- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Greg (Bull) Luzinski, the powerful Phillies' outfielder, was hitting everything in sight. Against San Diego he smashed a three-run homer, a double and, but for the intervention of teammates, the Padres' Bill Greif. Objecting strenuously to a brush-back pitch tossed at teammate Bill Robinson, the Bull charged at San Diego Pitcher Randy Jones. Foolishly, Greif got in the way. Only quick work by other Phillies prevented the Padre from being...well...Greif-stricken.
The Mets, prospering only occasionally from outstanding pitching, had another seesaw, so-so but hardly ho-hum week, in which six of seven games were decided by one run. On Friday they beat the Giants' Juan Marichal 1-0 for only their eighth win over him in 12 years. Then on Saturday they lost to San Francisco by the same score.
ST. L 65-63 PITT 62-63 CHI 62-66 MONT 60-67 PHIL 59-69 NY 58-69
As a student of the game, the Dodgers' Joe Ferguson is strictly Phi Beta Kappa. Wallowing in the sort of slump that might leave a lesser player flustered and confused, Ferguson simply boned up on fundamentals. First he chastened himself for "losing concentration," then, after studying films of himself at bat, decided he was "standing up too straight and putting equal balance on each foot." This upright, well-balanced character, said Joe, "was not me. I should be hitting from a crouch and putting all my weight on the right foot." Ferguson's next seven hits went for extra bases—a game-winning home run against the Cubs, four doubles against the Mets and two homers against the Phillies. He ended his streak with a single, then added a sacrifice fly which helped the Dodgers to their 34th come-from-behind victory.
The Reds' Bobby Tolan is apparently of a different school. Flustered and confused by his season-long slump, he took it out on the team's Director of Player Personnel, Sheldon (Chief) Bender, in a heated clubhouse argument over a medical appointment Bender had arranged for him. Observers said the two men had to be physically separated. Tolan was fined $350 and advised by Manager Sparky Anderson that he was not welcome in the clubhouse until he apologized to Bender. When Tolan refused to say he was sorry, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Without him the Reds were the only ones close to the Dodgers, largely through the good work of Pete Rose, who has hit in 54 of 60 games; Tony Perez, who batted in 20 runs in an 18-game stretch as the team's new cleanup hitter; and rookie Dan Driessen, who drove in five runs to end a four-game losing streak.
The Giants' Ron Bryant rates superstition over scholarship in his quest for the league's Cy Young Award. He won his 19th game with 19 pieces of bubble gum in his back pocket and with his by now celebrated teddy bear rooting him on from his appointed seat on the bench. Bryant's teammate, Tom Bradley, obtained last winter from the White Sox, pitched his first National League shutout, but he needed help from a 15-year-old New York fan to get the 1-0 win over the Mets. The boy gave the Giants' Garry Maddox an extra swing when he caused Mets Catcher Jerry Grote to miss an easy pop-up by reaching over the box-seat railing for the ball. The reprieved Maddox then singled in the winning run off Tom Seaver.
The Braves have played at a .600 pace since the All-Star break, largely because, as Davey Johnson noted, "We could put runs on the board in the Grand Canyon." Johnson personally clobbered three home runs during the week, which left him in a tie for the league lead with 35. Henry Aaron hit his 32nd and career 705th, then succumbed for several days to a stomach virus.