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PREOCCUPATION IN BOSTON
Whatever joy remains in Boston, now that the pennant race has run its course, depends on the tall, moody figure of Ted Williams. All the unsatisfactory season long, the Red Sox fans have regarded their left-fielder with fitful adoration and hostility. Just now, however, with the singular exception of the wrangling Boston press, they are behind him, for Ted is engaged in a furious competition for the American League batting championship. Not only must he achieve a higher average than his young adversary, Mickey Mantle, but he must also get the requisite 400 official at-bats to qualify for the title.
In the Yankee-Red Sox series at Boston last weekend the fans loosed a mighty boo of despair and shame when Yankee Pitcher Don Larsen threw four straight balls to Williams and gave a gleeful shout when their man got another chance at bat after Larsen filled the bases with two out in the last of the ninth. The press, of course, was of its usual unkind cut. Said one broody writer: "I hope that big so-and-so gets 399 times at bat, then gets hit on that fat coconut of his the 400th time."
Williams himself is taking it all in his curious, peevish style. One time he'll mutter: "It don't mean an obscenity to me." At others he is more reflective.
"I think the rule," he says, "should be about 450 physical times at bat, no matter what happens. That would mean that a guy would be in about 100 ball games and, if he plays in two-thirds of the games, why hell, I think he should qualify. Look at me, I'm probably going to windup in about 140 games, but I may miss 400 at-bats because I was hurt and could only pinch-hit."
But then, driven by his mysterious workings, he'll add: "Oh, hell, it doesn't matter much. In fact, a lot of things don't matter much any more."
As for Mickey Mantle, he was, as ever, taciturn, but getting the hits. He did, though, offer this remark, in respect to his attempt to beat Ruth's home run record, which applies equally, and, ultimately, to the batting race: "It's the way the ball bounces."
MAKE WAY FOR THE GIRLS
One of the most deeply satisfied spectators at the National Women's Amateur Golf Championship last week was Gordon McInnis, a member of the small but solid coterie of Canadians who filtered into Indianapolis and out to the Meridian Hills course to watch their girl, Marlene Stewart (see page 51), make her successful bid to become the first foreign player in 20 years and the first Canadian-born player ever to carry off the title.