Assembling a pennant winner is comparable to putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It takes both know-how and luck to make the right trades, to fit players into a smooth unit. This art of trading has helped both Cincinnati and New York. Five of their seven regular infielders came to the Reds in trades: First Basemen Gordy Coleman (from the Indians in 1959) and Dick Gernert (Tigers, May 1961), Second Baseman Don Blasingame (Giants, April 1961), Third Baseman Gene Freese (White Sox, December 1960) and Shortstop Eddie Kasko (Cardinals, 1958). Three outfielders—Gus Bell (Pirates, 1952), Jerry Lynch (Pirates, 1956) and Wally Post (Phillies, 1960)—came from other teams. Jerry Zimmerman, a $77,000 Red Sox bonus boy, and Darrell Johnson, obtained from the Phillies this year, have done most of the catching. And without Bob Purkey (Pirates, 1957), Bill Henry (Cubs, 1959), Jim Brosnan (Cardinals, 1959) and Joey Jay (Braves, December 1960), the Reds would be nowhere near a pennant. New York has six former Athletics: Third Baseman Cletis Boyer (1957), Outfielder Hector Lopez and Pitcher Ralph Terry (1959), Outfielder Bob Cerv and Pitcher Bud Daley (1961). The sixth is a fellow named Roger Maris (1959).
Dollar for dollar the New York Yankees probably have been the bettors' best friend in the past quarter century, and once again they have rewarded their backers by winning the pennant. It was their 19th in the past 26 years, and it mattered little that Detroit won four of five last week. Don Mossi, after losing four in a row, won his 15th game with a four-hitter. Steve Barber of Baltimore also pitched a four-hitter, beating the Yankees 1-0 for his eighth shutout and 17th victory. Jim Gentile hit his fifth grand slam of the year and sixth of his career, to once again help Chuck Estrada. All of Gentile's grand slams have been hit in games pitched by Estrada. Chicago wasted a bases-loaded homer by Floyd Robinson (.412 BA for the week) but got excellent pitching and won four of five. Neither Cleveland's home-run hitters nor its pitchers had much success, and the Indians lost five of seven. Rookie Sam McDowell suffered what was diagnosed as a pulled cartilage during his major-league pitching debut. Further examination, however, revealed that he had, inexplicably, broken two ribs. As the Indians struggled to stay in the first division, the hitters and pitchers blamed each other for the team's poor record. The Cleveland scoreboard operator, though, could blame only himself when he accidentally set off the fireworks after a home run by Joe Altobelli of the Twins. Boston was unable to gain on the Indians because of its own ineptness. The Red Sox gave up five unearned runs, scored only six times themselves and batted .216. Camilo Pascual of Minnesota pitched two straight shutouts. His first one moved the Twins into seventh, ahead of Los Angeles, which lost six games. The Angels made 10 errors, batted .198 and the pitchers gave up an average of almost six runs a game. Kansas City moved past Washington in the fight for ninth place. Good pitching by youngsters Lew Krausse and Norm Bass bolstered the Athletics. Washington won once, beating the Twins 6-4 and equaling, in that one game, their run production in their four losses.
After being shut out only four times in 144 games, Cincinnati went scoreless twice in four. Still, the Reds moved closer to the pennant as they got just enough timely home runs and pitching. Heavy hitting by Duke Snider (.413 BA and eight RBIs) and Ron Fairly (.346) kept Los Angeles in the race. Sandy Koufax had 16 strikeouts in 15 innings, giving him 259 for the year and putting him within reach of Christy Mathewson's NL high of 267 set in 1903. San Francisco's Billy O'Dell struck out 15 men and won two games, and Reliever Stu Miller beat the Braves twice in less than 24 hours. Orlando Cepeda (.550 and four HRs), Felipe Alou (.429) and Jose Pagan (.350) supplied the hitting. Lou Burdette ended Milwaukee's losing streak at eight when he beat the Giants in a game in which he and Catcher Sammy White worked without signals. That put the Braves back in fourth, ahead of St. Louis. In a game against the Phillies it took three Cardinals to catch one fly ball. Center Fielder Curt Flood and Second Baseman Julian Javier collided as they tried to make the catch. The ball struck Javier's glove, popped into the air and finally was caught by Shortstop Jerry Buchek. Stan Musial, who started his career with the Cardinals eight months before Buchek was born, was honored on his 20th anniversary in the majors and responded with a two-run homer. Pittsburgh had only two home runs in six games and lost four. As long as the Chicago Cubs hit flurries of homers, they won. They hit four one day, three the next and won two games—their only two of the week. Philadelphia, which has now lost virtually everything, including 102 games, bade farewell to its best pitcher, Art Mahaffey, and hardest hitter. Don Demeter, because of injuries.
HARD WORKERS were Sandy Koufax of Dodgers, who won in relief, then in 13 innings, Jim Archer of A's, who had shutout and save.