Archives: Quick Mysteries

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?”


“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.”


“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! 

72 Hours in Savannah Part 2 (A Quick Mystery)

72 Hours in Savannah Part 2 (A Quick Mystery)

From the Quick Baseball Mysteries (Short Stories Collection) 

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

The officer turned me over to a detective named Sparks who took me to a trophy case within the Grayson Stadium offices. Sure enough, the glass case was broken and a  something was obviously missing. “We think Scott took the murder weapon from here.”

“You don’t honestly think that trophy was the murder weapon do you?”

“I’m not ruling anything out.”

“And why would Scott break into this case and take a trophy to kill someone? Why not use a bat? There are plenty of those lying around.”

“Look, I’ve seen a lot of crime scenes in my day and I can tell you this. People who kill aren’t always thinking rationally.  I can’t say why? I just collect the facts.”

“Well, I can give you one fact: you’ve got a murder and a robbery to solve.”

“Robbery? We don’t have any evidence that anything has been stolen.”

“The evidence is right in front of you.”

He looked at the case. “This? You obviously don’t know much about about criminal justice. This isn’t theft per se. The missing item is in the body.”

“You’re right. I don’t know much about crime scenes. But I do know baseball and that’s why I was called down here. Whatever was taken from this case —trophy or otherwise — is not the trophy inside the guy on the field.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The trophy inside that guy is a 1941 South Atlantic League Championship trophy. The Macon Peaches won the Sally League that year. Why would Savannah have a Macon trophy in their case?” He looked at me dumbfounded. “Somebody wanted you to think that trophy came from this case.”

The South Atlantic League or Sally League as it’s often called has existed in a variety of forms since 1904. A baseball purist might throw at you the Southern League, the Western Carolinas League, and a hole host of other related trivia that might have gone by that title. However, we don’t  have that kind of time. All you and I need to know for this story is that Savannah’s current minor league team (the Sand Gnats) plays in the Sally League. And in 1941, the Savannah Indians were in the South Atlantic League.

However, that trophy sticking out of the body was a Peach, or owned by a Peach, I should say. The Macon Peaches won the 1941 South Atlantic League Championship. If I was going to figure this out, I would have to talk with Scott. “Can I ask Scott some questions?”

The detective lead me into the parking lot where Scott was still being detained. He looked scared, but somewhat relieved to see me. “Quick, thank God, you’re here. They think I did this.”

“You realize I was about to plunder the magnificence of Georgia peach when I was interrupted by the police?”

“Plunder the what? I’m facing a murder charge and you’re pissed I interrupted your dinner?”

“Who said anything about food?”

“Oh, yeah I should have figured. You can hurt me later for interrupting your leisure activities. Did you see the trophy?”

“Yeah, it’s a Macon Peach trophy.”

“That’s why I had them call you. I knew it wasn’t ours, and I knew you could confirm that.”

“What about the trophy case?” Detective Sparks was still with us.

“What about it?”

“It’s been smashed,” I answered. “Something was stolen from it. My guess is they wanted someone to think that trophy sticking out of the body was it.”

Detective Sparks asked, “Do you think you can tell us what is missing from the case?”

“I’ve passed that case every day for 5 years. I hope so.”

The detective lead us back inside the stadium and to the case. Scott seemed genuinely shocked, so I felt a little better about him not being involved. Sure, I felt I knew him and didn’t think was capable of murder. But do we ever really know the people that come and go in our lives?

“Well, what’s missing,” the detective was growing impatient.

He stared at it, trying to remember. We waited a few moments and he exclaimed, “It’s the 1937 trophy! The ’37 champs trophy is missing.”

“You sure that nothing else is gone?”

“No, that’s it!”

“Why would someone steal one trophy and leave another,” asked the detective.

“Why would someone kill a groundskeeper,” asked Scott.

“Why would I answer the phone in the middle of…” they both looked at me. “Oh forget it, I’ll do some research on both trophies.”

72 Hours in Savannah Part 1 (A Quick Mystery)

72 Hours in Savannah Part 1 (A Quick Mystery)

From the Quick Baseball Mysteries (Short Stories Collection) 

I’m going to give you the moral of this story up front: if you get a funny feeling when the phone is ringing that something bad is about to happen, don’t answer the damn thing!

That may seem strange for a lot of reasons. First, your high school English teacher probably told you to let the moral or lesson unfold as you write. Well, I’m not a writer; I’m a baseball artifacts dealer.

Secondly, you might be one of those people that can’t fathom not answering a ringing phone —more power to you. I, on the other hand, have the power to let it go to voicemail and then delete without listening. However, I didn’t always have this power and that’s why I’m telling you this story.

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