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As for F. Robby, he was still hitting everything in sight and appeared to be on his way to a second straight Triple Crown, something no one has ever done. Then on June 27 he barreled into second base to break up a double play and bashed his head into the left knee of White Sox Second Baseman Al Weis. Weis was put out for the season with a torn cartilage, and F. Robby was knocked unconscious. When he came to, it was found he had suffered a brain concussion. Worse, he had double vision in his right eye. The images were not side by side like television ghosts, but one on top of the other, so that Boog Powell, say, had another Boog Powell floating over him like a guardian angel whenever Frank looked at him. F. Robby is still waiting for the angel to leave.
He tried a bit of batting practice last week as Coach Bill Hunter used an easy-does-it, beanbag-toss delivery. In order to avoid seeing things in duplicate Robinson had to tuck his chin into his chest and cock his head at a peculiar angle. He took careful half-swings, just trying to meet the ball. He stepped into the cage for a second session, but left when the regular batting-practice pitcher, George Thomas, took the mound. "I can't hit George with two eyes," he said good-naturedly.
Since the Orioles have not fallen out of the bottom of the league, something must be going right, something must be giving hope. Yes, there are some cheering aspects. Paul Blair, who shared center field last season, has sole ownership now and is second only to Frank Robinson in club batting. In one game against the Yankees last week he got two hits and a walk, knocked in two runs, stole two bases, went from first to third on a ground-ball single to left and zipped from second to home on another ground single to left.
"I know I'm going to hit three hundred," he says.
Moe Drabowsky is the only one of the four World Series pitching stars who has had no troubles in 1967. His record is 6-0, meaning he has not lost a game in two seasons, and he has allowed only nine runs in more than 56 innings. Starters Tom Phoebus and Pete Richert have been doing pretty well, and a 19-year-old bonus baby named Mike Adamson, in his first professional start last week, held the White Sox to three hits in six innings.
"I'm quite optimistic," says Dalton. "We haven't had one good stretch yet. We've had some problems with our pitching, our hitting and our fielding, but gradually we can see these things straightening out. We're in a position where one good hot streak, say 15 out of 20 games, would put us back into it."
"And we are the type of team that can put together a hot streak," adds Hank Bauer. "We've done it before. We expect to do it again."
If by any chance it does happen, no one will be any happier than the Orioles' telephone operator.