Wednesday, September 4, 1968
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
doug be' lier
The batting championship
The winner of the American League batting championship
will not hit less than .289 this year.
Tony Oliva of the Minnesota Twins suffered a dislocated shoulder
in this past Saturday in a game against Chicago. His .289 mark was
leading the league at the time. Oliva won't play again this seasor,.
So the suspense is ended. No longer can someone half-seriously
suggest that the batting champion will hit .260 while watching the
averages continue to drop.,Oliva's injury has set a minimal standard.
This is indeed an embarrassing situation for the incapacitated
Twin slugger. In his helpless state, he may very well go down in
history as the weakest hitting batting champ of all time, re-
placing the legendary Elmer Flick of Cleveland, whose .306 topped
the league in 1900.
Still, a batting championship is a batting championship. And
Oliva, who won it in '64 and '65 with far more respectable marks,
probably wouldn't refuse the honor,' even if he did back into it this
The other contenders now have a goal to shoot for. The group-
includes the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Horton, Rod Carew,
Vic Davilillo, Danny Cater, Frank Howard, Ted Uhleander and Mike
Andrews, all of whom are currently hitting .280 or better. Since none
of them have the slightest chance to -top .306, they can either shoot
for the championship and its resulting glory or lack of same, or they
can strike-out on purpose and stick. Oliva with the title.
Oliva does have one thing to look forward to, though. Next
year the batting champ is a cinch to hit below .289.
This brings us back to the major issue of the day, which is
whether we should even bother to have batting' champions any more.
After all, pitching is where the action is. Bob Gibson of the Cardinals
may possibly have the lowest earned run average of all time. Among
his 20 victories, he boasts 12 shutouts.'
And he has not been knocked out of the box this year. Meanwhile,
Detroit's Denny McLain needs only to win half of his remaining
starts to be baseball's first 30 game winner since the early 1930's.
'Since Batting averages are currently so miniscule, what is
needed is something more meaningful to use in comparing play-
ei's. After all, the difference between a "'great" .280 hitter and
a "weak" .240, hitte' just isn't that much. Not only that, but
the Tigers, whose team batting average is far down the list, have
Sscored far more runs than any other major league team. s
The only adequate category would have to be something called
"runs batted' oin and scored in crucial situations.e That would cer-
tainly solve the problem of a player's value to a team. But it seems
impossible to turn something like this into a statistic.
The solution appears to be to mirimize the whole thing. That's
what fooball has done. They keep things like passing percentages
h but when they calculate who is the better player, it makes no dif-
ference that Milt Plum is two points higher than John Unitas. l
Perhaps baseball could learn from the example.
By JEFF LISS center Rex Blake, had better stay
Optimists on Wisconsin's campus healthy at the same time, how-
are claiming that their football ever for little depth backs up the
squad has nowhere to go but up front five,
after last year's horrendous 0-9-1 The kicking game remains sus-
season. They may 'be overly hope- pect at this stage. Punter Bob
ful. Schaffner (35.3 average last fall)
Last year, the first at the helm will return, but doubt exists as to
for Coach John Coatta, the best whether James Johnson and Dan
effort the Badgers could manage Crooks can handle the placekick-
was a 21-21 tie with Iowa. During ing chores. Johnson and Crooks
the season, the squad chalked up will replace Tom Schincke, w h o
more than 16 points only once, in converted on six of eight field
the Iowa game. Wisconsin crossed goal attempts in 1967.
the goal line 15 times the entire On defense, the Badgers have
season, for an average of one and Ken Criter and little else to cheer
a half touchdowns per game. about. Linebacker Criter, possibly
Although buoyed by twelve re- the finest defenseman in the Big
turning starters and last year's Ten, led the conference with 132
undefeated freshman squad, this tackles last year. The other line-
year's Badgers are plagued by backing spots will be filled by
enough weak links to collapse the John Borders and Chuck Winfrey. TO
entire chain. Couple a porous de- In the secondary, starter Mike
fense with a rough schedule and Cavill and Gary Reineck will re- .
it all adds up to another finish turn to play next to sophomore
in the depths of the Big Ten Bill Yarborough. At the o t h e r V
standings. spot, which is wide open, the>
Wisconsin should muster a fair- Badgers will sorely miss junior l
ly potent attack. Quarterback Mel Walker, a fine defensive back ~
John Ryan, who completed 47 who had his leg amputated after
per cent of his passes in part-time an injury against Minnesota last
duty last year, will spearhead the year.
