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Impressed, the barhounds began to congratulate Boyd. "Hey, that's good, Woody," Norm told him.
"Good, Woody. Elmer Goodwoody. Shortstop. Chicago White Sox...."
"Woody, take a rest."
"Take-a-Rest. Winner of the 1947 Epsom Derby...."
In both baseball and beer, there have always been bad hops, and who would know better than Malone? Baseball and beer have been his life's work. But not even Mayday, whose career fielding percentage was a respectable .970, is fully prepared to handle this: the last last call at his bar beneath Melville's. As of Sunday, Malone still hadn't revealed why he is closing the joint that has become a home away from home plate for so many ballplayers, and a clubhouse for those who never played the game. But two things are certain: The place is closing, and Malone has the courage to move on with his life.
"I gave my neighbor's kid a Sam Malone baseball card to stick in the spokes of his bike," Kincaid once told Mayday. "Now when he rides it it goes wimp wimp wimp wimp wimp."
But that was then. Recently, Boggs ran into Malone in Boston. Predictably, Mayday told his onetime patron the oldest lie there is: "The pants are in the mail." No surprise there. What is surprising are the circumstances in which their conversation took place. "We did a card show together," says Boggs. "I only had 50 people in my line. But Sam had about 5,000. I was done in 10 minutes. Sam took five hours. He was definitely the star."
The star? It is true. As the light fades from his beacon on Beacon Street, Sam Malone is no longer being taken for granted. He raised the spirits of the people who walked into his bar: it's about time they raised some spirits to him. After all this time, Malone is finally getting a proper send-off. Five thousand people at a card show. HUB FANS BID SAM ADIEU.
Isn't that a nice ending? Mayday Malone no longer hears the boos, but quite the opposite.