Millions watched big-league baseball from the stands—-millions more on the flickering screens of TV. It is a rare fan who does not have his own view, at season's end, of the key men and moments. Here, at the request of SI, some of baseball's wisest pros—-three managers, one coach, four players and an umpire—-give their memories and opinions. Compare them with your own.
Pee Wee Reese Dodgers
Birdie Tebbets Reds
Del Crandall Braves
Larry Goetz Umpire (NL)
Al Lopez Indians
George Myatt Senators
Ted Williams Red Sox
Harvey Kuenn Tigers
Casey Stengel Yankees
When did you really think the Giants/Indians were "in"?
The Giants were in after we lost those last two in Pittsburgh. Until then I thought we had a chance.
When they beat the Braves three straight in that last series in the Polo Grounds.
When they beat us three straight in New York.
Monday night, Sept. 20, the night they clinched it. Not before. Anything can happen in baseball.
I began to feel pretty confident after that double-header with the Yanks.
That last Indian-Yankee series in New York when Wynn beat the Yankees with a three-hitter.
When they beat the Yankees twice in that double-header in Cleveland.
After we had played each team three times. The Indians seemed to have more confidence and spirit.
I never did. Well, after that double-header. We had no more games with them then.
What asset of the Giants/Indians came as a surprise to you?
Antonelli. He came along so fast. I knew he was a good pitcher but not that good.
Their pinch-hitters delivering in the late innings.
Mays and Antonelli. I knew they were both great young players but I didn't know they were that great.
The relief pitching of Mossi, Narleski and Newhouser, and the fine play of Dente, Wertz and Smith.
The bench. Especially Majeski and Dente.
Relief pitchers and bench.
Their consistent hitting. Somebody always took up the slack.
Eight pitchers. They never had so many experienced and successful pitchers before.
What one thing would you blame or the Dodger's/Yankees' failure?
Campanella getting hurt. That bothered us more than anything else.
I couldn't answer that.
There were so many damn things—-Roe, Campanella, Newcombe, Podres. But Campy was the main thing.
I don't feel the Yankees failed. It was just a matter of the Indians winning more games.
The platoon system.
You can't blame one thing. If I had to, I'd say their pitching got a little thin.
Pitching as much as anything else.
No one thing. We were all to blame. We lost because Cleveland played stronger ball.
Which pitcher consistently had the most stuff in the clutch?
Maglie. He always had it when he had to have it.
Antonelli and Marv Grissom
I could name several. Haddix was very good. Antonelli. Maglie. He had great stuff in the pennant-clincher.
I just don't know. It would be hard to pick one out.
For us, Grim. Against us, Nixon.
What batter would you least like to see coming to bat against your club?
Del Crandall of the Braves
Big Stan (Stan Musial)
This fellow Rhodes was very good. There was more than one: Kluszewski, Musial, Mays, and that Dark.
Yogi Berra in Yankee Stadium
Berra, against us.
Hank Bauer of the Yankees.
Doby. Doby and Avila. They were the most dangerous against us all year.
What was the most important hit you saw this season?
Rhodes's single that won that night game in June in the 13th inning.
Temple's do-or-die single to tie up that replay game with Milwaukee on Sept. 24, even though we lost.
I can't think of any because we didn't win the pennant.
Rhodes's two hits in that June series when the Giants swept the Dodgers. His hits won two games.
I can't be sure, but Mitchell's homer when we clinched it in Detroit stands out.
I don't know.
I can't say.
I can't single one out.
Doby hit a homer off Sain in the 10th to beat us back in July. I remember that one.
Who was the best fielding infielder in your league this season?
Roy McMillan of the Redlegs
Johnny Logan of the Braves
McMillan is pretty good, pretty good. Dark and Reese too, But Schoendienst—-he's the game's best.
Carrasquel of the White Sox.
Nellie Fox, against me.
No great infielders in the league this year. Carrasquel was about the best.
What team had the best defensive outfield as a unit?
The Dodgers and the Giants were about even.
Irvin, Mays and Mueller of the Giants.
Any team with a Mays or Bruton or Snider in center has a damn good outfield. They are the outfield.
The Yankees and the Indians were about even.
The White Sox. The Yankees if they didn't have the two-platoon system.
Cleveland and us. But Cleveland was always falling over fences, making catches against us.
What was the finest fielding play you saw all season?
Snider's catch in the 12th inning that saved a ball game for us in Philadelphia on May 31.
Bell's catch against the Cards with bases loaded, even though they ruled it no catch and we lost.
Bill Bruton's over-the-shoulder catch of a line drive by Maglie in the Polo Grounds.
In Milwaukee, Repulski jumped up in the air, caught the ball, hit the fence, fell over it and held the ball.
Doby's falling-over-the-fence catch of Umphlett's fly in Washington.
I swear I don't know.
Miranda got to a ball the third baseman missed, didn't even look at first but got the ball there.
Doby's catch in Cleveland against us early in the season. He brought one back from over the fence.
I never saw a throw before like the one Al Smith made in July to catch Slaughter at the plate.
Who seemed to you to be the most natural ballplayer?
I have to have two: Snider and Mays. They do everything right.
I can't pick one.
Everyone's a natural ballplayer or they wouldn't be playing.
Willie Mays is the most natural ballplayer I've seen come up in a long, long time.
Harvey Kuenn is as natural as anyone could be.
Ted Williams is the best natural hitter, but Berra is the best all-around ballplayer.