Death In The Crease
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by Richard Curtis
Description: Athletic agent Dave Bolt, former star for the Dallas Cowboys, is a hardened sports insider, familiar with the dirty underside of American professional sports. He witnesses the kickbacks, the bribes and the blackmail that keep the high-powered industry spinning. In DEATH IN THE CREASE Bolt has to deal with an explosive ice hockey scandal that threatens to expose the sport's biggest game as a sham. Former Black Hawk goalie Guy LeClede writes an expose of the corruption that "would blow hockey off the ice" if published. But before the book is seen by anyone else, LeClede suddenly drives his car off a cliff and the manuscript disappears. NHL brass have asked Bolt to investigate the possibility of murder and unravel the intricacies of one of the priciest gambling deals of the decade.
eBook Publisher: E-Reads, 1975
eBookwise Release Date: October 2001
8 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [260 KB]
Reading time: 164-230 min.
There's a famous poem that starts, "April is the cruelest month." That may be true for poets, but in my line of business -- professional sports -- April is the most happy month. It's the month in which baseball season opens, basketball and hockey playoffs get underway, golf tournaments make a swing into the thawing north, tennis and track come outside, and sports groupies strip down to the minimum apparel tolerated by law. In April we shed the morbidity of winter and join hands in a kind of orgiastic communion of spectatorship. It is no accident that all of this coincides with the Easter and Passover holidays, themselves vestiges of profligate fertility rites conducted during planting time in days of yore. Myself, I look my vacation for April. Let others winter in Palm Beach or summer in Ireland; I take two or three weeks in mid-April through early May, and I attend. If I can't cadge free tickets from my friends in league or commission offices, I buy them at the box office; if I can't get them there, I buy them from scalpers at outrageous tariffs; if the scalpers don't have them, I watch the games on television, sometimes firing up three sets at once so I can catch every moment of action from every source.
Obviously, the guy who wrote "April is the cruelest month" never sat in Shea Stadium when Pearl Bailey threw out the first ball, or stood for Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" at the opening round of Stanley Cup Playoffs. And just as obviously, anybody who waxes as rhapsodic as I do about April is going to be pretty ticked off if something comes up to prevent him from indulging his passion for sports that month. It shouldn't be difficult to imagine, then, how profoundly upset I was to get a phone call from Vincent Sturdevant, president of the National Hockey League, asking if I'd be willing to undertake a secret assignment that happened to coincide with these two or three weeks a year for which I live. But Sturdevant's request was couched in terms equivalent to a command, and a man in my position could not afford to refuse a command from a man in his. At least, not out of hand; I was obliged to fly up to Montreal, where the NHL is headquartered, and hear the proposition out. He would not give me a clue about it over the phone.
Which is how I came to be sitting in the death-seat of a windy, creaky, and none-too-stable MG darting in and out of the interstices between leviathan gasoline trucks and tractor trailers coming off the Triborough Bridge heading for Long Island, a little before eight on a Friday morning in mid-April. The driver was my secretary Trish, and possibly the only thing that kept my rage and depression from being total was the sight of her long legs, exposed to within a millimicron of her crotch, operating the pedals of the car.
At any other time, this sight is one of life's keener pleasures. And if the girl is a horrendous driver, which Trish was, this diversion also saves wear and tear on the nerves. You don't have to watch the road, ducking and flinching with each narrowly-averted catastrophe; you just fixate on those dimpled knees at the juncture of well-muscled calves and alluringly tapered thighs as her feet depress clutch, throttle, and brake in ever-changing combinations, like a dancer improvising to music she's never heard before. And if she rams into an ice-cream truck or a Greyhound bus, you go to your death oblivious, your last conscious thought being how great those legs would be wrapped around your waist as you plumb the velvet delights between them.
I was never to plumb Trish's velvet delights. Oh, they were there for the plumbing any time I wished, as she was always making abundantly clear to me with bold displays of her body and verbal invitations of astonishing directness. But I had learned shortly after going into business for myself that while a good bedmate is as ephemeral as a mayfly, a good secretary is forever. The quickest way to lose a gal friday is to take her home with you for the night. Thus when Trish came along, displaying a splendid repertoire of secretarial skills, I decided to forgo the pleasure of seduction in deference to the higher pleasure of a well-run office and a correct lunch order every day. It was just my bad luck that Trish was the kind of girl whose reaction to a man's denial is to redouble her efforts to get him into bed. As a result, I had spent the two years since hiring her in a state of semi-satyriasis.
