THE ALL-STAR GAME
If the American League hopes to even the All-Star series with the National League (it now trails 19-17, with one tie), it had better plan on doing it in the regulation nine innings. Four times the All-Star Game has gone into extra innings and each time the National League has won. This year's sweltering crowd of 49,936 (less the 135 who suffered heat prostration) in St. Louis' new Busch Memorial Stadium saw a well-played game that was won 2-1 in the 10th inning by the National League when Maury Wills's single scored the Cards' Tim McCarver from second. (It was the third time a Cardinal had scored the winning run in an extra-inning All-Star Game: Red Schoendienst hit a game-winning homer in the 14th inning in 1950 and Stan Musial did the same thing in the 12th inning five years later.) That undid the magic of the Orioles' Brooks Robinson (below), who had three of the American League's six hits, including his team's only extra-base hit, scored the league's only run and fielded spectacularly. After the game Robinson was the unanimous winner of the game's Most Valuable Player award. Other highlights: Starter Denny McLain pitched three powerful, perfect innings for the American League; Willie McCovey stretched deep into the field boxes to snare a foul pop; and Wills made a splendid back-to-the-plate catch of Frank Robinson's fly to no man's land in short left center. As for the effect of the 106° heat on the players. Catcher Joe Torre said, "When Koufax started pitching, I yelled, 'C'mon, Sanford," then, 'C'mon, Sandy,' and finally, 'C'mon, Sand.' After a while I didn't say anything."
Pittsburgh (3-2) snatched first place from SAN FRANCISCO (1-4), lost it again when they were downed by the 10th-place Cubs while the Giants' Juan Marichal was beating the Phillies for his 15th victory, then grabbed it firmly by walloping the Giants in both ends of a Sunday doubleheader before a standing-room-only crowd in Forbes Field. Coach Dave Bristol, 33, was named acting manager of CINCINNATI (2-3) after Don Heffner was fired. He relieved Batting Coach Roy Sievers of his duties in the first-base coaching box and moved him into the dugout. "The hitters can't talk to him and he can't talk to the hitters when he's standing down there at first base," said Bristol, ST. LOUIS (3-3) Shortstop Dal Maxvill raised his season's average to .282 after a month-long .400 batting tear, but the power-shy Cards were still last in the league in home runs (though Curt Flood beat the Cubs with an 11th-inning homer). Robin Roberts signed with CHICAGO (3-2) and reacted with a complete-game win over the Pirates, his 285th career victory. Winner in seven of its last nine games before the All-Star break, all on the road, ATLANTA (2-0) returned home and made it nine of 11. Joe Torre's two-run homer in the ninth beat the Astros, and Henry Aaron's 27th of the season helped rout the Reds. Hard-hitting Pitcher Tony Cloninger knocked in a run against the Astros to raise his season total to 19. HOUSTON (0-3) Pitcher Claude Raymond, who gave up Torre's home run, said, "At the All-Star Game he kept talking about how my slider always gets him out. Then he hits it for a homer and a single." Six weeks ago LOS ANGELES (4-1) Catcher John Roseboro quit taking batting practice. Since then he has raised his average 90 points, and his once-quiet bat beat NEW YORK (2-3). The Mets extended their losing streak to seven before beating the Astros in a doubleheader. Jim Bunning of PHILADELPHIA (3-2) became the father of twins for the second time but failed for the fourth time to win his 10th game.
Standings: Pitt 55-35, SF 55-37, LA 51-37, Phil 49-41, Hou 45-43, Atl 43-47, StL 42-46, Cin 39-49, NY 37-51, Chi 29-59
July 24, 1966
One of the first players Ralph Houk talked to after he resumed his duties as manager of NEW YORK (4-1) was controversial Joe Pepitone. He told him bluntly to lose weight. "Ralph promised me I'd hit a home run for every pound I lost," said Joe, who promptly reduced from 211 to 198. Pepitone homered in four games last week to raise his total for the season to 22, and his batting average has climbed more than 25 points. His bat was so hot that KANSAS CITY (2-3) Manager Al Dark used a bizarre four-man outfield in an attempt to blunt his power. The Athletics' relief specialist, Jack Aker, earned his 14th save and had figured in half of his team's first 40 victories. CHICAGO (4-1) took three straight from the Indians, then beat BALTIMORE (2-3). The Orioles slumped, losing five of six, but kept their strong grip on first by beating Denny McLain of DETROIT (2-3). CLEVELAND (2-3) lost 11 of 12 and fell to fourth place before beating the Tigers, too. Sonny Siebert, with a muscle spasm in his back, joined Sam McDowell on the Indians' growing injury list. After playing for 17 different teams in 13 years, George Brunet has finally found his pitching groove with CALIFORNIA (3-2). In his last six starts Brunet gave up only four earned runs, BOSTON (2-3), second only to Baltimore in scoring runs, was second to no one in allowing them, which may explain why the Red Sox were in 10th place. WASHINGTON (1-4) Manager Gil Hodges, bemoaning the absence of his best pitcher, blamed American League All-Star Manager Sam Mele of MINNESOTA (3-2) for Pete Richert's sore arm. "I think Sam used poor judgment in having a starter like Pete warm up four or five times during the game," said Hodges.
Standings: Balt 60-32, Det 50-38, Clev 48-40, Cal 49-41, Minn 43-47, Chi 42-48, KC 41-49, NY 40-49, Wash 40-53, Bos 39-55
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Winning awards and setting records is nothing new for Baltimore's Brooks Robinson. Selected the Most Valuable Player in this year's All-Star Game (the first player ever chosen from the losing side), Robinson has been the American League All-Star third baseman for the past seven years and has an All-Star batting average of .391. His flawless fielding (he has led the league in fielding percentage five of the last six years) prompted Bill Veeck to say that "he is the greatest third baseman of all time, and that includes Pie Traynor." After the All-Star Game, Ron Santo of the Chicago Cubs, the National League third baseman, called Robinson "a human vacuum cleaner." Yet despite his great fielding skill Robinson is probably even more valuable as a hitter. His best year was 1964, when he led the league in RBIs (118), hit 28 home runs, batted .317 and was named the Most Valuable Player in the American League. At midseason this year he was hitting close to .300, was leading the major leagues in RBIs with 72 and was a key reason why the Orioles were threatening to run away with the pennant. Robinson's enormous popularity in the city of Baltimore has earned him the nickname Brooks McKeldin, a play on the name of Mayor Theodore McKeldin. One Baltimore newspaperman said, "Maybe Brooks really could become mayor." Opposing teams might even stuff the ballot box if it would get him out of the Oriole lineup.