It was a week of valleys and peaks for Catcher Manny Sanguillen of Pittsburgh (4-2), who played so poorly that he was benched although hitting .339. In one game against the Astros he was spectacularly inept, dropping a throw at the plate after tagging a runner out and being picked off base for the third time in five games. Finally, he dropped the ball when Curt Blefary fanned, which would normally have been of no consequence since there was a man on first with one out and the batter was automatically out. Sanguillen, though, was entitled to do what he wanted with the ball and what he did was make a wild throw to first base that wound up in right field. That permitted the runner to advance to third, from where he scored as the Astros won 7-4. "He's killing us," complained Manager Larry Shepard. But back in the lineup later in the week, Sanguillen began to think positive. With a superb bit of acting, he convinced an umpire that he was hit by a pitch, and then scored the winning run on Carl Taylor's pinch hit. The next day it was Sanguillen who got the pinch hit that beat the Braves 2-1 in the 10th. There was no question of benching Matty Alou, whose .500 week raised his league-leading average to .368. The spree also increased his hit total to 96, a pace that would surpass the big-league record of 257 hits in a season set in 1920 by George Sisler. Art Shamsky of New York (2-3) had a week similar to Sanguillen's. He committed an error that helped the Dodgers beat the Mets 1-0 and then retaliated with a home run in a 3-1 Met victory as Tom Seaver won his 10th game. Ron Fairly of Montreal (3-4), acquired from the Dodgers in a trade for Maury Wills and Manny Mota, got a ninth-inning hit to beat the Padres and his first homer of the season. Billy Champion and Grant Jackson of Philadelphia (5-1) pitched shutouts against the Dodgers, and Rick Wise stopped the Padres on three hits. Midway through a radio interview, Richie Allen asked what he would be paid for his postgame appearance. When told he would get trading stamps, Allen said, "I don't give anyone an interview for trading stamps," and walked off. Later he explained, "There's only 40 minutes after the game until the bus leaves for the hotel. If I miss the bus, everybody says Richie Allen is in trouble again." It looked more and more like this would not be the year for St. Louis (3-2), where the latest omen could be the dry beer kegs caused by the Anheuser-Busch strike. Even more painful were the 14 losses in 21 games against the fifth-and sixth-place teams. Manager Red Schoendienst aroused his slumping hitters for batting practice at 7:30 one morning and then imposed an earlier curfew when on the road. Chicago (4-3) lengthened its Eastern lead to 8½ games as Reliever Phil Regan got two wins and a save. Don Kessinger set a major league single-season record for shortstops by extending his consecutive errorless games to 54. Cincinnati (3-4) batters went on a .331 splurge. Red pitchers, though, were hit broadside by opposing batters, who amassed 51 runs. Lee May hit three homers, one of which would have been a double last year before the Cardinals painted a yellow line on their scoreboard. Anything hit above it is now a homer. So far this season seven balls have gone over the line, and six of them have been hit by Reds. Henry Aaron of Atlanta (2-4) also had three homers, but his teammates had none and the Braves barely clung to first place in the West. Ed Spiezio of San Diego (1-5), who began the month with a .208 batting average, has been hitting close to .400 in June and last week topped things off with five home runs. Los Angeles (3-3) scored just seven runs but tight pitching by Don Sutton and Alan Foster, and a strong comeback by Don Drysdale, salvaged three wins. Although there was another league crackdown on spitballs, the umpires were not able to catch No. 1 suspect Gay lord Perry of San Francisco (4-2) Oblivious to it all, Perry ended the Met win streak at 11 games with a four-hitter. A frightening collision between Jesus Alou and Hector Torres of Houston (2-3) could have resulted in tragedy had it not been for fast work by Pittsburgh trainer Tony Bartirome and his Houston counterpart, Jim Ewell. They may well have saved Alou's life, prying his tongue from the back of his throat and inserting a rubber hose that permitted Alou to breathe normally again. Torres received only minor cuts, but Alou got a severe concussion and a broken jaw.
Standings—East: Chi 40-19, NY 30-26, Pitt 30-30, StL 28-31, Phil 23-32, Mont 15-41. West: Atl 34-24, LA 33-25, SF 33-25, Cin 29-25, Hou 29-33, SD 25-38.
