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BASEBALL'S FIRST QUARTER
Walter Bingham
June 06, 1960
A thumbnail rundown on the seasonal performance of the 16 major league teams over the first lap of the 1960 season
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June 06, 1960

Baseball's First Quarter

A thumbnail rundown on the seasonal performance of the 16 major league teams over the first lap of the 1960 season

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CURRENT STANDING

STANDING 5/29/59

RUNS SCORED PER GAME

RUNS ALLOWED PER GAME

AVERAGE HOME ATTENDANCE

AMERICAN

     

1960

1959

1960

1959

1960

1959

Baltimore

1

3

4.7

3.7

4.8

4.3

11,300

13,100

Cleveland

2

1

4.2

5.3

3.6

3.5

14,400

16,275

Chicago

3

2

4.9

4.9

4.6

4.4

22,975

9,150

New York

4

8

5.2

4.0

4.3

4.5

15,000

22,150

Detroit

5

6

3.5

4.5

3.4

5.3

20,260

11,375

Kansas City

6

5

4.0

3.9

4.0

4.8

9,575

10,550

Washington

7

4

4.0

4.7

4.3

4.5

9,280

9,650

Boston

8

7

3.6

4.8

5.0

5.0

10,950

10,125

NATIONAL

San Francisco

1 (tie)

2

4.8

4.7

3.0

3.8

29,000

17,400

Pittsburgh

1 (tie)

4 (tie)

4.9

4.4

4.1

5.2

20,775

17,000

Cincinnati

3

6

5.0

5.1

5.0

5.3

8,840

10,560

Milwaukee

4

1

4.4

5.2

4.2

4.0

18,270

16,400

Los Angeles

5

4 (tie)