offense. John Smith, who, as a On the line, end Lynn Buss is
substitute, gained a team-leading the only returning starter. End
362 yards in 1967 will open at one Gary Swalve and tackles Leonard
halfback slot while Stu Voigt and Field and Jim Nowak will probab-
Bill Yanakos will battle for the ly start at the other posts, but
other. Wayne Todd, who churned they will be hard-pressed by z
at ,a 4.6 average last fall, will re- sophomores Bill Gregory' and Bob
turn at fullback. Snell.4
Gridders hit by injury plague
Last year Jay Mandler played
on Winchell House's intramural
This year he is starting right
linebacker on the Michigan foot-
Mandler has attained his cher-
ished berth on the squad by way
of a series of injuries typical of
the plague visited upon the Wol-
verine stalwarts this season.
In the Mandler case, starting
right linebacker Cecil Pryor, a
junior from Corpus Christi, put
himself out of action with an
ankle injury in practice.
Marty Huff, sophomore second-
stringer at that position, is cur-
rently suffering from a pulled
With the two frontrunners out
of his position, Mandler found his
way into the starting lineup. He
went out for the team in his
freshman year but he aggravated c
a high school back injury in spring
practice that year and had to sit
out his sophomore season.
Elliott's most worrisome casual-
ty is right half Ron Johnson, his
prime offensive weapon, In last
Saturday' s scrimmage in the
Stadium, Johnson ran into the;.
wall beyond the end zone and dis-
located his finger,
Kirby Sams, Johnson's back-up '.
man, might be the most seriously
injured Wolverine. Sams received
a neck injury in the Saturday ~
observation" by doctors at Urn x<. .
Two talented veteran receivers,
Tom McCauley and Mel Reddick,
will chase Ryan's aerials, while
the completely veteran line tries
to give him time to throw. The
linemen, guards Don Murphy and
Wally Schoessow, tackles Brandt
Jackson and Ed Hoffman, and
The Michigan athletic de-
partment is in need of a part
time student assistant trainer.
If interested, please contact
head trainer Lindsy McLean- at
Yost Field House.
* * * *
Freshmen and anyone else in-
terested in managing the var-
sity football team should con-
tact Rick Kohn at 761-5861 or
Organizational meetings for
Intramural sports managers
will be held tonight in Room
3A of the Michigan Union.
Managers of the fraternity divi-
sions will meet at 7:30 p.m.;
managers of:the independent
division at 8:45 p.m.
Women's field hockey will
hold an organizational meeting
on Palmer Field this afternoon
at 4:30 p.m.
There will be an organiza-
tional meeting for all girls with
their W.S.I.s. interested in join-
ing the lifeguards corps tonight
at 7:15 in the Women's Athletic
Criter can't do it alone, and
the Badgers will probably find
that their defense will allow more
scores than the offense can pro-
duce. Lack of depth will become
a critical factor as the season pro-
gresses and injuries take their
toll. The sophomores should get
plenty of action in trying to plug
Wisconsin can count on one
probably win over Utah State.
Coach Coatta will be forced to
produce a supreme effort froth his
boys to defeat Big Ten f o e s
Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa,
Northwestern, Ohio State, In-
diana, and Minnesota, and non-
conference opponents Arizona
State and Washington.
Wolverine fans will view t h e
Badgers when they visit Ann Ar-
bor for a November 16 engage-
ment. By that time, Coatta should
know whether 1968 will go down
as another dismal campaign or a
step on the road towards regain-
ing Big Ten football respectabil-
Defensive back Jerry Hartman
qualified as the "most injured"
player on the squad. Hartman has
received three separate injuries-
one or both ankles, and a gash
over his eye.
Barry Pierson, a second stringer,
has a severely bruised shoulder and
like Huff, has not been partici-
pating in contact drills.
"THUMBS UP" SAYS RON JOHNSON, star Wolverine halfback
and captain of this year's football squad, when asked about his
dislocated left thumb last night. Johnson, who sustained the
the injury during last Saturday's scrimmage, is expected to be
wearing a "red injury shirt" for the next few days. Head Coach
Bump Elliott reports, however, that "if we 'had to play a game
tomorrow, he'd be a starter." Johnson is one of- six Wolverines
on the injured list.
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