Tuesday, June 7, 2011

MLB Update (1974 edition)

The June 3, 1974, Sports Illustrated had the baseball standings as of May 24, and so does today's Heath Post!

American League West
Oakland 23-19
Chicago 20-18
California 21-22
Kansas City 20-21
Texas 20-22
Minnesota 17-20

American League East
Boston 22-19
Milwaukee 20-18
Baltimore 20-19
Cleveland 21-20
Detroit 19-21
New York 20-24

National League East
Philadelphia 23-18
Montreal 19-15
St. Louis 21-19
New York 18-24
Chicago 15-22
Pittsburgh 14-24

National League West
Los Angeles 31-13
San Francisco 25-21
Cincinnati 21-19
Atlanta 23-21
Houston 22-24
San Diego 18-30

Three items from Herman Weiskopf's great-fun "The Week" column:

-- Minnesota manager Frank Quilici "called in a motivationalist who told the Twins they could achieve whatever they thought they could. The Twins promptly lost again to the A's 7-4."

-- Atlanta outfielder "Ralph Garr had 11 hits in 19 at bats, including two homers in one game. He also took over the league batting lead (.378), lending substance to his description of himself as 'amazing.'" (Ralph Garr, by the way, is a native of Ruston, La., and I killed a 1992 afternoon waiting for a Lady Topper game at Louisiana Tech that night by walking around neighborhoods where other Garrs still lived.)

-- "When Houston's Cliff Johnson homered to tie the Padres at 6-all in the sixth, Astro officials were so ecstactic over the prospect of ending a nine-game losing streak that free beer was offered to the fans. During the final three innings the 7,373 spectators quaffed 4,500 brews. The Padres quaffed last, winning 8-6."

Earlier in this issue, Mark Kram had an article, "Still Alive and Kicking," about how the Tigers were happy to have Ralph Houk, the former Yankees' manager, instead of Billy Martin, as the boss in Detroit this season. "As for Houk himself, he is happy, too. He may now be managing in the murder capital of the U.S., but what was New York, a Shangri-la? Besides, Houk never cares about towns. A baseball man takes his meals in his hotel room and pores over his esoteric charts and statistics far into the night. It is at the ball-yard where he is most comfortable, spraying tobacco juice all over creation, forever grabbing handfuls of pebbles in front of the dugout, occasionally walking to the mound looking like a bag of old laundry and now and then—just for player uplift—circling an umpire like a demented water buffalo ..."


  1. Eric, you should start reading a new issue every week. I've done over a year's worth of issues now, and I'm looking forward to the preview of the 1961 U.S. Open that is coming out this week.

  2. Houk must have had a way with the press, because SI loved him in 1961, when he took over the Yankees from Casey Stengel.

  3. The 1974 Dodgers were the last Dodger team to win 100 games. I thought they were the greatest team of all time.

  4. Of course, I won't get to this issue until June 2024. So I'm glad you're telling us about it now.

  5. This story has a bunch of stuff about how Houk is a man's man and that Billy Martin was too much of a drama queen.

  6. When we were talking yesterday about whether analysis has gotten better or worse since we were kids, this is the sort of thing that makes me think things have gotten better. It's much harder these days for reporters to base their opinions on what will happen on the field on their opinions about the characters or personalities of the persons involved.

    By the way, Ralph Houk managed 20 seasons in the majors and had a winning percentage of .514. When he took over Detroit, he was coming off eight seasons as Yankee manager without a single trip to the post-season.

    Billy Martin managed 16 seasons with a winning percentage of .553. In three years at Detroit, he won 54.9 percent of his games. Houk stayed at Detroit for five seasons after taking over from Martin, and won 45 percent of his games.

    But hey, Houk was a man's man.

  7. Oh, I know ... that's why I hustled up this post in the wake of this conversation about the politics CW. I was kind of teeing you up.