- Second Base
- Original Airdate:
Oct 23 1984
from the episode written by:
- Rick Mittleman
A baseball diamond,
with a banner that reads, "Home of the Golden Dugout".
A game is under
way on a baseball diamond. The batter looks around and calls
out, "Okay you bums, let's look alive."
- One of the fielders
talks it up, "Okay batter, batter, batter. Give me one here,"
he slaps his glove, "Give me one here, yeah."
- A second fielder
joins in, "Okay, let's sock 'em. C'mon"
- A third fielder,
"Throw a batter babe. Coming in there, big pitch. On the
road, on the road."
- A fourth fielder,
"Now hit it. Come on, come on." Another voice is heard,
"Get one, get one."
- The batter hits a ground ball that
is caught and thrown to first. A man in the outfield is really
fired up. "Man! Seems just like yesterday!"
Near the dugout, two old pros stand. One, Whitey Ford, tells
Mickey Mantle, "Well, now if somebody'll just sew his arm
back on." Mantle nods.
In the bleachers, two women watch the game. One is an attractive
brunette, the other a blonde. The brunette asks, "Do you
think we can survive a week of this?" The both laugh.
A man hits the ball. "Here, Woodman!" he calls. "Bring
A player chases the ball as the blonde yells, "Get it, Sam!"
As he's running, a light standard begins to fall, narrowly missing
him. The women stand, terrified.
The players all gather around the light, worried.
- The two lifts on
the eleventh floor open simultaneously. Laura walks out of one
reading a newspaper. Steele exits the other wearing his sunglasses.
"Good morning Miss Holt."
- "Mr Steele,"
Laura is surprised to see him and asks with a smile, "Up
a little early aren't we?"
- Steele, unhappy
at her gibe comment, removes his sunglasses, as they head off
down the corridor.
- Laura is still reading
her paper as they approach their office. Steele looks ahead and
then puts out a hand to stop her asking, "Laura, didn't
we pay off those two small uniformed extortionists two weeks
- Laura looks up,
"You mean the boys from the little league? Sure, I always
support the local team." She remains standing but goes back
to her paper.
- Steele looks worried.
"Oh, perhaps our cheque bounced."
- Laura turns to see
a man in a baseball uniform pacing outside their office door.
In his office, Steele muses, "The Golden Dugout. No, Mr.
Kelsey, I'm afraid that I . . ."
"It's that baseball camp for adults, right?" Laura
says, smiling. "Run by the LA Sluggers?"
Kelsey, who's wearing a baseball uniform, grins. "That's
it." Laura laughs, delighted. "You see, some of my
old high school team mates and I are there right now. Havin'
a sort of reunion. Us mere mortals, you know, rubbin elbows with
the greats like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford."
Steele looks at him. "What exactly seems to be the problem,
"Well, they wanna close the camp for the rest of my session."
"Why?" Laura asks, sounding disappointed.
"Well, since my group arrived there a few days ago, there've
been two- suspicious accidents. Now, nobody's been hurt, you
see, but the management fells that, well, maybe somebody in my
group is responsible. Pullin pranks or somethin. So, one more
strike and we're outa there."
"Why would someone from your group want to sabotage the
camp?" Laura asks.
"That's what I say. It just doesn't make sense. I'm sure
that these accidents are just- coincidence. But, I'd feel a lot
better, Mr. Steele, if you could- you know, just kinda hang around
the camp, incognito. Just to make sure that everything's- square."
Steele looks dumbfounded. "Naturally, I'll foot the bill."
Steele comes to life quickly. "Forgive me for saying this,
Mr. Kelsey, but- aren't you going to an awful lot of trouble
just to- preserve the game? I mean . . ." He clicks his
tongue as if a ball has been hit.
Kelsey is shocked. "A game? Baseball's a lot more than just
a game, Mr. Steele. It's a-It's a way of life. It's- It's America,"
he says seriously.
Steele is now stunned as Laura tells Kelsey, "I don't think
Mr. Steele has ever PLAYED baseball." She turns to look
at him as if he should be pitied for that lack of experience.
"Ah," Kelsey says, taking off his hat thoughtfully.
Steele looks at Laura. "I may not have played, Miss Holt,"
he tells her, sounding a little upset, "But I'm a keen observer
of your national pastime."
"So, uh," Kelsey asks, "Will you take the case?"
Laura grins, mimicking a batter. "I'm sure Mr. Steele will
play ball, won't you sir?"
"Certainly," he says with faint enthusiasm. "When
do we kick off?" he asks.
At the camp, the players run out onto the playing field as Steele
and Mickey Mantle and the man who hit the ball to Woodman wait
at home plate. "All right, listen up, you bums. That means
you too, Mantle. Remember, I seen you strike out four times in
a row." They all laugh. "All right. This here is Brendon
St. James. He's from England. Make him feel welcome."
"Yes, thank you very much," Steele says. "Well,
I'm absolutely bonkers about your American pastime. I can't say
I understand it entirely, but Mr. Crowley here has graciously
consented to my joining your training session, albeit rather
late. I just hope I won't be a bother to anyone."
Kelsey holds out his hand. "Always room for one more nut.
Ralph Kelsey, Muncie, Indiana. When I'm not playing first base,
I'm into machine tooling."
"Oh, how do you do?"
"These are some of my old high school team mates here. This
is Sam Woodman, the world's greatest high school teacher."
"Welcome aboard," Sam says, shaking Steele's hand.
"Doc Gridley," another man says. "Formerly of
Muncie, now from Miami Beach."
"Ah. A doctor."
"Ah, yes. Very good with the glove, I presume," Steele
Another man shakes his hand. "I like your style, man. Slats
Guidry, bus driver from friendly Cleveland, Ohio."
"Nice to meet you."
"Chubby Bitterman," the catcher says. "Taught
Mickey Mantle everything he knows."
