Twin rookie Jimmie Hall is a throwback to the time when ballplayers did not come from Covina, Calif. and Michigan State University. They came from North Carolina (like Jimmie Hall), and they were working behind a big old plow horse when they were 6 (like Jimmie Hall). Hall still has plenty of the farm left in him, even if he does now represent Greater Bloomington. His name is Jimmie (not James), he prefers hillbilly music and he still has trouble with store-bought suits—he only weighs 178 with a 32-inch waist, but his coat size is 44 to 46. Outfielder Hall played in just 54 minor league games the last two years, but the Twins saw those muscles and put him in the infield in a winter league to hide him from the draft. Back in the outfield this spring, Hall forced regular Center Fielder Lenny Green to the bench. Coming from below .200, Hall hit .281 in June. July looks even better—last week he batted .387 with six HRs and 11 RBIs. Green is already worrying about a pay cut.
Only some things change. Last week the last-place Senators won seven games in a row—but still managed to look like the last-place Senators. The last time they won seven games in a row the Senators were also a last-place team—and Shortstop Ed Brinkman was 7½ years old. Washington had not even won six straight since 1954, and this time they did not exactly bludgeon the enemy to death. They won one game when the A's made three errors in the same inning. They won two others without hitting the ball—once on a balk, once on a walk. The pitchers were more consistent. Benny Daniels threw two complete games, Don Rudolph a third. Steve Ridzik—the old Phillie—got a call back to the big time again and pitched a seven-inning three-hitter. When Don Leppert doubled in a run in the 10th, Ron Kline gained his first victory. (It goes with his seven saves; coincidentally, the whole Washington staff has seven saves among them.) It all made the Senators a much happier crew. Leppert even took to defending the All-Star selections of Yankee Manager Ralph Houk. "I think that Houk is magnificent, a fine judge of talent," Leppert said. Houk had just named Leppert to the All-Star team.
Johnny Podres has had an odd career. Starting with his first season with the Dodgers in 1953, he has had 62 wins and 37 losses in odd-numbered years; during even-numbered years Podres has won 53 games and lost 47. His 2.66 ERA was the best in the league in 1957, and his .783 winning percentage was tops in 1961. There has been one exception—in 1955 when he had a 9-10 record. Yet that was his finest year, for Podres led the Dodgers to their first world championship by twice beating the Yankees. This being 1963, it was disturbing that Podres finished only five of his first 15 starts and had a 4-6 record. Most discouraging was his 63.00 ERA for his last two starts in June. He lasted two-thirds of an inning in one game, one-third in the other. Then came July, an odd-numbered month. On the first and fifth days of the month, Podres was superb, beating the Braves 2-1 on five hits and then the Reds 1-0 on two singles. Suddenly everything was going fine for Podres, oddly enough.
In the inimitable language of Casey Stengel, last week's intracity charity game between the Chicago Cubs and White Sox was an "extravagance." For the Cubs, who won, it was exhilarating, especially since it was 17 years ago that they last finished higher in the final standing of the National League than their crosstown rivals in the American. Long accustomed to being the "other" team in town, the Cubs and their fans often behaved like ostriches. This year they are holding their heads high. Among the most ardent rooters is the seven-year-old son of Bob Kennedy, manager of the Cubs. "The first thing he does when he wakes up is ask how far out of first place the Cubs are," says Mrs. Kennedy. After five straight wins last week they were in second place, three games out (the White Sox were third). Timely, if infrequent, hitting and excellent pitching made them winners. "Winning the pennant hasn't even entered my mind," Kennedy says. It has entered the mind of Athletic Director Bob Whitlow, however. Following the win over the White Sox, Whitlow said to Sox General Manager Ed Short, "That was fun. Let's do it again in October." That would really be an extravagance.