Thursday, November 30, 2017

Braves In The Driver's Seat: 1956 NL Replay End Of August Report

The Braves notched the loop's best record in August and saw their lead expand from 2 games to 9 as Brooklyn suffered through a slump that saw them drop 7 in a row and 8 of 9 before righting the ship and closing the gap back to 6. 

Standings through August 31st, 1956:

MIL  82-48  ---  (best August record 20-11, best x-inn record 6-0)
BRK  75-53  6  
STL  72-57  9.5  (worst x-inn record 7-11)
CIN  72-58  10  (best 1-run record 25-15)
PHI  58-69  22.5
CHI  56-76  27
NY  54-74  27  (worst 1-run record 14-22, worst August record 10-19)
PIT  48-82  34

Team Reports (with August record)

MIL (20-11) Just about everything came up roses for the Beertown nine in August. Joe Adcock (42, 87,.287) was hot again like he was at the start of the season, blasting 11 homers in the month, though he drove in only 14. Eddie Mathews (23, 87.272) hit over .300 for the second month in a row, greatly improving over his tepid first half. Warren Spahn (19-9) failed in his bid to win 20 before month's end, as his personal 8-game winning streak came to a halt when he lost to Pittsburgh, but his e.r.a. remains almost half a run better than anyone else in the league. Several players who slumped badly in July were hot in August, such as Del Crandall (21, 65,.234) and even Danny O'Connell, who couldn't buy a hit last month but who hit over .300 this time.  The only Brave who didn't enjoy the late summer was Lew Burdette (15-7) who went 1-4 during the month.

BRK (15-14) Them Bums rolled into the month hitting the cover off the ball, then suddenly went to sleep and lost 7 straight and 8 of 9! They dropped to 9 games back, but regained some of that when they went into Milwaukee and swept two from the Braves. Don Newcombe (20-6) became the league's first 20-game winner and did it in style, tossing a no-hitter on the last day of the month! His victims were the cross-town Giants as the Polo grounds faithful looked on glumly. He won 9-0, fanning 9 and walking 3. It's the only no-no of the year, so far. Handsome Ransom Jackson (4, 33,.291) made his first appearance in the batting leaders since the end of April, following a torrid month. Not so torrid in the second half is Roy Campanella (9, 31,.168) who has been suffering through a horrible second half of either being injured or looking completely lost at the plate when he manages to stay on the field. Nonetheless, Walt Alston likes Campy in there just the same. By the way, does anyone know what ball park that is in the picture?

STL (18-12)  The Cardinals, obnoxiously healthy all year, suddenly went through a crazy avalanche of injuries, but took 11 of 12 from second division foes all the same.  Such lesser lights as Bobby Del Greco, Ray Katt and Rocky Nelson hit like they'd been burning it up all summer instead of riding the lonesome pine. The hot streak moved the Redbirds back into third place a hair ahead of the Reds. Even season-long punching bag Lindy McDaniel (5-6, 7 saves) complained of having been effective. 

CIN (15-15) The Reds drive your Impartial Goddess crazy. They can be explosive, but are woefully inconsistent. They can go wild, such as when Ed Bailey (28, 76,.302) poled 4 home runs against the Cubs at Wrigley on the 15th, but they can also go to sleep and lose games they ought to win. All the work the bullpen put in in July seemed to catch up with them in August. After notching an astounding 15 saves in July, Hersch Freeman only garnered three in August and saw his e.r.a. double, though it is still a stellar 1.37. Tom Acker (12-4, 1 save) got hit around more than usual,too, though he continued to swoop in for wins. Art "Mr. Six Innings" Fowler (14-6, 3.66) is now the top winner on the staff, because of Brooks Lawrence's winless month which saw his log fall off to 13-11 as he has dropped 5 decisions in a row.  The Reds staff failed to notch a complete game all month!

PHI (13-14) The Quakers had a funny month. They beat the bejabbers out of the haughty Dodgers, taking 5 straight from Brooklyn, and none of the games were even close. However, they had trouble beating anyone else. Robin Roberts (9-14, 3.09) and Curt Simmons (11-12, 2.89) pitched very well, but nobody else did. The Phils still have trouble putting runs together, despite the efforts of Richie Ashburn (.273 after a horrible first half) and Stan Lopata (20, 79,.269). Even Del Ennis is up to 15 HR now, after he couldn't buy one for the first two months of the season. However, Elmer Valo (8, 42,.285) has returned to earth after his crazy-good start with the club after being acquired from the American League. 

CHI (16-14) It was good times in Chicago as the Cubs posted their first winning month and climbed to the dizzy heights of 6th place!  Walt Moryn (22, 79,.271) is a fearsome presence in the Cubs line-up, and has little mercy on National League hurlers. Ernie Banks (19, 72,.267) knows it's me and he never does as well as he should in my replays, but he is still pretty decent. He even improved his defense, making only 1 error all month. Sad Sam Jones (7-10) twice fanned 12 during the month; that's a season high across the entire league.

NY (10-19) Just when the Giants seemed poised to do something at last, they fell on their faces. Willie Mays (24, 65, .272) sucked again in August, and if it weren't for the amazing over-achiever Hank Thompson (22, 73, .279), the Giants might never score at all.  They did get one unbelievable performance during the month, though. On August 5th at the Polo Grounds, Al Worthington (8-14, 4.66) not only went the distance in beating the Cubs; he also cracked a pair of homers--one of them a grand slam--and knocked in 7 runs! Way to go, Al!

PIT (10-18) What to say at this point about the Buccos? Despite placing 4th in the circuit in e.r.a. and 5th in batting average, they lag far behind all of their rivals in runs scored, having plated only 408. Also, they are a distant last in the league in fielding, with 110 errors. One bright spot is hurler Bob Friend (11-12, 2.21) who mowed down enemy batsmen with regularity. "Slugger" Frank Thomas (18, 70, .252) hit just a single round tripper all month. The Pirates stink, and that's all there is to say about them.

