In mid-July of 1960 the Giants called up from their Tacoma farm club a 22-year-old Dominican right-hander named Juan Marichal, who promptly came within four outs of immortality and a no-hitter against the Phils. Despite 45 victories in less than three seasons since that day, the closest Marichal had come to another no-hitter was the one Sandy Koufax threw against the Giants in May. Until last Saturday. Then it was Camera Day in Candlestick Park, and some Giant fans asked Juan if he would please pitch a no-hitter for them. So Juan did. He faced only 29 batters and beat the Houston Colt .45s 1-0, scoring his 10th victory of the year and sixth in a row, No. 9 having been a shutout of the hated Dodgers just four days before. Juan Marichal was not born when the great Carl Hubbell pitched the last Giant no-hitter on May 8, 1929, but he refused to get excited "until the last inning." "Then," he said, after striking out the last two batters, "I got a feeling that I can't describe."
It was June, historically a month of horror for the Giants. Their annual swoon was upon them, they had lost seven games in a row and Manager Alvin Dark seemed to have lost more than just a few ball games; his uniform pants, left in the clubhouse, were found to be full of rips and tears. Asked to compare his three top pitchers (Marichal, Jack Sanford and Billy O'Dell) with the Dodgers' Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax and Johnny Podres, Dark moaned: "Our three boys haven't had a shutout and those Dodgers have had six. A pennant contender needs a shutout now and then." From that moment Giant pitchers held opponents to a . 124 batting average, won six straight games, and June turned into the loveliest month of the year. Marichal blanked the Dodgers and no-hit the Colts. Sanford and O'Dell won a pair of 2-1 games, and Bob Bolin struck out 14 men in a 3-l victory. It was fortunate that the pitchers were producing, because the team batting average for the six games was only .208. Orlando Cepeda hit what he considered the hardest home run of his life, but most of the punch was supplied by Willie McCovey, who in one two-day period had three homers and all six Giant RBIs.
On May 12 Boston's Dick Radatz surrendered a home run to Don Lock, an event that may someday enshrine the Washington outfielder as the only .257 hitter in the Hall of Fame. For that was the last run scored off Radatz, the 6-foot 5-inch, 245-pound Red Sox reliever in more than a month. In 14 appearances spanning 33 innings, he allowed only 11 hits and seven walks. Last week he pitched six innings one day and 8‚Öî innings 48 hours later. He won both games, took two days off, and came in against the Orioles with no outs and the bases loaded. Three pitches later the side was retired. One newspaper unashamedly started referring to 1963 as the Radatzian Age. In the spring Radatz was too heavy. He changed his motion to support the extra load and hurt his back. But Trainer Jack Fadden remembered that eventually the backbone is connected to the foot bone, and gave Radatz an arch support. It cured his back and the Radatzian Age came into flower.
As easy as trading a comic mask for a tragic one, the Cleveland Indians moved from one extreme to the other. No sooner had they lost nine of 10 games to fall 9½ games off the pace than they turned around and won 12 of 14 to rush to within 3½ games of the top. Last week they won seven and lost just one, but found themselves wearing a slightly tragic look when Rookie of the Year Vic Davalillo's right arm was broken by a pitched ball. "Only suckers complain," Manager Birdie Tebbetts said to his team. "When these things happen, you other players have to make up for it." Joe Azcue—given a chance to play when Catcher Johnny Romano broke his finger—had already filled one void, hitting .343 as Romano's sub. Now Jerry Kindall got into the act. Coming off the bench for Davalillo, he got three hits that day and added a homer later. Willie Kirkland gave up smoking and hit three home runs to win two games. Pedro Ramos returned to action after three weeks and retired the first 20 men he faced. "Joe Adcock and I are going to have to start hitting more doubles and triples to make up for Davalillo," said Woodie Held. That night, Held got a double and triple.