The Chicago White Sox, anxious to rest their veterans for the Series, suddenly slumped (won two, lost four) and delayed their pennant clinching. The runner-up Cleveland Indians managed to play some fair baseball despite the disgraceful antics of GM Frank Lane. Ignoring the fact that the Indians had put up a valiant season-long fight for the pennant, Lane loudly proclaimed to the world that Manager Joe Gordon had done a bad job. Gordon replied, "You can't fire me, I quit." The New York Yankees continued to be hampered by inconsistent pitching. Bobby Richardson, the little glove wizard at second, became the leading Yankee batter (.297) when he pushed his average up 30 points in the past month. The Detroit Tigers had an awful time trying to score, much less win. They were shut out twice, got only one run in another game. The Baltimore Orioles, fighting desperately to finish in the first division, didn't get enough hitting to complement some strong pitching. The Boston Red Sox, making a late-season move in an effort to finish respectably, won four straight over the three top teams in the league. The sinking Kansas City Athletics were heartened by the all-round play of 19-year-old Second Baseman Lou Klimchock. The Washington Senators, alive again and driving toward their winningest season in five years, were powered by the hitting of Jim Lemon and the pitching of Camilo Pascual (two consecutive shutouts).
Standings: Chi 91-59, Clev 87-62, NY 76-73, Det 74-75, Balt 72-77, Bos 70-79, KC 63-85, Wash 63-86.
The excitement of the pennant race became unbearable as the San Francisco Giants faltered, the Los Angeles Dodgers refused to fold and the Milwaukee Braves hung right in there (see page 18). The Pittsburgh Pirates, who might have made it a four-team race, finished a disastrous road trip with a 5-10 record. Said Dick Groat, "I think if we had quit trying to hit fences in those shorter parks and hit as we do in Forbes Field, we would have been O.K." The Cincinnati Reds finally came up with their strongest lineup. Frank Thomas was put on first base and Frank Robinson shifted back to left field. Thomas immediately started to hit, and the new outfield—Robinson, Pinson and Bell—looked good. "It's the best outfield in baseball," said Jerry Lynch, the Reds' leading hitter last year. "And it's making a bench-warmer out of me." The Chicago Cubs might just as well have gone to the movies last week. They played before 1,366 people in Wrigley Field one day, 598 the next and 971 the third. Spring training came early for the St. Louis Cardinals as they made regulars out of four rookies—Tim McCarver (17 years old), Duke Carmel (22), Gene Oliver (24) and Wally Shannon (25). But the best youngster appeared to be 20-year-old bonus pitcher Bob Miller, who won his third straight game. The Philadelphia Phillies had something to show for the season, after all. Richie Ashburn set a new club record for base hits (2,212).
Standings: LA 83-66, Mil 82-66, SF 82-67, Pitt 77-72, Cin 72-78, Chi 70-78, St L 68-80, Phil 61-88.
Boxed statistics through Saturday, September 19