PITCHING (league era 3.63)
MIL 2.59 (most sho 22, most cg 56, least runs against 377, least HR 92, least K's 546)
BRK 3.28 
STL 3.65 
PIT 3.71 (least saves 10)
CIN 3.73 (most saves 37, tie least cg 21)
PHI 3.75 
CHI 4.05 (most runs against 607, most K's 724)
NY 4.31 (tie least cg 21,  most HR 123)

BATTING  (league ba .245)
STL .265 (most doubles 222, tie most triples 49, most runs 629)
CIN .256 (most HR 152, least triples 30)
BRK .254 
MIL .246 (least steals 9)
PIT .239 (least runs 408, tie least HR 84)
PHI .234 (least caught stealing 20, most GIDP 111, tie least HR 84)
CHI .233 (tie most triples 49, least doubles 143, least GIDP 77)
NY .227 (most steals 69)

FIELDING
Most errors--PIT 110
Least errros--BRK 62
Most DPs--PHI 126
Least DPs--PIT 91

LEADERS

ERA (127 IP) Spahn-mil 1.65, Burdette-mil 2.03, Newcombe-brk 2.05, Friend-pit 2.21, Dickson-stl 2.36, Craig-brk 2.37, Conley-mil 2.42, Rush-chi 2.56, Simmons-phi 2.89, Crone-mil 2.95

WINS Newcombe-brk 20-6, Spahn-mil 19-9, Conley-mil 16-5, Dickson-stl 15-6, Burdette-mil 15-7, Craig-brk 15-9

SHO Newcombe-brk 8, Spahn-mil 7 

LOSSES Kline-pit 7-16, 3 tied with 14

IP Spahn-mil 251.2, Newcombe-brk 250.1, Dickson-stl 229, Friend-pit 227.2

CG Newcombe-brk 20, Spahn-mil 19, Dickson-stl 17, 3 tied with 13

K'S Jones-chi 171, Spahn-mil 147, Haddix-phi 137, Friend-pit 136, Dickson-stl 129

SAVES Freeman-cin 33, Grissom-ny 25, Bessent-brk 19, Lown-chi 19, R.Miller-phi 15

BA (343 ab) Aaron-mil .323, Boyer-stl .319, Bailey-cin .302, Fondy-chi .292, Klu-cin .292, Jackson-brk 291, Moon-stl .289, Musial-stl .289, Adcock-mil .287, Snider-brk .283

HR Adcock-mil 42, Robinson-cin 32, Snider-brk 31, Bailey-cin 28, Mays-ny 24, Mathews-mil 23

RBI Snider-brk 96, Musial-stl 89, Aaron-mil 87, Adcock-mil 87, Boyer-stl 87, Hodges-brk 87, Mathews-mil 87 

RUNS Robinson-cin 94, Boyer-stl 90, Snider-brk 90, Moon-stl 89, Musial-stl 89

2B Aaron-mil 35, Robinson-cin 35, Jablonski-cin 34, Snider-brk 32, Hodges-brk 30, Lopata-phi 30

3B Bruton-mil 17, Musial-stl 13

STEALS Mays-ny 41, Gilliam-brk 31, Moon-stl 18, White-ny 16

HITS Aaron-mil 170, Boyer-stl 169

GIDP Jablonski-cin 19, Hemus-phi 18, Jones-phi 18, Musial-stl 18

ERRORS Groat-pit 37, Baker-chi 27, Banks-chi 24

See you next time for the Final Report! 99 games to go.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hodges & Snider Red Hot, But Braves Still On Top

Campy is there for ballast.
Gil Hodges and Duke Snider decided to get scorching hot at the same time, leading Brooklyn to 20 wins in 30 games in July, but they only gained half a game on the pitching-rich Braves. Meanwhile, the Phillies saw their pitching implode, and the Cardinals began to fade, though they are still within striking distance if they get hot again.

MIL  62-37  ---  (3-0 in extra innings)
BRK  60-39  2  (most shutouts 16, best July record 20-10)
CIN  57-43  5.5  (best 1-run record 20-13, 5-1 in extras)
STL  54-45  8  (worst in extras, 5-9)
PHI  45-55  17.5  (worst July record, 9-20)
NY  44-55  18  (worst 1-run record 11-17)
CHI  40-62  23.5
PIT  38-64  25.5  (blanked the most times, 18)

TEAM CAPSULES (with July record)

"We got this!"
MIL (20-11) The Braves just keep on rockin' thanks to their stellar moundsmen. Lew Burdette maintained his incredible 1.52 e.r.a. from last month, and the "Big Three" of Spahn, Burdette and Conley continue to mow down NL batters. They place 1st, 2nd and 4th in the league in e.r.a.  Eddie Mathews (15, 64, .260) hit over .300 for July with a boatload of rbi. Joe Adcock (31, 73, .301) hit just 4 homers in the month but cranked 10 doubles. Chuck Tanner was finally retired (twice!) to ruin his bid for a 1.000 batting average off the end of the bench. He's now 4-for-6. 

What a ballpark. Wish I could time travel and see a game there.
BRK (20-10) Them Bums were riding high, as Duke Snider (24, 72, .282) and Gil "Gill Man" Hodges (17, 72, .288) both decided to get crazy hot at the same time. Both hit well over .300 in July, and were over .400 together for quite a while. Duke finally faded, but Gil never did. Sandy Amoros (10, 44, .285) lacked just 14 ab's from making the top ten batters list, and drove home 18. Charlie Neal (.330) and Jackie Robinson (.311) continue to turn in fine seasons in reserve. Not participating in the Dodgers' block party was Roy Campanella, who hit under .100 (!) for the month with just one x-base hit and 2 rbi. He finally collapsed in a heap, clutching his dismal .175 batting average, and was replaced by Rube Walker (1, 11, .286) who did surprisingly well back of the dish and at the plate. 

The god-like Mr. Freeman, who did not surrender an earned run all month.
CIN (19-11) Reds skipper whoever-he-is finally grew disgusted with Wally Post (8, 30, .213) who did not drive in a run all month, though he scored 10, and demoted him to the short half of a left-right platoon with Bob Thurman (9, 32, .294) who went off. Thurman, along with the catching tandem of Ed Bailey (20, 53, .302) and the rejuvenated Smokey Burgess (4, 16, .242) carried the team all month. Big Klu (7, 43, .302) was a midget, hitting just 1 HR and driving in only 5 all month, though he did maintain his .300 batting average. "I choke up and just try to slap a single somewhere!" he crowed. Indeed, 80 of his 99 hits have been singles. Brooks Lawrence (13-7) won 4 games in July, and is 13-4 since starting 0-3 in April. But the big story was the bullpen tandem of Tom Acker (9-1, 2.77) and Hersch Freeman ( 0.68, 30 saves) who combined to save the bacon of many a starting pitcher. Freeman had 15 saves in July alone! It's an unofficial statistic in 1956, but because of Freeman's crazy season, I am going to include it now. 

Hal slowed down when Katt stole some of his parts.
STL (14-14)  The Redbirds muddled through a middling month and fell 8 games off the pace with three teams ahead of them. Surprisingly, their pitching improved. However, the rash of trades that decimated their supply of table setters came back to bite them. In the end, Rip Repulski (5, 36, .271) was tabbed as the lead-off man. Musial saw his average dip a bit, but he had mad power, and Boyer hit everything he saw, same as always. But overachieving backstop Hal "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that" Smith (6, 50, .345) hit only .250 in the month and lost ten games to injury. Ray Katt (2, 3, .177 as a Cardinal) wasn't much of a replacement. Ancient Yankee cast-off and former Phils star Jim Konstanty (4 saves, 2.00) took over as the head fireman after Lindy McDaniel (1-5, 4.82) repeatedly failed.