Everyone laughs as Steele looks at Mantle. "Everything I
know about selling used cars in Oxnard." Everyone laughs
Whitey Ford appears, trying to stop Laura and Mildred, but Laura's
having none of it. She pushes her way into the group. "All
right, all right," Crowley says. "Don't get your leg
warmers in an uproar, lady. I'm Jake Crowley. Who are you?"
"I'm Mickey Boggs," she tells him, shaking his hand
hard several times. "My plane was grounded in Chicago. I
believe you've expecting me?" she says defiantly.
"I tried to explain to her," Whitey tells them, but
Mildred pushes him back.
"Explain what, buster? That women aren't allowed?"
"Yeah," they say.
"Come on, lady," Sam says, "Baseball's a man's
"No broads, and that's final," Chubby agrees.
Steele joins in. "Absolutely! Throw the baggage out! Yes!"
he looks nervously at Laura.
"I'm sorry, gentlemen," Laura says, "But if you
don't know the law of the land, then Ms. Dougsmith of the Equal
Rights Commission will be happy to elaborate."
"Now wait a minute here," Crowley says.
"Hey, cool it, turkey," Mildred says. "It's your
choice, fellas. You can either play hardball here, - or in the
courtroom." They all moan and groan. "Hey, I mean it.
I am talkin civil suit. I am talkin injunction. I'm talkin ugly
Crowley tells them, "All right, all right, now listen fellas,
I got enough problems as it is." He looks at Laura. "You
wanna play ball that bad, lady, you got it."
"Thank you very much."
"Dang, what a drag," Slats moans. The others agree.
"I say, Slats, if this delicate creature here wants to be
one of the boys," Steele says, "I feel we have no choice
but to cooperate."
"Okay, Boggs," Crowley says, "get out there at
shortstop with St. James. Let's see what you can do. Gridley,
you move over to third base. Let's go!"
Steele joins in the loudness until Gridley comes up to him. "Somethin
tells me that there's a real tiger under that uniform,"
the Doc says about Laura.
Steele agrees uncomfortably. He runs to join Laura, who's chatting
it up. "Where do I stand, Laura?" he asks. "Laura,
where do I stand?"
She points him to her left. Chubby tells Mantle, "All right,
Mickey. The lady wants to play ball, let's play ball." They
smile at each other. Mickey hits a grounder to Laura, who catches
it, then tosses it to second, where it's thrown to first. Kelsey
throws it back home.
"Way to go Mickey!" Mildred yells, encouraging Laura.
"Okay," Chubby calls. "St. James. Get two! Get
Steele salutes, waiting eagerly. Mickey hits the ball to him,
and Steele catches it, then stands there, smiling at his accomplishment.
"Throw the ball, ya bum!" Mildred calls out.
Laura runs to him. "Throw it to second base!" she hisses.
"I know what to do, Laura. I'm savoring the moment. After
all, it's my first ground ball. Rather like one's first kiss,
or the first time behind the wheel of a car."
She puts her hands on her hips in frustration. "THROW THE
LOUSY BALL!" she yells at him.
Steele looks at her and then throws the ball. "It's only
a game, Laura," he tells her.
She pulls her hat down and goes back to her position.
Later, in the locker room, Steele is sitting as the rest of the
men pop each other with towels and act like kids. The door opens
to admit Laura and Crowley, and they all stop, falling silent.
"Of course," Crowley tells her, "you understand
we don't have ladies lockers here."
"Okay!" he tells the others, "I want you to give
Mickey here privacy when she's in the room." They're not
Laura makes a face a them as Crowley leads her to some lockers
with sheets strung across the ends to make a private room. "Good
luck, kid," he tells her.
Gridley is cleaning out his locker. "Thanks, Coach,"
Laura tells Crowley as he leaves her. She looks at the doc. "I
really appreciate your doing this."
"How could I refuse?" he asks, stepping around her.
Laura goes into the small area and draws the sheets.
As he rejoins the others, Steele heads toward the lockers. "Uh,
if you married lads will excuse me, I'm just gonna see if Miss
Boggs needs anything in the way of razor blades, or . . ."
He's hit by several towels as he rounds the corner. Pushing back
the curtain, he smiles at Laura. "Well. Managed to make
it to first base without an error, eh?"
"Glad to see you're picking up the lingo. Just don't let
the locker room attitude go to your head," she warns.
"I have to make it appear to be lusting after you, Laura,"
he says as she rolls her eyes, "to justify- touching base,
as it were," he suggests leering.
"I don't here much chatter in here," Chubby says, pulling
back the other sheet. He starts to laugh.
Laura turns on Steele. "Keep your hands to yourself, pal,"
she tells him, popping him in the chest with a towel.
"OOO," Chubby says.
Laura pulls the curtain closed, then turns back to where Steele
is. "I think," he begins, only to have her pull the
curtain in his face. He runs a hand through his hair and turns
away, not happy.
Laura and Crowley are walking. "You handle yourself pretty
well, Miss Holt," he tells her.
"I've had a lot of experience working in a man's world,
Coach," she tells him. "Thanks for letting us go undercover."
"Well, Kelsey took it all so personal, I figure I had to
give him the chance to keep the session going. And since he's
payin ya," he says, laughing.
"What makes you think someone from the current group is
behind all this?" she asks.
"I call em like I see em, Miss Holt. This camp's always
had a spotless safety record. This group comes in and a couple
of days later, we've got two suspicious accidents? Only people
here at the camp could have arranged such a thing. When your
pitcher's in trouble, Miss Holt, you pull him before he costs
you the game."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, there's a bum apple in this bunch, and I'd rather
throw out the whole bushel than risk the camp's reputation."
He shows her the fallen light standard. "This is the one."
Laura kneels near the base. "There. Ernie the maintenance
guy said it could be metal fatigue."
Laura picks up the tops of the bolts they've obviously been cut.
"Or hacksaw fatigue. Engineered the night before under cover
of darkness. Activated by a slight push at the right time. Any
"Nobody saw a thing. Like they was all umpires." Laura
smiles a him, then frowns.
Steele is practicing catching as Slats throws the ball to him.
