In Texas they were calling it Rangergate, the latest in a series of blunders and cover-ups by the Ranger front office. It seems that General Manager Eddie Robinson and Owner Brad Corbett don't know all the rules. On Monday both clubs announced a trade that would send Yankee Centerfielder Mickey Rivers to Texas for three minor leaguers and a player to be named later. On Wednesday the deal became Rivers for the Rangers' top hitter, Oscar Gamble. What happened was this: Texas hadn't asked waivers on the minor leaguers before announcing their names as it should have under the rules. According to Robinson, the Rangers had accepted the Yankees' word that the release of the minor-leaguers' names was O.K. But it wasn't. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn stepped in and said no deal. Subsequently Robinson was compelled to give up Gamble. In so doing he alienated the incumbent centerfielder, Al Oliver, Ranger fans and the local press and left the team in a state of confusion. "This place is a shambles," concluded Pitcher Jim Kern. To make a bad situation worse, the Rangers (3-3) were beaten on Saturday by players the front office had also traded away. Ex-Ranger Toby Harrah hit a grand slam for Cleveland, scoring Mike Hargrove and Bobby Bonds.
Other alumni who did well were Rod Carew and Dan Ford, who got seven of 14 hits for California (3-3) in a 9-3 rout of Minnesota. The Angels continued to rely on hitting, with three starting pitchers ailing. The team got eight runs for Dave Frost in his five-hit victory over Seattle, and Frost combined with Mark Clear on a six-hitter to beat the Twins 7-1.
Oakland (4-2) got five complete games and allowed just 10 runs, but two of the complete games were losses, including a three-hit, one-run heartbreaker by hard-luck Matt Keough. Even though he suffered his 17th straight loss, Keough had an achievement of sorts; he became the first player to catch a fly ball hit off one of the speakers in the Seattle Kingdome. Floyd Bannister won that game for the Mariners (3-3), his sixth victory of the year. All were won at home; Bannister has lost 13 consecutive games on the road. The Mariners beat the Angels twice, Mike Parrott pitching a four-hit, 8-0 shutout and equaling his career high of nine strikeouts.
After defeating Toronto twice, Kansas City (4-3) feared it had lost George Brett because of a thumb injury. But though Brett couldn't grip the ball, he could grip the bat. As the DH, he got two doubles and a single and drove in two runs to help complete a sweep of the Jays.
For most of the season, Minnesota topped the league in team batting. And then suddenly—silence. Roy Smalley, who had been the league's leading hitter with a .373 average, went 0 for 19 and dropped to .321 before ending his slump with a home run. The Twins, who had been averaging 5.3 runs a game, scored just 20 in their last 11 and dropped to third place.
It started out as just a heart-to-heart talk over lunch. Manager Don Kessinger was concerned because his White Sox had lost seven straight and he wanted to discuss what could be done about the team's lethargy. Owner Bill Veeck suggested a shake-up and that is exactly what he got. Kessinger resigned and Veeck brought up Tony LaRussa, manager of the Sox Triple A Iowa Oaks, as his replacement.
CAL 62-48 TEX 57-50 MINN 56-50 KC 54-54 CHI 47-61 SEA 47-64 OAK 32-78
As the Yankees (3-3) mourned the death of Thurman Munson, the Orioles kept right on winning—six games against no defeats for the week, making it 15 of their last 17 (page 36).