Stan seems adversely affected by his team's ineptitude. "I'm killing myself," he chirped.
PHI (9-20)  The Quakers, on the heels of their hot June, saw the wheels come off the pitching staff in July, adding a half a run to the team e.r.a. Injuries exacerbated the problem, with Larry, Curly and Moe tabbed as starters during the month. Basically, anybody with a pulse was thrown out there to be routinely battered and then sent to the showers in ignominy. Stan Lopata (16, 60, 260) continued to hit, though he missed a series with the Braves in which the Phils were swept, but Del Ennis (9, 47, .241) returned to earth. Formerly dependable Marv Blaylock (4, 31, .254) hit below the Mendoza line while mooning about his halcyon days among the batting leaders in the first half. Mid-season pick-up Elmer Valo (7, 35, .296) continued to hit, but he could not save the Good Ship Phillie from taking on water.  

Leon Czolgosz assassinating Daryl Spencer
NY (12-17) The Giants are last in the league in both batting average and e.r.a., and yet they are only a half game out of fifth place. How can this be? They do have 91 homers, but I still can't explain it. They aren't winning close ones, either. Willie Mays (20, 55, .276) hit a lusty .220 during July and was booed at the Polo Grounds for his apparent give-a-shit attitude. Injuries to both Hank Thompson (14, 49, .278) and Foster Castleman (4, 24, .231) left the Giants scrambling for a third baseman. Daryl Spencer (4, 21, .181) was inserted there, and rookie Eddie Bressoud (0, 1, .167) was obliged to pretend to play shortstop. When Spencer went down for a game after being assassinated by an anarchist, pinch hitting specialist Bobby Hofman (0, 1, .147) had to play third. Despite all of this, the Giants spent only one day in 7th place before rising back past the Cubs into 6th.

Sad Sam loses or gets a no-decision, then murders everyone.
CHI (12-20)  The Cubs. Who really cares? Dee "Snider" Fondy (2, 38, .294), Ernie Banks (14, 56, .266) and Walt Moryn (15, 55, .265) provide what offense the Cubs get, along with 2-month wonder Jim "Kingly Visage" King (8, 34, .292). But the baby bears have now been blanked 16 times, just two fewer than Pittsburgh. Since the Bucs have only put up a zero 4 times in the past two months, the Cubbies seem like a cinch to lead the league in this dubious category. Hurler Moe Drabowsky has 82 K's in 100 innings, but is only 5-6 with an e.r.a. in excess of four. Sad Sam Jones (4-9, 3.82) took over the league strikeout lead with 120, but it hasn't translated into W's. 

PIT (13-16) It's not all bad in Pittsburgh anymore. They are 5th in the league in both batting average and e.r.a., but they are still sadly last in runs scored. Frank Thomas (17, 62, .263) rode a late month rush to 21 rbi in July. Bill Virdon is at .308 since being shamelessly stolen from St. Louis. Bob Friend (8-10) is on the upswing, and the Buccos may yet get out of last place, especially if the Cubs continue to play like special needs orphans from some former Communist bloc country. Hank Foiles (4, 23, .250) swatted 10 doubles when handed the catching job. If Roberto Clemente (2, 32, .248) and Dale Long (12, 39, .212) ever get it in gear, the Pirates could enjoy a dollop of success before it's all over. "We'll win the World Series within 4 years!" crowed the team owner while doing window panes.

TEAM STATS & LEADER BOARD 

Pitching  (league era 3.60)
MIL  2.61 (most cg's 43, least K's 397, least runs against, 287)
BRK  3.19  
CIN  3.50  (most saves 32, least HR against 69)
STL  3.58  (tied for most HR against 91)
PIT  3.73  (least saves 8, tied for most HR against 91)
PHI  3.91  
CHI  4.06  (most runs against 464, most K's 557)
NY  4.18 (tied for most HR against 91,  least cg's 19)

Batting (league avg .243)
STL  .262 (most runs 467, most doubles 173)
BRK .257  
CIN  .255  (least triples 22)
MIL  .242  (Most HR 106, least steals 6)
PIT  .239 (least runs 323, most CS 27)
PHI  .233  (least HR 61, most GIDP 79, tied for least CS 16)
CHI  .230  (least doubles 106, most triples 43, least GIDP 55)
NY  .225  (most steals 58, tied for least CS 16)

Fielding
least errors--BRK 50
most errors--PIT 83
most DP's turned--PHI 96
least DP's turned PIT 72

ERA (99 ip): Burdette-mil 1.52, Spahn-mil 1.78, Newcombe-brk 2.14, Conley-mil 2.28, Dickson-stl 2.35, Craig-brk 2.39, Rush-chi 2.39, Friend-pit 2.40, Lawrence-cin 2.86, Simmons-phi 3.17

WINS: Newcombe-brk 15-5, Burdette-mil 14-3, Spahn-mil 14-8, Dickson-stl 13-4, Lawrence-cin 13-7, Conley-mil 12-4, Craig-brk 12-7

Losses: Roberts-phi 6-13, Kline-pit 6-12

K's: Jones-chi 120, Spahn-mil 118, Friend-pit 111, Haddix-phi 111, Antonelli-ny 102, Newcombe-brk 102, Dickson-stl 100

Saves (unofficial stat): Freeman-cin 30, Grissom-ny 20, Bessent-brk 15, Lown-chi 14

CG: Dickson-stl 14, Newcombe-brk 14, Spahn-mil 14, Burdette-mil 11, Conley-mil 10

SHO: Newcombe-brk 6, Craig-brk 5, Spahn-mil 5, Lawrence-cin 4

IP: Newcombe-brk 197.1, Spahn-mil 191.2, Dickson-stl 188, Friend-pit 179.2, Lawrence-cin 173, Rush-chi 169.1, Kline-pit 167.1, Antonelli-ny 165.2


HR: Adcock-mil 31, Robinson-cin 24, Snider-brk 24, Bailey-cin 20, Mays-ny 20, Musial-stl 18

RBI: Adcock-mil 73, Hodges-brk 72, Snider-brk 72, Musial-stl 71, Aaron-mil 67, Boyer-stl 65

AVG (267 ab): Aaron-mil .314, Boyer-stl .314, Bailey-cin .302, Klu-cin .302, Adcock-mil .301, Fondy-chi .294, Moon-stl .294, Hodges-brk .288, Musial-stl .287, Virdon-pit .284

Hits: Boyer-stl 128, Aaron-mil 125, Musial 115, Robinson-cin 111, Snider-brk 111

Runs: Snider-brk 70, Boyer-stl 68, Robinson-cin 68, Bell-cin 67, Musial-stl 67, Aaron-mil 66, Moon-stl 66

Doubles: Jablonski-cin 27, Robinson-cin 27, Hodges-brk 25, Aaron-mil 23, Boyer-stl 23, Lopata-phi  23, Snider-brk 23

Triples: Bruton-mil 12, Musial-stl 12

Steals: Mays-ny 37, Gilliam-brk 24, Moon-stl 14, Bell-cin 11, Robinson-brk 10, White-ny 10

GIDP: Musial-stl 14, Jones-phi 13, Snider-brk 13

Errors: Groat-pit 26, Banks-chi 23, Baker-chi 22

Gil "Gill Man" Hodges, outstanding player for July.
He scares opposing pitchers.