As she steered the MG into the fast-moving outbound traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway, I removed my eyes from her legs and shifted them to her face, a gamin-like oval with a corona of blond ringlets, intense gray-green eyes, and a soft mouth that concealed a tongue as filthy as a stevedore's when its owner was aroused. At the moment that tongue was flicking frenetically between compressed lips as Trish concentrated on negotiating her boyfriend's rattletrap as far as La Guardia Airport.
"May I ask you a question?" I said, trying to suppress my strong curiosity.
"How come you offered to drive me to the airport?"
"I thought it was the secretarial thing to do."
"You know perfectly well I prefer a taxi to you. You know perfectly well I'd prefer Evel Knievel to you."
She feigned hurt. "I thought my driving had improved."
"Is there something you want to talk to me about? And for Christ's sake, don't take your eyes off the road to answer the question! You know what I look like." The little car, having drifted into the middle lane while she was looking at me, now lurched like a waterbug as she overcorrected, almost slamming us into the right-hand guard rail.
"Something I want to talk to you about? Why, no," she said airily. Too airily to be true. "Of course, I'm curious about this Montreal business."
"You know as much about it as I do. Vincent Sturdevant called me yesterday afternoon and asked if I could fly up to Montreal first thing this morning."
"And all he said was that it's official National Hockey League business?"
"That, and that I'd be well paid for my time."
"But what do you think it is?"
I shrugged. "We don't represent many hockey players. At first I thought, maybe one of them is in some kind of trouble. But that wouldn't merit a drop-what-you're-doing call from the prime minister of hockey."
"Maybe one of our clients is in big trouble."
I shook my head. "I called all of them last night, but nary a one could think of anything that might give the league serious cause for complaint. Stay on your right," I said as a sign saying "94th Street" came into view. "The airport turnoff is just a few hundred yards past this next exit."
We glided past 94th street and onto the exit road, then bore right in the direction of the Eastern Airlines wing of the terminal. Trish pumped the brake pedal heavily as we found ourselves at the end of a long file of cars and taxis inching around a U-shaped approach road. I tapped my overnight bag impatiently. It wasn't just fear of missing my plane, but the realization I'd be trapped in the car with Trish for at least five minutes, and I was certain from little nuances in her behavior that she was going to hit me with some major, urgent problem which had to be resolved this very moment. It wouldn't be the first time she'd pulled such a stunt, and I braced myself against it. With all the other weighty things I had on my mind, I didn't need any excess emotional baggage this morning.
Sure enough, she turned to me and fluttered her eyelids. "Actually, there was something I wanted to talk to you about."
I sighed. "What is it, a raise? I raised you five dollars six months ago. The accountant says--"
"No, it's about Dennis."
"Dennis? What about Dennis?" Dennis Whittie was the new assistant I'd hired. A former backcourt man for the Virginia Squires, he'd faded into obscurity after dislocating a hip in a game against the New York Nets. I'd lost track of him and figured he'd turn up one day tending bar in Harlem or running a MacDonald's franchise somewhere, as is the fate of so many good but not super professional athletes when their playing days are over. Then he'd turned up in a most unexpected place, as a member of a kind of secret service unit connected with the office of the Commissioner of the American Basketball Association. Apparently several sports commissions have similar task forces retained to hunt and destroy "irregularities," like drug use or gambling among players, before they become public scandal. Dennis had helped me locate a kidnapped client, and I liked his intelligence, doggedness, and the cool disdain with which he kicked adversaries in the nuts.
And so when it came to pass that my agency, Red Dog Players Management, began to prosper to the point where I needed help negotiating contracts and managing athletes, I asked Dennis if he'd like to come into the firm as my assistant. He was to start work Monday.
"What is he going to do?" Trish asked.
"He's going to help out. You do admit we need help, don't you?"
"I should think you'd be thrilled, since you're so loaded with work."
"Oh, I'm pleased all right."
"Thrilled is the word I believe I used. Why are you only 'pleased' and not 'thrilled'?"
We advanced a few car lengths. "I guess I don't understand why, if I'm so overburdened, you're the one who gets an assistant. Shouldn't I be the one who gets one?"
