Sam McDowell gripped the baseball and inscribed the date, September 24, 1965, and the name of the victim, George Smith of the Tigers, shortly after he had become the youngest pitcher—and only the fifth in history—to strike out 300 batters in one season. Even so, the 23-year-old CLEVELAND (5-3) left-hander had a complaint. "I just wish I could put the name 'Mickey Mantle" on this ball," said McDowell. "I got Mantle for my 200th strikeout with the hardest pitch I've ever thrown. And Mickey told my catcher, Phil Roof, that he never saw a faster pitch." A 6-foot 5-inch Pennsylvanian, McDowell has the fastest pitch in the American League and the lowest sideburns in the majors. "Sam's so fast he doesn't need pinpoint control," says Indian Manager Birdie Tebbetts. The Elvis Presley-length sideburns attract even more attention to McDowell. "I'd like to think up some good story to tell you why I have them so long," he told a reporter, "but they just sort of grew long between haircuts, and I had the barber leave them that way." The Indians were involved in a bat-swinging episode with DETROIT (3-4), when their second baseman, Pedro Gonzalez, carried a bat into a fight with Tiger Pitcher Larry Sherry. Gonzalez was fined $500 and suspended for the rest of the season. "These Latins have to be taught a lesson," complained Tiger Manager Charley Dressen. The Indians protested Gonzalez' innocence and promptly signed him to a 1966 contract with a substantial raise. Before playing MINNESOTA (3-3), which needed two wins to clinch the pennant at home, BALTIMORE (7-0) Third Baseman Brooks Robinson said, "They will not win this thing while we're in town because it would be much too embarrassing for us." The Orioles did win both games and later stretched their winning streak to seven games, but the Twins won their pennant in WASHINGTON (2-4) on Sunday. Roger Maris of NEW YORK (1-5) was scheduled for an operation on the right hand that he injured on June 28. Rumors persisted that Maris would be traded to a National League team. "You don't see me crying that we're leaving this place," said CALIFORNIA'S (3-5) Jim Fregosi, after the Angels played for the last time in Dodger Stadium and won a double-header from BOSTON (1-5). The Red Sox were shut out in three games, scored only one run in two others. No wonder Danny Murtaugh, now a Pittsburgh executive, turned down an offer to be the Red Sox' new director of player personnel. Satchel Paige's pitching philosophy, "You gotta keep the ball off the fat part of the bat," worked for three innings in his first start for KANSAS CITY (4-3). Paige gave up only one hit and allowed three balls to be hit out of the infield. CHICAGO (4-1) achieved a new first when it beat the Yankees in a late-season doubleheader and swept a three-game series—but it was a bit too late.
Standings: Minn 99-58, Balt 90-64, Chi 91-66, Det 86-71, Clev 83-73, NY 75-83, Cal 73-85, Wash 67-89, Bos 61-97, KC 58-97
"Only a week ago I thought we had this thing wrapped up," said SAN FRANCISCO (2-4) Manager Herman Franks, "but the Dodgers keep winning and we keep losing." By Sunday night the Giants, who had led by four games the previous Monday, were tied for first place with LOS ANGELES (5-0), which had won nine straight, and both were only three games in front of CINCINNATI (3-2). The press hopped on Franks for strategic moves that backfired as the Giants lost three straight. In a scoreless game with the Reds, Herman ordered Slugger Jim Ray Hart to bunt after Willie Mays and Willie McCovey had singled with none out. Hart bunted into a force at third, and then the Reds' Sammy Ellis pitched out of the inning and went on to win 7-1. Explaining the move, Franks said, "They told me there would be a cloudburst at 9:30, and I wanted to get one run for Marichal." It didn't rain, and Marichal was knocked out of the box. Against the Reds the day before, Franks said he would pitch Starter Bob Shaw, working with only two days rest, "only four or five innings, pull him and go to the bullpen." Shaw pitched five strong innings, stayed in and was hit hard in the sixth. Concluded Franks, "If necessary, Warren Spahn'll pitch, and I'll catch those last four games at home against the Reds." The Dodgers, meanwhile, rallied behind Second Baseman Jim Lefebvre, one of their former bat boys. Lefebvre drove in seven runs in five games during the week to win three ball games for the Dodgers and now has batted in the winning run 13 times this season. And Pitcher Sandy Koufax became the majors' alltime strikeout champion when he whiffed his 349th batter in the Dodgers' 154th game, thereby breaking Bob Feller's record without needing one of Ford Frick's asterisks. The Reds' Jim Maloney won his 20th game when Vada Pinson tripled home Pete Rose for the only run against HOUSTON (1-3). Noting that the Reds' travel itinerary listed no arrangements for a flight to Cincinnati after their last regular-season game, Outfielder Frank Robinson joked: "I guess we're going to have to walk home from San Francisco if we don't win the pennant." MILWAUKEE (2-4) was officially eliminated from the race despite Tony Cloninger's 23rd victory, a four-hitter against the Giants. General Manager John Quinn of PHILADELPHIA (5-2) said he hoped to get another Jim Bunning in a winter trade and has plenty of outfielders to offer. Hard-luck veteran Carl Willey, who had a 2-9 record this year at Buffalo, beat the Phillies for NEW YORK (1-5). Vernon Law's sore elbow obliged PITTSBURGH (4-1) to send him home for the rest of the year. CHICAGO (2-3), mired in eighth place, was certain to have three 100-RBI men. Billy Williams, and Ernie Banks had passed 100, while Ron Santo had 97. ST. LOUIS (2-3) will have none.
Standings: LA 91-64, SF 91-64, Cin 88-67, Pitt 86-71, Mil 83-72, Phil 81-74, StL 75-79, Chi 70-86, Hou 63-92, NY 49-108
TEAM LEADERS: BATTING*
*through Sept. 25