 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The All Star Game

NL Stars and the opposing Port Ruppert Mundys line up on the base lines.
My 1956 NL replay has reached the All-Star break! 

Standings at the break:

MIL  49-29  ---
BRK  47-31  2
STL  45-35  5
CIN  42-37  7.5
PHI  39-40  10.5
NY  35-44  14.5
CHI  31-49  19
PIT  29-52  21.5 

Come hear Uncle John's Band...
And now, without further fanfare...or, all right, WITH further fanfare, here are your 1956 National League replay All Stars:

P-Newcombe,brk  12-3  1.96
Craig,brk  10-6  2.72
Spahn,mil  11-7  1.77
Burdette,mil  11-2  1.54
Conley,mil  10-4  2.17
Dickson,stl  11-3  2.24
Grissom,ny  2-2  1.69
Freeman,cin  1-1  0.90

C-Bailey,cin  17,46,.306
Smith,stl  5,47,.363
Lopata,phi  12,48,.243

1B-Adcock,mil  27,60,.304
Musial,stl  11,52,.292
Hodges,brk  13,54,.288

2B-Gilliam,brk  1,24,.262
Schoendienst,ny  1,17,.276

3B-Boyer,stl  8,50,.299
Mathews,mil  13,49,.260

SS-Banks,chi  10,44,.268
McMillan,cin  5,35,.285

OF-Snider,brk  20,61,.280
F.Robinson,cin  20,42,.293
Mays,ny  18,46,.295
Aaron,mil  9,40,.292
Moon,stl  10,40,.302
Walls,pit  8,40,.263

Fenway eat your heart out.
And now, meet the Port Ruppert Mundys. The Mundys are from the soon-to-be defunct Patriot League. Their home park was dismantled for war materials, and so today's game is being held at Griffith Stadium, Washington DC. The Mundys are considered the home team, even though they're homeless. All players are original to Philip Roth's "The Great American Novel" except where noted.


King Kelley, looking a lot like Ray Milland.
P--Vernon "King" Kelly (STL) His pitches seem to magically avoid anything made of wood...like bats.


Henry Wiggen (NY Mammoths) Wiggen is the star pitcher of the New York Mammoths in the movie (and novel) "Bang The Drum Slowly." He has had his contract tied to that of catcher Bruce Pearson.

Gil "Sidewinder" Gamish. The player-manager recently returned from Russia where he had been serving out his suspension for intentionally throwing at an umpire. The only Babylonian-American ever to play in the majors.

Chico Mecoatl. A Mexican League reject picked up by the Mundys.

Methuselah "Pops" Jerrasick. (FA) Oldest player on the team. Fastball tops out at 75.

Art Ritus (FA) Sore-armed free agent signing. Went 23-4 as a rookie, 2-17 in the five years since.

Gog and Magog. A relief tandem.

Blaise "Kerosene" Incendiari. (FA) The Mundys' closer, though he has been ineffective. Rumored to have mob ties.

C-"Hothead" Ptah. The peg-legged catcher.

Bruce Pearson. (NY Mammoths) A journeyman catcher, Bruce is dying but only Henry Wiggen knows it.

Piney Woods. (NY Mammoths) Piney is a rookie phenom who can't figure out why they don't give him Pearson's playing time.

1B-John Baal. "The Babe Ruth of the Big House" led the Correctional League in home runs while serving time at Sing Sing. Claims never to have hit a home run sober. 

2B-Nickname Damur. The team's 14 year old second sacker. He was the only one on the team with no nickname, and so...

3B-Wayne "Kid" Heket. 52 years old and still holding on.

SS- Frenchy "Unlucky" Asterte.  French Canadian reject from the Japanese League.

UT- Jesus "Taco" Martinez. (FA) The obligatory Latin shortstop/pinch runner.

OF--Roy "The Natural" Hobbs. (New York Knights) You know who he is.

Roland Agni. 19 year old rookie sensation. He suspects something is fishy with the Mundys. Watch your back, Roland.

Mike "The Ghost" Rama. Fastest runner on the team. Center fielder.

"Lonesome" Luke. Loves triples.

Bud Parusha. The team's one-armed reserve flyhawk.

All players on both teams are wearing a "DR" arm patch in honor of Universal Baseball Association star Damon Rutherford, tragically killed by a pitched ball in Season 56.


Play ball!
THE GAME.

1st inning: Wiggen stops the NL on 1 hit, a single by Gilliam. Burdette allows only a 2-out walk to Roland Agni. 0-0.

2nd inning: Adcock greets Wiggen with a triple. Boyer fans, but Banks singles in Adcock. 1-0 NL. John Baal leads off the home half with a booming home run, then weaves uncertainly around the bases. 1-1.

3rd inning: The NL adds another off of Wiggen when Adcock singles in Gilliam. Mundys down in order. 2-1 NL.

4th inning: Wiggen gives up a lead-off double to Banks, followed by a walk to Ed Bailey. Stan Musial pinch hits for Burdette and slams a three run jack to chase Wiggen and make it a 5-1 game. Gilliam collects his third hit, steals second, and scores on a single by Mays. A lead-off HR by Agni gets one back for the Mundys. 6-2 NL.

5th inning: Gog on the mound for Port Ruppert. The NL stars plate 6 runs, capped by a grand slam off the bat of Duke Snider. Magog comes on to retire pinch hitter Lee Walls. 12-2 NL.

6th inning: King Kelly retires the NL in order. Newcombe is victimized by a Gilliam error and two sac flies. 12-4 NL.

7th inning: No scoring

8th inning: No scoring

9th inning: Kelley completes four perfect innings of relief. Lonesome Luke leads off the bottom of the 9th with a pinch-hit triple (of course!). Two batters later, he scores when Grissom allows a sac fly off the bat of Nickname Damur. Final score: NL Stars 12, Port Ruppert Mundys 5.

