Ed Kranepool of the New York Mets is just 18 years old, but at times this season he has acted the same age as the team that signed him to an $85,000 bonus: 2. In April he was the subject of countless stories in the New York press, in May he was hitting cleanup, in June he wasn't hitting at all and in July he was farmed out to Buffalo. Before leaving the Mets he got into an argument with Duke Snider when Snider tried to teach him how to hit. In Buffalo he argued with sportswriters, umpires and even Manager Kerby Farrell. When Farrell placed Kranepool eighth in the lineup Ed said, "This is the lowest I ever batted in my life." Last week, however, he was hitting as high as he had ever hit—first. And he was also hitting .471 for the week. Even though he got into an argument with the Met management on his reporting time, Kranepool might have taught the Mets a lesson. When a boy is 18 and can hit it is important to remember that he can hit and also that he is 18.
Now that Stan Musial is about to retire, his St. Louis Cardinal teammates are trying to give him an appropriate going-away present. For a man who has all the wristwatches, silver bats and base hits anyone could ever want, there is only one suitable gift—a pennant. In their march to catch the Dodgers last week the Cards ran their winning streak to nine games. Supplying most of the hitting were Curt Flood (.485), Bill White (.405), Tim McCarver (.400), George Altman (.344) and Ken Boyer (.323). Good pitching came from starters Curt Simmons and Bob Gibson, who won twice, and from three relief pitchers older than the three wise men, Bobby Shantz, Sam Jones and Barney Schultz. A gift is supposed to be a surprise, paid for by others, but Musial's situation is slightly unusual. So teammates showed absolutely no resentment last week when old Stan drove in three runs to win one game and then got a ninth-inning base on balls that led to the winning run another day. Nevertheless, Musial was having as much fun as he did in his first full season with the team. That was back in 1942, when the Cardinals won 38 of their last 44 games and beat out the Dodgers for first place.
American League opponents were laughing at Norm Siebern this spring not for one reason but for two. Siebern was the first of the Kansas City A's to be photographed in the new green-and-gold jumpers that the team uses as uniforms, and his picture was widely circulated to give people an idea of how the uniforms looked. By the end of May, Siebern was hitting .231 and stood—some say sat—56th on the league's list of hitters. Over the last three months, however, he has batted .299 and raised his average to .277, moving him up to 18th. Last week he hit .324, collecting 12 hits. Although Siebern's hits were not indicative of his power (only two were for extra bases), he was pestering pitchers with singles that started rallies or kept rallies going. Once a five-thumbed left fielder for the Yankees, Siebern is now a dependable first baseman. During the last three weeks of the season opposing pitchers will not be laughing at Norm Siebern; neither will anybody else.
Once again the New York Yankees have built a better mousetrap and last week they seemed to be catching everything in it. First they beat the Orioles with a pair of two-run homers in the eighth and then they beat Detroit 5-4. Even though the Tigers beat the Yankees twice early in the week, they had to hold them to three runs in 24 innings to do it and the effort knocked them out. At the end of the week the Yankees pounded Detroit in three games. What the Yankees were doing was murder. They kicked in with nine errors, thus giving their opponents a little edge here and there. But they also made 11 double plays, erasing that edge. Twice the Senators were whipped by late-inning Yankee rallies, once on a two-run homer in the ninth inning and again by a run-scoring single in the 12th. One night Ralph Houk used a second-line outfield of Hector Lopez, Jack Reed and Harry Bright. "They're giving us a chance tonight," said Tiger Manager Charlie Dressen. No, they weren't. Bright homered as the Yanks won 2-1. Then Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris started a game together for the first time in three months and got five hits. The Yankee mousetrap, it seemed, just had too much bait.