Umpire Lee Weyer is a big man (6 feet 6, 235 pounds), and in a Sunday game between HOUSTON (3-5) and SAN FRANCISCO (1-6) he decided to throw his weight around. The trouble started when Giant Reliever Billy O'Dell, the first of three men Weyer would eject, entered the game in the seventh inning. O'Dell never got to throw a pitch. While he was warming up, Weyer told the Giants' pitcher he had three more practice throws left. O'Dell took this as a cue to begin mimicking Weyer's orders. Weyer promptly threw O'Dell out as a bad actor. The Giants went on to lose that game and five more, and by week's end Weyer's appraisal of O'Dell's performance fit the whole team. San Francisco's pitching was a bomb (35 runs given up), but the lack of clutch hitting was what really stopped the show as the Giants left 64 men on base. The ninth-place Colts gained all three of their wins against San Francisco, which slipped back to second after four days in first place. The Giants' losing ways gave the PHILADELPHIA Phillies (3-5) just the chance they needed to open up a big lead, but the Phils failed to cash in. Batting only .226, they were held to three runs or less in five games, with rookie Third Baseman Richie Allen (.179 average, six errors) leading the fall. While the top teams faltered, those in the middle of the league standings picked up ground with winning records. The MILWAUKEE Braves (5-2) lost only when Warren Spahn pitched, and moved within seven games of first by sweeping three from the Giants. Although they only equaled their opponents' scoring, 54-54, the ST. LOUIS Cardinals still won five of seven. Manager Johnny Keane needed 23 pitchers as his staff failed to come up with a complete game, but the hitting was very strong, particularly against the Mets, when the Cards scored 11 runs in one inning, including three consecutive home runs. With a .298 team batting average and 49 runs scored, the LOS ANGELES Dodgers (5-3) showed their appreciation of tight pitching by Phil Ortega, Larry Miller and Joe Moeller, and the combination led to three victories. Pete Rose hit .500, and reserve Outfielder Marty Keough (.406 BA) won two games, one with a homer, the other with heads-up base running as the CINCINNATI Reds (5-3) moved solidly into third, just 3½ games out of first. The CHICAGO Cubs (5-3) won four straight complete-game victories, including Ernie Broglio's first win since being traded from the Cardinals in early June, but still could not move above eighth place. The PITTSBURGH Pirates (3-3) received impressive pitching from Bob Veale (2 wins) and Bob Friend, who shut out the Phillies, but fell to fourth place when 14 other pitchers were ineffective in the three losses. The NEW YORK Mets (2-5) swept their first double-header in a year to start the week but then lost five straight while allowing 11 unearned runs that were directly responsible for three of the defeats.
It is no secret why the CHICAGO White Sox have remained among the American League pennant contenders, and last week the answer was as obvious as ever—pitching. With Gary Peters and John Buzhardt winning twice, the Chicago staff maintained a tight 2.98 ERA for the season. It is also no secret why the Sox are not in first place—no hitting. They rank seventh in batting and ninth in home runs. The Chicago (6-2) hitters broke loose last week, however, and the White Sox moved within 1½ games of first. They had 11 homers (their season total is only 64) and batted .293 (season average .246), but the front office was not content to stand pat. Chicago traded for right-handed power and got it in big Moose Skowron, who stepped into the lineup and hit .455. As abruptly as Chicago began hitting, the MINNESOTA Twins, hardest-hitting team in baseball, stopped. The Twins scored only 16 runs while losing six of seven, five of them by one run. Minnesota hit just .219, more than 40 points below its season's average. The LOS ANGELES Angels (6-1) had both strong pitching and timely hitting. Right-hander Fred Newman won twice, 2-1 and 1-0, and Jimmy Piersall, Bob Rodgers and Jim Fregosi delivered game-winning hits in the ninth or in extra innings. The BOSTON Red Sox (5-3) relied mainly on their hitting to win. While Pitcher Bill Monbouquette rediscovered his 20-win form of last year with two shutouts over the Senators, slugging Dick Stuart was the big man, with six of the Red Sox's 16 homers, a .355 batting average and 14 RBIs. The DETROIT Tigers (4-5) scored no more than four runs in any game and were shut out twice after winning three straight by 4-3 scores. Don Demeter hit all four of the Tigers' homers. The CLEVELAND Indians (3-4) hit often with power (10 HRs, including four by Leon Wagner), but remained in eighth place because of poor pitching. They finally did beat the Yankees, for the first time in 10 games this year, taking 15 innings to do it on a triple by Rookie Bob Chance. The KANSAS CITY Athletics (3-6) also hit with power (12 HRs) and also were bothered by shoddy pitching, as only Ted Bowsfield, a two-time winner, and Reliever Wes Stock, who won his 12th straight since July 1962, were effective. The WASHINGTON Senators (3-5) were shut out three times and fell back into the cellar after a brief visit to ninth place. The NEW YORK Yankees (4-2) and the BALTIMORE Orioles (4-5) were in and out of first as the pennant race tightened to a three-team tangle (see page 16).
July 26, 1964
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
First Baseman Ron Fairly of the Los Angeles Dodgers is usually called a money player. When Fairly hits, something he does in unpredictable fits and starts, he likes to do it with men on base. Although Fairly was playing semipro baseball at the age of 11, he did not really appreciate the significance of what he was doing until a 1953 conversation with Carl Furillo. "When you look at those base runners," Furillo told the $75,000 bonus baby, "forget that they're men. Each one is a dollar sign. The more dollars you knock in, the more money it'll put in your pocket." Last season Fairly could have taught his old mentor a few things about men-on-base hitting. The southern California redhead hit only .212 with the bases empty but .341 with men on and filled a key role in the Dodgers' pennant-winning drive. This year the Dodgers were fighting to stay out of the cellar over the first two months of the season and Fairly was hitting at subbasement level, .219. Last Friday they moved over the .500 mark for the first time since Opening Day, with Ron Fairly leading the surge. Since mid-June he has turned around two of the numbers in his average to read .291, and has been knocking in a run a game. Last week, as the Dodgers appeared ready for a run at the top, Fairly averaged .393 and had 11 of the Dodgers' 44 RBIs, including a game-winning home run against the Cubs that came, strangely enough, with the bases empty.