"What would you do if you had one?"
"Some of the more glamorous work," she said forthrightly.
"I can't afford the luxury of hiring an employee to do glamorous work. I made it clear to Dennis that until our agency is high on Fortune magazine's list of five hundred top service corporations in the country, he was going to have to do a lot of crap-work. He understands that, and I want you to understand it, too. As far as I'm concerned, Dennis is just a glorified secretary." That was not strictly true, but I said it to mollify Trish, whose passionate views on sexual equality in business were well known to me.
"That's exactly it," she said, pounding the steering wheel. "Why can't I be a glorified secretary?"
"Because somebody's got to order coffee and danish in the morning."
I bit my lip as soon as I said it, and I could see a flush of anger climbing up her throat. "Aha!" she said triumphantly.
"Is Dennis going to order coffee and danish in the morning?"
"Aha again, you sexist bastard."
I sighed again, only louder. "What do you want?"
"But you're only a woman," I said.
Had she been looking at me, she'd have seen the teasing smile on my face when I made the remark. But she was watching the cab in front of us. Like most fanatics, she had no sense of humor when it came to her cause. Her head snapped around and she looked daggers at me. Then she reached for the ignition key, turned the motor off, parted her thighs, inserted the key between them, and crossed her legs. "Take that back," she said.
"Jesus, Trish, I was just kidding. Come on, the line's moving."
"I want some responsibilities," she repeated. A twenty-yard gap had opened in front of us, and horns behind us were beginning to blare. I looked at my watch. My plane left in about four minutes.
"Trish, stop fucking around."
"I'm not fucking around, Dave. Look, I've been with you... what, a little over two years now? I know every function of our agency. I know sports and I know athletes. I've got a good head for business. I'm attractive and charming, if I do say so myself. In negotiations I'm tough but diplomatic. And I'm dynamite in bed, though that's something you wouldn't know. Above all, I'm ambitious. If I thought I'd go to my grave having achieved nothing beyond remembering who takes 'light' and who takes 'regular' and who takes 'black,' I'd leave you so goddam fast I'd be halfway to L.A. before the door slammed."
"My plane leaves in two minutes," I said, estimating the gap between our car and the cab in front of us at fifty yards. The cacophany of horns behind us had reached a mad crescendo.
"What's it gonna be, boss?" she said coolly.
"You had to spring this on me now."
"I've tried to talk to you before, but you always put me off."
"I miss this plane, it's your job," I said.
"Just say the magic words."
A TWA 727 screamed into the sky, emphasizing my growing desperation. I looked at my watch. The second hand swept around the dial toward a missed appointment. "All right, all right. I'll tell you what. You want feminism, go get me some women athletes. Any you get, you can handle."
She clapped her hands. "You mean that?"
"The key, Trish."
"Oh, you bubby!" She leaned over and kissed me.
"The key, Trish. And please don't call me bubby. I hate that word."
She uncrossed her legs and spread her thighs, looking at me in mute invitation. I reached across the gap between seats and inserted my hand between her thighs. She dosed her eyes and sucked in her breath.
Suddenly a dark shadow fell across us. It was the driver of the car behind us, a huge lumberjacketed guy with a moonface and freckles. He looked down at the admittedly compromising sight of my hand between Trish's legs. "You couldn't wait till you got to the parking lot?"
"She has my key," I explained sheepishly. My fingers touched metal and I withdrew the key and showed it to the guy. "See?"
"Just move out, will ya, fachrissakes?" He spun to walk away.
"Go get fucked, Mac." Trish snarled, starting the car.
He wheeled and gaped unbelievingly at Trish as if she were a dummy and I the ventriloquist. Then he lunged for the car. Trish gunned the throttle and jerked us with a screech into first gear. He ran ten yards after us, then stamped his feet and walked back to his car. We wheeled around the rest of the U and jounced up to the Eastern Airlines terminal.
"You're still a fantastic bubby!" she shouted at me as I dashed up the stairs.
I barely made the plane, a 727 that seemed to begin its descent into Montreal a scant few minutes after it reached cruising altitude. It was a splendid April day, clear as spring water except for that brown haze of polluted air trapped at about fifteen thousand feet that seems to have become a permanent smudge across the northeastern skyscape. Other than that, conditions, as they say, were CAVU -- Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited -- and I felt a glow of wellbeing that even the contretemps with Trish could not diminish.