3.8

5.0

3.9

5.1

30,620

27,250

St. Louis

6

7

4.2

5.0

4.3

4.7

11,570

9,930

Chicago

7

3

4.3

4.4

6.1

4.5

11,780

7,240

Philadelphia

8

8

3.8

4.4

5.0

5.4

14,050

13,025

AMERICAN LEAGUE
The Cleveland Indians not only have hit and fielded well, no surprise, but they have gotten good pitching, a March question mark. Their "veterans," youthful Gary Bell (5-2, ERA 2.40), Jim Perry (3-2, ERA 2.89) and Jim Grant (2-1, ERA 1.44), look ready for the long summer ahead. Rookies Wynn Hawkins and Dick Stigman have given the Indians some good games (Stigman has been particularly effective in relief), and Johnny Klippstein, truly a veteran, has been a surprisingly solid relief man; the fancy firstbaseman, Vic Power, has been hitting well (.336), and so, lately, has Tito Francona. But it has been Jim Piersall (.333) with his frenzied play who has kept the Indians fired up. The Chicago White Sox appear to be playing essentially the same brand of baseball that won them the pennant in 1959. They are last in home runs, for example, and first in stolen bases. But there are differences, too. Last year's big men, Early Wynn, Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio, have slipped or slumped. Wynn started six games before winning one and has won only two in all so far; Fox is batting only .260 and is making bad plays in the field; Aparicio is down to .220. But Minnie Minoso (.310) and Ted Kluszewski (.340) are hitting hard, and Reliefer Gerry Staley (5-1, ERA 0.55) is pitching beautifully, so the White Sox are galloping along with a .600 won-lost percentage. If Manager Al Lopez can restore Herb Score's confidence and his famous fast ball, the White Sox will be even stronger. The Baltimore Orioles have stayed near the top because of good pitching. In one third of their games, Oriole pitchers have yielded two runs or less. Last year's youngsters, Milt Pappas and Jerry Walker, have had problems, but Steve Barber (5 wins, ERA 1.67) and Chuck Estrada (3 wins, ERA 2.72) have eased that pain. Old men Hal Brown, Hoyt Wilhelm and Arnold Portocarrero have contributed important victories. The Orioles have gotten a big lift at the plate from Ron Hansen, their fine-fielding young shortstop and Jim Gentile, who lead the team with 48 RBIs. Gene Woodling, 37 now, is still hitting .300. The New York Yankees lead the league in team batting (.263) and home runs (40), but the figures are misleading. They win 16-0, then lose 2-1. Moose Skowron and Roger Maris have had hot days, which helps to account for big scores, but they've had cooling periods, too. Mickey Mantle is having a terrible spring; his batting average dropped to .230. The oldest hitter has been the most consistent hitter, Yogi Berra (.320). The Yanks' big pitchers—Ford, Turley and Ditmar—have only won five games among them. Jim Coates has won five but has had the help of 53 runs. Truest indication that these are no longer the Yankees of old is the loss of six out of seven games to the White Sox and Indians, three of them in extra innings. The Detroit Tigers had one stretch of 12 games without scoring more than three runs in any of them; they lost 10 of the 12. (The two they won were both 1-0). The Tigers have been by far the worst-hitting team in the majors (.214 team average) and lowest of them all is Rocky Colavito, lately of Cleveland, currently of the bench. He has hit only one home run in over a month. But in spite of the soft bats, the Tigers have played .500 ball, thanks to the best pitching in the league (3.17 team ERA). Don Mossi has two shutouts, Frank Lary has four wins, Jim Bunning has a 2.62 ERA. Tom Morgan with an ERA of 0.82, has won three games in relief. The Washington Senators have the pitching of Camilo Pascual and Pedro Ramos, the hitting of Jim Lemon and Bob Allison and, beyond that, the prospect of a long summer. Pascual has been excellent, with two shutouts, five runs and a 2.61 ERA. Pedro Ramos has been excellent, too, but unlucky. He has lost five games, 3-2, 3-2, 3-0, 1-0 and 3-1. Lemon has 10 home runs, and Allison is hitting .310. But Harmon Killebrew has been hurt. And there isn't much else to talk about. The Boston Red Sox continue to look like a strong contender for the cellar. They have all the ingredients: worst pitching in the league (ERA 4.52 and only five complete games) and not enough hitting (.244) to make up for it. At one point this season the Sox were three outs away from first place, but they gave up five runs in the last inning, lost that game, lost the next nine and fell to last place. Pete Runnels, hitting .360, is Boston's only hero, Ted Williams is still around, but he plays seldom and it is painfully clear his career has ended. The Kansas City Athletics have traded again, and now they look like the New York Yankees on the late late show. There is Bauer, Carey, Larsen, Siebern, Kucks, Lumpe and Throneberry, all with memories of pennants and World Series. But Kansas City is next to last in batting (.239) and has stolen just two bases, a fair indication of team speed. They do have the pitching of Dick Hall (4 wins, ERA 1.91) and Bud Daley (5 wins, ERA 2.53), but sarcastic fans say who knows when either or both may be leaving for New York.

