought from Denver four days ago for outfield insurance. Corky's wife had a baby last night. Boy, too. It was his first child, and his wife, Barbara, had been two weeks overdue. Musial musses Withrow's hair and pounds him on the back. "If there's anything you need," he says, "just let me know." Soon there is a procession of players moving toward Corky Withrow, a father and a Cardinal.
Lou Burdette, the semi-ancient pitcher, begins to needle Gibson to get Gibson's mind off the game. Burdette, naturally, kids Gibson about his hitting ability, and Gibson loves it. "Bob Gibson," says Flood, "truly believes that he is a better hitter than Babe Ruth. Maybe Ruth is better off that he is not around, because Gibson would try to give him lessons. Gibson and I start to talk about hitting sometimes, but after a few minutes he gives up. 'Man, Flood,' he will say, 'I don't talk to no singles hitters. I go for downtown.' "
When Musial comes to bat in the first inning the ball park is in an uproar. People do not get a chance to see a grandfather hit in the major leagues too often. They shout, "Hit one for the baby, Stan," and other such pieces of nonsense. Groat, who has singled ahead of Musial, takes a short lead off first and twice clutches at his aching side. Glen Hobbie, the Chicago pitcher, stretches and throws one pitch to Musial. Stan bounces it off the pavilion roof in right for a 2-0 lead. Hobbie had pitched 17⅔ scoreless innings before facing Musial. In the second, George Altman walks after Flood singles, and then Gibson homers into the bleachers in left. As he jogs slowly around the bases the players on the bench think he is showboating and scream, "Hoot! Hoot! Hoot!" Gibson is not showboating. He has felt a muscle spasm in his right side while pitching but refuses to tell anyone until after the game. He will say something about it only if he wins.
Gibson wins easily, 8-0, and Mirandy plays in the dressing room. The Cardinals have seen the Dodger score on the board all night long, and they know that the Dodgers have won 4-2 over Pittsburgh. Bill White, the first baseman, walks over to Gibson and says, "Man, you are a great pitcher but you are a lucky hitter." The win is the 13th for the St. Louis Cardinals in their last 14 games.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 11
Mike Shannon is 24 years old, has been married for three and a half years and has four children. This afternoon he took his family shopping in the car, and while the kids yelled and fussed he sat behind the wheel with a pounding toothache. He knows that he probably won't play tonight, because the Cubs are throwing their 20-game winner, Dick Ellsworth, and Ellsworth has given the Cardinals a total of two runs this year in three games. The Cardinals will lose tonight, should lose tonight, but Curt Flood doesn't think so. "This isn't going to be any picnic," he says. "Remember, though, that we have old Mr. Mo on our side. Momentum."
Ray Sadecki, the Cardinal pitcher, gets himself in trouble in the first three innings, but outstanding plays by Third Baseman Ken Boyer and Right Fielder Charlie James save him. In the fourth, Chicago's Ron Santo walks and Ellis Burton lifts a high foul down the left-field line. Boyer can't get to the ball, and it will drop untouched. Wait. Musial is coming. He hasn't moved this fast since 1942. He keeps his eye on the ball and lets the bullpen guide him. It is like tugs pulling the S.S. United Stales into Pier 86. "Room! Room!" hollers Bobby Shantz, letting Musial know that he will not crash into the stands. Musial lunges and gets the ball. He has made many great catches in his life, but not many better ones than this.
Musial knocks home a run in the bottom of the fourth, and so does Flood. In the sixth, with the score 2-0, Sadecki gets himself in trouble again when a walk and a single put runners on first and second. There are two outs, but Keane knows that every situation is critical. He calls on Ron Taylor, a right-hander, and Taylor gets Hubbs to fly to left.