As he catches a ball, Steele winces, "Ow! Oo!" he says,
shaking his hand and removing his glove.
"That's what they call the high hard one, old chap,"
Slats tells him.
"I thought you said these gloves were padded, Slats!"
"You just have to learn how to catch it right," Slats
tells him, then bends to pick up another ball.
"No. No, no. Could we have five minutes for my hand to return
to normal size, please?" he asks.
"No problem," Slats says, joining him. They sit down
"Did you hear about the accident yesterday?" he asks.
"Yeah. Hey, Woodman almost bought it."
"I hear you had a bit of bad luck yourself the day before."
"Sliding, yeah. The metal stake they use to hold the bag
down worked itself up somehow. Nobody noticed it cause of the
sand covering. I got a nasty scratch coming in. No big deal.
But if I'd slid a little more to the left, I'd be singing soprano
today," he laughs.
"Woo hoo hoo," Steele says. "I happen to know
a solicitor who specializes in personal injury. That kind of
"Hey, it was an accident, right? I told Crowley to forget
about it. There's no way that I'm gonna mess up this reunion.
Woodman, Kelsey, Gridley, Chubby, me. We all played on the same
team back in Muncie. The Eastlake High School Wildcats. State
champs of '64. Greatest bunch of guys in the world."
"I'm surprised you can afford this place. Must cost a bloody
"Don't I know it. Hey, hen my main man Ralphie called and
told me about this little get together, I told him, no way, I
can't hack it. He told me to get my fanny on a plane to California,"
Steele laughs. "He'd pay the freight. Can you believe that?"
Steele shakes his head. "Extraordinary."
"After twenty years."
"Absolutely extraordinary," Steele agrees.
- "Hey, St James,"
Slats slaps Steele on the back, "Come on," he puts
out his hand with the baseball, " Let's see how you handle
- Steele laughs and
mutters, "Yeah, let's see how I handle your slider."
He reaches down to pick up his glove less than impressed.
Later, Laura is in the gym, riding the exercise bike when an
exhausted Steele staggers in. "Hi," she says.
"Hi, hi, hi."
"What have you been up to?" she asks.
"I believe it's called catching. Although chasing would
better describe my experience."
"Stick to it, old sport," she tells him. "Just
takes a little practice." She gets off the bike and heads
to some weights.
"And iron hands. Not to mention ankles, arms, necks, knees,
"Find out anything?" she asks.
"Well, from Slats' description the first accident could
have been deliberate. And deadly. But, well, there's no way of
"That about summarizes my chat with Crowley," she tells
him, laying down on a sliding bed with arm pulls on it as Steele
parks himself in another piece of equipment.
"Incidently," he tells her, still trying to get his
breath," Kelsey paid Slats' way here."
"I don't believe in coincidental accidents," Laura
tells him. "Looks like we'll have to play ball for awhile.
Think you can stand it, Mr. Steele?"
There's a wall of mirrors beside her, and one is starting to
come loose. Steele sees it, and jumps up. "Laura, look out!"
he calls, grabbing her out of harm's way as the mirror comes
crashing down directly where she had been just seconds before.
They inspect the now bare wall. "Moisture," Laura declares.
"Weakened the glue."
Steele feels it. "Hmm. Seepage from the air conditioning,
perhaps, behind the wall." He inspects the adjoining panel,
which is also loose.
"Possibly. But it looks like the water came from the front
of the wall. Almost as if it had been injected."
"Uh huh," he agrees. "With a syringe, perhaps?"
"Perhaps." He goes to sit down again. "But if
this wasn't an accident, though, who was the intended victim?
Me? Or simply the next member of the team to use the equipment?"
"That Championship Season. Robert Mitchum, Bruce
Dern, Cannon Films, 1982. A seemingly touching reunion of former
athletes erupts into a litany of anger and hatred."
"And murder?" Laura asks.
"Well, no, but that's the general gist of the thing,"
he tells her, smiling.
"You may be on the right track," Laura decides. "Let's
explore just how genuine these twenty year old friendships are
between the Eastlake Wildcats of 1964. I'll cozy up to Doc Gridley.
Why don't you check in with Sam Woodman?"
Steele looks at her.
Wearing a TINY bikini, Laura enters the hot tub room with a smile
at Doc Gridley, who's relaxing. "Hi," she says. "Hope
you don't mind, Doctor Gridley," she says, pointing to the
"Huh?" he asks, distracted by looking at her. "No.
Oh, no. Not at all," he assures her. She gets in, sits down.
"And please. My friends call me Doc," he tells her.
"Well, thanks again for the locker," she says, then
cries out, laughing. "Oh, my. Those bubbles DO have a way
of sneaking up on you."
"Yes," he agrees. "Those bubbles have all the
luck." He reaches into the water. "Here. Those jets
are adjustable." Laura grits her teeth.
"OH! Thank you."
"I was watchin you today. You toss that old apple around
"Oh, well, I can't compare with you and those old team mates
of yours. What a wonderful thing, having a reunion after all
"Yep. Old Ralph decided it was about time we all got together
and forgive and forget."
"Forgive and forget what?"
"Oh, you know, the usual things."
"Oh, that's all yesterday's news, Mickey," he says
with a lecherous grin. "We gotta concentrate on today."
"The five of you must have been very close," she says,
then screams, standing up. "Oh my GOD! Something's there!"
She reaches into the water and grabs his foot, pulling him under
water. When he surfaces, she's apologetic. "I'm so sorry.
I just-I can't seem to relax," she says, splashing him with
more water as she hits it. He puts his hand out to protect himself.
"It's just terrible!"
Sam Woodman is walking through the grounds. Steele comes from
the hotel and looks for him, sees him meet with the attractive
brunette and go into a clinch. Steele lingers by the kiosk, keeping
an eye on them.
"Mr. St. James," Laura says, running up to him.
He points her attention toward Sam and the woman who are now
kissing. "Yonder." She pretends an interest in something
on the kiosk. "It's amazing how the desert air revitalizes
one's marriage, eh, Laura?"
