72 Hours in Savannah (Part 3)

72 Hours in Savannah (Part 3)

From the Quick Baseball Mysteries (Short Stories Collection) 

(If you missed Part 1 and want to start at the beginning, click here)

Long before Google, there was Mueller —as in Mike Mueller. When it comes to trophies and medals, I’ll take Mueller over an internet search engine any day. With search, I type in keywords and out comes a sea of images and whatnot to sort through. Sometimes I get what I need right away, sometimes I lose an hour or two online. With Mueller, I simply make one call. He does the work and I spend that hour or two watching a game or engaging in other leisure activities. Of course, this does come with a few minutes of listening to Mueller bitch about how bad the Reds are at that particular moment of the season, but it’s worth it.

“It’s one in the morning, what the hell do you want?”

I thought I would start with something positive. “The Reds bullpen really got them out of a jam today.”

“Yes, but if they don’t start hitting, they will never catch Chicago. Why are we talking baseball at 1 in the morning, Quick? My wife is giving me the evil eye.”

“Turn the light back off and leave the bedroom so we can talk.”

“The light is off.”

“Then how do you know she is giving you the evil eye?”

“When you’ve been married for 27 years, you will know when you’re getting the evil eye. You don’t even have to be in the same state to know somewhere out there, she’s giving you the evil eye. And right now she’s knodding her head yes while giving me the evil eye. I can’t see it. But I know it’s happening.”

“So go to the kitchen or something.”

“All right, all right. What’s this about? You’re usually not the type to be working this late.”

“I’ve got a friend in trouble and I need to find out about a trophy.”

“What kind of trouble?”

“Murder.”

“Your friend the corpse or the accused?”

“The accused.”

“Good for him. What’s this have to do with a trophy?”

“They found a trophy sticking out of the dead guy’s body.”

“And you want me to tell you what it looked like before all the blood and guts?”

“No, I want you to send me a picture of the 1937 Southern League Championship trophy. It was stolen when the murder was committed.”

“No, it wasn’t.”

“Yes, it was. Scott, my friend in trouble, said he walked by it every day at work. He said that was the one that was missing.”

“Then your friend Scott wasn’t very observant. The team championship trophy is sitting in the private collection of a man named Barnes. Lives in Charlotte, last I recall. What your friend walked by every day was a smaller trophy that was given out to the players.”

See what I mean? Google wouldn’t have told me that. “So, do you have a picture of it? And any idea which player it might have belonged to?”

“Ivey. Lance Ivey was his name. I’ve seen that trophy myself. His family gave it to the team when he passed. He played a week or two in Triple-A ball, but mostly toiled in the low minors. I probably have a picture, somewhere.”

“Thanks, I really appreciate it.”

“Hey, did the trophy sticking out of the body have an art deco type of shape?”

“It was still in him when I saw it, so I can’t say. I identified it by the base.”

“What year and league was it?”

“Southern League, 1941.”

“That’s interesting.”

“Why?”

“It’s the same basic shape as the one you’re looking for. These were pretty common, had a wooden Art Deco shape and a bronze plated figure on top. The engraving plate would have been brass. In total, about 15 and a half inches high.”

“Based on what I could see, that sounds about right.”

“So, in essence, the killer rammed an identical trophy into the body as the one he stole.”

“He just wasn’t counting on somebody noticing from the plate that it wasn’t the same one.”

“Yeah, what’s one dusty old trophy from the next except for guys like you and me.”

“Only one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“What makes a dusty old trophy worth killing for?”

“Got me, Quick. You’re on your own to figure that out.”

“I usually am,” I answered.

Carry on, Citizens! 

by Jeff

Jeff Stanger is an author and fundraising consultant as well as the answer to several obscure trivia questions. He writes for food and occasionally for spite. Google+

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