NATIONAL LEAGUE
The San Francisco Giants may run off from the rest of the league any day now. It's surprising they haven't done so already. They have hitting: Willie Mays (.340), Orlando Cepeda (32 RBIs), Willie McCovey (32 RBIs), Willie Kirkland (.305). They have pitching: Mike McCormick (ERA 1.50), Sam Jones (2.08), Billy O'Dell (2.20), Johnny Antonelli (2.37), Jack Sanford (2.96). The pitchers have been overpowering in windy, spacious Candlestick Park: they had one stretch of 35 consecutive scoreless innings. Things have been tougher on the road, especially for Jones, who has lost four times. Still the Giants have not lost more than two straight all season (and that only twice). Manager Bill Rigney moans the loss of his third baseman, Jim Davenport, who was hospitalized with an ulcer. Seven other managers would accept Davenport's ulcer if they could have Rigney's team. The Pittsburgh Pirates have been the bulldog of the league, hanging on to the ankle of the giant, refusing to let it get away. Pittsburgh works miracles: losing 5-0 in the ninth, they score six to win. Everyone has hit, but Roberto Clemente and Bob Skinner have hit most often. The pitching has survived on a two-man shoestring. Vernon Law (7 wins) and Bob Friend (5 wins) have had 10 complete games between them, but that's the team total. Elroy Face, the 18-1 reliever in 1959, got roughed up early this season but has settled down to effective relief; the other Pirate starters have needed it. The Milwaukee Braves , expected by many to rebound under the electric charge of new manager Charley Dressen, have not looked particularly good, or particularly bad, winning and losing at a third-place rate. The old heroes have been hitting: Joe Adcock (.340), Hank Aaron (.333) and Eddie Mathews (.327). Red Schoendienst, back at second base (see page 34), got off to a fine start, hitting over .300, until he began to slip recently—and the pitching has slipped, too. Warren Spahn and Lou Burdette have thrown no shutouts and only three complete games (they had 3 shutouts and 14 complete games this time a year ago). Juan Pizarro (3 wins, ERA 2.35) and Bob Buhl (3 complete wins) have helped. The Braves have been hurt most by the ineffective relief work of the once-reliable Don McMahon (1-4, ERA 6.88). It has cost the Braves three of five extra-inning losses. The Cincinnati Reds , after a miserable start in which they lost 11 of 15, won nine straight to right themselves. Pitching was the cause of both the slump and the spurt. The Reds gave up seven runs a game while they were losing, but only two a game during the winning streak. Jim O'Toole and Bob Purkey have been the most reliable pitchers. Cal McLish, who came from Cleveland in the off-season, has been a sorrow. The hitting has been good: Ed Bailey, Vada Pinson, Eddie Kasko and Frank Robinson are all over .300. The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be trying to prove that a team that finished seventh one year and first the next can finish seventh again. The team batting average is .230 (notable contributions: Duke Snider at .215 and Gil Hodges at .196). The Dodgers have been losing 1-0, 2-0, 2-1. In 25 of their first 38 games the team failed to score more than four runs. That is why Don Drysdale and Johnny Podres have such fine ERAs (2.39 and 2.10) and such mediocre records (both 4-4). A hitting hero is needed—and perhaps Frank Howard, the well-publicized rookie, will be it—if the Dodgers are to make any sort of defense of their championship. The St. Louis Cardinals have moved in zigs and zags. They lost five straight, won nine of 11, then lost eight more. To make things more exasperating, 15 of their 17 wins came at home, 14 of their 20 losses on the road. As expected, the Cards have several high-average men ( Bill White, Daryl Spencer and Joe Cunningham, all about .320), but the team average is only .250. Hitting right at that average is Stan Musial, who has shown few signs of a comeback. Some good pitching has been wasted and the Cards can't afford that (staff ERA 4.16). Only Larry Jackson, with five wins and 3.08 ERA, has been steady. The Chicago Cubs have been pretty bad and their pitching has been awful. The Cubs have lost 10-8, 18-2, 16-6, 10-9, 9-7, 14-1, 11-6. Glenn Hobbie and Bob Anderson, last year's big winners (28 victories), have won only four times, and Anderson has failed to finish six of his seven starts. Don Cardwell's no-hitter was a bright spot, and young Dick Ellsworth has also been effective (ERA 2.25). The hitting has been a disappointment, too. Ernie Banks has been fighting a slump, although his home runs (9) and RBIs are up with the league leaders. Frank Thomas dropped steadily off in May (.207, 3 RBIs in 13 games). The ineffective early-season play cost Manager Charlie Grimm his job. Replacement Lou Boudreau has been no luckier. The Philadelphia Phillies wasted little time dropping to the familiar terrain of last place. Manager Eddie Sawyer saw his team lose on opening day and turned the thankless job over to two-fisted Gene Mauch. Jim Owens and Gene Conley have pitched good ball, but Robin Roberts, the Phillies' last link with glory, has won only one game. Other veterans are having trouble: Al Dark is hitting .236, Wally Post .235 and Harry Anderson .240. There is some young talent—Tony Curry, Ken Walters, John Callison and Jim Coker—but they and the rest of the team belong to tomorrow.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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