NL  011 460 000--12 13 1
PR  010 102 001---5  7  0

Robinson, LF  4 1 1 0
Gilliam, 2B  3 3 3 0
Mays, CF  4 1 1 2
Snider,RF  4 1 1 4
Adcock,1B  3 1 2 1
Boyer, 3B  3 0 0 0
Banks, SS  5 2 3 1 
Bailey, C  4 1 0 0
Burdette, P  1 0 0 0
Musial, ph, 1B  3 2 2 4
Walls, ph  1 0 0 0
Moon, LF  1 0 0 0
Mathews, 3B  2 0 0 0
S'dienst, 2B  1 0 0 0
Aaron, ph  1 0 0 0

E-Gilliam 2B-Banks 2 3B-Adcock HR-Musial, Snider SB-Gilliam

Burdette (W) 3ip, 1h, 1r, 1er, 0 k, 1 w
Dickson  1ip, 3h, 1r 1er, 0 k, 0 w
Newcombe  2ip, 1h, 2r, 0er, 2 k, 2 w
Freeman  1ip, 1h, 0r, 0er, 0 k, 1 w
Grissom  2ip, 1h, 1r, 1er, 0 k, 0 w


Rama, CF  4 0 0 0
Damur, 2B  4 0 1 1
Agni, LF  4 1 1 1 
Hobbs, RF  3 1 0 0
Baal,1B  4 2 3 1 
Heket, 3B  4 0 1 0
Asterte, SS  3 0 0 1
Ptah, C  2 0 0 1
Wiggen, P  1 0 0 0
Woods, ph  1 0 0 0
Kelley, P  1 0 0 0
Luke, ph  1 1 1 0

3B-Luke  HR-Baal, Agni  GIDP-Asterte  SF-Asterte, Ptah, Damur

Wiggen (L)  3+ip, 7h, 5r, 5er, 2 k, 2 w
Gog  1.2ip, 6h, 7r, 7er, 0 k, 2 w
Magog  0.1ip, 0h, 0r, 0er, 0 k, 0 w
Kelley  4ip, 0h, 0r, 0er, 2 k, 0 w

This was a lot of fun.
 


 

Friday, September 29, 2017

We Have A Winner!

Ermagerd! We have a winner! As those few haggard and heavily medicated souls who keep tabs on my replays know, the last position player--on a roster from opening day--to not have a hit wins the coveted (?) Paul Schaal Award. The award is so named because, in my very first Cadaco All-Star Baseball spinner league, Paul Schaal was that guy. Don't be that guy! (But someone always is. Someone always must be!)

On July 1st, 1956, the New York Giants played the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field. The race for the PSA was down to two contestants: George Wilson of NY and Gino Cimoli of Brooklyn. As the Giants pounded Pirate pitching for four home runs (Mays 16, White 13, Thompson 13, Rhodes 3) and sprinted out to a big lead behind their ace Johnny Antonelli, the rest of the story was that NY outfielders were getting scarce. Brandt batted once before getting injured for 6 games. Then Mueller got tossed by plate umpire "Hell" Enkeller for beefing about a called third strike. With Dusty Rhodes already in the game in place of Brandt, the choice was between Lennon and Wilson. Seeing that Lennon was still in bed with Yoko, Giants skipper Bill Rigney gave the nod to George Wilson. His second trip to the plate, with two runners on, George muscled a long drive to the far depths of spacious Forbes Field. He didn't stop until he was standing on third base with a triple and two rbi! You can see the look of wild excitement on his face:
The fact that George never hit a triple in his entire--albeit brief and unheralded--career does not diminish his moment of glory! He got his hit off of the Orsino Board, the potential inside the park HR. "If only I hadn't stopped for sandwiches," lamented George, "I might have gone all the way!"

And so, the Paul Schaal Award for 1956 NL goes to Gino "Not Ready For Prime Time" Cimoli, a raw kid who has only had two official at bats so far, draped in failure though they may have been.  Congratulations, Gino! Kind of.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Newcombe Rules The Mound (But The Braves Are Still In 1st) : 1956 NL End of June Report

Don Newcombe was silly good for Brooklyn in June, with two 2-hitters and a 1-hitter. His no-hitter into the 9th at Milwaukee was broken up but what a month Don (12-3) had!

The standings:

TEAM W-L GB 
MIL  42-26  --- 
BRK  40-29  2.5  (tied for least times shut out, 3)
STL  40-31  3.5  (best 1-run record 13-7, tied for least times shut out, 3)
CIN  38-32  5  (best x-inn record, 5-0)
PHI  36-35  7.5  (best June record, 19-12)
NY  32-38  11 
CHI  28-42  15  
PIT  25-48  19.5  (worst June record, 10-19. Worst 1-run record, 8-14. Most times blanked, 16.)

TEAM CAPSULES, with June record.

MIL (13-15) The offense, good in April and lousy since, slipped to 7th in the league, barely ahead of sad-sack Chicago. However, the Braves do lead the league in home runs, and that, combined with their stellar pitching, has them still clinging to the lead. Bob Buhl had a rough month, seeing his e.r.a. jump from 2.70 to 4.53, but the big three of Spahn, Burdette and Conley rolled on. Home run hitting machine Joe Adcock hit 7 more in May, giving him 27. However, it was Eddie Mathews who led the Wisconsinites in rbi for the month, with a cool 21. Flyhawk Andy Pafko, hitting .368 in limited duty, will begin platooning with disappointing Billy Bruton (.187) in center. Here's an oddity: Chuck Tanner, babbling something about wanting to manage the Pirates and White Sox, is still perfect, at 4-for4!

The defending World Champs don't want to talk about sharing.
BRK (13-14) Like the Braves, the offense was spotty. If Snider (16, 50, .252) and Hodges (11, 42, .262)  didn't do it, it didn't get done. Carl Furillo (.276, 16 doubles) failed to hit a homer all month. Jackie Robinson is still hitting .315, but lacks a few at bats from qualifying for the leader board. Gino Cimoli (0-for-2) remains locked in mortal combat with George Wilson of the Giants for the coveted Paul Schaal Award. Pee Wee Reese (.268) can't seem to stay on the field. "I'm old," he revealed under questioning.

Free installation!
STL (17-11) The Redbirds made a big move in June, both in the standings and on the trade scene. They moved past the Reds into third place, and even briefly passed the Dodgers into second before falling back. The big trade was with the Giants: basically old stalwart Red Schendienst (.255) and kid flyhawk Jackie Brandt (.238) for shortstop Al Dark and picket Whitey Lockman. A pair of pitchers and catchers also changed addresses. Dark (.302) and Lockman (.294) seem to like it in St. Louis, and now Frank "Trader" Lane can realize his beautiful dream of installing Don Blasingame (.236) at second base, though no one sees why. If the Cardinals can get any pitching besides relic Murry Dickson (7-2, 2.57 w/ Stl) to go along with their crazy gap hitting, the Cards may be a factor. We'll see. 

"What are these 'saves' you speak of, person from the future?"
CIN (12-17) Things went sideways for the Reds in June. After posting a fine 20-9 mark in May and blasting the ball like nut cases, the Reds settled in for a 4-week snooze at the plate in June, only awakening at month's end and remembering how to hit home runs. They have 70 in 70 games--good, but not good enough if they want to win this thing. They aren't going to get there on their pitching, though Herschel Freeman saves what he can. He did not give up an earned run all month and his e.r.a. sits at a nifty 1.09! "Saves? What are saves?" he inquired. Wally Post (8, 30, .225) went so cold that Bob Thurman began getting all the starts in right against right-handers. Big Klu still leads the circuit in hitting, but he stopped even slapping out singles for the most part, and came into the last week of June with just 3 HR all season! He went yard in three straight contests at month's end to double his total, but he just has to wake up for real. The bench is no help. Smokey Burgess (1, 8, .140) and George Crowe (1, 6, .117) have been invisible.

