Mike Shannon of the St. Louis Cardinals has finally begun to earn his stripes—if not yet his stars—as Stan Musial's replacement. Always an outstanding defensive outfielder with an exceptionally strong arm, Shannon has learned to hit. Says Manager Red Schoendienst, " Shannon has been a big reason for our team's recent improvement." Since the beginning of July Mike has batted over .415, with six home runs and 19 RBIs, and during that time the Cards have moved from seventh place—three games below .500—to fifth, only 9 games behind league-leading Pittsburgh. Last week Shannon was particularly destructive, going 5 for 5 in one game and hitting .484 as the Cards won six in a row. Part of the reason why Shannon turned killer was his decision to use a lighter bat. "It feels more comfortable," he says. He is also waiting longer on pitches before he takes his swing, the result of working with Coach Dick Sisler in the Florida Instructional League last winter. "We thought Mike was a guess hitter," says Sisler, "and a guess hitter is a .250 hitter." During his streak, Shannon has not exactly been picking on patsies, either. Two key home runs have come off the best pitchers in baseball: he beat Sandy Koufax in Los Angeles and Juan Marichal in San Francisco. In fact Shannon has become such a threat at the plate that his teammates have started calling him The Cannon. The Cardinals hope The Cannon continues to boom throughout the remainder of the season.