In fact, Trish's little act of rebellion could, I decided, produce some highly desirable results. For some time I'd been distressed by the gap in my client list created by the absence of female athletes. My young agency had been picking up momentum in the last year, due largely to my highly publicized acquisition of Richie Sadler, perhaps the finest basketball prospect in decades, as a client, and the sensational terms I'd secured for his services. The number of athletes I represented and managed had almost doubled in the last year, and I now had a solid list of baseball, football, and basketball players, a good sampling of hockey and tennis players and golfers, plus a miscellaneous sprinkling of professional track and field men, boxers, racing-car drivers, and even soccer players.
What I had damn few of, though, was women athletes -- golfers, tennis players, track-and-fielders, hell, even jockeys. This omission was not by design; it's simply that they didn't come my way. Yet salaries and prize purses for women had been growing at a remarkable rate. Between increased media exposure and women's militancy, women had become a significant force in sports, and not just a charming novelty. It seemed a shame, I'd reflected lately, that I wasn't cashing in on some of that action. So, if Trish could bring it in -- well, God bless her.
Hockey was another area where I held weak cards. Again, it wasn't that I turned hockey players away; it was just that not many came to me to begin with. Also, I had to admit to a certain prejudice against the sport that reflected itself in the low priority I gave it in my hunt for new clients. To an American, and a Texan at that, hockey had a faintly alien flavor. Though of course there were American teams, and since expansion of the National Hockey League in 1967 and the more recent establishment of the rival World Hockey League, that number had grown, but I never could get my head into the mystique of the game. Hell, there was now a hockey team in Dallas-Fort Worth, my home turf, but at the one game I'd attended I felt stranger than a Hindu at a barbecue. Hockey belonged to the Canadians; for me it was an acquired taste, and something I took interest in only because my line of work required it. It wasn't in my blood the way football and baseball are.
Still, I'd have liked to be deeper into hockey, and it was thus with considerable interest that I stepped off the plane at Dorval. The airport was about thirteen miles out of the center of Montreal, and I boarded a bus, having told Vince Sturdevant not to bother picking me up since I wasn't sure which flight I'd be on.
The trip into the city gave me some more time to speculate on this mysterious mission. I hadn't a clue as to what Sturdevant could want with me, but I figured that a connection with the kingpin of professional hockey couldn't hurt by any means. Actually, kingpin was hardly the word for Vincent Sturdevant. From what I'd heard about him, he was a pale shadow of his predecessor, Clarence Campbell, who'd run the game with a mailed fist for decades.
Unfortunately, as so often happens in a time of instability in the sports world, a weak man had been chosen as a compromise among a multitude of warring factions. Campbell's crown fell not merely to Vincent Sturdevant's shoulders but to his ankles. Sturdevant quickly proved to be a trimmer, adjusting his sails to every shift of the wind and basing all his decisions, when he was capable of making any at all, on the decibel count of the interest groups pressing him. Whoever ranted loudest inevitably won the decision. When it got around that that was how you got your way with Vince Sturdevant, everybody started yelling at him. The result was near-paralysis of leadership.
The NHL's central headquarters were ensconced in the nineteenth floor of the Sun Life Building, a soaring structure of modern design projecting its face over Dominion Square. The anteroom was spacious and plush, done in rosewood paneling and royal blue carpeting. On the walls were hung blown-up action photos in vivid color of some of hockey's all-time greats and all-time great moments -- Red Kelly, Jean Beliveau, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Terry Saw-chuck, Toe Blake, Bobby Hull, Glenn Hall, Stan Mikita. You didn't have to be a hockey nut for your heart to quicken at the sight of Terry Sawchuck suspended straight-out like a hyphen in front of his net, the puck perched precariously on the tip of his glove (lots of white showing, as they say in baseball) and those fierce eyes glowing beneath that army crewcut. Or the famous "Kraut" line of Boston, Bauer, Schmidt and Dumart swarming past the Montreal net with sticks upraised in triumph. I became so engrossed in the exhibit I didn't hear the receptionist summoning me.