"I'll say. Especially considering that they're not married
to each other." She glances at them again.
"There's more going on here than stolen bases, I suspect."
That evening, at a local bar called "Ellsworth", Laura
and Steele are sitting with Ralph Kelsey and Sam Woodman and
"So," Sam says, "They're just about to play the
national anthem, and here comes this skywriter that Chubby hired,
and it's spellin out `Lincoln High Stinks'," he says, as
his wife says it with him. "VERA!" he says.
She smiles at Laura and Steele. "You know how many times
I've heard this story?"
Ralph flips through a book. "Hey, hey, look at this, will
"What've you got there?" Sam asks, as the others crane
their necks, trying to see.
He's looking at a team photo in a yearbook. "It's us. Look
at that!" He points to himself. "Not an ounce of flab,
"And look at you now," Sam teases as Kelsey laughs.
Ralph's wife puts her arm around him. "Hey. You leave Ralphie's
love handles alone."
"You mean there IS sex after forty?" Sam asks.
"Sam," Vera says.
"I bet she didn't say that last night, right Sam?"
"You better watch out, Ralph," Vera warns. "I'm
gonna tell em about OUR honeymoon."
Ralph waves his hands in surrender. Steele is stuffing popcorn
into his mouth, smiling, as Laura says, "The four of you
must have known each other a long time."
"Yeah. Too long," Sam agrees.
"Shush," Ralph's wife says to him. She turns to Steele
and Laura. "Sam's my ex husband."
Laura and Steele both pause. Steele's eyes widen, Laura laughs
nervously. "And I was married to Ralph," Vera explains.
"Oh," Laura says, busily munching on popcorn. "OH,"
she says again, looking at Steele. "Oh. How nice for you."
Steele laughs, lifting his glass.
"And what's amazing is," Ralph says, "The four
of us are still the best of friends."
Steele almost chokes on his drink. "Incredible might be
a better word."
Ralph laughs, as do the others. Laura and Steele look at each
other, uncomfortable, and Steele jerks his head toward the exit.
After they leave, he says, "I've heard of love triangles.
"It's VERY confusing," Laura agrees.
"Psst! Psst!" They stop, turning, as Mildred comes
from behind a line of wall art and approaches them, looking around.
"It's all right, Mildred, we're alone," Steele tells
her. "What's up?"
"I've been running those background checks like you told
me? And I may have found something. Five years ago, Chubby Bitterman
borrowed a quarter of a million dollars from Ralph Kelsey to
open an automobile dealership."
"And?" Laura asks.
"AND-two years later, it went belly up. Chubby was wiped
Steele smiles. Laura looks at him. "Well, Mr. Steele, it
may be a brand new ball game."
The players are watching films of the game. Laura is pitching.
"All right," the call out. The batter hits the ball
to Steele- who misses it and runs around the field aimlessly.
Everyone laughs at his antics. "Hey, where's the handle,
St. James?" someone asks.
Crowley looks at Steele. "What happened there, St. James?"
"I lost it in the sun, coach," he says.
Ralph comes on the screen with a bat and mugs for the camera.
"Now for the fun and games," Laura says quietly to
Steele. Ralph practices swinging, then points to the outfield.
"Babe!" someone calls.
"It's the Ruth!"
Laura pitches, Ralph swings, and hits the ball. He takes off
for first. Chubby holds out his hands, commenting. "Okay,
folks, here they are, the Klutz Brothers, in person!"
Ralph runs toward the base as Slats leans forward to catch the
ball, his hind leg on the base. Ralph trips over the leg and
takes a header. He gets up and he and Slats tie it up for a few
moments before someone breaks them up.
"Hey talk about déjà vu, huh, Ralph?!"
Doc says, slapping Ralph on the shoulder.
"It was just one of those things, all right?" Ralph
insists in irritated tone.
"Oh yeah, sure," Doc teases. But Ralph slaps his hand
He gets up. "Hey! Just get off of it!" he says, leaving.
"Hey, man," Slats says. "It's cool!"
"Hey," Chubby says, upset. "I didn't mean it,
"Let him go," Sam says.
"Let's watch that play again," Crowley says. "See
how you chowderheads can avoid making the same mistake in the
future." Steele sits down next to Chubby.
"Happened before, has it?" he asks the downcast man.
"Yeah. Twenty years ago. Ralph was being scouted by a couple
of major league teams and- whammo!"
"Whammo?" Steele questions.
"Last game of the Legion playoffs, he and Slats collided
under a pop fly. Ralph tore up the cartilage in his knee. Bye-Bye
Steele grimaces. "Bad luck."
"Worst. Ralph lived for the game. Deep down, I don't think
he's ever forgiven Slats."
"If I can have everybody's attention, please," Crowley
calls. Chubby moves back. Steele motions to Laura to follow him.
"We're gonna take a look at the batting practice tapes.
If you have the stomach for it."
Outside, Laura says, "Chubby's loan, Slat's collision. It
appears our dear friend Ralph Kelsey has a few axes to grind."
"Three to be exact," Steele agrees. "Assuming
he's onto Sam Woodman's dalliance among the ice cubes with sweet
Ralph is practicing his batting as a machine tosses a ball toward
him. He hits every pitch.
"The reunion was Kelsey's idea to being with," Laura
reminds Steele as we hear the pitching machine in the background.
"He seemed to make sure that everybody he wanted here could
make it," Steele points out.
Ralph hits another ball.
"You think he only invited them here so he could take a
crack at them, one by one?" Laura asks.
"Well, that would explain his desperation to keep the camp
session going. I mean, when else would he have all his mates
"Exactly. But he seemed so sincere."
"Oh yeah? So did Jack the Ripper, presumably."
Suddenly they hear a woman, screaming. "NOO!" They
take off in that direction.
Margie Kelsey runs toward Ralph. "Ralph!" she cries,
kneeling beside him as he lays on the ground. She starts to cry.
Laura and Steele arrive on the run. They kneel as well. Steele
check Ralph as Laura tries to comfort a hysterical Margie.
