Herman Franks managed a major league baseball team to a runner-up finish four times. In three of those years, his San Francisco Giants won more than 90 games.
This year - his first season as manager of the Chicago Cubs - Frank's players could win more than 90 games and perhaps finishe second again. But the Cubs also could finish first in the National League East and Franks knows the pattern for them to do so.
"We've just got to grind it out," he said. "Grind it out everyday."
Franks is unsympathetic to any suggestion the dog days of August should be more harmful to his team than others contesting for the divisional championships.
"We've played in heat this year," he said. "Just like the dog days, and it's up to the players to be in shape and to take care of themselves so they can play in any weather."
Franks has mixed feelings about the fact the Cubs play only in daylight at their home park, Wrigley Field.
"It's hotter, but it gives the players a normal home life not alternating between day and night games. I don't have to ask them where they art at night. They're home."
"I hear reports of players on visiting teams out at the night spots, and who knows when they get to bed? They forget that they have to be up the next morning to come to the ball park.
"Our players know they have to be here and they adjust to it."
Franks managed the Giants from 1965 through 1968, finishing second each season. But his teams won 95 games in 1965, 93 in 1966 and 91 in 1967. In 1965 his team was two games behind and in 1966 a game and a half.
The Cubs haven't won as many as 93 games in any season since 1945, their last pennant year, but they have done better comparatively in the first half of the season than any of Franks' Giants teams.