On August 17 the Dodgers, who just two years before had won their 10th pennant since 1947, dropped to the cellar. The decline of the National League's most successful team can be traced directly to the retirement of ace Pitcher Sandy Koufax and the abrupt exiling of team captain Maury Wills to Pittsburgh after the 1966 pennant victory. Last year, without the two stars, the Dodgers ended eighth. Even that finish did not discourage Los Angeles fans, who had seen their team rebound from second division finishes to win pennants in 1959 and 1965. But on June 10 the Dodgers lost the first of three to the Mets and began their steady skid to 10th. Operation Bounceback, a ticket-selling device that was meant to make the most of Manager Walt Alston's recuperative powers, fizzled. Attendance is down 6% and a record-low crowd of 8,928 showed up for one game last week. The Dodger pitching is still strong (2.69 ERA), but the team's hitting is weaker than ever, ranking last at .224, and its defense is the league's fourth worst. Fresco Thompson, a nice man who perhaps should have thought twice before taking over the general managership from Buzzie Bavasi, temporarily safe in San Diego, blames the players' attitude for the poor showing. "Sometime in the past year and a half, they have lost pride in themselves and in being Dodgers. It is disgraceful to lose to teams like the Mets and the Astros." Maybe so, but as one big league scout says, "The Dodgers always used to have the best minor league players. Now you would be hard pressed to find six of their farm hands worth a shot at the majors." Operation Bounceback may have to start somewhere south of the ticket booths.