As Philadelphia Manager Gene Mauch sees it, his team's rise to first place stems from its 23-game losing streak in 1961. "It welded our club together," Mauch said. However, three players who helped most in winning three of four games last week did not go through the welding process. They were former Tiger Jim Bunning (he shut out the Cubs 10-0) and rookies Richie Allen (.421 BA and three HRs) and John Herrnstein (a game-winning double and .500 BA). LOS ANGELES seemed to be trying a little of the win-by-welding theory itself. The Dodgers (1-5) managed to end a seven-game losing streak but, hampered by an injury list that made it look as though they were fighting a small war, they could do no more. Among the wounded were Pitchers Sandy Koufax (muscle tear in forearm), Johnny Podres (elbow bruise) and Ron Perranoski (injured thigh), plus Outfielder Tommy Davis (strained ligament). MILWAUKEE made the most of the Dodgers' misfortunes, beating them four times. Adding insult to the Dodger injuries was the fact that one of the Braves' wins was by 34-year-old Bob Tiefenauer, who had beaten them just once before in his career, and one was by Warren Spahn, who a few days earlier had been picked up in an after-hours bar in Houston. Milwaukee's only loss was to SAN FRANCISCO, which had gone on a hitting binge (41 runs in four wins) before losing. At the head of the phalanx of hitters were Willie Mays (.632) and Willie McCovey (five homers, three in a row). The man who stymied the Giants was Jim Maloney of CINCINNATI (3-4). He stopped them 3-1. It took a five-hitter by Joe Nuxhall to overcome the Colt .45s 1-0 the night that Ken Johnson pitched his no-hitter against the Reds. HOUSTON did not waste all of its good pitching. Dick Farrell beat the Cardinals twice, and Bob Bruce, sipping medicine between innings to fight off the flu, shut out the Reds with ninth-inning help from Hal Brown. Last year ST. LOUIS (3-3) was the best-hitting team in the majors, a fact hard to believe last week. The Cardinals' seven home runs were impressive, but their .224 BA was not. CHICAGO also had seven homers but allowed nine. That is a sure way to lose ball games—which is just what the Cubs did in three of five tries. They even lost the day they hit five homers. That was against PITTSBURGH (3-2). The Pirates hit four that day, the last a game-winning three-run drive by Gene Freese, a pinch hitter. NEW YORK'S Al Jackson had better luck against the Pirates, shutting them out, but the Mets quickly reverted to form, losing three in a row and slipping silently into last place.
Parlaying steady pitching, a flock of hit batsmen and some timely hitting, CLEVELAND (4-0) moved into first place. Successive games were won by Leon Wagner (a two-run, sheep-scattering home run in Kansas City), Woodie Held (hit by a pitch in the ninth) and John Romano (a double in the 16th one day, a triple in the 11th the next). Those last three wins came against LOS ANGELES (1-3). Angel President Bob Reynolds, seeking a new home for his club, talked with officials from Anaheim, Calif. His conclusion: "Forward to Anaheim." Charles O. Finley, KANSAS CITY owner, must keep his team in town for a while and, if he cannot win, at least he plans to have fun. His kind of fun calls for flashing yellow and green lights and blaring horns to celebrate each Kansas City home run. Unfortunately for Finley, his players were not hitting. Donna Axum (Miss America) ran her fingers through Manny Jimenez' hair during the ceremonies before the team's home opener, a gesture that ought to be enough to inspire anyone at least to hit a home run. Anyone but Jimenez, it seems. He hit nothing. Orlando Pena beat the Senators on two hits, then five days later lost to them in 10 innings; during the latter game he was ordered by the umpire to stop blowing bubble gum while pitching. Another Cuban pitcher, Camilo Pascual of MINNESOTA (2-4), had his troubles, too. Pascual dropped a pop-up against the Tigers, permitting the batter, who had already headed for the dugout, to return to first base. That error led to a run and Pascual's defeat. Sharp pitching earned NEW YORK victories in three of four tries, with Pitcher-Coach Whitey Ford shutting out the White Sox for his 200th win. DETROIT (4-2) also got good pitching. Dave Wickersham beat the Twins twice, once with a four-hitter. Mickey Lolich held the Twins to three hits. Frank Lary, however, for the second time in a row was unable to last more than three innings. "Frank will be all right," Manager Charlie Dressen insisted. "Dressen would be optimistic in the electric chair," said a listener. Sitting in front of their lockers on canvas chairs rather than the conventional stools, BALTIMORE players felt relaxed. At the plate they seemed to be almost asleep, getting just six extra-base hits and six runs in four games, three of them losses. Chuck Hinton of WASHINGTON, sometimes accused of being too relaxed during a game, let two runs score as he headed off the field after catching a fly ball for what he mistakenly thought was the third out. Chastised, Hinton promised to "bear down every minute from now on." He hit .333 thereafter and scored from second base on a double play. CHICAGO (3-1) climbed from eighth place to fourth as John Buzhardt beat the Red Sox twice and Juan Pizarro did it once, BOSTON, which scored 10 runs in six games, salvaged two wins when Bill Monbouquette shut out the Yankees and Jack Lamabe beat the Orioles.
May 3, 1964
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Pitcher Ken Johnson of Houston is a quiet, philosophical man. His idea of having a wild time is to talk in a Donald Duck voice, something he once did during a radio interview. Johnson's record for the past two seasons is 18-33, good for a Houston pitcher, but it might have been better if his team had been able to score a little. A dozen times he lost because his teammates were shut out, but Johnson felt confident the breaks would change. Last week they did, in an uneven sort of way. On the night before he was to have his aching elbow examined by the team physician, Johnson pitched a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in Houston. But Johnson did not win. For the unlucky 13th time, his teammates failed to score, and because of two ninth-inning errors, one his own, Johnson and Houston lost 1-0. Pitchers have lost nine other no-hit games, all in extra innings. Johnson became the first pitcher in the history of baseball to lose a no-hitter in nine innings. His was the ninth no-hitter in the major leagues in less than 24 months and the seventh one in a night game. Fans from all over the country called, many not knowing whether to congratulate or console him. But Johnson, far from feeling discouraged, was almost buoyant: "If I had won the game, people would soon have forgotten all about it. This way they'll talk about it for years." Then, remembering his medical appointment, Johnson told the doctor, "I think we'd better leave my arm as it is."