She was a dark-haired French-Canadian girl with warm brown eyes and a modest smile. Montreal girls are every bit a match for their New York counterparts in beauty, and in comportment I find them superior -- more genuine and less sex-obsessed. I think it's because their religious tradition is stronger than ours, and they remind me of some girls in the Bible Belt of Texas. They go about their business with brisk professionalism, which gives them a special allure. The girl who's all up-front is less interesting than one who makes you work to find out what she's like deep down. And deep down -- well, Derek Sanderson once said that when he was playing in Toronto the girls were so terrible he and his teammates had to import some from Montreal. But I digress.
"Monsieur?" she said again.
"Um, Monsieur Sturdevant, s'il vous plaît. Je m'appelle Monsieur Bolt," I said, exhausting my French vocabulary and hoping the girl wasn't too chauvinistic about her native language, as many folks from Quebec are. French doesn't come naturally to me. Spanish is my second language, as it is for all Anglos; I learned it on the laps of our criadas and dueñas on the ranch, and picked up some German during my military hitch. Also I know some bastard Yiddish, which I learned from Trish and which is a prerequisite for survival in New York City. But French just doesn't dance trippingly on my tongue, as the receptionist, smothering a laugh, recognized. "Monsieur Sturdevant will see you at once," she said, pronouncing it "Stoor-day-vaw."
She ushered me to a door behind her, which opened on a large bullpen where a dozen people performed clerical tasks with an efficiency muted by deep carpeting and rich flocked wallpaper. The contrast between the violent sport of hockey and the subdued atmosphere of the office that controlled it was remarkable.
"Past zose cubicles, turn right, and you'll find Monsieur Stoor-day-vaw's office at ze end of ze hall," she said with a wave of a pretty arm.
"Merci beaucoup," I said, dredging up one last phrase.
I proceeded down a corridor flanked by glass-enclosed cubicles, sticking my nose in one or two to sniff the activity within -- immense copying machines here, a printing press hammering out bulletins there, a tomblike archive, a frenetic mailing room. Then I hung a right and entered a more dignified hallway where the executive offices were located. The walls were hung with pictures of some of the league's more famous arenas: Montreal's Forum, Maple Leaf Gardens, Boston Garden, Madison Square Garden, Chicago Stadium, and such spanking new sports complexes as Jack Kent Cook's spectacular Forum, home of the Los Angeles Kings, the Spectrum m Philadelphia, the Omni in Atlanta, and Nassau Coliseum, home of the Islanders, all monuments to the explosive expansion of basketball and hockey in the last decade.
The door of the President's office opened just as I was raising my knuckles over the gilt lettering, and I was face to face with Vincent Sturdevant. He was a youngish man for so important an executive, in his early forties. He was tall and broad-chested, and I remembered he'd played defense for the Detroit Red Wings for a couple of years before retiring for the pleasures of coaching and, finally, front office work. Yet his wide shoulders were rounded as if the burdens and responsibilities he'd taken on so recently were already aging him. He had an unsightly premature middle-age spread that made his suit look ill-fitting and cheap. His face was soft and round and his eyes bland and a little fearful. He blinked a lot in flutters and he sometimes flinched, I was to discover, when you made a sudden movement. It was as if he were afraid you were going to lunge for him. The impression I'd gotten from a hasty look at my files the night before was confirmed in a glance: this was a man completely cowed by the bullies who ran the league's constituent franchises. He took my hand and pumped it and flashed a bright public-relations smile, thoroughly insincere and joyless.
His office was bright and spacious and shimmered with strong noonday light faltering through gauzy golden curtains. The predominant color was red, and the motif of the carpet and wallpaper was the red oak leaf, Canada's national symbol, overlaid on golden fleurs-de-lis. The walls were hung with highly stylized paintings of hockey players in action, and on pedestal-like fixtures between them stood a collection of trophies. The room divided into two separate areas, the working one consisting of a desk surrounded by four plush chairs and backed by a bookshelf-bar-trophy case, and a sitting one with comfortable chairs and sofas and a huge marble table on which sat a replica of the Stanley Cup filled with bright spring flowers. Two people sat on the sofa sipping white wine. I recognized the man, but the woman was unfamiliar to me.
