A Rookie for theAges

Astros centerfielder Hunter Pence leads all rookies who qualify for the battingtitle in average, slugging, doubles and triples, but it's not just among hiscontemporaries that he shines. Pence, 24, is putting together one of the mostimpressive debut seasons in big league history.

Pence is on pacefor the lowest plate appearances per extra base hit ratio of any rookie since1901 (minimum 40 extra base hits)

  Average - Rank
PENCE .341 - 1st
Richie Ashburn, Phillies 1948 .333 - 2nd
Rico Carty, Braves 1964 .330 - 2nd
Lloyd Waner, Pirates 1927 .355 - 3rd
Hack Miller, Cubs 1922 .352 - 3rd
Frank McCormick, Reds 1938 .327 - 3rd
Dusty Baker, Braves 1972 .321 - 3rd
Jim Viox, Pirates 1913 .317 - 3rd
Stan Musial, Cardinals 1942 .315 - 3rd
Greg Gross, Astros 1974 .314 - 3rd
Doc Hoblitzell, Reds 1909 .308 - 3rd


What's the deal with...

The World Championship of American Football?

IF YOU THOUGHT the Super Bowl determined football's world champion, thinkagain. Every four years the IFAF—the sport's international governing body—holdsa tournament to crown the planet's best national team. It doesn't yet have thecachet of, say, soccer's World Cup, so the rosters aren't loaded withrecognizable names. This year the U.S., which didn't even bother playing in thefirst two tournaments, assembled a 45-player team of players from schoolsranging from Division I Arizona to Division III Christopher Newport. Theplayers, who competed gratis, began training camp under former Chiefs coachJohn Mackovic on June 20 in San Jose. They then traveled to Kawasaki, Japan,where they won their first two games in the tournament, 77-0 over South Koreaand 33-7 against Germany. In Sunday's championship game the hosts gave theYanks all they could handle, but the U.S. won 23-20 in double overtime in frontof a crowd of 10,231.

COX COUNTDOWN: 1

LIVID
HAPPY

Braves manager Bobby Cox, 66, has been tossed 131 times in his 26 years as amajor league manager. He needs just one more ejection to break the record setby Hall of Famer John McGraw. How close is the volcanic veteran to his nexteruption? SI's Coxometer tells all.

How happy is Cox these days? When pitcher Wil Ledezma failed to make it backto the team after a trip to his home in Venezuela because of what Braves G.M.John Schuerholz called a "washing incident" (Ledezma's passport andvisa got mixed in with his laundry, which rendered them unusable), the normallycrusty skipper just let it slide. "You can't blame him," Cox said."You'd go too if it was your home. To get back even for one day isbig." Why so lax? Despite being hampered by slumps, injuries and now AWOLrelievers, the Braves have pulled within a game-and-a-half of the first placeMets, leaving Cox little to get upset about. He hasn't been tossed since June23.

PHOTOTIM HEITMAN/US PRESSWIRE (PENCE TOP) PHOTOSLIM FILMS (CHART) PHOTOKEVORK DJANSEZIAN/AP (PENCE HITTING) PHOTORICH KANE/US PRESSWIRE (COX ANGRY) PHOTOLEON HALIP/WIREIMAGE.COM (COX HAPPY) PHOTOSHIZUO KAMBAYASHI/AP (TEAM USA) TWO ILLUSTRATIONS
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)