They carried real trumpets and toy trumpets, old and new trumpets, and the 650 who brought them got in free on Trumpet Night in Cincinnati. This caused President Bill DeWitt to ask, "How about a Piano Night next?" But all the Reds needed, it seemed, was Frank Robinson. Last week Robinson batted .417, scored a dozen times, had 15 RBIs and six homers. With such hitting and tight pitching by 34-year-old Joe Nuxhall and 22-year-old Jim Maloney, the Reds gained a game and a half on the Dodgers. Robinson won a TV set with one homer, a clothes dryer with another. Manager Fred Hutchinson hit no homers but received a vibrator chair. While Robinson was winning prizes and Hutchinson relaxed in his chair, Los Angeles players were misreading signals and losing four of six. They couldn't even get away with stealing. Angry because of the long infield grass and heavy watering that was designed to cut down their speed at Candlestick Park, the Dodgers stole San Francisco's leaded practice bat. The Giants resorted to a simple but effective retaliation: they took the Dodgers' leaded bat. Billy O'Dell was honest, too honest, for his own good. Several Cubs hovered over his bunt, thinking it was foul. O'Dell yelled, "It's fair." Ernie Banks believed O'Dell and threw him out. At home the Giants had a 47-17 record (.734). On the road, though, they lost three straight and were barely over .500 (31-28). Chicago's Ken Hubbs pulled his glove out of a paper bag and showed a cluster of hospital patients his fielding techniques. Then he went out and set an NL record for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman, bringing his streak to 62 at the week's close. Milwaukee made 10 double plays, took over the league lead in fielding but still lost five times. Manager Birdie Tebbetts told his players not to complain about the Houston heat. Later, when the temperature stayed above 100°, he had to admit that they had a legitimate gripe. Joe Adcock stepped on a baseball and hurt his leg. In all, the Braves won just twice, with Claude Raymond saving both games in relief. Al Jackson of New York went without bullpen help, throwing 215 pitches but losing 3-1 in 15 innings. A teammate's error led to his loss, but Jackson manfully refused to complain, saying, "The guys have played real good behind me. Why say something when they boot one?" In another game Choo Choo Coleman hit a pinch home run. Several innings later Jim Hickman batted for Coleman and also hit one. Don Demeter had four home runs and John Callison 11 RBIs as Philadelphia won five straight. Billy Smith got two quick strikes on Fred Whitfield of the Cardinals. Manager Gene Mauch rushed out to give Smith some advice. Whitfield hit the next pitch for a grand slam. Later in that game St. Louis Manager Johnny Keane conferred with Lindy McDaniel. Callison must have listened, for he, like Whitfield, hit a homer. Timely hitting by Norm Larker (.435), Hal Smith and Joey Amalfitano, plus fine pitching by George Brunet, Bob Bruce and Russ Kemmerer, moved Houston back to eighth place. Almost unnoticed was Pittsburgh, which actually had more success than any team in either league, winning five of six and gaining three games on the Dodgers. At the start of the week Harvey Haddix lamented, "When I reached back for something extra it wasn't there." Later in the week it was there for Haddix and the rest of the staff, and the Pirates' 3.54 ERA had become the lowest in the majors this year.
Little things like an 800-foot home run and five straight wins meant a lot to Kansas City. Bobby Del Greco, admittedly, got much of his distance when his drive ricocheted across a parking lot. Owner Charles O. Finley, without mentioning what year he had in mind, said his team would finish fourth. Although they began winning almost as soon as he spoke, the Athletics were still ninth. The real fourth-place club, Chicago, got hard hitting from Joe Cunningham, Al Smith and Sherm Lollar to support exceptional pitching (1.86 ERA for the week) and won five of seven. Cleveland pitchers gave up almost that many runs per inning. At their worst they allowed 10 runs in one inning. After his sixth successive losing week Manager Mel McGaha, who likes to speak into a tape recorder "to practice certain phrases and emphasis," was merely mumbling. When it came to emphasis, Pete Quesada, Washington president, was getting his point across stridently. He let it be known that changes would be made among the personnel of his 10th-place club. One quick change occurred almost immediately as the Senators won a doubleheader. A scoreboard message announced George Susce's birthday. In response, the 53-year-old coach, who prides himself on his fine physical condition, touched his nose to the ground while keeping his knees straight. In Baltimore the fans held their fingers to their noses. One writer said the Orioles were "resigned to losing," something they accomplished on five of six occasions. In Minnesota, however, Harmon Killebrew said the Twins had the spirit of a college football squad. Last week the Twins held opponents to seven points a game and still split eight AL matches. Camilo Pascual had arm trouble, but the Twins did exhibit spirited clutch hitting and pitching to come from behind for some important wins. Good pitching by Hank Aguirre and Jim Bunning boosted Detroit from seventh to fifth. Los Angeles, hoping to play the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine in what would be only the fourth World Series ever played entirely in one park, kept pace with the Yankees. Ted Bowsfield beat the Red Sox. then called them a "dead club." The next day an apparition wearing red stockings twice defeated the Angels. Boston, with four homers by Lou Clinton and continued fine shortstopping by Eddie Bressoud, won five of eight. While others scrambled at their heels the New York Yankees prepared for the World Series. Tom Tresh, the No. 2 All-Star shortstop, was moved to left in favor of Tony Kubek, who promptly took part in six double plays in his first three games. And Bobby Richardson indicated he was again ready for October baseball. He batted .367, drove in 10 runs and hit two home runs, one a grand slam.
Fewest hits per 9 innings
Boxed statistics through Saturday, August 18