Some financial problems are going to arise in the American League if the trend of public apathy continues. Only 304,000 saw A.L. games last week, compared to 513,000 in the National. BALTIMORE (4-2) looks big league in many, many ways on the field, but what of the city itself? There is the rub. Even with Wally Bunker's (4-0) pitching, Luis Aparicio's flash on the bases (five steals), superb relief pitching (two runs in 13 innings), a startling ability to win one-run games (three in the week to push the team's season total to 11-1), the Orioles averaged only 8,411 for six home dates in perfect weather. NEW YORK (3-3) got some miserable pitching, particularly from the bullpen, which gave up 14 runs in 27‚Öî innings, including a grand-slam pitch thrown by Bill Stafford to Bobby Knoop of the Angels. In one stretch the Yankees' four top starters—Whitey Ford, Jim Bouton, Al Downing and Ralph Terry—gave up 17 runs in 15‚Öî innings, and Ford again developed a muscle pull in his hip, which caused him to leave a game. The Yankees were even beaten 9-5 by LOS ANGELES (2-4) on "Bo Belinsky Memorial Day." At almost this same point last year Belinsky started against New York and was so badly beaten he was shipped to Hawaii. This time he gave up five runs in three innings, and the strains of Hula Hands grew louder. The MINNESOTA Twins (4-2) got complete games from Camilo Pascual and Lee Stange, plus a .500 week and 11 RBIs from Harmon Killebrew, but the Twins' relief continued horrible. In nine of the 15 games Minnesota has lost, it was ahead entering the sixth inning. Jolly Cholly Dressen of DETROIT (4-4) screamed at his team after they swayed from side to side, causing the bus taking them from the airport to their Cleveland hotel to tilt. He called them "a bunch of clowns." Once considered a wild man, Juan Pizarro of CHICAGO (4-0) won two games, struck out 18 in 16 innings and walked only two to boost his win total to five. The CLEVELAND Indians (2-3) were having troubles at the gate, too, averaging only 7,861 for non-Yankee home dates. But rookie Bob (Fat) Chance was given a starting job in the outfield after hitting .444 part time and promptly went three for four. An editorial writer for the Kansas City Star tapped out three fine lines: "Not to be catty about this, but we suggest that what the KANSAS CITY Athletics (1-6) need are more pitchers and fewer lawsuits." BOSTON (5-2) was getting excellent fielding from rookie Tony Conigliaro and a ration of Dick Radatz (4-2) almost every day. During a nine-game home stand Radatz appeared seven times. Gil Hodges of WASHINGTON (2-5) finally had Chuck Hinton hustling after fining him a month ago for "daydreaming" in the outfield. Last week Hinton had 11 hits and stretched four singles into doubles.
The LOS ANGELES Dodgers (4-4) were tied for eighth in games behind last week, but no one was even close to them in the box-office race. Amazingly, the Dodgers are up 60,000 in attendance already, proving that to have a hit, just get a team that can't. General Manager Buzzie Bavasi claimed that the NEW YORK Mets (2-7) were "tremendously improved" and then sat back and watched his team run all over them. While the Mets may be bungling on defense, they have developed a fine young reliever in 23-year-old Larry Bearnarth, who won his third game to go along with two saves for five of the Mets 11 wins. Bearnarth credits positive thinking for his success. As he walks to the mound now he keeps repeating, "I'm gonna be tough, I'm gonna get 'em, I'm gonna win." PHILADELPHIA (5-2) kept right on winning, and in five games the pitching staff gave up a total of four runs. The Phils have some bad news for the rest of the league: with nine different pitchers already accounting for its 21 wins, Philadelphia now has Cal McLish (13-11 in 1963) ready to rejoin the team after an injury. John Callison hit .400 for the week but it was superb fielding by Bobby Wine and Tony Taylor plus a triple play that had people talking. The CINCINNATI Reds (1-5) have Manager Fred Hutchinson steaming. The pitching has gone sour; Pitcher Joey Jay is sore at General Manager Bill De Witt; Pete Rose and Vada Pinson hit .154 between them for the week. Both bat ahead of Frank Robinson (.368) in the lineup, and when they do not get on base for Robby to drive in, the team suffers. Steve Blass of PITTSBURGH (4-4) loves to imitate stars like Walter Brennan. He imitated Don Drysdale last week and beat the Dodgers with just seven hits for his first win. Juan Marichal of SAN FRANCISCO (5-3) got pounded by the Phils the day after the birth of his second daughter, but Willie Mays kept doing his own pounding. Willie hit three homers to raise his total to 17. HOUSTON (4-4) again got excellent relief pitching (one run in 17 innings) and few runs, but their two wins over New York boosted their lifetime record vs. the Mets to 28-9. Curt Simmons picked up his sixth win for ST. LOUIS (4-3) but Ernie Broglio threw three wild pitches in one inning to tie a league record. Bob Buhl of CHICAGO (4-3) needed only 89 pitches to beat the Reds 4-1 after they had beaten him nine of 11 times since he joined the Cubs. The Cubbies are 13-9 this year with their top three starters but 0-9 with their various fourths. MILWAUKEE (4-2) got 11 homers and a win in relief from Billy Hoeft plus some good news at the gate: they are up 45,000.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The good philosophers are few and can be counted on the fingers of one hand: Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Kant and Frank Torre. Frank Torre lives in Brooklyn, and one day he said to his brother Joe, "You are a fat slob, Joe. With all that blubber you'll never be a big-leaguer. You're too fat to be anything but a catcher. Buy yourself a catcher's mitt and go on a diet." Joe Torre was 16 then and weighed 240 pounds, but he did buy a catcher's mitt, went on a diet, and today, at 23, it looks like he will be the starting National League catcher in the All-Star Game. Joe Torre is actually one of the best and most versatile pieces of property that the Milwaukee Braves have ever owned, because he is not only a fine catcher but a good first baseman as well. And he can hit. Last week the Braves were leading the Cincinnati Reds 3-2. The bases were loaded in the top half of the ninth and Joe Torre drove everyone in with a homer. Torre had hit another one the night before in the eighth inning to help the Braves win 4-2. For the week he hit .300 and scored seven runs. Currently Torre leads the Braves in all offensive categories, with a batting average of .346, 25 RBIs, seven homers and 10 doubles. Manager Bobby Bragan maintains, "Joe is smart and level-headed. He's our best catcher and also our best first baseman. He will be a truly great player and he should be the All-Star catcher for the next 10 years." Thanks to brother Frank.