It had been a rough day for CINCINNATI'S (6-3) George Culver. His stomach hadn't felt right and he'd bypassed dinner. Then, just as he began warming up for a start against the Phillies, an ingrown toenail started bothering him, and novocain had to be administered. Still, Culver could not forget the strange feeling he'd had on the way to the ball park. "I kept thinking, 'No-hitter, no-hitter." Don't ask me why. It just happened, like I was in another world." The next day the Hall of Fame requested Culver's cap, 15 radio and two TV shows beckoned for his appearance and 25-year-old George treated roomie Pat Corrales—his catcher—to a steak-and-eggs breakfast. Culver, who claims he is no proponent of mysticism, had indeed pitched a no-hitter, the majors' third of the season. PITTSBURGH (6-3) got a triple play that saved the first major league victory of 23-year-old rookie right-hander Dock Ellis and helped them advance to sixth. Nine home runs in two games kept CHICAGO (6-1) rolling. The Cubs invaded Busch Stadium, where they had not scored in 38 innings, and left with a sweep of the series from league-leading ST. LOUIS (4-3), which had received four straight complete games, including Bob Gibson's 12th in a row. Gaylord Perry fired only 77 pitches in a two-hit victory for SAN FRANCISCO (4-3) but suddenly found himself the subject of controversy. "Almost every pitch he threw was a spitter," fumed the Cubs' Ron Santo. Cub Manager Leo Durocher had the umpires inspect Perry's cap, prompting this reply from Giant skipper Herman Franks: "Durocher's got a lot of guts upsetting my pitcher when he's got one who makes a career out of throwing a grease ball." Bill Singer won two games for LOS ANGELES (4-4), and Bob Bailey's homer decided another game. Henry Aaron (.393 for week) passed the 1,600-RBI mark for ATLANTA (3-5), while rookie Ron Reed hurled his first big league shutout, NEW YORK (2-6) batted only .203 and lost hurler Nolan Ryan to the disabled list as it tumbled into eighth place. Injuries plagued HOUSTON (2-5) on all fronts. The team's roster was down to 24 players, but seven potential minor league replacements were all unavailable. John Callison clouted three homers for PHILADELPHIA (2-6) and one snapped a six-game losing streak as Manager Bob Skinner stressed that his faltering club would maintain a positive attitude.
Standings: StL 71-39, Chi 58-52, Cin 55-50, Atl 57-53, SF 55-53, Pitt 53-56, Phil 50-57, NY 51-61, LA 49-61, Hou 46-63
August 11, 1968
If Red Sox batters cringe visibly when NEW YORK'S (4-3) Stan Bahnsen is pitching, it is hardly surprising. The 23-year-old rookie righthander has been baffling the Bosox since the end of the 1966 season, when he struck out the side at Fenway Park in his first major league inning. Bahnsen, who claims he's always "extra careful" in cramped Fenway, backed his thesis again with a three-hit, 12-strikeout effort that spurred the Yanks into sixth place. It was Bahnsen's 10th victory and third straight over BOSTON (6-5), which received some lift of its own from Jim Lonborg and Ken Harrelson. Lonborg, injured most of this season, went seven innings—his longest stint so far—and gained his first career victory over the Angels. Harrelson later sparked the Sox to four straight wins, driving home 14 runs on four homers. "It's not too late in '68," was the snappy winning entry in BALTIMORE'S (5-3) slogan contest. The Orioles came up with two new heroes to back that hope, as Elrod Hendricks won two games with hits and John Morris, recalled two weeks ago from Rochester, hurled six-plus scoreless relief innings to gain his second victory. "I don't know his name, but send me a wire if he ever wins another game," snorted one unimpressed rival manager after watching WASHINGTON'S (4-4) Jim Hannan beat his team earlier this season. On that basis Hannan prompted two more night letters, while Frank Howard (three homers) and Mike Epstein (.368 BA) broke long slumps, OAKLAND (5-3) surprisingly reigned as the West Coast's top major league team, thanks mainly to game-winning hits by reserves Mike Hershberger and Ted Kubiak. DETROIT (4-3) pitching remained erratic, with the exception, of course, of Denny McLain (two more victories made 22). Paced by Tommy Davis (.500 BA), CHICAGO (4-4) had the hottest hitting in the league. The Sox clouted .312 and rallied from an 8-1 deficit in one game to defeat slumping MINNESOTA (2-4). Ted Uhlaender (.360) assumed the league batting lead, but the inconsistent, injury-prone Twins had little else to rave about. Manager Cal Ermer has shifted the batting order 72 times in the first 103 games. Since CLEVELAND'S (3-5) Jose Cardenal lost his lucky red-orange-with-big-white-daisies necktie in Yankee Stadium two weeks ago, things have gone steadily downhill for the Indians. "That's what's wrong with us," moaned Jose. "I write them asking for it, but they don't answer." Rumors flew of a front-office shakeup in CALIFORNIA (3-6), which tumbled to eighth.
Standings: Det 67-41, Balt 60-46, Clev 60-51, Bos 57-51, Oak 55-53, NY 50-54, Minn 50-56, Cal 50-59, Chi 47-58, Wash 39-66
Haul out the Little Red Book of baseball records, gentlemen, a new entry is in order: "Most unassisted triple plays and grand-slam home-runs by right-handed shortstops who are also traded in the same week—1, Ron Hansen, Washington-Chicago, July 30-Aug. 2, 1968." An examination of the R. Hansen diary for his week that was might reveal the following. Tuesday. Caught a line drive, stepped on second, tagged out other runner coming down from first. Wednesday. Received call from Hall of Fame, requesting shipment of glove used in first inning last night. They say a glove like this comes along only once every 41 years but, on close examination, it's the same Spalding model used in second through ninth innings as well as through 90 games and 14 errors this season. Then got call from Indians' Jose Azcue, who hit the triple-play line drive, wondering if Cooperstown wanted his bat, too. After all, nobody has hit into an unassisted triple play since 1927 either. Thursday (approximately 8:30 p.m.). Just struck out for sixth straight time, not making good contact with ball. Thursday (approximately an hour later, same place). Just hit grand-slam home run in fourth inning, Senators' first such hit all year. Batting average up to .185. Senators win, 37th such happening in 101 games. Friday. A funny thing occurred on way to play White Sox. Got traded to White Sox, where had set previous records of fewest stolen bases in season (0), fewest triples in season (0) and most chances accepted by shortstop in doubleheader (28). Sunday. Hit .454 in three games for new/old (choose one) club; playing third base now. White Sox lost two of three to Senators. Got to bed early, pondering strange events of week.