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Original Issue


The new motto of Washington Manager Mickey Vernon is "Let sleeping pitchers lie." Tom Cheney, Player of the Week, has long been a victim of jangled nerves and poor control. Last Friday he took an hour's nap during the first game of a doubleheader, awoke refreshed and calm to mow down the A's on three hits, one walk and no runs. Four days earlier he had defeated the Angels on four hits. These wins followed a one-hit shutout against Boston—giving Cheney a 3-0 record and the glossiest earned run average imaginable: 0.00. In 27 innings he has walked just two men, not bad for a balding, sleepy righthander too nervous to get the ball over the plate before.

"Aw, isn't that sweet," kidded Hank Bauer, once the Kansas City manager and now a Baltimore coach, when he saw the Athletics' new green-and-gold uniforms. Sweeter yet, for the Athletics and Pitcher Orlando Pena, was their 5-0 win over the Orioles. It put them in first place. Owner Charles O. Finley was so excited that he gave each player a $50 bonus. Wayne Causey, playing only because regular shortstop Dick Howser had a slight injury and an even slighter batting average, hit .432 last week. Ed Charles batted .433. The rest of the team hit just .181 but, by combining the wholesome baseball trinity of spirit (Gino Cimoli likened it to that of the World Champion Pirates of 1960), fine pitching and timely hitting, they have been the biggest surprise in the league so far.

Frank Howard of the Dodgers, Player of the Week, should also get a medal for bravery. For years he has tried to hit 90-mph pitches with 20/40 vision in his good eye and 20/60 in his left. He was second in the league in strikeouts last year, and his relations with fly balls were no better, particularly those appearing out of the L.A. smog. He once ignored the time-honored "I got it" to yell forlornly, "I'll try it." Last week Howard put on glasses and immediately whacked three home runs in four games, one beating the Braves with two out in the ninth. The only consistent Dodger hitter (team average .227), Howard was at .370, and things never looked better—or clearer.

"A lot of people think we're a power team," the Cardinals' Bill White said shortly before Ray Washburn shut out the Dodgers. "But we're really more a singles team. If our pitchers give up no more than four runs, we'll win any game." White knew what he was talking about. Last week the Cardinals became the most awesome road show around. From Pennsylvania to Texas to California they outscored the opposition 52-29. They made 90 hits, 71 of them singles. Twice they made 14 singles in a game. As a result, Cardinal hitters lead the league in hits and runs. The fielders lead in defense. The pitchers provided two more shutouts, one more two-hitter and four more complete games, and now they lead the league in shutouts, two-hitters and complete games, too. Also wins.