Two weeks ago, after George Brunet failed to survive the first inning of two consecutive starts, the doctors examined the CALIFORNIA (3-1) pitcher's throwing arm, discovered pulled ligaments and proclaimed the arm "dead." Brunet forthwith declared the arm alive, a diagnosis the Senators confirmed almost immediately. The lefthander's arm was very much alive when he shut them out on six hits last week, helping the Angels halt a downward skid and move back up to eighth, BOSTON (3-1), led by Ken Harrelson's hot bat (below), also rebounded from a slump that dropped the team briefly into the second division. In one Red Sox win, Jim Lonborg started his first game since the World Series and pitched five strong innings. DETROIT (6-2) surged to a 7½-game lead. Bill Freehan paced the Tigers' attack with a .407 average while reliever John Hiller turned in four innings of hitless pitching to claim two of the victories. CHICAGO (4-2) finally broke its hitting slump. Led by Tommie McCraw's .391 BA, the White Sox averaged five runs a game, crashed two grand-slam homers and moved from the cellar to ninth place. All of NEW YORK'S (3-2) wins came by one run with Mickey Mantle doing most of the clutch hitting. His 10th-inning single won one game, and he followed that two days later with a decisive eighth-inning homer. BALTIMORE (2-4) thinks the Senators are the friendliest neighbors around. The Orioles opened the week with two victories over their nearby rivals to move back up to second and run their season's record against the Senators to 9-0. OAKLAND (5-3), with three consecutive shutouts, made a brief foray into the first division before two straight one-run losses knocked the team back to sixth. MINNESOTA (3-4) had an opportunity to get back into contention during a four-game series with the Tigers. The Twins' pitchers did their part, never allowing more than three runs, but the hitters averaged only .167 and scored just five runs as the Tigers won all the games. CLEVELAND (1-6) aces Luis Tiant, Steve Hargan and Stan Williams were all jolted in their latest starts (13 runs allowed in 14 ‚Öì innings pitched), and the usually stingy pitching staff gave up a season high of 33 runs as the Indians lost 4½ games in the standings. WASHINGTON'S (0-5) once red hot Frank Howard is finding June considerably cooler than May. The big slugger averaged .053 for the week, and his season percentage dropped 26 points as the Senators sputtered and returned to the cellar.
Standings: Det 41-22, Balt 32-28, Clev 33-30, Minn 31-31, Bos 29-29, Oak 30-31, NY 29-32, Cal 28-33, Chi 26-32, Wash 24-35
June 23, 1968
After Maury Wills refused to play on the national day of mourning for Senator Kennedy, rumors spread in PITTSBURGH (6-2) that the speedy infielder would be traded. The Giants seemed the most likely customers, but, after Wills ripped them and the Astros for a .470 average, the Pirates quietly let the trading deadline slip past. In collecting 16 hits, Wills was the pacesetter for a suddenly revived Pirate attack that averaged .346 and scored nearly six runs a game. ST. LOUIS (5-2) increased its league lead to 4½ games on the tight pitching of Bob Gibson, who threw two shutouts, and the clutch batting of part-time players Roger Maris, Dick Schofield and John Edwards, who smashed a game-winning hit apiece. NEW YORK (5-2) completed its most successful road trip ever, winning seven of nine. Mets' fans showed their appreciation for that fresh style of play as 141,000 showed up for the first three dates of a home stand. With Ferguson Jenkins and Rich Nye pitching complete game wins and Ernie Banks and Ron Santo clouting five homers, CHICAGO (4-3) moved up a notch from seventh to sixth. Led by Willie McCovey's .406 average, four homers and 11 RBIs, SAN FRANCISCO (4-4) belted opposition pitching for a .290 team BA. Things would have been even better for the Giants if their usually reliable pitching staff had not allowed 25 runs in the losses. No sooner did Gene Mauch, the PHILADELPHIA (3-3) manager for over eight years, leave the team to visit his wife in a West Coast hospital than he was fired and replaced by Bob Skinner. The reason: Mauch could not get along with $70,000-plus slugger Richie Allen. ATLANTA (3-4) has a top lineup of right-handed hitters, including Henry Aaron and Joe Torre, but still cannot beat left-handed pitchers. The Braves dropped three more games to southpaws to bring their season's record against lefties to 4-11. LOS ANGELES' (2-5) rush to the top of the first division was halted by poor hitting in four games (one run or less scored) and inept fielding in a fifth when two ninth-inning errors cost the Dodgers the game. Led by Leo Cardenas' .400 average for the week, CINCINNATI'S (2-5) hitting remained the best in the majors, but the Reds' pitchers failed to throw a complete game and won only when the hitters totaled 14 or more hits. HOUSTON (1-5) scored just 12 runs all week as the Astro batters averaged just .173 in a slump which dropped them five games into the cellar.
Standings: StL 38-25, SF 34-30, Atl 32-29, LA 34-31 Phil 28-28, Chi 30-31, Cin 29-31, NY 29-31, Pitt 27-31, Hou 23-37
This spring, when it was discovered that as a result of last season's beaning Tony Conigliaro could no longer see well enough to hit, the Red Sox began an unhappy search to find a replacement for their fine young outfielder. After experimenting with other players early in the year, Sox Manager Dick Williams found he should have looked no farther than his bench, where Ken Harrelson, a utility man who had an unimpressive World Series, was still sitting. The 26-year-old former Athletic, whose only notable achievement in the big leagues was to gain a reputation as the best golfer in baseball, stepped into Tony C.'s spot in late April and quickly proved he was the hitter the Red Sox needed to back up Carl Yastrzemski. Harrelson's batting, which includes team leadership in home runs (14) and RBIs (40) and Boston's second best average (.297), disputes his claim that "Tony's shoes are big ones, and I still can't fill them." By his own admission Harrelson started becoming the kind of hitter who could step in for Conigliaro last year in Kansas City under Manager Alvin Dark. "I owe everything I am now to Dark," says Harrelson. "He's the one who really got me started as a hitter by teaching me to stroke the ball around and not consciously go for the homer. Without his help, I might have quit baseball to become a pro golfer." Dark, who now manages the Indians, was wishing last Friday that his former student had been just a little less attentive. Using Dark's technique of concentration and a controlled swing, Harrelson belted three straight homers and drove across all seven runs in one Boston win over the Indians and hit a game-deciding three-run shot in another.