The pitching machine's arm is still continuing its rhythmic movement.
and Crowley watch the County Coroner's hearse drive away.
- "That does
it. I gotta close the place down," says Crowley.
- "Now *hold*
on coach," implores Laura, "If you fold up now you
stand to lose the *whole* ball game."
- "What are you
- "Well, the
police are blaming Kelsey's death on the batting machine,"
explains Steele. "I mean, your program could be in for some
- Laura adds, "If
we can prove there was a killer at work, the 'Golden Dugout'
will be in the clear."
- "And Ralph
Kelsey will rest in peace," concludes Steele.
- Crowley ponders
their reasoning, "You've gotta point there. Only one more
day left of the session anyway."
- Laura says, "Think
of it this way. Your team is in a jam," she places her hand
on the back of Steele's shoulder, "And they've just called
in 'Goose' Gossage to bail you out." With her other hand
she pats the front of Steele's shoulder, "Okay?" Steele
looks at her.
- "Okay kid.
Your inning." Crowley walks away.
- A slightly worried
Remington asks, "Goose Gossage?"
- "I'll explain
later," says Laura distracted as she watches Margie depart
the scene. "Right now, I think 'Mickey Boggs' will pay a
call on the widow Kelsey."
- Steele watches Laura
leave and sighs. "All right,
Coach," Steele tells him. "Let's see how this contraption
works. I want to know exactly what happened."
"All right. Grab a bat and get up there," Crowley orders.
Steele sends a dissatisfied look at him, then turns and goes
to get a bat. "Now it's a little tricky," he says.
"Just relax. Try and meet the ball. All right?"
Steele picks up the bat. "Yes."
Steele lifts the bat. "Oh, yeah. Sure." The machine
throws a ball, and Steele swings- and hits a home run. Steele
grins. "That the idea?" he asks.
Crowley spits. "Beginner's luck." Another pitch- another
homer. Then another. Crowley's getting flustered. The fourth
pitch is launched, and Steele realizes it's heading toward his
head. He falls out of the way, his bat still lifted. The ball
hits the bat, shattering it. Crowley turns off the machine and
runs to him.
Steele looks at him. "That all part of the game, is it?"
He gets up as Crowley finds the ball. "Boy."
"Well I'll be . . . " Crowley says, holding the ball.
"What is it?"
Crowley holds the ball over his other hand and pours buckshot
into it from inside the torn ball.
Steele takes the ball. "Ah. Yeah. Just off centered enough
to alter the normal flight of the ball. Clever. Very clever."
Laura is watching surreptitiously as Margie and Sam share an
embrace. She looks thoughtful.
Margie is in her room, fixing a drink, when someone knocks on
the door. She opens it, and Laura enters. "Sorry to barge
in, Mrs. Kelsey."
"I really need to be alone right now," Margie tells
"I understand. I was just wondering if you think what happened
to your husband was an accident?"
"What are you suggesting?"
"I'm not suggesting anything. All I know is your husband
was a really nice guy. I liked him. And he isn't dead an hour
when I see you playing around with your ex."
"You saw us?"
"It was hard to miss."
Margie closes the door. "I see." She goes to finish
making her drink.
"I'm no stool pigeon, Mrs. Kelsey. But where I come from,
people stand up for their team mates. So why shouldn't I just
call up the police, and tell them what I know?"
"I may be guilty of adultery, Miss Boggs, but not murder.
Sam and I broke off our marriage because we were too much alike.
Strong willed, hot tempered, lead to a lot of arguments. When
I married Ralph, I knew I was marrying stability."
"And a lot of money."
"Yes. But as I learned, it takes more than furs to keep
a woman warm on a cold Indiana night. Ralph was good and decent,
but- well, you saw him. The only real passion in his life was
spent on a game that uses wooden sticks and a little white ball."
"Then re-enter Sam Woodman."
"For the time being. Although I-I hadn't expected to feel
the way I do about him."
"Weren't you worried that Ralph would find out?" Laura
"His mind was on baseball."
"And what about Vera Woodman?"
"Vera? No. Well, I don't know if she was onto us. But- she
had nothing to worry about in either case. I come from a poor
family. I LIKE having money. Vera knows that. Vera knows that
I could NEVER have left the security of Ralph's checkbook for
Sam's salary as a teacher. Now." She opens the door again.
"If you'd excuse me."
"Sure." She gets up and goes to the door. "I was
just- wondering, Mrs. Kelsey. Now that Ralph's gone, you can
have all his money- and Sam too. Can't you?" She leaves
the room, and Margie closes the door behind her, troubled.
Laura finds Steele reading a magazine over a cup of coffee in
the cafeteria. He smiles. "Ah. Miss Boggs. Won't you join
me? I have a tapioca pudding here that's going begging."
She sits, but refuses the pudding. "Ugh."
"It's good, isn't it?"
He sits forward. "The murder weapon was a baseball doctored
with buckshot," he tells her quietly. "Crowley says
anyone in the camp could have set it up. The pitching machine
is always accessible for practice."
"Whoever is behind this knew Ralph Kelsey awfully well.
He or she knew the video tape of Ralph's botched play would drive
him to the batting cage to work off his anger."
"Yes, well, that makes sense."
"Unless Kelsey was a random victim," Laura says.
"That's what I love about you, Laura. You keep narrowing
this case down to include everybody," Steele says. "You're
sure you don't want this tapioca pudding?" he asks as Mildred
"Hello, Miss Boggs," she says. "Mind if I join
"Not at all, Ms Dougsmith."
She sits down. "I hit another home run at the computer.
It turns out that ten years ago, Ralph Kelsey went to see Dr.
Howard Gridley for a routine operation-and ended up on his back
for TWO months. Kelsey sued for malpractice and won. After that,
old Doc Gridley moved from Muncie to Miami Beach."
"Oh, great work, Mildred," Steele says in praise.
Mildred smiles at him, delighted he's pleased. "How about
"How about some tapioca pudding?" he says, pushing
it toward her.
