THE BIG STICK
The race for the National League batting championship was rousingly close last week. Edwin ("The Duke") Snider, 27, who has never won the title in his eight years with Brooklyn, and Stan ("The Man") Musial, 33, who has won it for St. Louis six times since 1942, were racing almost in tandem.
At week's end their averages differed only by a single percentage point. Then on Sunday both performed prodigiously. Each hit two home runs, but The Duke got more hits, four to The Man's three in eight at bats apiece. Thus Snider gained a four-point edge—with .348 to Musial's .344.
Although their averages are almost identical, their batting styles are not. The Brooklyn outfielder is an orthodox hitter. He stands up straight at the plate and cocks his bat so that it swings in a graceful arc (right). Musial is unorthodox, as Mark Kauffman's dramatic sequence shot with a long-range lens from center field shows. The great Cardinal outfielder stands in the far, outside corner of the box, feet close together and body bent in a half-crouch. As the ball approaches he coils toward the catcher, giving the appearance of a man peeping around a corner.
September 5, 1954
Despite the difference of approach, each man was wielding a big and effective stick. And with only four weeks to go, there seemed a fine chance that their race for the batting championship would go all the way to the finish.
Young champions Dianne Williamson (above) and Nick Egan (right), both 14, banged lustily away at the Grand American Trapshoot in Vandalia, Ohio to capture top women's and men's titles in the featured Grand American Handicap final. Egan, of Flushing, N.Y., shattered 99 of 100 clay birds and Dianne, of Compton, Calif., broke 95. During the week-long shoot, biggest event in the world of clay pigeons, nearly 1,500,000 targets and about the same number of shells were expended.
Bobbing, Plunging Sailfish, a 90-pound boat that is little more than a surfboard with a huge sail, weathered uncomfortable ground swells during Long Island Sound race. Its crew, Elsie Gillespie and Carol Langdon of Darien, Conn., were barely discernible at times when the tiny craft, capable of speeds up to 30 miles an hour, smashed hard into the water after rising on a swell. Misses Gillespie and Langdon won the race without mishap although most of the other entries spilled at least once.
Korean Basketball fans, 7,000 of them, jammed courtsides at Seoul's Chosen Christian University to watch barnstorming University of Oregon team gain a bare 54-to-52 victory over smaller Korean team. Oregonians, all members of last year's varsity, played three games in Seoul. Then they flew to Taipeh on the second leg of a 32-day, 21-game tour which swings through seven Far Eastern countries including Japan, Thailand, Malaya and the Philippines.
President Eisenhower waded into a well-stocked reach of the South Platte near Denver, soon caught a creelful despite the kibitzing of highway travelers above him.
Hopeful two-year-olds Nashua (left) and Summer Tan pounded across the finish a neck apart in the $78,750 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. Nashua won, thereby giving 80-year-old Trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons and Jockey Eddie Arcaro, veterans both, the first Hopeful victories of their careers.
PINT-SIZED WORLD SERIES
The bases were only 60 feet apart, the center-field fence a short 189 feet from home plate; even the billboards lining the outfield walls were midget size. But no major leaguer with eyes sharpened by visions of the winning team's box-office cut ever played harder or displayed better form for age and weight than these Little Leaguers, 12-years and under, meeting at Williamsport, Pa. in the world series of pint-size baseball.
The all-star teams from Schenectady, N.Y. and Colton, Calif. were the pick of summer-long eliminations involving 3,500 leagues, 400,000 players. Before 7,500 enthusiastic fans at Williamsport's Original Park the two teams met to decide the 1954 championship. Clutch pitching and timely hitting won for Schenectady, 7-5.
Big-time swing—and a miss—brought championship to Schenectady as Pitcher Billy Masucci poured the third strike past Norman Housely, second baseman of the Colton, Calif. team for final out in six-inning game. Several thousand fans watched attentively from stands and earthen dike beyond outfield fence.
Running-catch attempt by Colton Right-fielder Cliff Munson failed, and long fly hit in second inning by Chuck Neidel, Schenectady first baseman, rolled to the fence for a double, driving in a run. Outfielder Munson had the wind knocked out of him in his tumble but recovered after a moment, stayed in the game.
Schenectady's Billy Masucci, 12, pitched and batted his team to victory. Throwing right-handed and relying mainly on a fast ball, he struck out nine Coltons, allowed only four hits. With his father, Schenectady Coach Lou Masucci, on the bench, his mother in the stands, the blond 135-pounder showed the poise of a veteran in getting himself out of tight spots. Batting left-handed he walloped a home run (above) over right center-field fence with one on in first inning.
Winning team mobbed Pitcher Masucci after last Colton batter went down. Schenectady team reached the finals of Little League World Series last year, only to lose to Birmingham, Ala. Four of this season's team, including Masucci, were on the 1953 squad.
Losing player is consoled as he clutches runner-up trophy. Unlike major leagues, there could be no cry of "Wait till next year," for most of this year's team is already 12 and will be ineligible for further Little League play.