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EPIBLOGUE

68_80_96Harry:

It was quite a year, my friend. I’m so glad we were able to pal around, make something good of the season after our slow start, and I can’t thank you enough for being there for me while I was going through this “Markie” saga.

Lilah Edelstein is having a glass of wine across from me now in my room at the Leland, after a long bath and putting on some new clothes I got for her. She looks even more fetching than I imagined she might after the big rescue last night. Her journey matches the one “Markie” wrote me about episode by episode, except for the part she left out about that Nazi officer Krupp making advances at her back in August.

Her younger brother was literally bullied to death by Jew-hating schoolmates last year—he “fell off” the roof of a building—and the best way she found to remember him was by following the sport he loved and liked to play with her. Poor Uncle Zeb’s trip to Michigan brought back Tigers souvenirs for her too, but girls just didn’t play baseball or any sports in their village, and she grew a crush on me and was afraid I would never write her back if I thought her too “boyish”.

So here we are. And there we were this afternoon at the last game of the season against the Indians. The news about me and Lilah and Rolf Grund was all over the papers, and the Babe showing up on Eagle Avenue to wield his bat gave it an even bigger splash. You couldn’t get another fan into League Park with an oiled-up crowbar.

You probably noticed Ruth sitting with Lilah behind our dugout. Well, he spent most of the game either signing autographs or fending off reporters, photographers, and busybodies. Her purring German accent and sweet eyes were doing a number on me, even from the stands. When I was out playing first base, I was staring at her between nearly every pitch! Me break the Babe’s home run record? I was barely even myself.

And neither was the team, right? I mean, Auker couldn’t even get out of the 1st inning and the Tribe was up 15-0 by the 5th! I was useless, whiffing, lining out, whiffing again and grounding into a double play with the bases loaded in the 7th. In the top of the 9th, down 17-2, I had one more chance to break the record if one person in our lineup reached base.

Then that miracle happened, as Birdie Tebbets pinch-hit with two outs and was safe on the error by Johnny Allen. I walked up to huge applause and dug into the box. Everyone in the park was standing. I could even hear people sitting behind Lilah in the grandstand serenading her with “Here Comes the Bride.” Allen was angry about flubbing that grounder, and stared in at me like a killer. He fell behind 2-0. I rubbed more dirt on my hands. He tried his fastball, I gave it a rip—

—and popped it high in the infield. Odell Hale nabbed it behind second and the game, the season, and my race to pass the Bambino were over.

Ruth took Lilah and me out later for dinner and drinks. He has German heritage so naturally he was trying to get chummy with her, and I had to beat him back before long. We’ve been invited to attend the World Series and I may even write a guest column for the Baseball Gazette and Dope Sheet! The Giants backed into the National league pennant on Friday, and they should have a good battle with the Red Sox. Wish I could bring you along, Harry, but I’m sure you’re eager to start your relaxing off-season and anyway, as the Babe has been proving, three’s a crowd.

I’m not sure how things with Lilah will turn out. I’m only 27 so she isn’t that much younger than me, but there’s all kinds of complications other than language. First thing I have to do is help her get legally situated in America, which will be kind of a chore with all the attention we’re getting. I already heard a rumor someone might write a play or motion picture about us.

Spring training 1939 already can’t come soon enough…

Hank
10.2.38

2 thoughts on “EPIBLOGUE

  1. It sure would have been great if he’d been able to pull number 61 out of the park on that last day of the season, but I love the fact that Hank and the Babe end up co-heroes and co-champions.

    Terrific season, Jeff, and fantastic story! I loved every second of it.

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