The man was Buzzy Chambers, owner of the Denver Rockies, an expansion team two or three seasons young. Buzzy was a robust guy in his late thirties who'd inherited a mining fortune and bought himself a hockey franchise with it. Though, like many of the new breed of owners, he was a dabbler who knew little about the fine points of the game, he'd had the good sense to hire a top coach, Henri Richard, the retired Canadian great. Richard had not only brought instant glamour with him, but after one ignominious year (which is all but mandatory for expansion teams, since they're invariably composed of green rookies, pensioners hauled out of retirement, unhappy draftees from other clubs, and, I sometimes think, convicts, slaves, and impressed sailors), had made his boys contenders. Buzzy was a handsome, athletic young man with long hair and a golden beard and wire-rimmed glasses who could easily be mistaken for a rock musician. Though on the two occasions I'd met him (one of his goalies was a client of mine) he'd struck me as a pleasantly disposed guy, today he looked ill at ease, sitting on the edge of the sofa and pulling at his drink in birdlike sips.
Beside him, looking not quite as uptight but extremely serious, a raven-haired woman sat appraising me with dark eyes. I put her age at just around the fulcrum of thirty. Her figure was definitely, and most agreeably, that of a young girl, but there was a depth in her eyes and in the taut line of her mouth that bespoke experience and maturity. I guessed she was married, and my eyes flashed to her hands, which gracefully caressed her crystal wineglass. There was a gold band on the ring finger of her right hand, meaning -- what? Divorced? Separated? Widowed? Whatever it was, I was immediately interested in her. She wore a yellow linen skirt and a sheer cotton blouse with those maddening pockets over the breasts for girls who like to go braless but don't like to be obscene about it. After a quick survey of her legs, which were long and prettily turned and modestly pressed together, my eyes returned to her jet-black hair. It was combed in a glossy pageboy that surrounded her oval face like a monk's cowl, and was the most striking feature of this striking woman.
"I believe you know Buzzy Chambers," Sturdevant said, leading me to Buzzy for a pressing of flesh, "but I don't think you've ever met Ellen Boudreau."
"I've never had the good fortune," I said, taking her soft left hand in mine.
Sturdevant gave a long hollow laugh. "Ah, that's right, you're a Southern gentleman. Gallantry and all that."
Ellen Boudreau gave my hand a businesslike squeeze. "Mr. Bolt, how do you do."
"Is it Miss or Mrs. Boudreau?" I asked.
"Mizz," she said, unsmiling. Her voice had a husky, cloudy quality I've always adored since my childhood crush on June Allyson.
"Ellen is an editor with E. J. Streeter, the New York publisher," Sturdevant explained, crossing to his well-stocked bar. "Will you have some white wine with us?"
"I don't hold liquor very well before one o'clock," I said.
Sturdevant looked at his watch. "It's a quarter of."
"Then I'll take the risk."
I sat down on a chair facing Buzzy and Ms. Boudreau. While Sturdevant tinkered at the bar, Buzzy and I exchanged awkward pleasantries. Buzzy said, "So? How's things?"
"Things are dandy. How's it look for the Rockies? They're what, two games out of second place?"
"Three as of last night. The Blues ate us alive."
"How's Paul Beauregard working out?" Beauregard was my client, the team's new goalie.
"Too bad about Guy Laclede," I said matter-of-factly. Laclede, the Rockies' regular goalie, had been killed in an auto accident a few weeks ago. It was his place that Beauregard had taken.
There was an exchange of significant looks between Buzzy and Ellen, some shifting of legs and clearing of throats. I wondered if I'd said something improper.
"It's interesting you mention that," Sturdevant said, returning with a brimming glass of yellow wine, "because that's what this whole thing is all about."
The drum of my memory bank spun, and the readout displayed what little I knew about Laclede. He'd been a goalie with the Chicago Black Hawks, then was traded a couple of years ago to the newly-formed Rockies after the Black Hawks lost to the New York Rangers in one of the wildest playoffs in the history of the game. Laclede had lost three of the four games in the finals and, with the coach and another goalie, had been summarily, and, I'd thought, unjustly given the boot. This year he was leading the Rockies to a playoff berth when his car ran off a cliff in the mountains around Boulder, Colorado. That was all I knew about him except that he was neither great nor terrible -- just another competent goalie in a big world, and destined for obscurity when his playing days were over. The biggest ripple caused by his death was the inconvenience it caused the Rockies until they found a replacement.
Copyright © 1975 by Richard Curtis