The American League, a constellation of whose great stars are shown performing in color on the next four pages, has traditionally been the show window of power baseball. Its great sluggers—from the era of Ruth and Foxx to that of Ted Williams—have always been an unpleasant sight for National League pitchers in the All-Star Game. Today the situation tends to be reversed. Manager Leo Durocher's National Leaguers, fielding a team loaded with such woodsmen as Ted Kluszewski, Duke Snider and Willie Mays, have stolen the power formula. This year Manager Al Lopez and his American Leaguers will be the ones who must counter with speed and superb defense. Yet baseball being what it is, pitching will probably decide the outcome of the 1955 game as it has most of those in the past. What a man named Hubbell and his screwball once did to the greatest line-up of sluggers in All-Star history, Don Newcombe or Robin Roberts or Whitey Ford or Early Wynn (or whatever pitchers are finally chosen by the respective managers to represent their leagues) may still do next Tuesday when the top major leaguers put on the exhibition that has become a unique spectacle in U.S. sport. For a rundown on the 1955 All-Star line-ups, turn to page 57.
Leaning into a pitch, scrappy little Nellie Fox, Chicago White Sox second baseman and a recent American League performer in the All-Star Game, is on the way to first even before completing his swing as he bats against the Indians in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. The catcher is big Jim Hegan, long considered one of baseball's best backstops.
Good hit, no run Gus Zernial, Kansas City's big, slugging outfielder and sometime American League All-Star, starts a desperate slide into third base as young Andy Carey of the Yankees, backed up by fireballing Pitcher Bob Turley, waits for the relay from the outfield. Heavy-footed Zernial was out.
The double play, featuring such capable operators as Chico Carrasquel and Harvey Kuenn at shortstop and Nellie Fox and Bobby Avila at second, may be an American League strong point. Here Indian Sam Dente takes throw from teammate Avila and relays to first for twin killing against White Sox.
Yankee powerhouse Mickey Mantle, on the way to his biggest season, gives the junior league speed, a great throwing arm and switch-hitting power to equal anything in the National League. Here Mantle is greeted by teammates Gil McDougald, Billy Hunter, Andy Carey after hitting home run.
All-Star game would hardly be complete without Ted Williams, who has probably contributed more drama to the contest with his tremendous slugging than any other player.
Distinguished veteran of All-Star Game, Yankee Catcher Yogi Berra, has played every inning of the last four classics. Here he talks it over with Tom Morgan, one of 1955's ace relief pitchers.
Ready for anything, Detroit's Shortstop Harvey Kuenn gets set. Rookie of the Year in 1953, Kuenn was even better last season. Now, a real veteran, he's full-fledged star.
THE PLAYER'S THE THING
Ted Kluszewski, Cincinnati (.324)—Starting third straight All-Star Game, has .429 batting average for first two. Enormously strong and with a good eye, he led major leagues in home runs last year, is triple-crown possibility this season. He had to beat out one of game's all-time great hitters, Stan Musial, to win All-Star berth. Adequate but not flashy afield.
Mickey Vernon, Washington (.284)—Oldest of the All-Stars at 37, has yet to get a hit in four previous appearances, two as a starter. Perennial stand- out for lowly Washington Senators, has twice led American League in batting. Graceful fielder, hits with power although not considered a slugger. Kansas City's Vic Power furnished his only competition.
Red Schoendienst, St. Louis (.298)—His home run in 1950 won only overtime All-Star Game in the 11th inning. This will be his ninth show and fourth as a starter. A switch hitter, the Card veteran has a .291 lifetime average but only .154 as an All-Star. Holder of National League fielding records, he was picked by fans over Gene Baker of the Chicago Cubs.
Nellie Fox, Chicago (.332)—Aggressive, pesky-type hitter, drove in winning American League runs last year with eighth-inning single. Has been on four All-Star squads, started '51 game, played in two others. Good clutch hitter, boasts .333 All-Star average. Having his best year at the plate in '55. A really flashy fielder and good man on the double play.
