BASEBALL'S WEEK - Sports Illustrated Vault |
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It was Farmer's Night in KANSAS CITY. Catcher Doc Edwards went on radio and imitated a duck, a tree frog and a lost calf. Pitcher Diego Segui rode to the mound on a hay wagon. A good crowd showed up and Kansas City made everybody happy by beating the Senators 8-2. The Athletics were 7-1 for the week and 8-2 under New Manager Mel McGaha. WASHINGTON suffered its worst week (1-6) of the season. To make matters worse, Pitcher Jim Duckworth developed a fear of flying, took a train to Kansas City for a series and missed most of the first game. Bo Belinsky of LOS ANGELES (4-3) announced he was ready to start making the scene again. "It isn't worth sacrificing my youth to be a baseball player," said Bo. "If I'm seen in a nightclub, that's my business." When the Angels acquired Willie Smith in May they thought they were strengthening their pitching. Smith pitched poorly but—surprise!—he hit, so he is now the team's new center fielder and cleanup hitter. Wally Bunker of BALTIMORE (7-3), pitching on a mound sprinkled with dirt from Bunker Hill, won his seventh game. Brooks Robinson batted .455, scored 10 times and drove in six runs. To further please the already happy fans, the management gave "contracts" to fans who made good catches in the stands. They also had a soft-drink vendor named Homer give away all his soda whenever an Oriole hit a home run. Indeed, it was a week of gimmicks. NEW YORK (5-2) outdid everyone, giving away 20,000 tickets to cab drivers. "We want them to be aware that we are in business," said a club official. A 96-piece band and a 65-man chorus were among other attractions at Yankee Stadium, but the biggest show of all was Whitey Ford. In winning twice, Ford increased his string of victories to 10, topping it off with an 11-inning 1-0 shutout of the White Sox. That stretched Ford's scoreless-inning streak against Chicago (dating back to last August) to 43 and moved the Yankees into second place. Owner Calvin Griffith of MINNESOTA (3-4) complained darkly about dumb plays and mistakes on the mound, said that Manager Sam Mele might be too nice and hinted that some of the Twins were carousing around at night. Dick McAuliffe and Terry Fox kept DETROIT (4-4) upright. McAuliffe (.370) won one game with a homer, another with a 10th-inning single, and Fox won twice in relief. Dick Radatz of BOSTON (2-6) relieved five times—giving him 35 appearances so far and a good shot at the major league record of 74 games by a pitcher. CHICAGO (3-5) slumped to third (see page 20), with only some good pitching by Juan Pizarro (three-hit shutout), Eddie Fisher, Hoyt Wilhelm and Frank Kreutzer preventing a complete collapse. Three homers by Max Alvis and a shutout by Pedro Ramos helped keep CLEVELAND (3-4) barely over the .500 mark.

Things were going so well for PITTSBURGH (4-1) that Manager Danny Murtaugh did not mind that his players were taking his chewing tobacco. Bob Veale slammed a car door on his pitching hand, but that did not even slow him down. He beat the Mets 2-1 and tied the club record for strikeouts (12) for the second time in 10 days. Vern Law added a 10-0 win, and Joe Gibbon and Alvin McBean teamed up for another shutout. No one, however, could catch first-place PHILADELPHIA (6-2). Art Mahaffey and Ray Culp each won two games as John Callison produced the hits and fielding plays that made four victories possible. Julian Javier (.458) beat the Giants twice with his hitting as ST. LOUIS (4-3), which had dropped to eighth, moved back up to fifth. Johnny Edwards (.500, eight RBIs) and Vada Pinson (.435, seven RBIs) helped CINCINNATI split six games. At age 35, Ryne Duren came up with a curve ball. "I can't wait to use it," he said. "I'm like a kid with a new toy." The only trouble was that when he got a chance to use it he didn't, choosing instead to try to get a fast ball past Jim Hart of SAN FRANCISCO (4-3). Hart hit the fast ball for a game-winning single. Willie McCovey also beat the Reds with a ninth-inning pinch homer. Buzzie Bavasi, general manager of LOS ANGELES (2-4), warned that he would "shake up this team." In the shake-up Derrell Griffith was put at third base, Nate Oliver at second. But it was Don Drysdale (four-hitter) and Sandy Koufax (three-hit shutout) who kept the Dodgers in business. MILWAUKEE (2-4), too, was concerned, what with Warren Spahn's ERA up to 4.32 and Eddie Mathews' batting average down to .194. NEW YORK got solid hitting from Ron Hunt, Joe Christopher and Ed Kranepool, yet won just once in eight tries. Hal Woodeshick of HOUSTON (4-2) won once, but at his request the victory was given to fellow reliever Claude Raymond, who he felt had pitched well enough to deserve it. CHICAGO (2-3) pitchers had no spare wins to spread around, and the team sank to eighth place.




Jim Bunning of Philadelphia fidgeted nervously on the mound as Met Pinch Hitter John Stephenson came to the plate. Bunning had set down 26 Mets in order, and now, with two out in the ninth inning, he had only to get by Stephenson to become the first National League pitcher in this century to pitch a perfect game and the first pitcher in the history of baseball to win a no-hitter in each league. Bunning's first two pitches to Stephenson were strikes, swinging and called. The next two pitches were balls. On the fifth pitch Stephenson swung and missed, and Bunning had his perfect game. Teammates engulfed him, almost dragging him to the Phillies' dugout as the fans in Shea Stadium stood and cheered. When the fans started chanting, "We want Bunning," the pitcher reappeared, trotting out to the infield, where Met Announcer Ralph Kiner interviewed him on television. It was his slider, Bunning said, that was working effectively, just as it was that day in 1958 when, as a member of the Detroit Tigers, he pitched a no-hitter against the Red Sox after four years in the American League. The Tigers traded Bunning to Philadelphia last autumn (along with Gus Triandos, who caught the perfect game), and Bunning's performance with the Phillies—he is now 7-2—has been a major factor in their success so far this season. When Kiner started to express amazement that the Tigers could trade such a pitcher, Bunning interrupted with a huge grin, saying, "Very happy, very happy." He expressed appreciation of a diving stop and a fine throw made by Second Baseman Tony Taylor that had robbed the Mets' Jesse Gonder of a hit in the fifth inning. Then Bunning's wife, Mary, and his eldest daughter—he has seven children—appeared from the stands to plant kisses on their man. He deserved it. After all, it was Father's Day.