Despite blowing a 7-0 lead in one game early in the week and finally losing it 9-7 in 20 innings, MINNESOTA (5-2) stole first place away from the White Sox by defeating them three straight. The Twins got strong pitching from Dean Chance, Jim Kaat and Jim Merritt, and the bats of Bob Allison (below) and Rich Rollins did the rest. CHICAGO (2-5) had played below .500 since the All-Star break, and the Sox acted like fatalists all last week, what with Eddie Stanky shuffling around his ace pitchers, Gary Peters and Joe Horlen, so they could both pitch against Detroit and Minnesota. Both were knocked out twice. The familiar accusation that his team is dull was even getting to Stanky. "This is the dullest ball club I've ever seen," he said sarcastically after one loss. Earl Wilson pitched two five-hit victories as DETROIT (5-3) kept pace, and Mickey Lolich's first win since May 19—another five-hitter over the Orioles—helped. When it rains, it pours for BALTIMORE (2-6), which fell into ninth place. Frank Robinson, double vision and all, hit a ball 440 feet in one game and was heading for a triple when he was passed by teammate Russ Snyder going the other way on the base path. Snyder thought the ball had been caught. No longer wanted in the National League, Curt Simmons, a Fizz Kid now at 38, was picked up by CALIFORNIA (5-1). Simmons promptly pitched a 7-0 victory over the Yankees, and helped prolong three rallies with his bat. "I didn't throw many fastballs," said Curt, "mainly because they aren't very fast anymore." WASHINGTON (4-3) needs Ken McMullen to stay hot, but the Senators will have to wait. After his home run won the 20-inning affair the night before, the big third baseman's bare hand was tattooed by a line drive, and he will be out for a week. This didn't squelch enthusiasm in the Capital, which turned out large crowds complete with band and live radio coverage to welcome the Senators home from their road trip, BOSTON (2-4) Manager Dick Williams, keeping up the disciplinary pressure, benched George Scott and Joe Foy because both were overweight, but the Sox lost three one-run games to California. CLEVELAND (4-4) had Manager Joe Adcock eating chalk after a couple of bone-head plays. Joe Azcue actually grounded out while being intentionally walked. KANSAS CITY (2-4) spruced up its offensive attack with 65 hits during the week but still was in the cellar behind NEW YORK (4-3) and Baltimore.
Standings: Minn 62-50, Chi 61-50, Det 62-52, Cal 62-53, Bos 60-53, Wash 58-58, Clev 54-62, NY 50-62, Balt 50-63, KC 50-66
August 20, 1967
Most teams seemed to be patiently waiting for ST. LOUIS (4-3) to negotiate an about-face and come back to join them for the annual breathless pennant race. But the Cardinals were not cooperating. After Mike McCormick of SAN FRANCISCO (1-5) beat the Cardinals for his 15th win, he said, "We can catch them." But were these brave words or was he only whistling in the dark? Though the league leaders did lose three of four and their batting leader, Orlando Cepeda (suspended for two games after a verbal assault on Umpire Stan Landes), neither McCormick nor record-low 51° temperatures in St. Louis could cool them off permanently. Cepeda returned with two game-winning hits, and the Cardinals beat the Giants in three straight one-run games. St. Louis is 25-13 in one-run games, the Giants 15-25. PHILADELPHIA (4-3), suddenly becoming a very interested party to proceedings in the first division, had its winning streak stopped at eight games, but Jim Bunning beat CHICAGO (5-4) 2-1 when Clarence Jones missed two catches in right field. "A 10-year-old kid could have caught that ball," said Leo Durocher of one of the misses. "If I was 90, I could have caught it." Then Ken Holtzman, on his first weekend pass since he went in the Army in May, and Ferguson Jenkins, who won his 16th game, swept a doubleheader from the Phils. After ATLANTA (5-2) lost two to the Mets, Manager Billy Hitchcock moved Hank Aaron to centerfield and brought Mack Jones off the bench to play right. "Mack's had arm trouble for some time," explained Hitchcock. "Now he won't have the long throws, and Aaron can quarterback in center." Jones, who was constantly booed in Atlanta for allowing extra bases in the field and swinging a poor bat, responded with two home runs in a 10-2 victory, and the Braves climbed into second place. Milt Pappas stopped a CINCINNATI (5-1) losing streak for the fourth time this year as he pitched consecutive shutouts at the Astros and LOS ANGELES (3-4). The Army grabbed Jim LeFebvre and Don Sutton of the Dodgers for two-week reserve duty. Amid rumors that Mickey Vernon would come up from Vancouver to be the permanent PITTSBURGH (3-6) manager next season, the Pirates' Tommy Sisk shut out the Mets. But NEW YORK (6-1) recovered smartly from its worst period of the season and moved past HOUSTON (0-7) into ninth place. The Astro players traded insults with Manager Grady Hatton. "The man never has anything good to say to you. He doesn't build you up, he tears you down," said one. "These guys have to quit feeling sorry for themselves," said Hat-ton. "Nobody is abused on this ball club."
Standings: StL 71-44, Atl 61-51, Chi 64-55, Cin 62-54, SF 60-55, Phil 57-54, Pitt 54-60, LA 50-63, NY 46-66, Hou 47-70
There is no truth to the rumor that Bob Allison, who plays left field for the Minnesota Twins, is in any way related to Calvin Griffith, who owns the Twins. The story that Allison is "a social member of the Griffith family" always comes up, because the Allisons are often seen at social gatherings of the Griffiths and because Allison has never been traded away. Last week, as the Twins soared into first place, Allison's bat was booming, and Griffith's countenance was cheery. Chalk one up for baseball owners. In 1965—the Twins' pennant season—Allison was platooned and batted .233, and Manager Sam Mele wanted to trade him. Again last year Allison played musical chairs with two other Twins for the left-field spot. He hit for an even lower average (.220), and murmurings that Mele wanted to get rid of him started again. Griffith never budged. "I didn't give up on him," he said. "I never tried to trade him." This year, Mele played him and Cal Ermer played him. And Allison is streaking as never before. "This is the most I've played in two years, and that's the difference," he says. The most marked difference is that, as of last Saturday, Allison had six home runs in his last 20 games and had hit safely 24 times for a .343 average in that period. Against Chicago's fine pitching staff he has batted .349 and, in the three-game-series sweep by the Twins last week, he stroked three hits in one game and hit a three-run home run to sew up another. As the Twins head into the pennant stretch, Bob Allison is not committing himself. But, he says, "At least no one is calling the newspapers to complain that Griffith won't trade his relative, Allison."