Finger-lickin' Willie Stargell had another expensive week. The PITTSBURGH chicken king hit a $10.47 home run that fricasseed New York in one game, then hit a $37.65 homer that fried the Mets in another. All-Pro Chicken entrepreneur Stargell picks up the tab when he homers. Dollars aside, Stargell was pleased that the Pirates—after three failures—finally developed a scoreboard caricature that he thought looked like himself. "One of the others made me look like a gorilla," he said. "My head was so big, there wasn't room on the board for my stats." His stats: 28 home runs, 79 RBIs and a .553 slugging percentage. Go Gorilla. Watching Stargell inspired NEW YORK'S Tom Seaver, who hit a long home run to beat the Expos the day after the Mets left Pittsburgh. The blast doubled Seaver's career home-run total. Even better news for the Mets was sore-armed lefthander Jerry Koosman's complete-game win against the Expos, his first victory since May 14. CHICAGO'S Jim Hickman won the spoil sport award by hitting a double in the Cubs' 12-0 victory over St. Louis. The Cubs had 20 hits in that game—19 singles and Hickman's double, ST. LOUIS now has tried 20 different pitchers. The 20th—Daryl Patterson—gave up three hits and three walks to his first six batters. MONTREAL lost five straight games, making it 14 of 20, and dropped into last place. And Rick Wise was cheered when PHILADELPHIA returned home.
PITT 48-27 NY 42-29 CHI 37-35 ST. L 39-37 MONT 29-41 PHIL 30-43
Plagued by a chronic knee injury that will require surgery in the fall (hopefully, after a World Series), SAN FRANCISCO'S hard-hitting Willie McCovey moved onto the disabled list. But all was not disastrous for the Giants. One day Frank Reberger smashed the index finger of his right (pitching) hand while closing his car door and could not start against the Cubs, so Manager Charlie Fox hastily summoned John Cumberland from the bullpen. Cumberland called his wife and told her to rush to the park and "watch me shut them out." He did for 8‚Öî innings, giving up only three hits and stopping Joe Pepitone's 19-game hitting streak. The Giants then took a seven-game winning streak to their jinx city, HOUSTON, and lost twice. The crusher was a base hit by one of their off-season employees, Astro Catcher Jack Hiatt, who during the winter sells season tickets for the Giants. Richie Allen's home run in the 13th inning won a game for LOS ANGELES, but CINCINNATI still was not hitting. Aside from being no-hit twice in three weeks, the Reds were shut out for the eighth and ninth times this season. Last year they were held scoreless only once. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered ATLANTA to return that $10,000 check to Clete Boyer, who now plays for Hawaii. "Paul Richards misinterpreted the rules," Kuhn said. The Braves also released 48-year-old knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, who complained that he never had a fair chance this season, and permitted First Baseman Cha-Cha Cepeda to go home to Puerto Rico for treatment of his injured knee. About the only on-field commotion in Atlanta was the psychological trick Catcher Bob Didier played on Pitcher Ron Reed. Knowing that Reed dislikes Montreal Manager Gene Mauch, Didier told him that Mauch had called him a few unprintables. Reed got himself so psyched that he pitched a two-hit shutout against Mauch's Expos. Later Didier admitted his deception. "I just pulled a Knute Rockne on him," Didier said. What did Mauch think? "I'm going to tell Didier's dad, and he'll spank his little behind." In SAN DIEGO, Padre President Buzzie Bavasi assured the fans that his team would not follow the flight of the Rockets out of town.
