Fans in BALTIMORE were enjoying themselves so much last week it was painful. As the Orioles (5-1) rallied for three runs to defeat the Yankees in one game, a 50-year-old Baltimore lady applauded until she knocked her shoulder out of joint. There was good reason for her hysteria. Only the night before, the Orioles had scored seven runs with two out in the eighth to overcome a 7-2 Yankee lead and begin a three-game sweep over the defending champs. Leading the attack was Boog Powell (.440), who had seven home runs and 11 RBIs, and Brooks Robinson, who continued his strong hitting. NEW YORK (4-4) took the optimism in Baltimore lightly. After running their winning streak over the White Sox to 10 straight and taking the league lead, the Yankees lost four in a row and slid to second. Even so, Manager Yogi Berra and his players smiled confidently, saying they would be back. It was a peculiar week for DETROIT. Despite a winning record (4-2), strong hitting from Catcher Bill Freehan (.381) and excellent pitching from Dave Wickersham, the Tigers dropped to eighth place. In MINNESOTA (4-4), Owner Cal Griffith publicly bawled out his team for sloppy play and instituted a tough system of fines for infractions on and off the field. Griffith's blast was supposedly not directed at Manager Sam Mele, but the local press was already taking healthy swipes in Sam's direction. For CHICAGO (3-5) anything should have been a relief after the Yankees left town, but the White Sox continued to flounder. The starting pitchers were still impressive, with a 2.15 ERA, but the hitting failed in the clutch and the Sox sufered all five losses by two runs or less. KANSAS CITY'S new manager, Mel McGaha, finally discovered what life is really like with the A's. After winning eight of their first 10 games under McGaha, the Athletics promptly did an about-face last week, losing seven of nine. Both victories went to rookie John O'Donoghue by 2-1 scores. O'Donoghue was on the mound when the A's stopped Los ANGELES (7-1) after the Angels had won 11 straight. A revived Bo Belinsky won two games, and so did rookie Reliever Bob Lee. It was a dismal week for CLEVELAND (3-4). As the Indians dropped 9½ games out of first, they also heard that star Third Baseman Max Alvis (.300 BA with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs) was suffering from spinal meningitis and would be out at least a month. BOSTON (2-3) fell deeper into the second division, with only Russ Nixon's game-winning, two-out, last-of-the-ninth pinch home run providing any joy. WASHINGTON (2-5) simply ran into the Angels and Orioles at the wrong time. Manager Gil Hodges had to use 19 pitchers in the five losses, during which the Senators hit well but left 33 men on base.
Jerry Lynch, the most successful pinch hitter in baseball, found the shoe on the other foot. Playing regularly for the improved PITTSBURGH Pirates (5-2), Lynch was himself lifted for a pinch hitter last Saturday and watched his replacement, Manny Mota, slug a game-winning two-run homer. The victory kept the Bucs solidly in third place, close behind the Phillies. Most responsible for the Pirates' strong June surge have been the NEW YORK Mets (1-6). Suffering three of their six losses to the Pirates, the Mets ran their two-week record against Pittsburgh to 0-6, and 2-11 for the season. The only game the Mets won was against MILWAUKEE (2-5), when they scored eight runs in one inning, six of them off a slowing Warren Spahn. The Braves, now in ninth place, hit and scored well, but the pitching was woeful. The faltering Los ANGELES Dodgers (3-5) capitalized on that bad pitching, scoring 27 runs in three games against the Braves. The Dodgers' attack improved as Frank Howard belted three home runs and Tommy Davis (.306) began hitting the way Tommy Davis should. The SAN FRANCISCO Giants (7-1) handed the Dodgers three of their losses, with Del Crandall (.391) driving in the winning run in a 13-inning 2-1 win. Manager Alvin Dark's pitching staff, led by Juan Marichal's two victories and rookie Ron Herbel's 14-strikeout performance against the Reds, brought the Giants within seven percentage points of first. PHILADELPHIA (5-2) managed to stay just ahead of San Francisco with some standout pitching by Ray Culp, who threw a one-hitter against the Cubs, and 18-year-old Rick Wise. Richie Allen, the Phillies' rookie third baseman, was the key batter, hitting .417 with eight RBIs. For the first time since early April the CHICAGO Cubs (5-2) moved into the first division. Lefty Dick Ellsworth (2-0) shut out the Phillies on five hits and was so elated that he stopped to thank Umpire Al Barlick for calling a "perfect game." While Chicago moved up, CINCINNATI moved down. The Reds barely held fourth place after losing six of eight. The pitching was good, but the Reds' batters scored only two runs per game and hit .226. Curt Simmons continued to dominate the Phillies with his 14th victory in 16 decisions since joining the ST. LOUIS Cardinals (3-3) in 1960. Lack of effective relief pitching and power (just 2 HRs) canceled out big weeks for Dick Groat (.423) and Bill White (.440). The odds finally caught up with HOUSTON'S (3-4) Dick Farrell, whose seven-game winning streak was halted by Chicago. Farrell allowed only two runs in one of his better performances of the year, but lost 2-1. Young left-handed Rusty Staub provided Houston's best hitting performance with a 4-for-4 day against Milwaukee, including two homers off lefties.
July 5, 1964
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
On June 16 the Los Angeles Angels were in ninth place in the American League, and their lineup indicated that was exactly where they belonged. After all, they had a pitcher playing right field and baiting cleanup. But starting on June 16, the Angels won 11 straight games and moved up to sixth place. The pitcher? Well, he is still in the outfield, and that is where he is likely to stay. His name is Willie Smith Sr.—"Wonderful Willie" in Los Angeles—and he has been hitting like that other Willie up north. During the Angels' surge, Willie hit .406 and drove in 13 runs. On June 22 he hit a single to beat the Senators. The next night he hit a two-run homer to beat them again 2-0. The night after that he hit a three-run homer to beat the Senators a third time. Willie Smith arrived in Los Angeles via the back door. He started out as a boxer but decided, after winning eight of 10 bouts and suffering a broken nose three times, that the ring was not for him. He turned to baseball, played for half a dozen Negro teams, then Duluth and then Detroit before he was traded to the Angels this spring for Julio Navarro. Neither Navarro, who is back in the minors, nor Smith was much at pitching, but Willie did show he could hit. As a pinch hitter he was tops in the American League, with 7 for 14, a combination of figures that inspired Manager Bill Rigney to start Smith in the outfield. Willie jumped at the opportunity, and the Angels have jumped right with him.