It started like a typical AL week, with New York winning 21-7. Then, following a 13-inning loss to the Angels, came what may go down as one of the more prophetic quotes of the season. Said Manager Ralph Houk: "Just remember this: we could get into a 10-game losing streak." Before long, Roger Maris was bunting (unsuccessfully), Bill Stafford had a sore shoulder and Houk was 60% right. The Orioles swept the Yankees five in a row, and the end was not in sight. One remark that will not become famous was addressed to Cleveland's Pedro Ramos. "Your shirt's dirty," Umpire Ed Runge told him. "Change it." Later Ramos was ordered to put on clean trousers and a new cap. It all came about, Runge explained, because Ramos soiled his uniform with tobacco juice and sticky resin, which had a way of turning up on the ball. The Indians lost four of six but were glad to be alive. As the players were about to take off for Detroit their plane was almost hit by one that was landing. When it came to tales of woe, it was hard to beat Baltimore, which lost Ron Hansen (broken hand) and Milt Pappas (sore arm), in addition to Steve Barber (mononucleosis). But that was just the point: somehow the Orioles were suddenly hard to beat. With Jerry Adair hitting .515 and Brooks Robinson .630, they won six of seven. Los Angeles dropped four of six and missed a big chance to gain on the Yankees. Chicago proved more opportunistic, picking up three and a half games in three days. With 17 of their final 32 games against second-division clubs and, more important, six against the Yankees, the White Sox dreamed fancifully that they still might overtake New York. Detroit, sustained by 16 homers, squeezed over the .500 mark for the first time in six weeks. Kansas City got .444 hitting by Norm Siebern and was concluding its most successful month since July 1959. Jimmy Piersall of Washington was ejected for arguing on the very first pitch of one game, but his teammates stayed long enough to win two of six. Don Rudolph became the first left-hander to shut out the Twins. Lee Stange of Minnesota was the first right-handed starter to win in nearly a month. Buoyed by the belief that Camilo Pascual would soon take his regular turn again, the Twins were poised for the final month of the season. "I like to pitch at room temperature," Boston's Gene Conley said. He had to settle for typical Kansas City temperature (99¬∫) but came through with the team's only complete game win. This, plus Carl Yastrzemski's .424 batting, helped the Red Sox close in on the seventh-place Indians.
After Dal Maxvill of St. Louis hit his first major league home run his fellow electrical engineering graduate, Outfielder Charley James, marked the feat in phrases certainly foreign to baseball, and not too familiar to science. Declared James: "Maxvill intersects sphere on parabolic path of sphere at center of percussion on mallet." Bill White, who has a B.S. degree, finished a three-week spree with a .465 BA in National League hitting. Gene Oliver hit a two-run homer, then lamented, "We never win when I get the big hits. I'm always a bridesmaid." Last year's bridesmaid, Los Angeles, split six games and lost more of its shrinking lead. There was now real concern that Sandy Koufax, still out because of a blood-circulation difficulty in his left hand, may not pitch until 1963. At one point, doctors feared they might have to amputate a finger. Houston suffered from perforated gloves (nine errors) and anemic bats (.231 BA) as its losing streak reached nine. So inept were the hitters that only 19 of 80 runners scored. Still, Manager Harry Craft said, "We've done pretty well when you consider we're playing nose to nose against the Cubs, a team that has been in existence for years." Coming face to face with facts, Milwaukee players realized they might finish out of the first division for the first time since the team moved from Boston. So Hank Aaron batted .348 and Warren Spahn won twice, pulling the Braves to within one percentage point of fifth place. Dick Groat of Pittsburgh was hit on the nose by a careening grounder. For most of the week, however, it was the Pirates who hit the ball on its nose as they won six of nine. When it came to hitting, Chicago's Bob Buhl made no mistake when he chose to be a pitcher. He earned the Cubs their only two wins. As a hitter who had gone 0 for 46 batting right-handed, Buhl decided to try swinging left-handed. Now he is 0 for 49. A 12th coach, Mel Wright, was added, as Owner Philip K. Wrigley apparently decided coaches were cheaper by the dozen. One of the cheapest success stories of the year involved San Francisco's Orlando Cepeda. He was fined $50 for not running out a grounder, and promptly hit five homers in five games. He had been hampered by a loop at the top of his swing and had hit only three home runs in four weeks. Following six losses in 11 road games, the Giants longed for Candlestick Park and their secret weapon—music by Del Courtney's band. When supported by Courtney, the Giants have played .885 ball; without him, .563. The sweetest sounds in Philadelphia came as five Dodgers broke bats vainly trying to get hits against Chris Short. The Phillies won five of eight and helped Gene Mauch get a contract for next season. "We got some guys with wonderful educations, but the ball won't go where their mind is," said New York's Casey Stengel in a hodgepodge of pained veracity. As if on cue, Jay Hook (Northwestern graduate) beat the Dodgers, and Ken MacKenzie (Yale) defeated the Giants. Marv Throneberry fans were legion. One cluster wore T shirts with the letters VRAM. Another carried banners saying "Cranberry, strawberry,/We love Throneberry." Richie Ashburn rode onto the field to present Gil Hodges a golf cart. As he put-putted past the dugout, Ashburn yelled, "How do you stop this thing?" The big question was how to stop Cincinnati. Joey Jay and Bob Purkey each won twice and became 20-game winners. The Reds, victorious in 40 of 54 tries (.741), gained two and a half games on the Dodgers. Things went so well that Owner Bill DeWitt bet on a hunch. Sure enough, the horse, named Victory Red, won.
A. Smith, Chi
H. Aaron, Mil
T. Davis, LA
F. Alou, SF
Statistics through Saturday, August 25