Aug. 1, 1963 - George Altman, who had his troubles at Busch Stadium when he played for the Cubs, finally appears to be making himself at home in St. Louis. He sees a brighter future too because he is convinced he is over a mental block caused by eye trouble. Altman, a mere .169 hitter as an enemy in the Cardinals’ park, came through with a home run and a key single today to help Curt Simmons beat his toughest rivals, the Cincinnati Reds, 3-2. Manager Johnny Keane, confident that Altman at last may have hit his stride at bat, said he planned to keep the big outfielder in the lineup. “I’m convinced now that the problem with my eyes was just psychological,” said a more confident Altman after his bat lifted the Cards into a second-place tie with the Giants. Altman began to worry about his eyes when he drove from his adopted Chicago home to the Cardinals’ training camp last spring. His eyes became so tired while he was driving that he went to see a doctor on a stopover in Nashville. Altman did not wear the glasses in spring training. He did not fret when he failed to hit in the practice games, but he said a mental block cropped up when he slumped after the season was a few weeks old. When Altman was missing many pitches and taking good cuts but fouling off pitches, he wondered more and more whether his eyes were to blame. Advised to give glasses a test in big league combat, Altman tried them in Cincinnati two weeks ago and went 0-for-4. “That’s when I decided my problem was psychological, that the glasses wouldn’t help me,” Altman said. So he discarded the spectacles at once. Nothing appeared wrong with Altman’s eyesight today when he lined a low-inside fastball from Joey Jay onto the pavilion roof to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth. Back in the third, Altman singled to set up a run that scored on a sacrifice fly by Bill White, who now has 76 runs batted in. And in the first, Altman had singled. He said he tried another adjustment today: a 34-inch bat, 2 inches shorter than his previous model. “They were pitching me inside a lot, and with my 36-inch reach, I was locking my arms at times,” Altman said. Altman, who has hit five of his seven homers at Busch Stadium, improved his average to .274.
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