"Well, if that's the best I can do," she says, taking
"I think it's about time you paid the good doctor another
visit, don't you?" Steele asks Laura, who's frowning about
"Wait a minute," she says, and Steele and Mildred follow
her gaze. "Not ten minutes ago," she says, watching
as Sam and Vera Woodman embrace lovingly, "I saw tender,
loving Sam Woodman pay an extremely convincing condolence call
on Marge Kelsey."
"Fascinating," Steele agrees. "Did Vera know that
Sam and Margie had re-kindled the old flame?"
"I don't know. But Margie doesn't seem to care."
"Vera doesn't look like a woman scorned to me," Mildred
Laura throws up her hands in frustration. "I don't get it."
Steele grins. "It's almost as confusing as our relationship,"
he says with a laugh.
Mildred chuckles, Laura smiles, but she's still troubled.
In the gym later, Chubby is on the exercise bike. He looks exhausted,
occasionally reaching behind him for something. Laura and Steele
pass him. "Doesn't that man ever stop joking?" Laura
wonders, hearing his heavy breathing.
Doc is sitting at the whirlpool, grunting. "Strange, isn't
it? A doctor finding out about muscles he never knew he had.
Sit down. Join the agony."
Laura leans toward him. "Heard the rumor going around?"
"Ralph Kelsey's been murdered," Steele tells him.
"What? How? WHY?"
"Just a rumor, old bean," Steele tells him. "Just
"There's another rumor that you and Kelsey had a big falling
out a few years ago," Laura says.
"Hey, wait a minute, little lady. I mean, that malpractice
suit is ancient history. Sure, I hated old Ralph's guts for the
first few years, after I had to move to Florida. Trying to scrape
together a new practice isn't exactly a cake walk. But, we both
agreed that this reunion would be the best way to- bury the hatchet."
He sees Laura's expression, and laughs. "A figure of speech.
Listen, if there was anybody that had a perfect motive, it's
that silly jerk over there," he says, pointing to Chubby,
who's still apparently pretending that he can't stop pedaling.
"Silly like a fox. Ralph made out better than all of us.
Chubby took advantage of it. Borrowed a quarter of a million
dollars on a HANDSHAKE and then lost every dime of it."
"A handshake?" Laura asks.
"Meaning there was no formal document."
"Ergo-No Ralph," Steele says, "No quarter of a
million dollars to repay."
"Hey," Doc says, pulling his legs out. "You catch
on quick, Sherlock." He swings his legs over. "'Scuse
me, Darlin," he says to Laura and then moves away.
Laura nods. Steele shuts off the whirlpool. Laura looks at Chubby.
"Um hmm," Steele agrees. "Smooth performance."
"It could be he's a first rate liar, and he's just trying
to divert suspicion to old Chubby."
Steele turns around as Chubby lifts a hand again. "Uh, great,
Chubby, great! Best Jerry Lewis imitation I've seen so far."
"Help," Chubby manages. "Helllp!" Laura looks
"That's no act!" she tells him, rushing to the bike.
She shuts it off.
Steele grabs Chubby. "That's it. That's it. Just steady.
Steady." Laura tries to help him too. They get him off the
bike, and very nearly collapse under his weight. "Chubby,
let's just get you to the shower, okay? Breathe normally."
The take him to the shower, and Laura turns on the water as they
prop him against the wall. "Stay with us, Chubby. Breathe,
Chubby, breathe," he says, slapping Chubby's face. He looks
at Laura as the water pours down on them "Another accident,
do you think?"
"I'll be right back," Laura tells him, leaving him
to take care of Chubby.
"Breathe, Chubby. Breathe! Give me a sign, mate, give me
Chubby suddenly grabs Steele. "I must have lost TEN pounds!"
he says, laughing.
Laura is trying to free Chubby's shoe from the stirrup as a dripping
Steele and Chubby return. "How're you doing Old Paint?"
she asks Chubby.
"Okay. Thanks for your help. I couldn't get my foot out."
She hands him the shoe. "Thanks. Both of you."
"You all right?" Steele asks.
"Oh, okay. I just need a nap. A LONG nap." He staggers
"Good," Steele says.
"The stirrup was bent," Laura tells him.
"Whoever put his foot in next wasn't going to get it out."
Later, after a change of clothes, Laura and Steele are walking.
"It could be," Laura suggests, "that someone is
trying to kill off all the reunion members."
"Um hmm," Steele agrees. "And Then There Were
None, Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Huston," he begins.
"I remember," Laura says quickly. "The problem
is, Ralph Kelsey is the only one that would have HAD such a motive,
and he's dead. Unless- Kelsey was the intended victim all along,
then the killer has masked his crime with several accidents.
And Chubby's is only the latest."
"A variation on `The Alphabet Murders'. Tony Randall,
Robert Morley," he begins again.
"I know," Laura says, stopping his movie cite. "The
question is, how best to proceed?"
"Well, we can rule out Chubby."
"Not necessarily. He may be a consummate actor. The exer-cycle
incident, while harrowing, would hardly have proved fatal,"
she says as they approach the hotel.
"Good heavens, Laura, can't we eliminate ANYONE as a suspect?"
he asks, opening the door for her.
"There's always you, Mr. St. James," she tells him,
He looks confused. "Hey," he says, following. "Just
They enter Laura's room, and Steele closes the door as he realizes
that Laura's alarmed about something. "What's wrong?"
he asks, looking around.
"Someone's been in here," she tells him.
"Oh? How can you tell?"
She moves toward the dresser. "I didn't need my wallet this
evening, so I put it in the very back of the bureau drawer."
"And?" Steele asks, looking at the dresser. She picks
up her wallet from the top of the dresser. "Well, are you
sure you put it in the drawer?"
"My compulsions are an endless source of amusement for you,
Mr. Steele." She opens the wallet and inspects the contents.
"So it should come as no surprise for you to learn that
I always check and double check my motel room before I leave
it. The wallet was in the drawer."
"Doesn't seem to be."