"Omg. Imma explode now, dude."
PHI (19-12)  Good times in the City of Brotherly Love! The acquistion of right fielder Elmer Valo (2, 16, .306) from the American League seems to have sparked the Quakers. He is certainly an upgrade from silly Jim Greengrass (1, 10, .242). "Fire that clerk who delayed the trade for 2 weeks!" came the cry. Even though Stan Lopata (11, 42, .243) poled but a single home run in June, Del "The Black Hole" Ennis went supernova all of a sudden and hit everything in sight! He raised his average from .188 to .255 and sprayed x-base hits all over creation. "It was time," he opined. 

"Trade 'em all!" crows Horace Stoneham.
NYG (15-11) As soon as the Giants quit laughing over dumping Whitey Lockman (1, 7, .217) and Alvin Dark (9 errors) on the Cardinals for Red Schoendienst (.390 post-trade) and Jackie Brandt (.333, ditto), they couldn't wait to run onto the field and see how Willie Mays would do with actual men on the bases! But the devil fools with the best laid plans, and 2, 8, .240 from Willie in June wasn't what they had envisioned. Luckily for them, Hank Thompson (12, 42, .291) went nutty and drove in over 20 runs in the month. In any event, there is no denying that the post-trade Giants look a whole lot more competitive than the sad sack edition from before. And don't forget George Wilson (0-for-4) and his knightly quest to outlast Gino Cimoli! "Hitting isn't nice," he reported to assembled grade school teachers.

The Mighty Moron, straddling the earth like a god.
CHI (14-14)  For a month, at least, the baby bears attained mediocrity! Like all the bottom feeders, their team average rose quite a bit in June, and stopper Turk Lown (1.77) nailed down whatever he was handed all month. Walt Moryn (11, 40, .275)  lost his mind, and Ernie "Sesame Street" Banks finally woke up and hit well over .300 for the month, powering a Cub rejuvenation. Even Jim "From A Jack To A" King  raised his batting mark to .271. 

The Good Shepard entertains kids while recuperating.
PIT (10-19) The Buccos started hitting in June! After being blanked 14 times by the end of May, it only happened twice in June. Bill Virdon (.335 as a Pirate), Dick Groat (.267) and Lee Walls (.275) led the charge. Unfortunately, their pitching, which had been pretty good before, took a dive, and the Corsairs remained the league's doormat. It's just that now they lose 9-7 instead of 1-0. Reserve infielder Johnny O'Brien made his mound debut, and though he gave up one run in one inning of work, the Pirates rallied and he got the win! Catcher Jack "The Good" Shepard broke his neck while trampolining, and was replaced by Hank Foiles, who cranked a pair of 3-run bombs while handling the catching duties. 

PITCHING
MIL 2.46  (Most cg's, 30. Least runs against, 190. Least K's, 287.)
BRK 3.15
PHI 3.38 
CIN 3.48 (tie for least HR against, 45.)
PIT 3.83 
STL 3.85 (most HR against, 71)
NY 3.96 (most K's, 373. Tie for least cg's, 12.)
CHI 4.15 (Tie for least HR against, 45. Tie for least cg's, 12. Most runs allowed, 327.)

HITTING
STL .267 (Most doubles, 127. Most runs, 332.)
CIN .261 (Most GIDP, 58.)
BRK .246 
PIT .237 (Least runs, 236. Most caught stealing, 20.)
PHI .236 (Least HR, 42. Least caught stealing, 9.)
NY .233 (Least triples, 13. Most steals, 44.)
MIL .228 (Most HR, 79. Least doubles, 72. Least steals, 5.)
CHI .227 (Most triples, 35. Least GIDP, 33.)

FIELDING: Least errors: BRK 35. Most, PIT 60. Most DP's turned, PHI 72. Least, BRK and MIL 52 each. 

WINS: Newcombe-brk 12-3, Burdette-mil 10-2, Dickson-stl 10-3, Spahn-mil 10-6, Lawrence-cin 9-6.

ERA (68ip): Burdette-mil 1.52, Spahn-mil 1.52, Newcombe-brk 1.81, Conley-mil 2.03, Dickson-stl 2.40, Friend-pit 2.60, Rush-chi 2.69, Lawrence-cin 2.71, Craig-brk 2.85, Simmons-phi 2.90

Losses: Kaiser-chi 3-10, Friend-pit 4-9, Roberts-phi 5-9, Kline-pit 6-9

SHO: Newcombe-brk 5, Spahn-mil 5, 5 tied with 3

K's: Spahn-mil 93, Jones-chi 84, Friend-pit 79, Haddix-phi 79, Antonelli-ny 73, Newcombe-brk 73

IP: Newcombe-brk 144.1, Spahn-mil 142, Dickson-stl 135, Friend-pit 131.2

CG: Newcombe-brk 11, Spahn-mil 11, Dickson-stl 10, Burdette-mil 8

HR: Adcock-mil 27, Robinson-cin 18, Snider-brk 16, Mays-ny 15, Crandall-mil 14, Bailey-cin 13

RBI: Adcock-mil 58, Snider-brk 50, Musial-stl 49, Boyer-stl 45, Hodges-brk 42, Lopata-phi 42, Thompson-ny 42

AVG (184 ab): Kluzsewski-cin .319, Adcock-mil .311, Boyer-stl .305, Robinson-cin .305, Aaron-mil .300, McMillan-cin .300, Musial-stl .300, Mays-ny .299, Moon-stl .299, Bailey-cin 292, Fondy-chi .292

RUNS: Bell-cin 48, Musial-stl 47, Boyer-stl 46, Robinson-cin 46, Aaron-mil 43, Adcock-mil 43, Moon-stl 43

2B: Jablonski-cin 22, Boyer-stl 19, Musial-stl 19, Snider-brk 18

3B: Bruton-mil 8, Musial-stl 8, Whisenant-chi 7

SB: Mays-ny 26, Gilliam-brk 16, Bell-cin 11, Robinson-brk 10, White-ny 9

GIDP: Jones-phi 11, Jablonski-cin 10, Bell-cin 9, Campanella-brk 9, Musial-stl 9

ERR: Banks-chi 17, Groat-pit 16, Blasingame-stl 15

Goodbye for now from your Impartial Goddess wearing her Braves cap.

 
 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Reasons Why Jim Price Needs To Be Bludgeoned With A Hammer

The Detroit Tigers' radio color commentator is, and has been for many years, Jim Price, a former reserve catcher who played (a little) on the 1968 champions. He kept the ball from rolling to the screen when all-star receiver Bill Freehan needed a day off.  However, for lo these past twenty years, he has been making Tigers radio broadcasts unlistenable. Really, do yourself a favor and have a friend drive a railroad spike through your head, rather than subjecting yourself to Price's inane remarks.

