Enraptured at being back in first place, the New York Yankees (see page 10) won two out of three in Detroit and two out of four in Cleveland. With Milt Pappas settling down and the relief pitching improving, the Baltimore Orioles stayed right with the Yankees. Old Hoyt Wilhelm, who knows the bullpen art well, and young Chuck Estrada, learning it rapidly, picked up wins in relief. That famous outsized catcher's mitt (SI, June 13) has been a real help to Wilhelm—only one passed ball of Hoyt's erratic deliveries in 51 innings. Joe Gordon surveyed his Cleveland Indians, found them "tensed up and pressing," ordered them to relax. They enjoyed themselves immeasurably by winning three straight against Washington (especially defending batting champ Harvey Kuenn, who went eight for 10), then stayed loose enough to take a couple from the Yanks. The Chicago White Sox were perked up by Jim Landis' long-range hitting (three homers—he hit five all last season) and by snappy wins from Bob Shaw and Early Wynn. Aiming daggers at his critics for all those "washed up" stories, Early retorted: "I don't have to be ashamed I'm 40." The Detroit Tigers' flimsy hitting outfield of Rocky Colavito, Al Kaline and Charley Maxwell socked four homers but otherwise carried paper bats. Outfield batting average: .227. Three one-run losses punctured the upward drive of the Washington Senators. Manager Lavagetto put sore-shouldered Harmon Killebrew on first base in place of no-hitting Julio Becquer (one for 16), but Killebrew couldn't improve things. "I guess I can't expect to have the same sort of season I had last year," Harmon moaned. The Kansas City Athletics showed power (eight home runs), but the pitching drooped and so did the attendance. Bud Daley, halfway to the 20-wins mark, was clubbed by the Orioles. Season attendance for 1960 seemed certain to be well under previous low mark, sparked rumors the club would move to Dallas. The Boston Red Sox slogged along in the darkness of the basement, but Ted Williams hit two more home runs, upped his lifetime total to 503. Spirited play by Pumpsie Green (good field, four hits) and Gary Geiger (.400 road batting average) gave the Sox some hope.
Standings: Balt 41-27, NY 37-25, Clev 35-27, Chi 36-30, Det 31-32, Wash 28-34, KC 26-39, Bos 22-42
The Pittsburgh Pirates, hanging tough for 10 weeks with a two-man pitching staff of Vern Law and Bob Friend (abetted by the relief genius of Elroy Face and lots of hitting), finally came up with a four-man rotation. Harvey Haddix pitched well, lost on two unearned runs. The bright bonus came when Wilmer Mizell finished what he started for the first time in 14 tries. The Milwaukee Braves' streak stopped at six but not before the Braves served notice they were steady again. Henry Aaron hit four home runs, and Manager Dressen, girding for the long hot summer, got wins from six different pitchers (Willey, Jay, Brunet, Buhl, Burdette, Spahn). Interim Manager Tom (Superscout) Sheehan was hung in effigy as the San Francisco Giants blew five in a row. But Tom took heart from two wins against Cincinnati and the wonderful play of Willie Mays (two home runs in one game, plus 10 putouts and a steal of home). Said Sheehan, undismayed by the club's poor performance, "We damn near lost the Battle of the Bulge, but we didn't." The St. Louis Cardinals, clinging to the first division, were clipped by the Pirates and the hot Phils. Crisp center fielding by Curt Flood let Bill White stay on first base, and smash hitting by White (.328 batting average) obliged the Cards to play Stan Musial in the outfield for the first time in two years. Wally Post hit three homers and Gus Bell went 13 for 25, but the Cincinnati Reds couldn't find pitching to go with them. Manager Hutchinson was angry about the National League practice of stationing the second base umpire between the mound and second base; Shortstop Roy McMillan, trying to stop a Giant double steal, cut off a throw from the catcher but collided with Umpire Ed Vargo as he tried to fire the ball back to the plate. "Silly rule," fumed Hutch. The Los Angeles Dodgers got good pitching from Stan Williams and Ed Roebuck, heard General Manager Bavasi threaten to trade them even-up for the Dodgers' Spokane farm team, responded with three wins. The Philadelphia Phillies won six straight (best streak in three seasons) and moved past the Cubs into seventh place. Rookies Frank Herrera and Ken Walters hit hard, and Reliever Dick Farrell shored up the pitching. The Chicago Cubs were swept by the Phils, lost nine straight in all. From the cellar came the voice of spunky Don Zimmer: "It's a stinking disgrace to lose four to those Phillies."
Standings: Pitt 41-24, Mil 36-25, SF 36-31, StL 32-34, Cin 31-34, LA 30-34, Phil 27-39, Chi 25-37
Boxed statistics through Saturday, June 25
SPRAY-HITTING Norm Larker (.348), Pete Runnels (.342) held league bat leads. Larker had 50 hits, Runnels counted 83.