But Chicago has failed miserably to hit consistently as a team. Santo's RBI total is below his normal pace of more than 100 and although banners are paraded around the park saying things like MY GRANDMA LUVS JOE PEPITONE, Joe has only 55 RBIs and his swing has been affected by a sore elbow that placed him on the disabled list for a while in May. But perhaps the most important factor in the lack of scoring is that without Hickman in the lineup Chicago must play an outfield of left-handed batters plus a left-handed-hitting first baseman, Pepitone, in the kind of ball park that has always been a paradise for right-handed power.
So why do Chicago fans think the Cubs will win this time around? First, because they just know the Cubs will not continue not to hit. Then, Owner Phil Wrigley and Manager Leo Durocher—of all people—are becoming strong sentimental favorites to win something for a change, Wrigley because he has been so good to baseball, Durocher because baseball has not been very good to him since, 20 years ago, he led the Giants from 13� games behind in August to the pennant in September.
Of course, Chicago has always been fond of Phil Wrigley. Durocher, by contrast, sometimes makes Mayor Richard Daley look like Little Bo-peep. But Wrigley remembers how things were before Durocher came to Chicago, and as long as the aging Cubs can still race after the pennant, he probably will run along with Leo.
Durocher, in turn, will stick to his team and to his pitchers—the people who are the third reason why the Cubs might win it all. The pitchers are Milt Pappas, who needs one win, his 16th, to equal his previous high, and Bill Hands and Ken Holtzman, who, if they have not done much of anything else, have at least appeared often. Then there is old Juan Pizarro who is pitching for Durocher like young Juan Pizarro. And, of course, Ferguson Jenkins.
On the mound Jenkins is a model, a man with a compact windup and delivery. Working quickly, he stands upright, takes the catcher's sign without a bend or a squint, quickly brings his hands, which have been hanging loosely by his side, together in his glove where he gets a grip on the ball. With hardly a quiver, he delivers the ball through about a three-quarter arm arc. He says he throws a fastball, a breaking pitch and a changeup. His fastball is not of Bob Gibson caliber, his breaking pitch is usually a slider. But his control—everybody can admire that. In 252? innings Jenkins has walked but 27 men. Since early June, Jenkins has worked almost 100 innings and during that span he has walked only seven. "I wouldn't have got a hit if I'd been up there all night," said Henry Aaron after Jenkins stopped his latest hitting streak last week at 22 games.
Probably Jenkins will appear in more than 300 innings before the season ends—this for the fourth straight year—and should all those midsummer dreams merge into one magnificent fall spectacle, the chances are the focus will be on this cool, collected Cub.