Here is a list of why Price needs to be bludgeoned with a heavy object:

  1. "Nice area, great folks!" Price says this about every area that comes up. Upon learning that the opposing team's interim third base coach hails from Slag Heap, Michigan, Price will invariably chirp, with Jaycee-like enthusiasm, "Nice area, great folks!"  in hopes of one day receiving complimentary tickets to the annual Slag Heap Nuclear Fall-Out Festival. At this point, Price seems to think this phrase is a charming personal trademark. Blatant, indiscriminate sucking up isn't that charming.
  2. "He really put the buggy whip on that one!"  When any Tigers batter hits any ball hard, at any time, Price trots out this tired old chestnut of his. It only makes me want to take a buggy whip to him
  3. "Wow!" This one is reserved for things that happen that amaze Jim Price, and that he does not wish to share with the radio audience. "Wow!" is normally followed by a long silence during which the frustrated listener will normally be screaming "Wow WHAT!?" at their innocent radio. This leads us to
  4. "You can see that he might have been safe on that play." No, Jim, we can't see anything because this is radio. We can't see the replay that you are obviously watching.  Please describe what happened. Des-cribe. Deeeeescriiiiiiibe. Oh, forget it.
  5. "That's the art of pitching, folks!" See "buggy whip" except for pitching.
  6. Yellow Hammer. In the bizarre world of Jim Price, curve balls are "yellow hammers." In case you missed it the first four thousand times he recounted it, he and former Tiger Pat Dobson supposedly came up with the term in the late 60's. So, unfortunately, a yellow hammer isn't something you can stave in his stupid skull with.
  7. Catcher ego trips. According to Jim Price, catchers run the game, figure all the angles, eat all the sandwiches, and sing Yankee Doodle while jumping through flaming hoops riding on the backs of giant, winged hippopotami.  
  8. Jim Price, hero of 1968. Although Price was probably an adequate back-up catcher, that's all he was. To hear him rattle on...and on...and on about it, however, one is left wondering how he is not enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame with his own special wing.  Too bad he is not aboard an airplane, at great height, with no wings.
  9. His friendships with notables. Price is constantly recounting his recent encounter with his good friend Al Kaline, or Boog Powell, or John Glenn, or Abraham Lincoln, or Jesus Horatio Christ on a hand car. He taught Mariano Rivera his signature pitch while playing catch. Babe Ruth to slug homers and eat hot dogs. The sun to rise and the world to revolve around it. Moreover, these notables always "look great!", even the alcohol-ravaged wrecks who weigh 92 or 455 pounds and get around on Amigos.
 And I didn't even mention Zuber Buick Jack's Place For Kids Faygo The Party Pop For Over A Hundred Years and all that, stuff he is presumably required to say. So, please Grasshopper, if you meet Jim Price on the road....well, you know what to do. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

1956 NL APBA Replay, End Of May Report !

Joe went yard 16 times in May!
May is over in the happy alternate universe of my 1956 National League replay. Joe Adcock set (or tied... can't find what the record was in 1956, but I know he at least tied it) the NL mark for home runs in a month with a whopping 16 long balls! Go, Joe!

The standings through May 31st, 1956: 

MIL  29-11  ---
BRK 27-15  3
CIN  26-15  3.5
STL  23-20  7.5
PHI  17-23  12
NYG 17-27  14
PIT  15-29  16
CHI  14-28  16

Best teams in May: MIL 20-8, CIN 20-9
Worst: NYG 9-21 despite winning their last three.

PITCHING
MIL 1.80 (most cg 19, least RA 89, least HR 24)
BRK 3.24
PIT 3.48
PHI 3.49 (least K's 163)
CIN 3.55 
NYG 3.91 (tied most K's 222)
STL 4.08 (tied most K's 222, most HR 44)
CHI 4.63 (least cg 7, most RA 209) 

BATTING
CIN .283 (most runs 224)
BRK .259 (most doubles 76, most steals 23, most GIDP 35)
STL .258 
MIL .229 (most HR 52, least CS 5)
PHI .228 (least HR 23)
PIT .223 (least runs 120, least steals 1, most CS 14)
NYG .218 (least triples 6)
CHI .218 (least doubles 36, most triples 18, least GIDP 17) 

FIELDING
Fielding has been superb league-wide; not sure why except that there are very few "1" starting outfielders, and most of the pitchers are "2." STL and BRK have the least errors with 23, but four teams also have less than 30, NY has 31 and PIT has the most at 36. STL and CHI have turned the most DP's with 39, and BRK the least with 28. 

The TEAMS

MIL--Two things have the Braves in first place: their unbelievably good pitching, and the power bat of Joe Adcock. Apart from him, the team didn't hit well in May, with Aaron disappearing from the batting leaders (leader board to follow team reports) and dipping below .300 at .297. Del Crandall vanished as well, slumping and also spending some time on the shelf with an injury. Del "Rice Is Nice" Rice just isn't the same. Billy Bruton suffered through an awful month, seeing his average settle at a horrible .156 for the season. In May, he scored only 2 runs and has 9 for the season, batting lead-off! Andy Pafko (.318 in 44 ab's) will be seeing starts in center against lefties starting in June. Eddie Mathews (5, 17, .228) Johnny Logan (.230) and Bobby Thomson (4,10,.188) just aren't doing enough. But the pitching is sublime! Only one pitcher--Ray Crone, at 4.50--has an e.r.a. above 2.92! 

He's didn't get there for getting doubled up!
BRK--The Bums have been nagged with injuries to some of their second-tier players, and in some ways are showing the team's age, but still and all, they are one tough bunch. Don Newcombe has fireballed his way to an 8-1 log, while Don Bessent (2-2 0.92) has put out any fires that arise. Jackie Robinson fell just 4 at bats short of qualifying for the leaders with his stellar .337 average to go with being 7 out of 9 in steals. They have needed Jackie due to injuries to third sacker Ransom Jackson (.282) and flyhawk Sandy Amoros (.261) who faded in May after his excellent April. Reserve Dick Williams (2,5,.319) made the GIDP leaders despite only having 47 ab's! He keeps muttering something about wanting to manage.

Klu is dreaming of a 16-hopper through the infield!
CIN--After an uninspiring 6-6 April, the Redlegs exploded in May! Frank Robinson went from .209 to .340, and wore out NL pitching with his extra base power. Big Klu continues to lead the league in BA at  a gaudy .382 despite having only 2 homers all year. "I'm a slap hitter!" he crowed. Speaking of, his caddy Big George Crowe went 0-for-17 for the month and is hitting .071 with no homers. After George ate some bad bird seed, and Klu fell off an embankment, Stan Palys had to play first base for a few games and responded with 1,7 and .286. Even shortstop Roy McMillan went insane, lifting his average to a nifty .333 with 26 runs and 23 rbi from the 8th spot. The Rhinelanders smoked the league with a 20-8 record. Let's see if they can continue their winning ways. Klu coming back on June 1st should only make them scarier.

