Wonderful Willie, a former pitcher, has blossomed into an All-Star outfielder for the Seraphs.
Impact Rookie: Jose Cardenal .237, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 27 SB
Acquired from the Giants for Jack Hiatt, Cardenal is quickly emerging as the AL’s best basestealing threat. He just needs to get on base more often.
First Half Surprise: Albie Pearson .333, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 9 SB
The Little Angel had been relegated to a left-handed bat off the bench this spring after recurring back problems limited Pearson last season. But by May, Pearson had batted his way into the starting lineup with his finest half of baseball.
* The arrival of Joe Gordon, the organization’s batting instructor, was credited for much of the team’s winning streaks this month. “Joe and I began three-a-day brand batting practice,” explained Manager Bill Rigney. “We study and correct the swings of three different players every day.” Two of the three prime patients were Jim Fregosi and Willie Smith. “I moved back from the plate and now I feel that I’m moving into the ball, attacking it as I swing,” said Fregosi, who is batting .348 in July. “I was uppercutting the ball and now I’m using the swing I had last year,” said Smith. Heading into July, Willie’s batting average was dropping under .300 for the first time this season, but he pumped it back to .333 by hitting at a .390 clip this month.
* Arriving from Seattle (Coast) on July 2 was Joe Koppe. The veteran infielder was immediately pressed into every-day service as Bobby Knoop re-injured the thigh muscle in his right leg. “We’ll keep Knoop out of the starting lineup through the All-Star break,” said Rigney. To make room for Koppe and pitcher Ed Sukla, infielder Julio Gotay and pitcher Barry Latman were optioned to Seattle.