The hottest team in either league, KANSAS CITY moved to within two games of Oakland in the loss column and still was ignored by All-Star Game voters. Only Second Baseman Cookie Rojas was listed among the top six vote getters at his position—and Rojas was a distant sixth. In an attempt to get him and other Royals on the squad, the team offered to send ballots to local business and industrial firms, and within 24 hours it received 32,000 requests. Next to Amos Otis (above), the rightest Royal was the newest team member, First Baseman Chuck Harrison. Recalled from Omaha after hitting five home runs and driving in 15 runs in two games, Harrison promptly beat Washington with a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning and later helped beat Boston with a three-run double. For the week (Omaha included) Harrison had 21 RBIs. Vida Blue won his 13th game for Oakland, but it was Chuck Dobson's fourth victory—a strong five-hitter—that had the Athletics dreaming pennant. Dobson opened the year on the disabled list and was considered ready for surgery on his damaged right elbow. But the operation has been postponed, and Dobson has worked effectively in six of his last seven starts. After watching his Twins stumble through the first play of the game and then lose 12-0 for their fifth defeat in six games, MINNESOTA Manager Bill Rigney tried a bit of reverse psychology. He started Relief Pitcher Stan Williams for the first time in three years, sent Cy Young winner Jim Perry to the bullpen, hit grounders to the in-fielders himself and even sent reserve Catcher Paul Ratliff to home plate with the lineup cards. Ratliff lost two of them en route, but the Twins won the game and Perry got a save. Pitcher Lew Krausse blasted the MILWAUKEE hitters for not supporting his good pitching after he lost to a shutout for the second straight time. Said Brewers Manager Dave Bristol, "If Krausse's team doesn't score, then he's got to pitch a shutout and we'll play a tie." CHICAGO'S Rich Reichardt and Tom Egan switched to something called the "cocked-leg batting stance" and both hit two home runs, but the White Sox still lost four of five. Alex Johnson was not to be found in the locker room when California Manager Lefty Phillips wanted him to pinch-hit. One of Johnson's replacements, Billy Cowan, homered against New York and another, Tony Gonzalez, won the game with a single.
OAK 39-21 KC 31-23 MINN 28-32 CAL 28-33 CHI 21-33 MIL 21-34
June 20, 1971
For his juggling acts with baseballs, First Baseman Norm Cash was running ahead of himself in Fickle-Finger-of-Fate awards. At bat, though, the DETROIT butcher continued to cut up opposition pitching: he hit his 12th, 13th and 14th home runs (he hit only 15 all last year) and personally beat Milwaukee twice. Manager Billy Martin also got successive complete-game victories from Mickey Lolich, Les Cain, Joe Coleman and Mike Kilkenny, and in Detroit people are thinking that 1971 might again be the Year of the Tiger. A notoriously slow starter, Cash has struggled for 10 seasons to approach his 1961 records—a .361 batting average, 41 home runs and 132 RBIs. "I've had a little more enthusiasm this year," Cash said. "I knew Billy Martin was finally going to manage this team like it should have been managed for five or six years." BALTIMORE Manager Earl Weaver, 5'8" and 165 pounds, defended the anemic (.190) batting average of First Baseman Boog Powell, 6'4" and 250 pounds. "That Big Blob is of more value to me than Tony Oliva [.371] is to the Twins," Weaver said. "They've been to bat almost the same number of times, and Powell's been on base only eight fewer times than Tony. And Booger's got more RBIs." And Brooks Robinson made an error, only his second of the year, after 49 straight errorless games, BOSTON continued to wilt, and the voices of dissension were heard in the clubhouse. Carl Yastrzemski said "of course" he should be batting fourth, not third, and also said that Reggie Smith is a "natural No. 3 hitter." Then he criticized the play of Centerfielder Billy Conigliaro. Smith batted third and Yastrzemski fourth in the next game, but Conigliaro stayed in center field. Rookie First Baseman Chris Chambliss (UCLA) won a game for CLEVELAND and his former college rival, Pitcher Steve Dunning (Stanford), with a home run. NEW YORK'S Bobby Murcer, a left-handed batter with a .359 average, hurt his hand and missed his first game of the year. Lefthander Vida Blue happened to be pitching against the Yankees that game, and he struck out Murcer's right-handed replacement, Danny Walton, three times. WASHINGTON gave a reported $150,000 to Pitcher Pete Broberg of Dartmouth, its first choice in the secondary phase of the draft.
