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Ford Struggles, but Yankees Win in L.A.

June 7, 1964 - The big reason why the New York Yankees are nine games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels was clearly demonstrated today at Chavez Ravine when both clubs had their mound aces.

While Whitey Ford struggled along to a 9-3 victory, the Angels’ best, Ken McBride went down to his 10th straight defeat and apparently is about to join Bill Rigney’s bullpen.

“I didn’t have a thing — not even a spitter,” quipped Ford after winning his seventh straight.

Ford, who has the all-time best major league won-lost record, was the center of a rhubarb through the first three innings in which the Angels called for plate umpire Hank Soar to “look at the ball” on numerous occasions.

Soar did call for the ball several times, but he explained after the game that he was merely stopping the veteran southpaw from putting the ball on the rosin bag.

“The rules specifically say,” said Soar, “that a pitcher may not touch the rosin bag with the ball. Rigney was yelling ‘spitter,’ but I was only telling him about the rule.”

Both Ford and catcher Elston Howard became upset by the Angels’ asking to see the ball.

“Whitey shouldn’t have to put up with that,” said Howard, the most successful hitter ever to appear in Chavez Ravine. “He’s a great pitcher, and he doesn’t need a spitter. It’s happened a couple of times this season, and it makes me mad.”

Ford admitted that opposing managers and the umpires were really giving him the business this year, and he was a little tired of it.

“I don’t pitch any different than I always have, so why are they complaining?” he wondered. “Today I was just lucky. I didn’t have any real good pitch, though most of the hits, all but Fregosi’s homer, were on my fastball.

“I didn’t feel right out there, but I was lucky. I was tired because I did a lot of baserunning and was pitching with 2½ days’ rest.”

Asked what he thought was McBride’s trouble, Ford replied: “In the two games I’ve batted against him this year, it seems to me his curveball isn’t fooling anyone. That big curve just seems to be missing — maybe something wrong with his motion.”

“I guess I’ll have to put McBride in the bullpen,” said Rigney. “Maybe he would get straightened out as a long relief man when there wouldn’t be any pressure on him. It’s really strange what’s happened to him. At times he’s fine, but other times he doesn’t know what he’s doing out on the mound. I just don’t know what’s wrong.”

As for the charges that Ford threw a spitter, Rigney said: “I don’t know for sure that he does, only Whitey and Ellie know for sure. I agree with Howard that Ford’s too good a pitcher to need one, but if he does use one I want to make sure he does it against Minnesota or some other club, not against my hitters.”

As McBride, he was the picture of misery sitting in front of his locker after all the other Angels were out of the dressing room.

“It’s really getting bad when you go out to the mound and know you’re going to get beat,” he said quietly. “The trouble seems to be with my sinker. That’s my best pitch, and I’m not getting them out with it.

“I may get straightened out, but I don’t think it will be with this club. They’re sure to trade me.”

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