Eddie Mathews, Milwaukee (.288)—Facing his second All-Star appearance, he went hitless in '53. After early-season appendectomy, he is fast gaining on leaders in home run derby. Only 23 and in his fourth big-league season, he promises to be one of the all-time slugging greats. Not a standout glove man but still one of league's better third basemen.
Jim Finigan, Kansas City (.290)—Probably least known of the All-Stars is this major league sophomore who beat out veteran George Kell for third base. As a rookie last year, when he hit .302, he was picked for the squad but didn't get into the game. A hustling but often erratic fielder, has recently switched to second base. Having another good year at bat.
Ernie Banks, Chicago (.302)—Made a prophet of Manager Stan Hack, who months ago said, "If any Cub makes the All-Star team, it will be Banks." Brilliant short-fielder and a whiz on the double play, this 25-year-old sophomore can also hit the long ball. He edged out smooth-fielding Johnny Logan of the Milwaukee Braves for this, his first All-Star chance.
Harvey Kuenn, Detroit (.317)—Baseball's best hitting shortstop, never under .300. Third year in majors, third trip to All-Star Game but first as starter. Unsuccessful pinch-hitter as rookie in '53, rode bench last year.Had over 200 hits first two seasons. Won All-Star berth over White Sox's Chico Carrasquel, vote leader last three years, on final day of balloting.
Del Ennis, Philadelphia (.257)—Played briefly in '46 game as a rookie, started in '51, but is still looking for first All-Star hit. He beat out Giant Veteran Whitey Lockman in close race. A solid fielder, he hits the home run ball and adds real punch to an already frightening National League attack; however, will probably be replaced by Musial after three innings.
Ted Williams, Boston (.380)—There isn't much left to say. Hit a home run to beat National League in 1941; hit two more in the '46 game. Has driven in 10 runs. Owns .379 batting average after 10 All-Star appearances. Even at 36 and bothered by a sore back, is probably best bet on either team to break up the game with one swing. He's done it before.
Duke Snider, Brooklyn (.310)—One of biggest reasons American League pitchers had better be sharp on Tuesday. Leading the majors in RBIs, he is often called best all-around player in baseball, with great range afield, a good arm, and speed on the bases. Started 1954 game, has been on the squad last five years, saw action in four. Hitting .600 for classic.
Mickey Mantle, New York (.303)—Only 23 but back for fourth All-Star Game. Rode bench in '52, started next two years. Swings with tremendous power from either side of plate, strong contender for home run, runs-batted-in championship. Very fast, good fielder, strong arm. Won center field spot by comfortable margin over Cleveland's Larry Doby.
Don Mueller, New York (.323)—Won't scare anyone with power but a consistent singles hitter with .307 lifetime mark and improving each year (he was second in league with .342 last season, led majors in hits). Only mediocre fielder, arm not too strong, will probably be replaced after first three innings. Pinch-doubled last year in only previous All-Star Game.
Al Kaline, Detroit (.376)—This fabulous youngster, who could be the brightest star of 1955, is leading both leagues in hitting, ranks high in home runs, RBIs. Blessed with speed and a great arm. This is his first appearance in the All-Star Game but undoubtedly not his last. Another second-year man and bonus baby, he's youngest of the All-Stars at 20.
Roy Campanella, Brooklyn (.335)—Top All-Star vote getter, insists he'll play in seventh consecutive game despite injured knee. Del Crandall probable No. 1 replacement. All-Star hitting (2 for 20) is no indication of his prowess at plate, where he's off to one of best seasons. Brings great long ball power to National League. Considered superior receiver.
Yogi Berra, New York (.286)—Has caught every inning of past four games, played in last six. Very good power, especially tough in clutch but, as in case of opposite number Campanella, All-Star record doesn't show it: only three hits, no runs batted in, .158 average. Once considered clumsy behind the plate, he is now rated exceptional receiver with a fine arm.