Pittsburgh (2-3) fans waved leftover green weenies from 1966, plastered their cars with I'VE GOT BUC FEVAH—AGAIN stickers and ran full-page newspaper ads saying, WE'VE GOT THE SEVEN-YEAR ITCH (it's been seven years since the last Pirate pennant). Then the Pirates started playing—and making errors, one by the usually flawless shortstop Gene Alley and two by Right Fielder Roberto Clemente, last season's MVP. Reliefer Al McBean misread his catcher's signal and Adolfo Phillips of the Cubs hit the pitch over the wall. Before a stirring ninth-inning rally beat the Cubs on Sunday, Forbes Field fans were chanting, "Goodbye, Harry" to Manager Harry Walker. Juan Marichal of SAN FRANCISCO (1-5), the winningest righthander in baseball a year ago, gave up 22 hits and 10 runs and lost twice. And Willie Mays was sidelined with a pulled hamstring. Last year Glenn Beckert of CHICAGO (3-2) hit one home run all season, the Cubs won only three games in all of April and they did not come up with their third complete-game victory until May 31. So last week Beckert homered on Opening Day, and the Cubs got complete-game wins from Ferguson Jenkins, Curt Simmons and Ray Culp, all former Phillies. In ATLANTA (3-3) the pitching was as wobbly as ever, but Joe Torre's home runs salvaged two wins. Three LOS ANGELES (0-4) starters lasted a total of 12 innings, long enough to give up 22 hits and 12 runs and make the Dodgers miss Sandy Koufax more than ever. But the Dodgers finally scored a run off Larry Jaster of ST. LOUIS (4-0), who had shut them out five straight times last year. Lou Brock, who hit five homers, said, "I've got back the swing I had when I was in college in 1961. Mike Shannon reminded me when I went up to hit in the seventh inning on Saturday. He yelled to me, 'Open 'em up. Open 'em up.' " Brock opened his stance, hit a home run, hit another in the eighth and hit two more the following day (page 22). HOUSTON (3-3) got some fine pitching from Mike Cuellar and Larry Dierker, plus six RBIs from Eddie Mathews. Vada Pinson, Deron Johnson and Dick Simpson hit homers in their first at bats for CINCINNATI (5-1). The Reds' 18-year-old Gary Nolan won his first start, and Mel Queen pitched a shutout. NEW YORK (1-4) made five errors in its first game and lost its opener for the sixth time in six tries. Richie Allen of PHILADELPHIA (4-1) hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to tie the Cubs, and the Phils went on to win it in the 11th. "He threw me a swiftie and I downtowned him," said the powerful Allen. Then Richie downtowned another two-run homer to beat the Mets 2-0.
Standings: StL 4-0, Cin 5-1, Phil 4-1, Chi 3-2, Hou 3-3, Atl 3-3, Pitt 2-3, NY 1-4, SF 1-5, LA 0-4
After the first inning of the season BALTIMORE (4-2) looked like world champions still. Curt Blefary reached over the left-field fence in the top of the inning to turn a would-be Twin homer into a double play, and in the bottom of the first Blefary was hit by a pitch, Luis Aparicio doubled, Frank Robinson singled and Brooks Robinson homered: four batters, four runs. Steve Barber, sent to the minors two weeks ago with a sore arm, came back and nearly pitched a no-hitter against the Angels, giving up only a double to Jim Fregosi with one out in the ninth. Willie Horton and Dick McAuliffe of DETROIT (3-3) were out with ailments, and the pitching was shaky. Denny McLain lasted only four innings in the opener ("Denny is not quite organized," said Pitching Coach Johnny Sain), but he came back to win on Sunday. Allan Lewis of KANSAS CITY (3-2), who stole 116 bases in the minors last year, got on base for the first time and the fans shouted, "Go! Go!" Before Lewis could go, Steve Hargan of CLEVELAND (2-2) picked him off. Earlier, Manager Joe Adcock protested after the first pitch that the white shoes worn by Pitcher Jim Nash of the A's distracted his hitters. The protest got nowhere, and Leon Wagner of the Indians admitted that the white shoes didn't bother him. "They just look kinda tutti-frutti," Wagner said. Bill Rohr (below) of BOSTON (2-3) became an overnight celebrity with his near no-hitter. Rico Petrocelli, who had only three hits in 62 at bats in two previous Aprils, had six in his first three games this time. Another turnabout was Mel Stottlemyre of NEW YORK (3-2), who lost his first two decisions last season but this year pitched two successive shutouts. The Yankees had to go 18 innings against the Red Sox to win a game with anyone but Stottlemyre on the mound. Ken McMullen of WASHINGTON (2-3) hit a grand-slam home run in one game, a game-winning double in the next. Home runs by Don Mincher of CALIFORNIA (3-3) were instrumental in all three Angel wins. MINNESOTA'S (1-4) supposedly overpowering pitching wasn't. Jim Kaat lost two, and Dean Chance and Jim Grant one each. Eddie Stanky, starting his second season as manager of CHICAGO (3-2) wasn't too happy with a telegram signed "Toots Shor" that arrived in the clubhouse on Opening Day. It was addressed to "Al Lopez, Manager" and read: "Good luck, Al. I hope you win 'em all."
Standings: Balt 4-2, KC 3-2, NY 3-2, Chi 3-2, Cal 3-3, Det 3-3, Clev 2-2, Wash 2-3, Bos 2-3, Minn 1-4
It was the bottom of the ninth inning and the fans at Yankee Stadium were cheering every pitch by rookie left-hander Bill Rohr of the Red Sox, who for eight innings had not allowed a hit. They had seen him persevere despite a severe bruise suffered when a ball ricocheted off his left leg in the sixth. And they were disarmed by the youthful verve (Rohr's vigorous motion sent his cap flying off on some pitches) of the 21-year-old, who, at 6'3" and 175 pounds is built more like Twiggy than Christy Mathewson. Rohr's no-hitter seemed lost when Tom Tresh led off the ninth with a drive to deep left, but Carl Yastrzemski raced back and made a spectacular falling catch. Now the young pitcher was within two outs of becoming the first player ever to pitch a no-hitter in his very first big-league game. He got Joe Pepitone on a soft fly ball, and then up stepped Elston Howard. With the count two and two, Rohr barely missed a strikeout when his curve dipped too low. His next curve did not dip at all, and Howard singled to right, spoiling the no-hitter. Rohr got the final out, a one-hit shutout and his first taste of real prominence and publicity. Rohr, who is part Cherokee, was raised by foster parents in California, and originally signed with Pittsburgh in 1963. The Pirates buried him in the low minors, never once letting him pitch in a game. Red Sox officials, wise to this hide-and-seek ploy, spotted him, drafted him in November of 1963 and started him on his way.