SF 49-27 LA 42-33 HOUS 35-38 ATL 36-43 CIN 33-43 SD 26-50
It was only the end of June, but in BOSTON the Benevolent Loyal Order of Diehard Red Sox Sufferers (Blohards, they call themselves) considered the four-game weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles "crucial." "If the Sox lose this series," said one man, "I'm going to the Cape for the rest of the summer." Indeed, if the Red Sox did lose the series, it was assumed that Manager Eddie Kasko could go to the Cape, too—unemployed. The Sox promptly lost the first game 7-3 on Paul Blair's triple in the ninth inning. The next day Boston led 2-0 in the ninth and Gary Peters was only one strike from victory when Boog Powell tied the game with a long home run. But in the 10th inning Shortstop Luis Aparicio hit a two-out line drive to right field that Frank Robinson misjudged, and the Red Sox won 3-2. That night Pitcher Sonny Siebert pitched a six-hitter and drove in five runs with a double and a homer, and the Sox won again 10-2. Then on Sunday, Ray Culp stopped the Orioles 3-1. Suddenly the Red Sox were only five games behind Baltimore, and the vacancy signs went up on cottages all over Cape Cod. One consolation for BALTIMORE was the revived bat of Boog Powell, who added 39 points to his .178 batting average and had four homers and 12 RBIs. "I started to use [Coach] Billy Hunter's brand of chewing tobacco," Powell explained. "Other than that, nothing's different." Not so. After a study of films of his swing, Powell was advised to move deeper into the batter's box and farther away from home plate. DETROIT gained on the Orioles, too, as Mickey Lolich, rookie Bill Gilbreth (in his first major-league start) and Joe Coleman pitched successive complete-game victories against CLEVELAND. Ken Harrelson officially retired from baseball when the Indians were in Boston. The Hawk was supposed to pinch-hit and then fly away to a golf course in Wyoming—but the game was rained out. NEW YORK recalled its latest "new hope," Ron Blomberg, and acquired a onetime Mets' failure symbol, Ron Swoboda, in an attempt to lure crowds to Yankee Stadium. WASHINGTON rookie Pete Broberg thought Yankee Stadium should be burned down—particularly after the Yankees got six hits and seven runs off him in only two innings. Broberg took part of his reported $150,000 bonus and bought a new economy car for his old college coach, Tony Lupien of Dartmouth.
BALT 45-26 BOST 40-31 DET 41-32 NY 34-39 CLEV 32-39 WASH 26-45
There was a summit meeting of sorts in the West, and when it was over OAKLAND had won three of four games from second-place Kansas City and extended its lead to 11 games. And for a change the Athletics played to large home crowds. Vida Blue attracted 33,888 to the opener and won his 16th game, shutting out the Royals on five hits and striking out 12. Owner Charley Finley flew in Blue's mother, brother and four sisters for the weekend. Explaining how he won, Blue said, "You see, my team scores some runs and then I go out and don't let the other team score." What did his mother think? "Vida comes from calm stock," she said. The next day Vida received his baby blue Cadillac from Finley as 40,000 people turned out to see the A's win 4-2. For the Sunday doubleheader Finley had a unique promotion: Hot Pants Day. There were 33,000 at the ball park as Oakland had its most prosperous weekend in history. But it was a bad time for KANSAS CITY all-round as the Royals ran their losing streak to seven games. Dick Drago, sporting a 2.37 ERA, made two appearances and gave up 13 hits and 14 runs in 1‚Öì innings. Now his ERA is 3.65. And Catcher Jerry Mays and Pitcher Ken Wright were added to the disabled list. CALIFORNIA'S veteran Relief Pitcher Eddie Fisher started for only the fourth time in eight years and beat MILWAUKFE. The Brewers won three of four from MINNESOTA, causing Twin Manager Bill Rigney to call still more clubhouse meetings. "I wish I could do something to light a fire here," Rigney said. "When I played for the Giants back in '51, the Dodgers did us a favor by beating us three straight at Ebbets Field and then standing outside our clubhouse door knocking on the windows and calling us names. And we won the pennant." Unhappily, the Twins' clubhouse has no windows. CHICAGO won six straight, the longest streak for the Sox in four years, but no one was talking pennant.
OAK 49-24 KC 36-33 MINN 36-38 CAL 34-43 MIL 29-40 CHI 28-40