June 22, 1969
After hitting his 20th home run, Rico Petrocelli of Boston (2-4) revealed the secret to his new-found slugging. "I'm faster and stronger with my hands," he explained. "Would you believe it's because of playing the drums? I played at least two hours every day last winter." Nondrummers Carl Yastrzemski and Joe LaHoud also homered, Yaz four times and LaHoud, an .083 nonhitter, three times, all in one game. Joe Azcue, angered by not playing, became the latest athlete to embark upon instant retirement. He quit the team, went home and then was traded to the Angels for Tom Satriano. Potent hitting by Frank Robinson (.421), Don Buford (.346), Dave Johnson (.381), Paul Blair (.367) and Boog Powell (.308) kept Baltimore (5-1) well in front in the East. Powell, who usually does not hit well in odd-numbered years, had three homers and proclaimed, "I'm out to mess up the statistics, but good." Dave Leonhard beat the clock and the White Sox, pitching three scoreless innings of relief and then catching a 2 a.m. flight from Chicago so he could be on time for a 7 a.m. date with the National Guard in Baltimore. The closest thing to 5 o'clock lightning in New York (2-4) was a heavy rain that helped the Yankees beat the Pilots 4-0 in five innings after having lost three of four one-run decisions. Washington (2-3) got a rare complete game—the sixth of the year for the staff—from Jim Shellenback, who made his first start since 1967. Joe Sparma of Detroit (4-1) shut out the Royals and Mickey Lolich struck out 16 Pilots in nine innings, then was lifted and watched the Tigers lose in the 10th. There were signs of revival in Cleveland (3-3). Dick Ellsworth pitched his first shutout of the season, Steve Hargan won his first game and Sam McDowell got his fourth win in a row. And 5'9" Ken Suarez came up from the minors and had four hits and five RBIs in two games against floundering Minnesota (2-4). Not even the speed of Harmon Killebrew, who legged out a triple and stole his fourth base of the year, could keep the Twins from sinking slowly in the West. Moving to the top was Oakland (5-1), which blitzed the Red Sox 21-7 and 13-5, and got prodigious hitting from Reggie Jackson (below). He batted .560, had six home runs and 19 RBIs. Rookie Managers Don Gutteridge of Chicago (2-5) and Lefty Phillips of California (2-2) chose different means of shaking up their teams and got only mixed results. Gutteridge benched Bill Melton and Walt Williams and demoted Carlos May from No. 3 to No. 8 in the lineup. May promptly got three hits and four RBIs and just as quickly moved back to No. 3—and went 0 for 7. Melton returned to the lineup and homered, but Williams went hitless. As for Phillips, he fined five players for missing a bedcheck. The chastened Angels beat the Orioles 7-5, then split two games with the Senators. Gene Brabender of Seattle (3-3) held off the Yankees 2-1 and the Pilots rallied for three runs in the ninth to win the next night 5-4. Manager Joe Gordon of Kansas City (2-3) could not decide during spring training who was his No. I catcher. Yankee Manager Ralph Houk offered to bet it would be Ellie Rodriguez, a former Yankee. So last week there was Rodriguez in Yankee Stadium hitting a three-run homer and a two-run single to make Houk a winning bettor but losing manager.
Standings—East: Bait 44-17, Bos 36-22, Det 31-23, Wash 31-32, NY 30-32, Clev 20-35. West: Oak 30-25, Minn 31-26, Sea 26-31, Chi 23-32, KC 24-34, Cal 19-36.
"I'm gonna hit three home runs in this ball park," said Reggie Jackson of the Oakland Athletics as he feasted his eyes on Boston's Fenway Park last week. Why the sinistral Jackson was so optimistic about batting in a righthander's haven defies explanation; what he did, though, almost defied the ages In Saturday's game he drove in 10 runs He began by doubling across one run in the first inning, then hit two-run homers in the third and fifth, batted in two runs with a seventh-inning single and three more in the eighth with a bloop single. Jackson's 10 RBIs fell one short of the American League record set in 1936 by Tony Lazzeri of the Yankees and two shy of the major league mark established in 1924 by Jim Bottomley of the Cardinals. A strikeout with the bases loaded in the sixth cost Jackson the record Ironically, a lack of strikeouts caused Jackson to miss another record last year His 171 strikeouts came within four of the alltime high set by Dave Nicholson of the White Sox in 1963 But the big record—Roger Mans' 61 asterisk homers—stands well within the reach of the big (6'2", 195 pounds) 23-year-old outfielder from Wyncote, Pa. Jackson, who followed up his big day with a double, triple, home run and four more RBIs the next afternoon, has 23 homers, one more than Babe Ruth at the same stage in 1927, and three more than Maris in 1961 Rico Petrocelli of the Red Sox and Willie McCovey of the Giants, with 20 and 21 homers, respectively, are right behind Petrocelli has a calcified elbow, McCovey an arthritic knee and Jackson, not to be outdone, football knees and an arthritic spine. If all three feel rotten enough, this should be some race for baseball's golden record.