He looks uncomfortable. "Umm, are you thinking what I'm
"Someone grew suspicious of us," she says, "decided
to sneak in the room to check up on my identity, and through
sudden fear or plain carelessness, left the wallet out."
She pulls something from the wallet. "My private investigator
license is right here," she says, showing it to him. "If
the intruder is the killer- he's onto us."
Steele moves cautiously to sit down on the edge of the bed. "Uh,
not to be unsympathetic, Laura, but- what do you mean by US,
She pulls something else out and moves toward him. She gives
it to him to look at. It's a photo of her and him standing in
front of the doors to the office, the doors with the words "Remington
Steele Investigations" emblazoned across them.
"Oh," he says. "Oh. I see. Not even my good side,"
he jokes nervously.
A gloved hand turns the light in the equipment room on, and then
picks up a bat with St. James' name on it. The killer lays the
bat on a table, and begins cutting the end with a hacksaw.
The next day, Crowley and the team are gathered in the locker
room as he tells them, "Okay, fellas, this is it. Your last
day at the Golden Dugout. Here's your chance to play against
the pros you all grew up with. Now, you worked hard this week,
here's where you show what you learned- if anything." Everyone
laughs. "Now, just because your friends and wives may be
out there, I don't want no grandstanding, just good, solid baseball.
Okay? Sam Woodman here wants to say a few words before we hit
the field." He steps aside.
"Thanks, Coach. Guys, we had a little ritual at Eastlake
High," he says as Laura and Steele exchange glances, "that
I'd like ya'll to join in on. Get your hands in here." They
all put their hands atop each others around the circle. Laura
has to stand on a bench to get hers on top. "Now, Ralph,
you went out the way you always wanted to, with a bat in your
hand. And we know that wherever you are up there in that big
bullpen in the sky, you'd want us to play today like we did twenty
years ago." His former teammates are teary.
"This one's for you, Ralphie," Chubby said.
"We'll get em, baby," Slats promises.
"You were the best of all of us, big guy," Doc says.
"Now let's go, Wildcats!" Sam yells, and they all turn
and run out, arms lifted, yelling.
Laura and Steele hang back with the coach. "Not exactly
what I'd call murderer's row," Laura comments.
"Still, one of those men is a killer," Steele points
"I sure hope you two have something up your sleeve,"
Crowley tells them. "The media's already giving me lots
of heat about the safety here."
"Piece of cake, Coach," Laura assures him. "This
case will be history by the end of the game."" Steele
smiles in doubtful agreement.
"Oh? Glad to hear it. See you out there." He leaves
"Yeah," Laura says.
Steele takes off his hat and looks at her. "Laura? What
are you saying?"
"I work best under pressure," she says with a nervous
smile as she takes off for the field, leaving him to chase her
"Laura," he says.
"Relax, will you? I have a plan."
"Yoo-Hoo!" Mildred calls.
"Morning, Mildred," Steele says. "Did the computer
render anymore pertinent information?"
"Bubkis," she says.
"Really? Another baseball term, is it?"
Laura pulls something out of her pocket. "Crowley gave me
a master key to all the motel rooms," she tells Mildred.
"I want you to go through them while we're playing and see
if you can come up with anything useful."
The game begins. "All right, let's play ball!" the
umpire yells. The pros are up first, and Laura throws him out
Steele runs over to her. "Well played, Miss Boggs. Well
played. Now-this plan of yours."
"We're assuming the killer is onto us, right?"
"It's likely he feels we're closing in on him." She
taps his arm. "Later." She moves to her position. "All
right, get the second out!" she yells.
The batter hits the ball, and seeing it heading straight toward
him, Steele crosses his arms in front of his face, and by sheer
luck, catches the ball in his glove.
Steele grins as his teammates praise his catch. The batter goes
to the dugout, frustrated.
"All RIGHT!" Laura says, joining him again. "Simple.
The killer is bound to come after us, all we have to do is catch
him at it before he succeeds."
"THAT'S the plan?" he says, disbelieving.
Laura pushes off again as the next batter comes up. Steele is
VERY uncomfortable. Doc catches the pop fly, and they all head
toward the dugout. Steele catches up with Laura. "That's
not a plan, it's a bloody death warrant!" he tells her.
"It's the only one I could come up with, so watch your back.
Anyone of the old Wildcats could be our boy." They get to
the dugout. Laura joins the others, Steele sits in the corner.
Whitey Ford takes the mound, as Mickey Mantle calls, "Come
on, Grandma! Let's see some heat!"
Steele is sitting in the corner, watching the others. Doc notices
him, and comes down to join him. "Somethin' the matter,
St. James?" he asks.
"I find meditation a great comfort during a game,"
"Nerves, huh?" he reaches into his pocket. "Here.
Try a little chewing tobacco. Calm you right down." Steele
shakes his head to turn it down, but Doc stuffs it into his mouth.
"Come on. It's part of your education." He goes back
to the other end, leaving Steele smiling sickly with tobacco
in his mouth.
Whitey pitches the batter out. Chubby gets some water, and takes
one to Laura. "Here you go, Mick."
She smiles at him. "Oh, gee, Chubby. Thanks. I AM thirsty."
He moves off, and she starts to drink, then stops and looks around
before pouring the water over her shoulder.
Slats is thrown out at first to close the inning, and the Wildcats
head back to the field. Laura passes a still frightened Steele.
"Come on, St. James. Spit out your cud and grab your glove.
Three out." She hits him with her glove.
Whitey and Mickey Mantle watch as one of their team mates gets
ready to bat. "Look at that," Mickey says. "He
couldn't hit the ball if it was on a tee."
He hits, and Laura catches the ball. The next batter hits one
toward Steele, who misses it. "I doubt he could pick that
ball up if it came with a handle," Whitey says.
Mickey comes to bat. "Strike!"
"Come on, Ump, I've seen potatoes with better eyes than
that." He hits the next one, but it's out of bounds.
"My granddaughter Brett could hit better than you!"
