Shopping around for something special for that ballplayer who has everything? Take a tip from, respectively, the Dodger management, Doris Day, and the Dodger team. Gift items they selected for Maury Wills were: one (1) second base bag, one (1) monogrammed Victrola, and½5th share of the NL pennant. On his own, Wills got himself and Los Angeles eight runs, nine stolen bases and 10 hits. Up the coast, Christmas will once again only come once. But it could have been otherwise. The Giants actually were tied for first for a few hours before they lost their bats as well as the usual quota of hearts in San Francisco. Heading east, they hit .134 and dropped four straight. Willie Mays fainted in Cincinnati and was hospitalized. The Giants couldn't win without Willie. Not even with Jack Sanford who, after all, had won 16 in a row. The Giants* swoon also just about ruined St. Louis' last little hope, which was simply to be a spoiler. What was left to spoil? Not even Chicago. The Cubs have already lost more games than they ever did in a season. Or Houston: the Colts were haplessly resigned to losing 100 games and not drawing a million fans. The only drama in Texas centered on Bob Aspromonte, who was close to setting NL records for third basemen for fewest errors in a season and most consecutive games without an error. Milwaukee didn't lose to anybody all week except Chris Short of the Phils, but he showed up twice to pitch and one game to hit, too. He went four-for-four. Another pitching hitter, Earl Francis, got the only Pittsburgh home run of the week. For Philadelphia, Outfielder Johnny Callison was in a rut, a pinstriped Frank Merriwell. He hit two home runs, each in the ninth inning, each to win 2-1 games on consecutive nights. Fred Hutchinson of Cincinnati threw a ball bag through a window and kicked an umpire who stepped on his foot. For solace, he always had Frank Robinson around. With a .448 week Robinson moved ahead of Tommy Davis (.333) in the batting race. Meanwhile, the other half had its own repartee with the record book. New-York Pitcher R. L. Miller went to 0-12, tying a record originally set by none but another R. L. Miller (Phillies, 1928). The Millers have perhaps lighted the path by their precept. All the Mets have to do now is find a kid named Babe Ruth.
All year long people said Detroit needed a shot in the arm. So the Tigers, every one of them, got shots, and reactions thereto put Coach George Myatt in the hospital and knocked First Baseman Vic Wertz out of action. The inoculations were for the Tigers' postseason trip to Japan. They'll be at home in the Orient, where it's the Year of the Tiger. In the American League, where it is just one more year of the Yankee, Mickey Mantle of New York became the seventh player to hit 400 home runs. He made it with his 26th HR this year in his 325th at-bat. Earlier in the same game, the Tigers' Al Kaline had hit his 26th in his 325th at-bat, equaling a record for coincidence formerly held by who knows whom. Simply for posterity—and subsequently also for $1,000 pay raises—there were Tom Cheney of Washington and Bill Fischer of Kansas City. Cheney struck out 21 Orioles in one 16-inning game, which is, if you want a casual frame of reference, more major leaguers than anyone else ever struck out in one game. Fischer extended his streak of innings without allowing a walk to 69‚Öì, topping a record of 49 years held by Christy Mathewson. "I've always had control," Fischer said, going out on a limb. Seventh-place Cleveland (2-3) was playing out the schedule and most probably the manager, Mel McGaha, too. Sixth-place Baltimore (3-3) was dying a little slower, rewarding September spectators with five extra-inning games. Earl Battey of Minnesota had to leave a game when he poked a finger in his eye while trying to take off his mask, but came back to action and picked his 13th man off base. Chicago's hopes for third were helped with a 5-2 week, and Boston moved on seventh with a 5-3 and the rumor that Yogi Berra might be managing the Red Sox next year. With Los Angeles, Shortstop Jim Fregosi made an error on purpose in the best interests of friendship. He was trying to protect teammate Dean Chance's no-hit try, but the scorer wasn't fooled, gave the batter a hit, as well as Fregosi his throwing error, and Chance had to settle for a one-hitter. Well, that was exciting enough as it was. Dino was so keyed up he blurted out a naughty word on the radio afterwards.