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HIGHLIGHT
Dick Russell
July 22, 1968
"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?" Simon and Garfunkel and all baseball were asking as the big leaguers reached the midseason All-Star Game break with attendance figures spiraling downward almost as fast as the batting averages. Only two American and eight National League hitters were over .300 and, based on past years, there could be even fewer by season's end. Halfway through last season there were 22 players hitting .300, but only 16 at the finish fifteen of the 20 midyear leaders suffered slumps, their deficits totaling 201 percentage points in the National League and 184 in the American. Should the batters suffer similar dips this year it is conceivable that nobody in the American League and perhaps only two in the National will finish above .300. In fact, .275 could take the AL title, considerably beneath Elmer Flick's previous winning low of .306 in 1905. The midseason pitching figures are no less amazing. A year ago four pitchers with 11 victories apiece topped the majors at midseason. This year Denny McLain (16), Juan Marichal (15) and Luis Tiant (14) could win 30. The last time that happened was in 1934; the last time two pitchers won 30 in the same season was 1912. With combined earned run averages for both leagues under 300 it came as no surprise that not a single AL batter ranked above .300 by the end of last week. Only timely extra-base hits have allowed Detroit (.230 BA) and St. Louis (253) to open commanding leads. The rest of the teams need scapegoats, and four managers—the latest victim Chicago's Eddie Stanky—have departed clubs with a combined batting average of .224. "Joltin' Joe has left and gone away. Hey-hey-hey"
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July 22, 1968

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"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?" Simon and Garfunkel and all baseball were asking as the big leaguers reached the midseason All-Star Game break with attendance figures spiraling downward almost as fast as the batting averages. Only two American and eight National League hitters were over .300 and, based on past years, there could be even fewer by season's end. Halfway through last season there were 22 players hitting .300, but only 16 at the finish fifteen of the 20 midyear leaders suffered slumps, their deficits totaling 201 percentage points in the National League and 184 in the American. Should the batters suffer similar dips this year it is conceivable that nobody in the American League and perhaps only two in the National will finish above .300. In fact, .275 could take the AL title, considerably beneath Elmer Flick's previous winning low of .306 in 1905. The midseason pitching figures are no less amazing. A year ago four pitchers with 11 victories apiece topped the majors at midseason. This year Denny McLain (16), Juan Marichal (15) and Luis Tiant (14) could win 30. The last time that happened was in 1934; the last time two pitchers won 30 in the same season was 1912. With combined earned run averages for both leagues under 300 it came as no surprise that not a single AL batter ranked above .300 by the end of last week. Only timely extra-base hits have allowed Detroit (.230 BA) and St. Louis (253) to open commanding leads. The rest of the teams need scapegoats, and four managers—the latest victim Chicago's Eddie Stanky—have departed clubs with a combined batting average of .224. "Joltin' Joe has left and gone away. Hey-hey-hey"

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