It is not easy to overlook a player who led the league in batting with a .348 average, hit four home runs in one game and won the MVP award, even if all this was accomplished in the Texas League. Still the Giants, who owned Charlie Dees, were unimpressed, and even the Los Angeles Angels, who bought him from the Giants, did so only on a conditional basis. As limber as a shoelace in a hurricane, Dees exhibited a few Fred Astaire moves around first base in spring training and hit .371. Surely the Angels would not overlook him now, he said. They did. By clever shuffling of paper work and players, the Angels sent Dees to their Hawaii club. There he hit .358, and last week Charlie Dees got his chance to play for the Angels. His first two hits were doubles, one driving in a key run in a 6-4 win, the other scoring three men for a 4-2 victory. And against the league-leading Orioles he had six hits in a row, including a home run over the 390-foot marker, helping the Angels win two more.
Folks in Bloomington, Minn. could hardly expect any more from their hometown team. Oh, they were sad that the club was in last place, but then a small town (pop. 13,000) on the outskirts of Minneapolis and St. Paul could not hope for much more. Suddenly, however, the Bloomington Twins turned back into the Minnesota Twins. After taking five of six games last week, thereby extending their record to 13 in 15 tries, they climbed to fifth place. Dick Stigman pitched a two-hitter, Jim Roland a five-hitter. At the rate the pitching staff is completing games (eight of the past 12 and 22 of 45) the Twins would finish with 79, the highest total in either league since 1953. Opposing batsmen, who hit .198 last week, found it tough even to get a walk, and the Twin defense, with nine double plays, backed up the pitching well. Meanwhile, Minnesota batters went wild with four dozen hits and 34 bases on balls. There were nine homers, including three by Earl Battey, a grand slam by Vic Power and a game-winning, three-run drive by Bob Allison with two out in the bottom of the ninth. In the only game in which they failed to homer, the Twins hit six doubles—three by Zorro Versalles.
Howie Goss of the Houston Colt .45s has been one of the healthiest players in the National League this spring. Each morning he takes a large orange juice, two eggs and three spoons of honey, dumps them all in a blender, adds a dash of wheat germ and gulps the conglomeration for breakfast. "It goes down just like a milkshake," Goss says. Then he goes to the ball park and proceeds to strike out with his dinky little 31-ounce bat. Fit but futile, Goss finally called on the Cardinals' Dick Groat for counsel. Polonius could not have said it better. "You're chasing bad balls. Concentrate on hitting the ball through the middle." And became they were once teammates on the Pirates, Groat gave Goss a couple of his favorite bats—big 36-ounce bludgeons—and told him to buck up. Goss did just that. Against the Cardinals, Goss hit three home runs, a triple, a double and a single in 11 at bats, driving in nine of Houston's 14 runs. "I've got nothing more to say," said Groat.
The St. Louis Cardinals' Bob Humphreys brought his glove up in front of his face and, just before pitching to the Giants' Jose Pagan, read the legend written on his glove: YOU CAN'T MAKE IT. Humphreys, purchased from Atlanta three days before, struck out Pagan, and the Cards beat the Giants. "You can't make it," is what the Detroit Tigers told Humphreys just before selling him, and every time he sees it he burns. The experts told the entire Cardinal team exactly the same thing this spring, and they are burning, too—burning up the National League. The last time St. Louis won a pennant (1946) Catcher Tim McCarver was 4 years old, Ray Sadecki was 5 and Stan Musial, to be a grandfather this August, a mere lad of 25. But now the Cardinals just may win it again. Spectacular relief pitching (Ed Bauta, Bobby Shantz, Diomedes Olivo and Bob Gibson) and awesome hitting have put them hot on the heels of the Giants. For the week, Musial was .385, Bill White .481, Ken Boyer .400, Curt Flood .400 and McCarver .500. Even Gibson was hitting. "I drew a pair of eyes on the bat so it could see the ball better," he said, and it hit a two-run homer to help win a ball game.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]