The man with the total 1950s baseball name.
STL--Like scoring? This is your team. The Redbirds have scored 195 runs and surrendered 188 so far. Let's start with the pitching staff, which except for acquisition Murry Dickson (3-2 2.92 as a Card) is in complete disarray. Already, nine different chuckers have toed the slab for St. Louis, and they join the sad-sack Cubs as the only staffs with ERA's above 4. When your "ace" is Tom Poholsky (5-4 3.54) it will be a long season. The Cards have a triple threat in the middle of the order, consisting of Ken Boyer (7,35,.318), Stan Musial (8,32,.304) and Wally Moon (7,19,.289) who have accounted for all but 7 of the team's homers so far.  Catcher "Cura" Smith has been limited to 61 ab's due to injury, but he boasts 2, 17, and .426! On the down side, All Name Team captain Rip Repulski languishes with 1, 10, and .195.

"Field goal!"
PHI--The league has divided neatly into the haves and the have nots. Now we begin with the nots. The Phillies are not a terrible team, and would be a lot better if Del "The Black Hole" Ennis would improve upon his 2, 12, and .188 stinko numbers. Stan Lopata (10 homers) and Granville "Granny" Hamner (29 rbi) have tried. First sacker Blaylock went insane in May, raising his average to a salutary .312, but with only 13 rbi. These Quakers just don't score. Lead-off man Richie Ashburn, coming off a dreadful .149 April, got as far as .216 for the season in May, but that's still not nearly enough. Of course, handing half their rotation to St. Louis didn't help. Skipper Mayo Smith babbles that he dreamed he won the World Series. Yeah sure, Mayo, what ever you say! 

"I am made of cardboard but i KNOW if you try to bat me lead-off!"
NYG--the Giants placed a very respectable third in April, but the wheels came off in May as they dropped 21 of 27 before sweeping three at Pittsburgh to end the month. Bill White, the scourge of the National League in April, dropped off the map in May. Hank Thompson (6,21, .279) took the first two weeks off, though his body kept going up to bat without him, before waking up in the latter half of the month. New York has no one to get on base in front of Willie Mays. Mueller (.207) and Lockman (.208) aren't getting on base and have zero power. Alvin "Yes, Dave?" Dark (0,10,.271) hits well lower in the order, but goes poof when placed at lead-off. Ace pinch hitter Dusty Rhodes suffered through a godawful 2-for-34 month, leaving him at .085. At one point, the team sank to the cellar, but when they beat the Buccos they rose back to the giddy heights of 6th place. Whee.  

Red Munger. He may be dead, from the looks of him.
PIT--Grr. The league has seen a spate of shutouts, and here is the main offender, having been blanked an incredible 14 times in 44 games. There were 21 shutouts in 50 games in April (!), but then the rate slowed to 21 of 118 games in May, no thanks to these punchless pikers. Frank Thomas (7,25,.248) doesn't show up half the time and Lee Walls (.276, 16 x-base hits) is their only other competent hitter. Dale Long set a record in real life for consecutive home runs in 1956, but for me he "boasts" 4, 15, and .238. Roberto Clemente (.230) and Bill Mazeroski (.168) aren't ready for prime time, evidently. It's too bad, because the pitching has been very good. Ancient "Red" Munger (2-4), salvaged from the Pacific Coast League, even took a no-hit bid into the 8th inning against Philadelphia before imploding. But this team just does anything it can to avoid scoring. They run into outs, bang into double plays, get tossed out stealing (1 of 15 in steal attempts.). I hate them. At least they suckered the Cardinals into taking Bobby Del Greco (.169 with PIT) for Bill Virdon (.250 since coming over).

"Watch me almost hit .300!"
CHI--The Cubs have the worst pitching, by far, to this point. Emblematic of their system-wide failure is "bonus baby" Don Kaiser, owner of an 0-8 log to go with a 6.04 e.r.a. Don began the season as the number two starter! Then he was banished to the pen, but necessity required that he start again. He lost, of course. But what about Ernie Banks? You know, Mister Cub, "Let's play two!" He's hitting .230 with 4 homers, and is tied for the league lead with 10 errors. The one bright spot was first sacker and spray hitter Dee Fondy, who lit it up in May and raised his average to .299.  He even played one game in left field when the team ran short of pickets. I wonder if he can pitch?

LEADERS

WINS: Newcombe-brk 8-1, Spahn-mil 7-4, 5 tied with 6.

ERA: Spahn-mil 1.06, Burdette-mil 1.11, Conley-mil 1.99, Newcombe-brk 2.08, Kline-pit 2.17, Friend-pit 2.21, Dickson-stl 2.46, Klippstein-cin 2.59, Buhl-mil 2.70, Margoneri-ny 2.83

IP: Spahn-mil 93, Newcombe-brk 91, Dickson-stl 84, Friend-pit 81.1, Rush-chi 79

CG: Spahn-mil 8, Dickson-stl 6, Burdette-mil 5,  Newcombe-brk 5

LOSSES: Kaiser-chi 0-8, Roberts-phi 2-8

K's: Spahn-mil 66, Jones-chi 49, Haddix-phi 46, Newcombe-brk 46, Antonelli-ny 45, Dickson-stl 45

SHO: Spahn-mil 4, Burdette-mil 3

AVG: Kluszewski-cin .382, Robinson-cin .340, Mays-ny .355, Adcock-mil .333, McMillan-cin .333, Boyer-stl 318, Blaylock-phi .312, Musial-stl .304, Bailey-cin .303, Fondy-chi 299

HR: Adcock-mil 20, Robinson-cin 14, Mays-ny 13, Snider-brk 11, Lopata-phi 10, Crandall-mil 9

RBI: Adcock-mil 38, Boyer-stl 35, Musial-stl 32, Snider-brk 31, Lopata-phi 30, Mays-ny 30

RUNS: Bell-cin 33, Robinson-cin 33, Musial-stl 32, Adcock-mil 30 

2B: Jablonski-cin 16, Boyer-stl 12, Robinson-cin 12, Snider-brk 12

3B: Banks-chi 5, Post-cin 5

SB: Mays-ny 15, Gilliam-brk 8, Bell-cin 7, Robinson-brk 7

GIDP: Jablonski-cin 7, Bell-cin 6, Jones-phi 6, Williams-brk 6

ERRORS: Banks-chi 10, Blasingame-stl 10

Paul Schaal Award "hopefuls": (The PS Award goes to the last position player with a team from opening day to not have a hit.) Cimoli-brk 0-for-1, Gorbous-phi 0-6, Wilson-ny 0-1, Kindall-chi 0-5. Wilson will be traded to the AL eventually. If the award is not yet "won" by then, he will be disqualified.

See you in June!