In the jargon of his colleagues, Gordy Coleman of Cincinnati gained respect during the past two years because of his stick work. Now there are those who feel that another type of stick work—Coleman endorses fish sticks for a local restaurant chain and his weight has gone up to 218 as a result of nibbling at more than a few himself—brought about his sudden hitting failure. The added weight was just one more thing for Coleman, an inveterate worrier, to fret about. This spring he set personal season goals of 30 homers and 100 RBIs, but this newborn optimism vanished by the end of May, accompanied by a .215 batting average. Soon Coleman was on the bench. There he worried, ultimately deciding it was not worth the worry to keep worrying. Given a chance to play last week, a worry-free—well almost—Coleman hit .571. He slammed four homers, one in a 4-3 win, another as a pinch hitter with the bases full. Now it was the pitcher's turn to worry again.
The week for St. Louis (see page 20) is most succinctly summarized below in the box that shows that the Cardinals outscored their opponents 39-7. These are impossible figures—predicated on virtually perfect hitting, pitching and fielding—which is why they turn up about as often as quintuplets are born in Aberdeen, S. Dak. More amazing is that the remarkable week was only a slice out of the Cardinal drive that meant 19 victories in 20 games since August 30. During this time the Cards outscored the opposition 120-47. Nine pitchers were winners; six of them threw 11 complete games. Heroes apparently had but a single common denominator: that Manager Johnny Keane put their names on his line-up card. Just last week, for instance, four guys hit better than .380 and four pitchers figured in four shutouts. The streak could put to shame every fabled closing rush in history, not only because it is so far the best (the '42 Cardinals won 43 of their last 52, the '51 Giants 20 of their last 25), but because this year the Dodgers were not exactly folding like Arab tents. In fact, since that same August 30 all other eight teams in the league had lost ground to Los Angeles.
For Baltimore last week John Orsino did just about everything but pitch and take tickets. There being very little demand for tickets wherever the slumping Orioles went, Orsino did just about everything—carrying what little hitting and what less spirit the team had. Batting .409, Orsino smashed three of the team's four homers and accounted for seven of its 15 runs. The splurge raised his average to .277—.313 since July 4. "I don't have the speed to be a .300 hitter," Orsino said. "If you had my legs," replied Coach Hank Bauer, himself no Dan Patch, "you'd hit .400." Still, Orsino got enough ricochets and enough life from two slow legs (and one of them injured) to stagger out a triple in the Orioles' only win. Obtained from the Giants, Orsino has not only hit well, but his handling of pitchers has improved. His bat has been so hot, the Orioles play him at first base sometimes now, but more often he is the only regular cleanup-hitting catcher in the majors.
The New York Yankees had just won another pennant—their 13th in 15 years—and it was time to celebrate. Reporters came to the clubhouse to get a few quotes, to nibble on a sandwich, to offer congratulations. That has been the format for years. Before long, though, newsmen were ducking gobs of potato salad thrown by the younger and more exuberant Yankees. Next they were dodging tomatoes. It was all very unYankeelike. With Joe Pepitone and Al Downing (both 22), Jim Bouton, Phil Linz and Tom Tresh (all 24) and Hal Reniff (25) around, it seemed there might be a new era of lively pennant parties. Still, it was not a week entirely given over to youth. Whitey Ford (34) won his 22nd game, and two renowned sluggers—Mickey Mantle (31) and Yogi Berra (38)—showed unusual talent on the bases. Mantle raced from first base to second after a foul pop had been caught, and Berra, using a nifty slide, stole his first base in two years. Many of the more youthful Yankees exhibited a young-at-heart spirit at their pennant party, but they know that at World Series time they must give the game all they have, just as Oldtimers Ford, Mantle and Berra did.