With the combined average for American League hitters down to .223, it was no wonder they were all bug-eyed last week at the feats of the Senators' Frank Howard. The 6'7", 260-pound Howard had 10 homers and 17 RBIs in a six-game hitting binge that matched his Bunyanesque size and provoked some awestruck comments like these from the Detroit Tigers. Pitcher Joe Sparma, who gave up one of Howard's homers, said, "He always was good for 30 home runs anyway, but this year he's clobbering my best pitches. I think he'll hit 70." "No," contradicted Outfielder Jim Northrup, "he'll hit 75." These startling predictions were made for a batter whose lifetime average is .274, who has never hit more than 37 home runs in one season and who has not led any league in anything since he left the Class-B Green Bay Bluejays in 1958. But in 1968 Howard has already built big leads in the three major hitting categories with a .347 average, 17 homers and 34 runs driven in. The Senators' slugger was not visibly impressed by his own deeds. "All I'm trying to do is get three good cuts each time up. I haven't changed my swing, and I don't kid myself—I'm a streak hitter and I'm hot." Last week Howard was so hot he broke records in bunches, tying the mark for most homers in four games, then setting new ones for five and six games. All that slugging, which included one drive which went over the 82-foot-high left-field roof in Detroit, also put him in range of Rudy York's record of 18 homers in a month. Howard already had 13 for May with 12 games remaining. And, it might not stop there. He was 13 games ahead of Roger Maris' record pace the year he hit 61.