He gets a handle on the next one, and it's a home run. The score
is 4-0 as Whitey comes to bat. Chubby is all smiles.
The pitches throws, and the umpire calls a strike. Whitey looks
at him. "Ump, you're getting a little old for this kinda
"You're short," the ump declares.
"You shouldn't be umpin' anyway. Come on, bear down."
Another pitch, and he hits it. A homer.
The next pitch, Steele misses an easy ball. 8-0.
The coach shakes his head and walks away, frustrated. At 14-0,
the Wildcats run toward the dugout. Crowley passes Steele. "St.
James! You're up! Grab a bat! Boggs, you're on deck. Hit SOMETHING,
anyway. Let's make this a dignified disaster."
Steele grabs his bat and helmet, going to the plate. Laura goes
out to warm up as Mildred comes up to the fence. "Miss Boggs?"
Laura goes to her.
"Did you come up with anything?"
Mildred pulls a paper from her purse. "Nothing obvious.
But I pulled these from some waste paper baskets." She shoves
some papers through the fence. "I thought they might mean
"Good work." Laura looks at them as Steele prepares
to hit the ball. Whitey pitches.
"BALL ONE!" the ump declares.
"Come on, blind man!" Whitey says. "Bear down!"
"Come on, Whitey," Steele says. "Give me something
I can hit, eh?!"
"My niece has better stuff!" Mickey Mantle calls.
Laura looks at the papers. "Oh my gosh."
"What is it?"
"This receipt. It's a list of ingredients for a type of
putty explosive that becomes very volatile when it dries. Whose
room is this from?"
Mildred shrugs. "There were so many."
"I'm trying," she says.
Laura happens to glance to where Vera and Marge are sitting,
and sees Vera get up and move behind the bleacher to watch Steele
bat. Curious, Laura looks toward Steele- and notices the cut
in the end of the bat. "The bat," she whispers as Whitey
throws and Steele swings. "NO!!!"
"Thank GOD!" Laura says, and rushes toward him. She
pulls him off of the plate. "Don't swing at ANY more pitches."
"Let's play ball here!" the ump tells them.
"I'll explain later. Don't swing," she says again as
he turns back to the plate. He looks at her, she shakes her head
no again. He lets the ball go past.
"Strike Two!" Steele's upset.
Laura takes a deep breath. Steele turns back to her and says,
"Laura, I don't know what you're up to, but I've worked
very hard to improve my swing, and I've no intention of going
down to ignominious defeat with my bat on my shoulder."
Laura looks away from him. "Take a look at the top of your
bat, DiMaggio, and don't make it look obvious." Steele feels
the end of the bat. "It's loaded with explosives. You meet
the ball and you'll make a hit that no one will forget if THEY
live. DON'T SWING," she tells him again.
He shakes his head and returns to the plate, and very nearly
hits the base with the end of bat, just catching himself from
doing so. Whitey pitches. "Ball two!"
Steele goes to the ump. "Are you sure? That looked like
a strike to me."
"Will you get in there and hit?" the ump says.
Steele returns to the base again, a sick look on his face. He
looks at Laura. As Whitey throws the last one, he closes his
"Strike three, you're out!"
"Oh, bless you. Thank you very much," he tells the
"Get out of here!"
He goes to Laura. "Okay. Now what, Laura?"
"I have a plan."
"Oh, good. I can't wait."
She tells him something, and you hear her say, "I'll keep
mine and you keep yours, okay?" as the rest of the team
looks on from the dugout.
"What's that chick up to?" Slats asks.
Doc shakes his head. "I dunno."
Laura and Steele appear to switch bats. "I think this one
might be a good one," she says. She heads for the plate,
as Steele joins the others.
"That Boggs is a strange bird. She wanted to try my bat,"
he tells them. "Most peculiar," he comments, looking
at everyone's reaction. There isn't any.
Laura does a few practice swings, then shakes her head, tells
the ump "Time," and takes a few steps toward the dugout.
"You're right, St. James!" she yells. "This bat's
too heavy. I need mine back!" She tosses the bat toward
the dugout. As it nears them, Sam Woodman leaps from the dugout,
"AHH! AHH!" He throws himself onto his face as the
bat hits the ground harmlessly.
Steele comes from the dugout with the doctored bat. "It
only LOOKED like we exchanged bats, Woodman. This is your murder
weapon right here, mate."
Vera takes off as Crowley comes forward. "What in the Sam
Hill is going on around here?" he demands to know.
Laura runs up. "That's the man who murdered Ralph Kelsey!"
she tells them. But before they can do anything, Vera drives
through in a golf cart, and Sam gets up.
"Sam!" she calls, and he leaps into the cart. Everyone
takes off after them, then Steele stops them.
"Wait! Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait," he says, then
throws the bat ahead of them. "FORE!" It explodes,
throwing Sam from the cart and sending the cart into a hole.
"I believe that's what's call a gram slam," Steele
tells Laura as a shell shocked Sam and Vera wonder what went
wrong. Laura shakes his hand, delighted. "Thank you. Thank
Back at the office, Mildred says, "So it was Vera and Sam
"Yes, Mildred," Steele tells her. "It was a classic
tale of greed and envy to match James M. Cain at his nastiest."
"Sam was going to divorce Vera, remarry Margie, then get
HER out of the way, so he and Vera could enjoy Ralph's fortune,"
"Oh. I think I'll stick with the Irish sweepstakes for my
Steele nods in agreement as he looks at Laura. "How about
a double feature tonight to take our minds off the case?"
"Fear Strikes Out and Pride of the Yankees."
Laura laughs, as does Mildred. "I think I have another baseball
convert on my hands," she tells Mildred.
"Oh, indeed," he agrees, winking at Mildred. "As
a matter of fact, I thought I might give you a few pointers in
Laura looks at him. "Are we still talking baseball, Mr.
Steele?" she asks.
He grins. "Oh, I'm sure we'll get `round to it eventually."
He holds out his arm. "Batter up, Miss Holt?"
She puts her hand on his arm. "Batter up, Mr. Steele."