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I think it important to emphasize here that the heat that burned within us was born of devotion to justice and was not the fire of too much liquor. It would cheapen the glory with which we were about to cover ourselves to say we acted with anything but high-minded sobriety.
We were now confronted with a technical problem. There appeared to be no way of getting at the pennant. There wasn't—until Sutton summoned the headwaiter and announced, "I'm Charles Sutton from the Herald Tribune and we must have that pennant right away." You might ask what the then extant Herald Tribune had to do with it, or why it merited the banner, but there was an unmistakable ring of authority in Sutton's voice—probably no less so than in O'Malley's when he told Commissioner Ford Frick he had to move to Los Angeles—and the headwaiter didn't question him.
He scurried to help, apologizing for not having a ladder. He commissioned some assistants to stack rickety tables to the ceiling so that one of us could unpin the pennant. I volunteered to go up, and the headwaiter was even nice enough to steady one of the tables as I unhooked the flag.
A few late carousers looked up in puzzlement, but nobody seemed suspicious of our actions. We folded the flag into quarters and, giggling all the way, pranced out onto Wilshire Boulevard, fondling our prize.
With visions of O'Malley calling out the Los Angeles storm troopers to foil our getaway, we decided to leave the pennant with Sutton—a man unknown to the Dodger management, or, for that matter, to the Herald Tribune. Sutton agreed to hide the goods for the night and then have his brother, who, as luck would have it, was a dry-goods merchant, wrap it up and mail it to me on Long Island.
Mann and I flew out of Los Angeles later that morning, looking over our shoulders continuously from hotel to cab to airport to plane. We saw O'Malley and the L.A.P.D. lurking behind every pillar.
Finally we were aloft, home free. "Let them find out about it now," Mann said. "No judge within 100 miles of Brooklyn would convict us." We toasted the flag, we toasted Brooklyn, we toasted Sutton and Weller, whose constant prodding, "Go ahead, you can do it," had helped fuel the caper.
When Mann and I got home, we decided that our first reaction to complaints by the Dodgers about the theft would be to raise high the standard over the News-day lawn. We looked forward to the day we could do just that. But the Dodgers didn't react at all. There were no outraged stories from Los Angeles. The wires didn't even send a short on the missing flag. Nor did Sutton, our man out West, report any murmurs of anger or dismay.
A few days later the pennant arrived in the mail, and we stashed it in my cellar. The idea was to break it out with a flourish, perhaps with the trumpets of the Dodger Sym-phony, a strolling five-piece band that had played in the stands at Ebbets Field during ball games, on an appropriate occasion.
Somehow, no worthy occasion arose. Nor did there seem to be a proper depository for the flag, all glorious 18 feet of it. There was no way to raise it over the Newsday lawn. We considered and rejected Brooklyn's Borough Hall, the Brooklyn Museum, the flagpole atop the monument at Grand Army Plaza. There was, of course, no longer any Ebbets Field scoreboard from which to wave it on high. A plea to the public in News-day to find a proper resting-place produced no acceptable nomination, either, so the flag languished ignominiously in my cellar.