BALT 36-20 DET 33-26 BOST 32-26 CLEV 28-29 NY 27-32 WASH 21-36
San Francisco reached the panic point when the Montreal Expos routed Juan Marichal 10-3 and the Giants lost their sixth game in seven June starts. Hoping he could help his hitters shake their slump, Manager Charlie Fox pitched batting practice. "Maybe when they unload against me," he said, "their morale will pick up." The Giants hit his slow pitching all over Parc Jarry before the game, but if their morale was lifted their averages were not as righthander Steve Renko beat them with a one-hitter. This led to a clubhouse meeting—players only—but no more pitching from Fox. And Montreal beat the Giants again the next night. Moving to New York, the Giants' bus got lost and they missed batting practice. Bad enough. Worse, they were only one pitch from a 2-0 victory when Pinch Hitter Dave Marshall hit a home run to tie the game. Somehow the smitten team recovered enough to win when Hal Lanier scored from second base on a wild pitch, and then they went on to take two of three from the Mets (page 22). "I hope that ends this June-swoon business," Fox said. Richie Allen made his first visit to the new Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia with LOS ANGELES, and his old friends were there to welcome him. One sign read: YOU'RE GETTING BETTER, RICHIE. YOU GET TO THE STADIUM ON TIME. BUT LAST SUNDAY YOU COULDN'T FIND THE FIELD. Allen did find something in Montreal—and it was much to his liking. He hit two home runs in a 12-1 Dodger victory, their biggest of the season. HOUSTON lost two more 2-l games—making it nine such defeats this year. Zoilo Versalles, the American League's MVP with Minnesota in 1965, turned up at shortstop for ATLANTA, replacing Clete Boyer on the roster. Versalles, still only 31, had six hits and three RBIs against St. Louis. After losing for the fifth straight time, Pitcher Gary Nolan of CINCINNATI said, "My mind's gone south. I'm afraid to make a mistake on the mound." In those five defeats, covering 34 1/3 innings, the Reds scored only three runs for Nolan. Perhaps the least-heralded top player in the league is SAN DIEGO First Baseman Nate Colbert. Said Manager Gil Hodges of the Mets after Colbert ripped his pitchers for seven hits, including two home runs, in three games, "Nate should be the All-Star first baseman."
SF 40-23 LA 33-28 HOUS 30-31 ATL 29-34 CIN 24-35 SD 21-40
Four days after his return to the bench, Manager Danny Murtaugh had PITTSBURGH back in first place. Murtaugh lost 10 pounds but none of his Irish wit while missing 16 games because of recurring pain in his chest. One night during his stay in the hospital someone asked Murtaugh if he had heard from his old friend, Jimmy Dykes. "Hell, no," he said. "Dykes can't write." Murtaugh could afford to smile, as Willie Stargell hit three more home runs (21 for the year), Bob Robertson and Al Oliver hit two and the Pirates took four straight from slumping ST. LOUIS. Card Reliever Moe Drabowsky, called to work in six of seven games, complained, "I'm going to enlist. I can spend the weekend on military leave and get a rest from pitching." After hitting a 12th-inning homer that beat the Pirates 1-0, CHICAGO'S Joe Pepitone joked, "You know me, I'm no superstar. Just a stupid star." Manager Leo Durocher moved Third Baseman Ron Santo to left field so he could keep utility man Paul Popovich's bat in the lineup. Popovich, a lifetime .243 hitter, had a seven-game hitting streak going. MONTREAL was enjoying its new Big Three—Pitchers Bill Stoneman, Steve Renko and Carl Morton—who are 21-17 for the season, and giving the leaders trouble. In PHILADELPHIA the subject was statistics. Manager Frank Lucchesi admitted that a manager contributes only 4% to a game from the seventh inning on. And Pitcher Jim Bunning had the perfect put-down for Catcher Tim McCarver after the latter's 1,000th hit. "McCarver," said Bunning, "I've given up 3,000."
PITT 38-23 NY 33-23 ST. L 35-27 CHI 29-31 MONT 24-30 PHIL 23-35